Verus Grand Bookshelf Product Overview
We've been reviewing Aperion Audio speakers pretty much since they began selling speakers online. In that time, they've always managed to produce good-sounding, finely crafted speakers at reasonable prices. Over the years we planted a bug in their ear for achieving higher aspirations. The response seems to be the Verus line of loudspeakers. We were so impressed with their Verus Grand towers that we decided it was time to give the Verus Grand Bookshelf speakers their own dedicated review. Being a fan of quality bookshelf speakers, I personally and quite eagerly took on this task. I enjoyed my time with their Intimus 5B bookshelf speakers and was curious to find out of their Verus bookshelf was worth the extra $150 smackaroos.
As with all Aperion Audio speakers, the Verus Grand Bookshelfs showed up well packaged (within a single heavily insulated box). The craftsmanship of their cabinets is well worth a little extra precaution on their part and appreciated by their customers and reviewers alike. The speakers came packed in socks for added high end appeal and included Michael Jackson style white gloves for careful handling.
I thought it would be good measure to do a quick comparison of the 5B vs Verus Grand products so potential buyers would have a perspective as to what their extra hard earned $150 would get them.
|Metric||Intimus 5B||Verus Grand Bookshelf|
|Frequency Response||(+/- 3dB) 75Hz to 20,000Hz (+/- 6dB) 62Hz to 20,000Hz||(+/- 3dB) 59-20,000 Hz (+/- 6dB) 54-22,000 Hz|
|Sensitivity||84dB @ 2.83V||87dB at 2.83V|
|Tweeter||1" Audiophile-grade Silk-Dome Tweeter||1" Custom Aperion ASR Tweeter|
|Woofer||5.25" Woven-Fiberglass Mid-Woofer||Mid-Woofer 5" Woven Kevlar Woofer with Aluminum Phase Plug|
|Enclosure Type||1" HDF||Anti-Resonant, Internally Braced, Rear Ported|
|Dimensions||12" H x 6.75" W x 8" D||13" H x 7.5" W x 9" D|
In addition to driver upgrades, the Verus Grand Bookshelf speaker is 3dB more efficient and is tuned lower (59Hz vs 75Hz) making it easier to blend with a sub to provide a truly full-range musical representation.
The Aperion Audio Verus Grand Bookshelf cabinet is crafted like a fine piece of furniture. From the radiused edges, to the contour shape of the box, this is not your typical boxy cabinet. Instead, the Verus bookshelf bestows a much more elegant appearance. The magnetic grille sits flush mounted against the cabinet, making the whole design fluid in appearance.
Aperion Audio products are offered in two finishes: high gloss black and cherry. We had cherry for our review samples. Just like I found with the Intimus products, the cabinetry of these babies is among the best I’ve seen regardless of price. There are no seams to be found anywhere on the cabinet as the veneer wrap seems to flow as one piece. Aperion Audio truly lives up to the furniture grade finish that they tout.
Popping the grille off, you're greeted with more silky smooth craftsmanship not apparent in many competitor designs at this price point. The drive units are all recessed into the baffle to minimize diffraction and dress up its appearance. No visible screws are seen on the front baffle thanks to the integrated ring flange that is glued over the driver baskets. These speakers sound good just looking at them, especially when parked near a traditional boxy looking competitor.
What's in the box?
The Verus Grand Bookshelf is a typical rear ported two-way bookshelf design sporting a 5" phase plug Kevlar woven woofer (tongue teaser) and a 1" axially stabilized tweeter custom designed by Aperion Audio. What is NOT typical is the quality level of parts used at this price point.
The 1.5" flared plastic port appears to have a cardboard ring glued around it which I could only surmise is for added rigidity. All of the speaker cables are wrapped in foam likely to reduce any turbulent noise of them flapping around inside the box. Aperion Audio dumped the magnetic shielding (good call) of their woofer for the Verus line. This not only increases woofer efficiency but also reduces cost of an extra bucketing magnet and metal can. Honestly, who needs shielded woofers anymore since the demise of CRT displays?
The 1" axially stabilized Verus tweeter has a very low resonant frequency (Fs) in the ballpark of 550Hz, which allows it to play down lower with less distortion than conventional designs. It's quite an expense to make a tweeter like this as it involves a more elaborate motor structure such as rear vented chamber. The main design benefit of the ASR is that it keeps the diaphragm from rocking, thus reducing distortion in the tweeter’s lower operating range.
The crossover is mounted to the back of the cabinet and utilizes high tolerance ceramic resistors, an air core and polypropylene capacitor in the critical high frequency circuits and an iron core choke and electrolytic capacitor for the woofer section. The Verus Bookshelf speakers are crossed over (1.2kHz 2nd order electrical, 3rd order acoustical) a bit lower than we normally see in two-way bookshelf speakers mostly because most tweeters can't effectively play low enough to achieve the benefits offered by such a low crossover point. Having a lower crossover allows the system to create a smoother, more natural off-axis roll off which is prevalent in our measurements as you will see later in the review.
Aperion Audio Verus Grand Bookshelf Crossover
The Aperion Verus 5" woofer utilizes a true phase plug driver which serves 3 purposes:
- reduce cone mass
- reduce on-axis beaming
- vent the voice coil
The phase plug further reduces cone mass by physically having no dust cap. It also further reduces on-axis beaming, allowing the woofer to extend the response to higher frequencies and offer improved dispersion characteristics. The downside to using a phase plug driver in such a small woofer is the reduced cone area also means reduced efficiency at bass frequencies. It also creates a pressure release and leak in the center of the woofer. This can cause a chuffing noise when driven with percussive instruments at high output levels by allowing voice coil air gap turbulence to be heard directly. These trade-offs become a wash when mating these speakers with a powered subwoofer, which is what I would recommend in almost all applications if space and budget permits.
