Aperion Intimus 4B Build Quality
Aperion Audio's Intimus 4B Harmony SD Speaker System may be a lot to pronounce all in one breath - but it may be worth it, if that means you'll get to put them into your listening room. These speakers are incredibly well-built, and do very well in a near-field environment. They are beautiful to look at and the new Bravus dual 8-inch subwoofer leaves a good impression. For those with larger rooms, look to one of Aperion's bigger systems to give you more dynamics and a better fit.
Aperion ships each speaker with its own soft cloth protective sack. Aperion's packaging ranks among the best I've ever seen. The speakers were double boxed and encased in custom fitted closed-cell foam padding. If every speaker company packed their products as well the world would have far fewer UPS-trashed speakers. Not only are the speakers double-boxed, each is wrapped in a felt bag and well-protected inside the inner carton as well.
I have come to expect overbuilt enclosures from Aperion, but had no idea they'd extend it to their satellite boxes as well. Each Intimus 4B speaker is made of 3/4-inch HDF (high density fiberboard) which simply laughs off our knock test. Compare this to other systems which uses molded plastic or some other material which isn't nearly as rigid. The 4B's are a sealed enclosure and feature a new 4-inch woven-fiberglass midrange woofer and new 1-inch silk-dome tweeter. The enclosure features Aperion's new curved look which provides a beautiful 1/4-inch relief along the front and rear edges. This really makes the speaker stand out and is light years beyond any other box we've seen at this price. If that weren't enough, the finish is simply amazing - either one - and we wondered at how they could build this much speaker for so little. On the back we found a nice recessed plate which held real gold-plated 5-way binding posts, not some cheap spring clips or other makeshift space-saving connection. Aperion looked to really take its full-sized bookshelf speakers and simply shrink them to fit into a smaller enclosure.
The Intimus 4B speakers only go down to 120Hz (+/-3dB) so it's important to use a subwoofer with any system that has these up front (we used them for the main speakers and also the surrounds, which we mounted on Sanus BF31 speaker stands). The size of the speaker and its subsequent response make it perfect for near-field listening. If you try to fill a large room (more than 1600 cubic feet) with the Intimus 4Bs you may attain volume, but you'll find that the top end starts to break-up and the sound will quickly become compressed. This isn't a knock on the speakers so much as a simple reminder to use the right speakers for the right room. Aperion makes larger systems, so don't overtax the product. After all, you don't use a screwdriver as a chisel... What's that? You do? Well, work with me here - it’s called an analogy.
The Intimus 4C center channel is an MTM (mid-tweeter-mid) design that is pretty much a 4B turned on its side with an extra 4-inch passive radiator thrown in for good measure. It's an interesting design and the additional box volume and passive 4-inch driver allows it to dip down to 80Hz and get a bit more extension for center channel content. Of course, if you don't have an AV receiver that has independent crossover points then you may have some issues with the center channel having too much bass at the crossover frequency. In terms of practical use, this speaker, weighing only 8 pounds, can be placed on a shelf below the display or even on top if you have a legacy (i.e. non-flat panel) model. Wherever you put it, you'll want to tilt it downward or upward so that the tweeter fires directly at the "ear location" of the listening position.
The new Bravus 8D subwoofer is an impressive-looking subwoofer. It, too, carries the rounded/eased edge look and comes in the same finish options. This is a completely new direction for Aperion on a number of fronts. Check out the updated features:
- Dual side-firing
The Bravus 8D has an 8-inch driver on each side, both firing in-phase. This creates a lot of pressure from a small sealed enclosure, but also makes it a little harder to place within a room. While Aperion requests at least 3-inches of space around the sub, we actually recommend you find a way to place it against the wall with both driver firing lengthwise. Cabinet placement is out of the question and positioning it into a corner gets tricky if you want it to have any breathing room.
- Remote Control
Yes, this sub comes with a remote control and a backlit monochrome LCD display that allows users to set levels, select modes, adjust phase and even adjust an on-board parametric EQ.
- Listening Modes
There are three listening modes: Movie, Music, and Game. What's more, you can adjust each to your liking so that you can have differing levels and settings for each. Want more boom during Movies - no problem. Want to drop the sub a bit when listening to music - Aperion's got you covered.
- Singe-band Parametric
Via the backlit digital LCD, users can adjust the EQ center frequency, level, and even the width (the range of frequencies affected - typically called 'Q'). This makes for a handy system to help manually lower any peaks that might be excited in the room due to room dimensions and placement limitations. Width settings are available as Narrow, Normal, or Wide
I was going to mention that the 4-way control pad on the Bravus 8D was actually quite difficult to use, and the LCD could use a better backlighting system. Aperion headed me off at the pass, however, and has apparently fixed both of these issues (and I trust the company source of the info though I haven't handled the new improvements). The remote control, which is the "credit card" style, is a godsend and lets you sit in your chair while adjusting the sub (though since you can't see the LCD display you may still need an "assistant" to help get everything perfect once you move beyond levels. Now, if only they could create a way for the sub to move itself around the room... The remote is also used to adjust the low pass crossover. For most, the AV receiver will take on this duty and you should set it to Bypass. There is also a Low Bass Adjust feature that allows you to boost or trim the lowest frequencies the sub will play. We recommend starting with this at its default setting and adjust it for best performance and to compensate for any peaks or nulls you may be encountering at the lowest frequencies. A test disc such as the Rives Audio Test CD is a great tool for finding peaks and is pre-calibrated for use with a Radio Shack SPL meter.
Confused about what AV Gear to buy or how to set it up? Join our Exclusive Audioholics E-Book Membership Program!