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Aperion Audio Intimus 7.1 Home Theater Speaker System Review

Are you ready to invest in your first home theater system and don’t have a lot of cash? Then seriously consider an Aperion Audio home theater speaker system.

Who is Aperion Audio?
Aperion Audio is a US-based internet only speaker manufacturer/retailer. Their speakers are only sold online. There is no middleman and the speakers are built in China to further reduce costs! But don’t bet for a second Aperion Audio has skimped on build quality. The speaker cabinets are finished in a furniture-grade wood veneer in medium cherry or high gloss black. Each lunchbox sized satellite speaker incorporates a patented DiAural crossover. The DiAural technology claims to produce less distortion and more open, natural sound.

Shipment accolades
When the 7.1 speaker system (522D-LR, 522D-C, S-12) arrived, it was very clear Aperion was serious about getting your speakers to you in mint condition. Each speaker was double boxed, and double wrapped in velvet and plastic bags. Fine crystal could not have been packaged better. All seven speakers including the large subwoofer arrived in perfect condition.

Wiring choices
Connecting the speakers was a snap. Each speaker has a single pair of gold-plated five-way binding posts. I used BetterCables.com Silver Serpent speaker cables with banana plug connectors, and a single BetterCables subwoofer RCA cable.

Receiver upgrade?
If you are buying a 7.1 speaker system, then you most likely will need to upgrade to one of the newer 7.1 receivers. Aperion Audio bundles their speaker system with your choice of Onkyo receivers. The Onkyo receivers are discounted when you buy the complete system. My test system included the Onkyo TX-NR900 THX-Select 7.1 Receiver.

What is 7.1?
Are you confused what 7.1 actually means? First you need seven speakers plus a subwoofer which is the “.1”. Now you need a receiver/surround sound decoder that can send the proper signals to each speaker. Any DVD player with a digital output will do, but the sound on DVD disc must be encoded in a 7.1 compatible format (THX-EX, Dolby Digital-EX, or DTS-ES). If you are still with me, here is the tricky part — 7.1 is really 6.1. There are actually only six channels of sound, but the rear surround channel signal is just split into two speakers.

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How many speakers do you really need?
Do you need 7.1? If you have a large room, with a lot of space behind all seating positions then yes. Do you need 6.1? You still need a large enough room to place the rear center speaker behind the center seat. If your couch backs up to a wall or you don’t have a lot of space for extra rear speakers then stick with 5.1.

Easy setup
All speakers were placed vertically except the center speaker, which is designed to be mounted horizontally. Since all seven speakers are exactly the same, tonal accuracy across all channels was perfect. Matching speaker volume was a breeze using the AVIA setup disc. Each speaker and the subwoofer were calibrated to a reference level of 85db. The TX-NR900 receiver’s internal crossover was set to 80hz, and the “small” speaker setting was selected. Movies were watched in the THX surround mode, with Re-EQ on.

Sounds good so far
Now it’s time to forget about the techno jargon and enjoy the music. I was initially very impressed with the 7.1 speaker system. At medium to reference volumes the system gives no hints of its diminutive size. The mids and highs sounded very clear and crisp, and had a pleasant airy quality. The 522D satellites produce almost no bass, so enjoyment of full range sound is heavily dependent on the S-12 subwoofer low frequency performance.

Bass is the weakest link
The S-12 subwoofer performed admirably, but was not exceptional. It droned out loud bass but it did not play extremely low frequencies. Test tones confirmed my suspicions as it revealed a significant drop-off below 25hz. At certain times, I liked it’s quick response from a note of a kick drum, but for the most part it was hard to distinguish bass lines. At higher volumes, sound from the subwoofer easily broke apart, port noise became apparent, and it just couldn’t keep pace. However, the problems noted were more noticeable listening to music, than while enjoying DVD movies. If you are a true bassaholic, I would recommend replacing the S-12 subwoofer with a closely priced or more expensive model from SVS or Hsu Research.

Small speakers, huge sound
On the other hand, the 522D satellite speakers are the crown jewel of the system. I enjoyed listening to them for both movies and music. As a 7.1 system, the rear and side speakers can definitely envelope you in the sound. Even though they are direct radiating, they did a great job of making it difficult to pinpoint rear and side surround sounds. I also have only complements for the 522D’s as center and main speakers. Having the same speakers across the front channels is ideal. Imaging was very good, and the center speaker never seemed too forward or faint. However, the satellites sounded best at moderate to high listening levels.

Hard to beat
You will be hard pressed to find a better sounding 7.1 speaker package priced below $1659. Most people would be just as impressed with the 5.1 system for $200 less. It’s a great starter system for anyone looking to get into home theater. Its shortcomings are inherent in all similarly priced sub/sat speaker systems and should not be deal breakers. The Aperion Audio Intimus 7.1 speaker system is easily recommendable and is sure to provide years of home theater enjoyment.

Remember I am just one man with one opinion. If you own this product, or have a comment or question feel free to add your thoughts below.

Brian Mitchell
Founder & CEO
eCoustics.com

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