I have tried several of the more popular combinations. This is how I would rank the ones I have tried in order of preference:
Stock, stock with x-pipe (same sound quality, but a little louder).
BC drag pipes, both with cat (louder than stock, But not as "throaty), and with x-pipe (very loud, obnoxiously so, IMO, because of the sound quality, loud with tinny harmonic undertones. This set up will get you into trouble volume wise, guaranteed). I will say however, that this set up is my favorite aesthetically.
Vance & Hines US spec, again with stock cat (slightly louder at idle than stock, with a nice throaty growl under load, best sound for sound sensitive areas IMO), and with the x-pipe (noticeably louder than stock, nice and thumpy at Idle, and under load it gives a pretty good throaty bark, if your looking for not so subtle attention getter, this is likely your best choice, But, it will likely also get you into trouble in sound measured areas under load, and, is also the most expensive option).
My favorite though is the Trident's. I will say that they sound pretty good even with the cat in place and baffles in (louder than both stock (catted or x-pipe) and the Vance & Hines with the cat in place), or baffles out (might be ok in sound measured areas as long as you use careful moderation, but I doubt it). Definitely throaty with a fair amount of crackle under load and deceleration.
Or, the piece de resistance,, x-pipe in place, louder still, this set up will definitely get you hated by your neighbors on a Sunday morning, and will, without a doubt, attract the wrong kind of Official attention should you miss them being in your immediate vicinity (like with in a block or so) But,, the sound... About the closest analogue I can think of is, a well tuned, race modified V8, when its under load.. This set up sounds Incredible, whether its at idle, or WOT all the way from idle to the rev limiter!. I do go back and forth between baffled and baffle-less quite often. Both sound fantastic. But the wide open version is like pure music to my ears
, I will how ever mention, that like Brandon Miller, and I'm sure several others, I am a firm believer in the "loud pipes" theory, but in this wide open form, at anything over slight throttle input, you will get a ticket,, guaranteed..
Having said that, I'd rather piss off the occasional sensitive snow flake, and be careful when grabbing a hand full of throttle to avoid a ticket, than be dead...
My 2 cents.