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Product Review
 

Aperion Audio Intimus 422 HTIB Speaker System

July, 2005

Adrian Wittenberg

 

Specifications:

 

● Four 422-LR Satellites, Sealed Enclosure, with
     One 1" Silk-Dome Tweeter and One 4" Woofer
● MFR: 100 Hz - 20 kHz
● Sensitivity: 86 dB
● Nominal Impedance: 8 Ohms
● Power Handling: 25-150 Watts
● Size: 7.5" H x 5" W x 6" D
● Weight: 6 Pounds/Each

● One 422-C Center, Sealed Enclosure, with One
    1" Silk-Dome Tweeter and One 4" Woofer
● MFR: 100 Hz - 20 kHz
● Sensitivity: 86 dB
● Nominal Impedance: 8 Ohms
● Power Handling: 25-150 Watts
● Size: 5" H x 12" W x 6" D
● Weight: 6 Pounds/Each

● One Intimus S-10 Subwoofer with 10" Driver,
    Ported Design
● MFR: 25 Hz - 160 Hz
● Amplifier: 200 Watts
● Low-Pass: Variable 40 Hz - 160 Hz
● Phase: Variable 00 - 1800
● Size: 17.5" H x 13.25" W x 19" D
● Weight: 56 Pounds

MSRP: $999 USA for the Entire Package

Aperion Audio
www.aperionaudio.com

 

Also read reviews of this product written by consumers at AudioReview.com

Introduction

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” subwoofer.

The package sells for $799, and you can opt for their 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 better choices.

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.

The Looks

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 Design

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 56 pounds.

Set-Up

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.

Music 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 plenty of high treble and bite, so it would also make for a good test for any sibilance problems. 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.

The 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.

I 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 are not as crisp, airy, or detailed but a little warmer in the midrange and have a little bit more mid-bass.

At the Movies

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.

Next 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.

Conclusions

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 -

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Primer - Speakers

 

 

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