Unfortunately there is really no way to really know. All the youtube videos in the world will never really give you the best example of sound/tone, so unless you have a real side by side comparison option, who can tell. V&H seems to get a little more praise than cobra, but personally I have no history with either. I ran hardkrome on my vstar 1100 and they kicked ass. As for the fuel programmer, I am going to hold off and see how the pipes do on their own. I have talked to several mechanics and they have told me that I shouldn't need one with just pipes. I have read all the debates on here about it. If there is a need for one I will make that decision at that time, but right now I can't afford to drop 400-600 up front based on others perceptions of "optimal" performance.