The slope shoulders are my favorite, the dreadnoughts for me personally (though I’ll get attacked for this) have too much projection of low end and top end to feel like they have a super deep fundamental power. The tapered braced sloped shoulders with adirondack and a few other things though really have the depth and balance to my ear. I don’t play bluegrass or country though, so if you do you may find that the Dreadnoughts are where it’s at for you. If you are a big fan of Martin dreads you’d probably like theirs. My favorites of the D models are the VA and D12. 1934 Mahogany also really good.
For me the vintage southerner or RS is where it’s at though with the shorter scale. They have a more fundamental sound that just jives with me. I think they are better for pop, soul, gospel, R&B, singer song writer… pretty much everything … except that the D does bluegrass, country, country folk, and classic rock acoustics better and the smaller guitars do jazz better. My two favorites are RS and OOO, followed by something like a Firefly, OM Grand, or Skye or something to fill in. I’d be just happy to have an RS and OOO only though. Right now all I have is an OM Grand just as a disclaimer. Definitely don’t order italian spruce if you want fundamental low end… and I wouldn’t suggest sitka either since it doesn’t have the thump. Adirondack for me is the only way to go if you pick or strum.
Another disclaimer, my favorite vintage guitar would have to be something between a Southern Jumbo (J45 type) and an actual Jumbo J-200 whatever Everly Brothers type thing. Those really make me happy. Nothing tops santa cruz for me though, vintage or new.
Any dread or slope shoulder dread is going to be the biggest bassiest sounding… if you share with me some of your goals and musical tastes I think I could help you narrow it down more.
I’ve compared a sitka VS, adirondack VS, and 8 vintage gibson acoustics together back to back to back… and then picked out the adirondack VS and the best two gibsons by ear and then played those back to back. Santa Cruz VS took it away, but I still felt like it could have been more guitar. That’s why I prefer the 12 fret, old growth adirondack, old mahogany, brazilian bridge and fingerboard, old growth braces, hide glue…. all that stuff… to me it does make a difference because I spend so much time solo with the guitar. The stock offerings are not the pinnacle of what the company can do sonically, but they put great craftsmanship into everything. Feel free to contact me for any information… I’m a nut for these things