Aperion Audio Verus Tweeter (left pic); Woofer (right pic)
To further increase heat dissipation, the Aperion Verus woofer employees a vented pole piece and a cast basket. This is an expensive measure compared to stamped baskets found on many of their competitor products, but it allows for the system to play at higher output levels with less distortion. Many of the best loudspeakers on the market share similar design characteristics to what we are seeing here in the Aperion Verus speaker system, only the competitor products tend to be much costlier.
I recommend reading Tom Andry's Aperion Verus Grand Tower review for more information about these drivers as he goes into great detail on their design features.
The Aperion Audio Verus Grand bookshelf speaker is just as appealing from the rear as it is from the front. The rear port is flared on both ends and the speaker terminal cup is constructed of very high quality plastic. I'm uncertain of the cabinet thickness, since I couldn't physically get inside the box to examine it. However the lower priced Intimus 5B was constructed of 1" thick HDF and the Verus bookshelf feels even more inert. Tapping all around the cabinet produced a consistently deadening thud sound. If you look closely inside the port, you can see the rear tweeter chamber staring back at you.
The grille is constructed of rigid sheet metal instead of flimsy plastic that you usually find in products of this price class. The grill cloth is a very tightly woven mesh to help minimize losses.
The plastic molded terminal cup is a thing of beauty. Flanked by 4 sets of high quality 5-way gold plated binding posts, the Verus Grand bookshelf can be bi-wired or bi-amped. The speaker comes with gold plated jumpers installed for single amp connection which is how the majority of users will use these speakers.
There are two milled holes below the port which is compatible with the Omni wall mounts they sell on their website as an accessory for this speaker. This comes in quite handy for mounting it as a surround speaker.
- Office - as a nearfield monitor on my computer desktop (10’ x 6’ office)
- Theater room - two-channel
utilizing the reference gear and premier listening space in the
Audioholics Showcase home
In the first listening scenario (office room), I used my Headroom micro preamp and DAC connected directly to my EMP VT-40.2 tube amplifier. I also had my Velodyne MicroVee on hand to supplement bass if needed.
For the second scenario (Theater room), I positioned the Aperion's about 5ft from sidewalls and around 6ft from the back walls and spread apart about 8ft from each other which was about two feet shy of the distance from my primary listening position. After experimenting, I found they sounded their best with moderate toe-in since these speakers don't have an aggressive top end and my theater room is large (6,000ft^3) and acoustically treated. I used my Marantz PM-11S2 200wpc integrated stereo amplifier and the Denon DVD-A1UDCI Universal Blu-ray player as the source connected via balanced cables. I had one of my Velodyne DD-15+ subwoofers connected up for bass supplementation when needed. All interconnects were furnished by Blue Jeans Cables (1694A Coax) and Kimber 8PR speaker cables with WBT compression banana plugs.
These are super lil' guys for everything above sub level. Get four (4) for front and rear's, a matching center (hmmmm) atleast 2 GOOD subs, and you'll be rocking!
To the less educated in speaker numbers like myself, who does this all mean?
The first lesson is that measurements don't tell you everything; the final test is the actual audition of the speakers.
But the measurements of the frequency response gives us a clue as to how accurate the speakers are.
The whole audio spectrum is 20Hz-20kHz, but the "critical" audible spectrum is 200Hz-10kHz.
Within this range, speakers that have a tolerance of +/-3dB are said to be accurate per industry standards. If they have a +/-2dB, that is even better.
So those Aperion speakers are all within +/-3dB tolerance, which means they are fairly accurate on-axis and up to 15 degrees off-axis.
But..... these measurements do not give us the extremely important off-axis (60 degrees horizontal Polar Response) responses, which are as important, if not more important.
Soundstage/Canada NRC, Stereophile, and Audioholics will give you better information as far as the Polar Response (off axis).
Take home message, if you want a speaker that measures accurately, the on-axis FR needs to be no more than +/-3dB 200Hz-10kHz, and the 60 degrees horizontal off-axis needs to be no more than +/-6dB 200Hz-10kHz IMO.
Not many speakers will have a +/-3dB @ 60 degrees off-axis from 200Hz-10kHz.
Unfortunately, a lot of speakers will be +/-12dB or worse @ 60 degrees off-axis.
The Verus Grand Towers listening-window response (a five-point average of axial and +/15-degree horizontal and vertical responses) measures +0.59/2.21 decibels from 200 hertz to 10 kilohertz. The 3-dB point is at 43 Hz, and the 6-dB point is at 34 Hz.
The Verus Grand Centers listening-window response measures +2.40/2.74 dB from 200 Hz to 10 kHz. An average of axial and +/15-degree horizontal responses measures +2.27/2.54 dB from 200 Hz to 10 kHz. The 3-dB point is at 59 Hz, and the 6-dB point is at 51 Hz.
The Verus Grand Bookshelfs listening-window response measures +2.79/1.83 dB from 200 Hz to 10 kHz. The 3-dB point is at 68 Hz, and the 6-dB point is at 59 Hz.
To the less educated in speaker numbers like myself, who does this all mean?