Full disclosure, I have a close relationship with Greg Gualtieri.
I own a Pendulum Audio Quartet, and have extensively tested the Mercenary version.
Unfortunately, I haven't gotten a chance to test the portico series but I've heard from multiple sources that they are only decent. And as with most of these questions, it all depends.
When I did a comparison to between the Quartet and a 9098
EQ, the pendulum won hands down. (no eq no compression) I think you get a more soulful mid range and a more focused bottom end. Between his suggestion of lawson and His own gear, Greg has really taught me that brand is nothing, even in audio.
In the pragmatic department, I'm not a fan of voodoo buttons like "silk" or "Enhance" or "glow" or "sheen" .