That being said, I absolutely can not understand why so many people insist on only Honda or Yamaha. They used to be unique. However, there are now many other inverter generators with virtually identical specifications that sell for about half of the price.
Gary said it best. There other brands, including Champion, that now have similar decibel ratings. But I am also a believer of the old saying about getting what you pay for. There is a reason that all the big box stores and the local hardware joint down the street sells Champion.
I've owned a few different brands over the years. My last three have all been Honda's. When I was last in the market to purchase a larger genny (4 years ago), I did a lot of research. I talked to small engine mechanics, spoke to people who owned different brands, internet searches, etc.
After compiling all my information, there was no question that I would chose another Honda. Then it was time to look for my best price. I found a brand new EU3000is display model that had been started up about 6 times. Best generator I have owned so far.
For someone like me (permanently parked in the middle of nowhere), the availability of quality parts and service is well worth the added cost. Compared to aftermarket parts or waiting for that "slow boat from China" to bring that special order part to get another brand up and running.
My point is your ears and price shouldn't be the only determining factor when purchasing a quality generator.