|Aperion Audio Intimus System D Speaker System|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems|
|Written by Matt Evert|
|Wednesday, 01 September 2004|
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I evaluated the Aperion system with the Harman Kardon AVR630 receiver reviewed a few months back. I used the Marantz DV8400 as the source player and the Polk Audio LSi Series speakers were used as a competitive reference. The Best of the Gypsy Kings (Nonesuch Records) was first on the list. I like this CD due the presence of all the various guitars throughout the album. “Volaré” is a splendid blend of Spanish guitars, piano and powerful vocals. The midrange of the 522D-PT towers sounded full and accurate. Thanks to the quick response of the five-and-a-quarter-inch driver, the midrange frequencies sounded vast and lush with good transparency. The 522D-PTs had an honest and sheer sound that was both revealing and sometimes unforgiving of a bad recording. Compared to the Polk LSi-15s, the 522D-PTs midrange was on the lean side, yet was never fatiguing. “Quiero Saber” is all about the dynamic voice of the lead singer, François Reyes. Reyes belts out some emotion-enriched lyrics in this track that seem to relax me no matter what my current stress level is. One minute he is singing a mellow verse and then the next he ups the ante and cranks out the lung-emptying cries of emotion. The Aperions handled the high frequencies of cymbals and guitars with ease. I felt the highs were well represented in a speaker of this class. Both these tracks imaged well with a solid three-dimensional property to the soundstage.
U2’s Achtung Baby (Island) recording is an all-time favorite of mine. “One” is one of the better songs on this album and reminds us all why Bono is such a god when it comes to vocal performances. His varying soft and loud cries are both soothing and mesmerizing to the ears. The pronounced tambourine rattles and taps are much to my liking on the Aperions. As with other evaluation music, the 522D-PTs surprised me with their solid detail and lack of grain. “Until The End of the World” features some great percussion performances with bongos and drums. The opening bongo solo was killer-sounding and got me pumped for The Edge and Bono to chime in and lay down the guitar riffs and the lyrics. Although Bono never really shows off his ability in this track, The Edge does have a good solo that heavily uses his pedal effects to create the psychedelic effect. Again, the Aperions answer the call to recreate the guitar sound with great resolve.
I never seem to get tired of “Pulp Fiction” (Miramax). It has everything from violence to drugs to ironic comedy. The scene where thugs Vincent (John Travolta) and Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) retrieve the briefcase at Brett’s apartment is a classic. Jules enters the apartment and at first seems to be cool. His does this by chatting with Brett (Frank Whaley) and his friends and setting them at ease with his talk of Big Kahuna burgers. Suddenly the real purpose of the visit is revealed and the thugs kill Brett and his friends. “What - ain’t no country I ever heard of. Do they speak English in What?” Jules shouts - a truly memorable line from the mind of Quentin Tarantino or the improv of Jackson. The stern and loud voice of Jackson as he shouts out this line rang in my ears as the volume increased. The sound of gunfire from the center channel in this scene could become slightly harsh at higher volumes. The harshness was not present to the point of dissatisfaction, but it was entirely absent from the comparably priced LSi-C center channel. The sound of shells hitting the floor as the thugs emptied their guns was detailed and showed no signs of coloration.
The scene where Vincent and Mia (Uma Thurman) go to Jack Rabbit Slim’s for dinner was aurally pleasing through the Aperions. The loud rumbling of the Harleys outside the restaurant roared with low frequencies and the woofers on the Aperion towers accepted the challenge. Bass response is impressive with the combination of the tower’s subwoofers and the separate subwoofer together. Powerful bass reproduction was never a problem for this speaker system. If anything, I needed to turn the volume down on the subs occasionally to not blow away my neighbors next door.
Breakdancing is making a comeback. Heck, I did The Worm at my best friend’s wedding last year. In fact, I think I made five bucks on that dare – nothing like Ozone (Adolpho Quinones) and Turbo (Michael Chambers) in the breakdancing classic “Breakin’” (MGM DVD). Popping, locking and lots of moonwalking are present in this flick. The scene at Venice Beach with the street dancers getting down, while the Muscle Beach guys (who are so big they look like they got stung by a swarm of Africanized honey bees) set the stage for the rest of the movie. There is lots of dancing and electro-funk music, yet there is never any threat of decent acting throughout the film. Whew! There is nothing more troubling than people tying to act in a break-dancing movie. The best sound came as a young Ice-T acted as MC to a dance competition at Radio Tron. The blend of rapping from Ice-T (wearing the latest fashion, ski goggles) and electronic funk music was convincingly reproduced by the Aperion system. The boxes the Aperions come in can easily be converted to cardboard mats. Then you can practice your windmills and backspins while listening to the movie.
Lastly, I auditioned the Aperions with “Desperado” (Columbia/TriStar Home Entertainment). The opening scene with Steve Buscemi demonstrated some cool sound effects. The creaking sound as Buscemi opened the door to the bar and the scratching noise as he rubbed his boot on the floor to put out his cigarette. The loud and crude burp from Cheech Marin sent a chill down my spine. The Dick Dale-like surf music in the background was not obscured at all by the dominant sound effects throughout this scene. At no point did the Aperion package become congested, even at the most demanding times. Nor did I find any dynamic compression on the more demanding scenes.