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Aperion Audio Allaire Bluetooth / Bravus II 8D Powered Wireless Subwoofer System Review

Aperions Allaire Bluetooth speakers and the Bravus II 8D subwoofer join forces to create a compact 2.1 system without the clutter.

Aperion's Allaire Bluetooth speakers and the Bravus II 8D subwoofer join forces to create a compact 2.1 system without the clutter.


  • Product Name: Allaire Bluetooth & Bravus II 8D Powered Wireless Subwoofer
  • Manufacturer: Aperion Audio
  • Review Date: June 12, 2014 00:00
  • MSRP: $898 (for complete package)
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!
Manufacturer's Specs - Allaire Bluetooth Speakers:
  • Frequency Response: 50 Hz to 20 kHz (+/-3 dB)
  • Wireless Band: Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX Codec for CD Quality Sound
  • Amplifier Power: 2 x 50watt
  • Tweeter: 1" silk dome
  • Woofer: 4" woven fiberglass
  • Enclosure Type: Slot ported
  • Dimensions: 8 5/8" H x 6" W x 6 3/4" D
  • Includes: remote, 14AWG speaker wire with banana plugs, optical cable, RCA analog cable, 3.5mm analog cable
  • USB power port for charging portable devices
  • Threaded Inserts for wall and stand mounting
  • $399/pair shipped

Manufacturer's Specs - Bravus II 8D Subwoofer:

  • Frequency Response: 33 Hz to 200 Hz (+/-3 dB)
  • Amplifier Power: 300 watt RMS class D
  • Active Driver: 8" aluminum woofer
  • Two 8” passive radiators
  • Enclosure Type: Sealed
  • Dimensions: 13.5" H x 12" W x 12" D (with feet attached)
  • Weight: 27 lbs
  • Black Gloss Finish
  • USB power for wireless adapter
  • $499/pair

Manufacturer's Specs - Allaire Zona Home Audio Link:

  • 16 bit / 48 kHz digital audio
  • 18ms latency
  • 2.4 GHz Wireless Band, 3 available channels
  • Can link up to 3 receivers to each sender
  • Dimensions: 3” round
  • Each Unit Includes: AC Adapter, 3.5mm to RCA cable (5’), 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable (5’), USB extension cable (6.5’)
  • $149 for sender and receiver, $79 for an additional receiver

You really can’t deny how convenient Bluetooth audio has made it to fill our rooms with music.  However, that sound isn’t always satisfying, and it’s not necessarily Bluetooth’s fault.  Many Bluetooth speaker systems consist of a cheap plastic enclosure along with a few miniature drivers being fed by an anemic amplifier.  Can we replace the toy speakers with something capable of producing full-range sound, but keep the small size and simplicity?

Aperion's Cut The Wires Promo

Today we’ll be looking at Aperion’s Allaire Bluetooth speakers and Bravus II 8D subwoofer.  They’ve put together a small, yet potent package at a discount, including a wireless Allaire Zona Home Audio link, or HAL for short.  We won’t be talking much about the speakers, which feature CD quality AptX Bluetooth and a truly unique remote, because we’ve recently done a separate, full review of them; instead we’ll focus on the subwoofer and the HAL.  Clever name borrowed from the classic 2001 Space Odyssey movie :)

The HAL system consists of a 3” round transmitter and receiver to wirelessly stream an audio signal.  It is powered by a USB port, or via an included wall adapter.  It can be used to distribute audio throughout your house, with up to 3 total receivers, or wirelessly connect subwoofers at up to a 100 foot range.  The HAL features 48kHz/16 bit transmission quality, and can connect to any analog audio source via a 3.5mm input, or to a computer via the built in USB.  If you get interference, or want to setup multiple systems, you can easily toggle between the 3 color-coded channels using the button on front.

HAL Wireless System

Greetings HAL.

The HAL and Bravus II 8D subwoofer shipped with Aperion’s trademark attention to detail, including a fabric bag for the sub.  The Bravus sub is a 27lb, 12 inch cube perched atop 1.5” rubber feet or metal spikes, which provides breathing room for an 8” down firing driver.  The sub also features two 8” passive radiators instead of a port on either side of the enclosure.  The enclosure itself is black gloss with rounded edges which lends itself to a sophisticated look, and the small size means you can tuck it out of sight, should you so choose.  A 10” and 12” version are also available for those with larger rooms to fill.

