Aperion Audio is stationed in Portland, Oregon and
sell their audio products directly to the consumer through
their website. They offer such benefits as a thirty
day risk-free trial, shipping paid both ways (in case you aren't
satisfied), no sales tax, free audio advice from their experts, and an
upgrade policy that lasts one year from the date of purchase.
Aperion's recent contribution to the home theater market is the Intimus 422
Home Theater in a Box (HTIB) speaker system. This is Aperion's most affordable home theater system to date and is
bundled as four 422-LR satellites, a 422-C center channel, and the S-8 8
The package sells for $799, and you can opt for
10 or 12 sub as a custom option. For this review, I was provided with the
S-10 200 watt 10 subwoofer, which makes the system price $999.
The choice between subwoofers would really come down to
one's priorities in a system. If one wanted a relatively unobtrusive sub,
the S8-APR measures 13 x 12.25 x 12.5 and fits the bill. If more power
and deeper bass extension is more important, then the S-10 or S-12 are the
When the review system arrived, the presentation instantly
impressed me. Everything is double boxed and supported with foam inserts.
Each speaker is enclosed in a soft velvet bag (including the hefty
subwoofer), and a cleaning kit is included in the box.
I was pleasantly
surprised to find out that Aperion includes an analog SPL meter with every
order. This device is very similar to the analog SPL meters that Radio Shack
sells. The SPL meter makes the set-up effortless and precise.
I was surprised that Aperion did not include speaker
wire, since lots of HTIB systems include that, but I would rather have the
SPL meter anyway. However, Aperion is currently having a promotion that
includes the wiring.
These speakers have the look of fine furniture, with
a deep, warm, cherry wood finish that makes them easily blend into a
room's decor. For those whose living rooms double as home theater rooms,
this package scores big points with its visual appearance. This system is
also available in a high gloss black finish.
The 422-LR satellites use a 4 mid-driver and a 1
silk-dome tweeter. The mid-drivers have a polypropylene cone, a type of
plastic. The 422-C center channel uses two of these 4 mid-drivers and a 1
silk-dome tweeter in the popular D'Appolito configuration.
The satellite and
center speaker enclosures are made with ¾ high density fiberboard (HDF), which Aperion says is less resonant than MDF
(medium density fiberboard). MDF is a more common material used
in constructing speakers, so the Aperions are heavy and feel very sturdy
because of their HDF construction.
On the back of the satellites and center
speaker, five-way gold plated binding posts allow for flexibility in making
connections. There are also dual ¼ threaded inserts for ceiling or wall mounting.
The 422 series of speakers features Aperion's HD-X3 crossover
technology, which builds upon the ideas of their DiAural crossover used in
previous models. This kind of technology, generally speaking, applies
impedance compensation to the crossover network and seeks to flatten the
impedance response of the speaker across the frequency range. This makes the
load on the amplifier easier because the load is less reactive. Without the
peaks in impedance, the amp delivers a more constant amount of power across
the frequency range. This kind of thing is especially helpful in making
entry level amplifiers work more efficiently.
The S-10 subwoofer has a 200 watt class A/B
amplifier and a 10 paper cone treated with Poly Vinyl Acetate. The sub
fires forward and is rear ported. The enclosure is built with 1 thick HDF,
and it features asymmetrical internal bracing. The S-10 has high-level and
line-level inputs and outputs, a volume knob, a variable phase knob, and a
crossover knob on the back plate of the sub. The total weight of the sub is
All of my listening with this system took place in
my living room, which opens into the kitchen. Listening consisted of watching
movies, listening to music in two-channel stereo mode, and listening to music
in Dolby Pro Logic II surround mode. The front speakers were placed about
nine feet away from the listening position. Initially, I had the front
speakers separated about six feet apart, but I found the imaging improved
when they were spread further apart to eight feet.
