I tried both a Magnaflow and a 50 Series Flowmaster with my old '00 Sport (SOHC). The Magnaflow sounded too ricey for me and I know of others who felt the same way. I ended up with the Flowmaster 50 after that and much improved sound over the Magnaflow. However, a bit droney at times in the cabin (but sounded great outside without being too obnoxious). I ended up putting in an aftermarket resonator to tone it down inside. It was perfect then. It all depends if you're just putting in a muffler or like I did, getting rid of everything from the cats back (including the resonator). I'd recommend a resonator of some sort. The 50 series seems to work better for those with 4 doors over the 2 doors (after all, it is 10" longer, so it sounds different in the cabin ). Performance was great and make sure you get an air intake if you don't already have one.
Sam always recommends a 40 series because that's what he has, but he obviously ignored your objective of performance over loudness. 40's would be too loud. They're not known as being quiet in the slightest. Consider a 70 series Flowie as well. They're quieter than the 50 and flow well. Others on the site have used them with great success on a SOHC equipped Explorer.
EDIT: Sorry, I just noticed you're avoiding Flowmaster. A 50 isn't too bad actually. The problem you'll face is the SOHC can sound funny with aftermarket exhaust. I've read good things about Gibson and Borla. Use the Search function. The subject has been thrown around for years (my first post on this site was asking the same sort of question).