The Bravus II subwoofer is powered by a 300 watt RMS amplifier and has a standard compliment of controls including a power switch with an auto setting, a 2-way phase switch, variable crossover and level knobs, mono LFE and stereo line inputs, and speaker-level inputs with nice 5-way binding posts.  Less common is the inclusion of a USB-style power port, which we used to power the HAL and connect the sub wirelessly to the Allaire Bluetooth speakers.

Aperion Bravus II 8D Subwoofer

Aperion's Bravus II 8D is compact enough to fit in all but the tightest spaces.

To connect the subwoofer wirelessly using the HAL, I simply had to power the HAL via the USB port on the speakers and sub, and use the included 3.5mm to RCA cable to connect the transmitting unit to the speaker’s sub-out, and the receiving unit to the subwoofer’s stereo line input.  The 5-foot cables provided were a little excessive in length, and needed to be tidied up with a zip tie.  I would have awarded Aperion bonus points if they’d included shorter cables  given that these products are being bundled for use together; however, you can easily buy shorter cables if you don’t like my zip tie method.

Allaire Bluetooth Speaker and HAL Wireless

While it's by no means a deal breaker, a shorter cable would have been helpful.

Because the sub output on the speakers is full-range, I used the bass management built into the subwoofer to set a crossover frequency of approximately 100hz.  The LFE input bypasses the internal crossover, so make sure that you use the stereo line inputs, not the LFE, on the Bravus sub if you decide to go that route. After adjusting the volume level to dial in the right amount of bass, and adjusting the phase switch to the position that produced the most bass near the crossover setting, I started my listening.

The speakers themselves have plenty of midrange snap and good control of the higher bass frequencies, but they just can’t dig down much past 60Hz, especially in my large room.  The addition of the Bravus II 8D sub really filled out the low end, and while it may not reach the lowest frequencies produced by its larger brethren, the 8” Bravus sub had usable output below 40hz from my listening position in a pretty large room, making for more impactful music and movies than the speakers alone.  The quality of the bass it produced was tight and snappy, and the passive radiator design meant that there was no chance of port noise.  For instance, Paul Simon’s “Graceland” album is my go to for testing out musical bass reproduction.  In particular, “You Can Call Me Al” features fretless bass-work by Bakithi Kumalo that is a modern music high-water mark, and the Allaire/Bravus II conveyed it faithfully with the subwoofer adding weight and body to the low notes, while the speakers made sure the details of the pops and harmonics of the slapped bass were not lost.  Switching the Bravus sub out and listening through the speakers alone revealed that, while the Allaire Bluetooth in a large room would do in a pinch, much of the life and impact was missing without a sub.  Flipping the sub back on proved that my large room could be filled with sound by this small, wireless system.

Bravus II 8D 300 Watt Amp       Bravus II 8D Driver and Passive Radiators

The 300W plate amplifier and internals of the Aperion Bravus II 8D.

One downside to the wireless setup is that when the speakers are turned off, power to the USB port is also cut.  This results in a loud “thump” from the subwoofer as the wireless signal from the HAL is lost.  This did not happen with a wired connection, or when the HAL had a constant power feed using the included wall adapter instead of the USB port on the back of the speakers.

With the Aperion Allaire Bluetooth speakers and Bravus II 8D subwoofer, you can build a sonically complete, yet small and simple music and movie system.   While these products alone would typically cost just shy of $900, Aperion is running a bundle with discounted pricing at $769.  Adding in the HAL results in a bundle price of $898 which means you're essentially getting the wireless capability for free.

I really enjoyed being able to send music from my tablet or phone via Bluetooth, switching tracks easily with my device close at hand, but not having to settle for the subpar sound most Bluetooth users are accustomed to. The Bravus subwoofer tucks nicely out of the way next to a couch, while the Allaire speakers are smaller than most of the pictures and knick knacks I already have on my mantle. Add in the HAL system powered via USB, and I actually have fewer wires running along baseboards and to wall outlets than I would traditionally.  If you are looking for a system with the latest features that sounds big, but doesn’t take over your room, you may want to avail yourself of Aperion’s Allaire Bluetooth Speakers and Bravus sub bundles.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Marshall is an Educator by trade, and currently lives in Oregon. He was lucky enough to grow up in a musical household, and though the AV equipment wasn't the greatest, it was always on. His dad introduced him to Queen, Paul Simon, and Sgt. Pepper's, and his mom played Lionel Richie and Disney Soundtracks. When Marshall was 14, his uncle passed down a pair of JBL towers and Marshall finally had his own system. Having enjoyed podcasting and video production over the past 10 years, Marshall is happy to be contributing at Audioholics.

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