The center channel was
placed atop my rear projection television, and the rear satellites were
placed slightly behind the listening position. I used the SPL meter that Aperion included and an AVIA set-up disc to get all the
speakers balanced and configured properly. The satellites roll off
at around 100 Hz, so I set the crossover on the sub to approximately 105 Hz
and I left the phase control in the zero degree position. I felt the
subwoofer sounded too bloated at first, possibly because of the acoustics of
the room. After moving it to a few places around the room and settling
on the best location, I was ready for some critical listening.
I first used the music of Jamiroquai to test this
system because it tends to have lots of fast moving patterns for bass guitars
and other instruments that play very low frequencies. First, I chose A
Funk Odyssey which has lots of this kind of material and is mixed with
of high treble and bite, so it would also make for a good test for any
On the track entitled Little L. the bass line and drums sounded tight and
even, and were delivered with substantial impact. The subwoofer didn't sound boomy, and I didn't hear any port chuffing sounds. I would also say that
there was good definition on the faster bass passages in the track.
midrange material, consisting of male vocals, guitars and synthesizers,
sounded warm and was not too dry or nasal. On the song Stop don't panic,
there is a powerful chorus and a low frequency bass line. This section sounded bloated from the subwoofer,
so I had to reposition it again for improvement. I did not hear excessive
sibilance from any of the speakers.
then changed gears and listened to Miles Davis's great quintet album E.S.P.
On the title track E.S.P., I enjoyed how the 422s reproduced Herbie
Hancock's piano. The speaker's tone was smooth, yet it was
still able to maintain the percussive element of the instrument. The
speakers were also able to present the various tones of the piano, bass, driving
cymbal patterns, and colorful brass lines with clarity and separation.
Instruments were easily distinguished, and their location was identifiable on
the soundstage. On the track entitled R.J. there are nice subtle walking
bass lines which the subwoofer was fast enough to present with clarity.
I listened to Radiohead's Ok Computer in Dolby Pro
Logic II (DPL-II) surround mode and found the sound of the chorus of voices to be
very smooth and pleasant. The speakers had a warm lush sound and were easy on
the ears because the midrange was never too chesty or too nasal.
Then came The
Best of Herbie Hancock: The Hits! played in DPL-II.
The popular track Rockit is awesome in surround mode and sounded great
on these speakers. The low bass notes had great separation and impact, and
the synthesizers had a nice warm tone.
When it comes to music performance, the Intimus 422s
do a couple of things very well. Their high treble range is very smooth and
has no problems with sibilance, while their midrange is warm and has above
average levels of mid bass for these types of systems. Compared to the
Infiniti TSS 750 series I recently reviewed, I would say that these speakers
as crisp, airy, or detailed but a little warmer in the midrange and have
a little bit more mid-bass.
I started my movie watching with the fantastic
animation movie The Incredibles. The dialogue sounded excellent, and the
tonal clarity of the voices contributed to watching the movie and enjoying
the characters. In some scenes, the subwoofer would overpower and cover some
of the detail of other sounds, so I had to lower its volume from the
original setup levels. Some of the sounds of fast moving objects or
shattering objects were not as full as I would have liked, and
I felt some of the treble and midrange that gives the airiness or whoosh to
the sound was missing.
at the movies was Hellboy, a comic book story that came to the big
screen. This movie is filled with some huge action scenes and is tasty
material for surround sound systems. All of the bone crunching sounds were
present, and the panning effects sounded great moving across all five
speakers. The S-10 had deep bass extension even down to 25 Hz, and the 422-C
center channel played voices in a rich and natural tone that was very
pleasing to my ears.
With dialog-based movies and television shows, I
really like the performance of this system. The speakers can present the
nuances in the human voice and thus enhance the ability to enjoy the
characters. With action movies, this system also delivers the goods, but the tonality
is not as open and airy as some other speaker packages.
The Aperion Audio Intimus 422 system has a lot of
attractive features to offer. It has the look of fine furniture, is compact,
and has sonic qualities that will please both music and movie lovers alike.
If you are in the market for a new home theater system, Aperion's risk free
30 day trial, with shipping paid both ways, would be a great way to find out
if the Intimus 422 5.1 system is a match for your aural gratification appetite.
- Adrian Wittenberg -