|Aperion Audio Intimus 633-T Loudspeakers|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Floorstanding Loudspeakers|
|Written by Andrew Robinson|
|Wednesday, 01 August 2007|
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Music And Movies
I kicked things off with the multi-platinum-selling hip-hop album, Country Grammar from Nelly (Umvd Labels). Starting with the title track, “Country Grammar,” the 633-Ts were bangin’. With the Aperion sub sitting idle on the sidelines, the bass from the 633-Ts was quite impressive, taut, deep and had a hint of swagger fitting of the genre. Honestly, at the right volume, I questioned the 633-Ts’ need for a sub, for I found them to be full-range enough for my tastes. The treble sounded surprising good for speakers at this price. The bells that play throughout the track were extremely nimble and shimmered, rather than sizzled, with a fair amount of air and sparkle. When I pushed the 633-Ts to the limit, I was able to make the tweeters act up, but they failed to become overtly offensive the way most budget tweeters often do. The midrange, while not the cornerstone of hip-hop music, was quite nice, natural-sounding and a bit forward, but not overly warm or bloated. Dynamically, once the speakers were broken in, the 633-Ts were quite good. They are power friendly and I found it took very little to go from casual levels to downright explosive. The 633-Ts can play loud, very loud, and hold their composure rather well, even when punished with ear-splitting levels.
I decided to get a little funky with the Aperions and cued up the classic Ice Cream Castle from The Time (Warner Bros). On the track “Jungle Love,” the bass guitar was awesome through the 633-Ts. While the Aperion subwoofer did add a bit of weight and scale to the performance, the 633-Ts proved to be no slouches when asked to play full range. The bass guitar was punchy, raunchy and raw, with excellent texture and definition. The rim shots and snare hits were explosive, each one striking like a shot straight to the heart. Once the song breaks into the solos, the 633-Ts’ abilities were in total effect, filling my room with some of the funkiest sound I’ve heard in a long time. The screeching guitars were energetic, sure-footed and kept firmly in check within the soundstage, only becoming a bit too forceful when I throttled up the volume in an attempt to make the walls of my house explode. The keyboard solo was rich with the appropriate amount of digital faux reverb you’d expect in a synthetic organ sound. All in all, the 633-Ts were extremely exciting and proved to me once again why I love good budget speakers so much: they’re just so damn fun.
Next, I opted for something a bit more chill, coming by way of Mindy Smith’s duet and cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” from her album One Moment More (Vanguard). The opening guitars sounded very natural with just a hint of sweetness. The guitars were a bit larger than life and did lack that last bit of resolution and air, but it was minor and, unless you had a pair of reference speakers like my Paradigm Signature S8s to compare the 633-Ts to, you weren’t going to miss it. Especially when it came to the guitars, I also liked and appreciated just how nimble the 633-T’s midrange was, keeping pace with the track’s higher frequencies and never straying into the lower registers. The treble, once again, was quite good. The cymbals through the 633-Ts didn’t quite fool me into thinking I was hearing the real thing, but they didn’t sound like tin cans being banged together, either. The 633-Ts’ biggest strength came by way of its vocal reproduction, which was amazing. The 633-Ts projected both Mindy Smith and Dolly Parton well out into the soundstage, giving me a front row performance that was extremely lifelike, nicely detailed and highly enjoyable. I’m a vocal junkie, especially when it comes to good female vocals; if you’re like me, you’re going to love the 633-Ts. Again, the subtlest of nuances in vocal timbre were missing, but the 633-Ts’ essence and musicality more than made up for the omission. In terms of soundstage, the 633-Ts were remarkable. They could image and disappear like nobody’s business and did so without a great deal of audiophile tinkering. Beyond the individual musical elements, what I liked most about the 633-Ts was their overall presentation, which was more balanced, albeit a tad forward-sounding, than that of any other budget speaker I’ve encountered in a long time. The 633-Ts’ musical presentation is one that must be judged as a whole and not by the some of its parts; they are the type of speakers that want you to enjoy your music rather than simply listen to it.
I decided to kill two birds with one stone, forgoing straight multi-channel music, for a musical, Moulin Rouge on DVD (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment). I chaptered ahead to my favorite scene, featuring Ewan McGregor’s rendition of “Roxanne” a la tango. For starters, McGregor’s vocals were powerful, rich and extremely natural. Normally, I don’t really comment on another dude’s singing, but this dude can sing and, through the 633-Ts, sing he did. When the rest of the cast chimes in, the sonic landscape was awe-inspiring. Larger than life doesn’t do the 633-Ts justice, as they overwhelmed me with sound, more like a seven-foot line array than traditional cone and dome speakers. The orchestral moments were brilliantly detailed, allowing me to hear well into the soundstage, which was impressively deep, and pick out individual instruments, even the sound of bows quivering across the strings of the violins. This no doubt a testament to how good the 633-Ts’ tweeters are, given their price and make. The bass was taut and quite forceful, which surprised me, because I forgot to turn on the sub. Truthfully, unless you’re a diehard bass head, the 633-Ts may provide you with all the bass you’ll need, regardless of your content, be it music or movies. Dynamically, the 633-Ts have few rivals and even fewer equals at their price point. However, they do like to be turned up (within reason) and roughed up a bit before sounding their absolute best. Go too far and the 633-Ts begin to show their faults. Too little on the volume and you’re not going to hear all that they’re capable of. If my time spent watching Moulin Rouge was any indication, the 633-Ts are not casual background speakers, no, they’re the main event and that’s just fine by me.
When the music finally wound down, the 633-Ts proved they weren’t one-trick ponies. Normal dialogue at moderate volumes was lifelike in tonality, scale and weight. Having the Aperion center channel in the mix was like adding a third 633-T to the front stereo mains; the presentation was seamless. In some of the dressing room scenes, where actors of all shapes and sizes are bustling about, carrying on various conversations. With the help of the center channel, the 633-Ts kept each one in check and balanced them beautifully in and about the soundstage. One last thing I’d like to point out: if you think all budget tweeters are the same, that they’re usually harsh and fatiguing and not worth a damn, you need to listen to the “confetti” part of the scene featuring Nicole Kidman’s rendition of “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.” The effect will make your hair stand on end and cause you to rethink what is possible from an affordable speaker like the 633-T in terms of high-frequency performance. The shimmering little twinkle sounds were amazing through the 633-Ts.