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Aperion Audio Intimus 5B Bookshelf Speakers & Bravus 8A Subwoofer

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Aperion Audio Intimus 5B Bookshelf Speakers & Bravus 8A Subwoofer

Aperion Audio Intimus 5B Speaker with grille

Aperion Audio
Long gone are the audio salons where shoppers could audition speakers in a quiet, relaxed environment before deciding which pair to buy. Perhaps a few remain, but salons have mostly been replaced by mega stores, where comparing speakers is next to impossible. To help fill the void left by the salons, a few manufacturers sell directly to the consumer. Some, such as Aperion Audio, promise 30-day satisfaction guarantees, paid shipping both ways if you don't like your purchase, and so on. The big thing is you can hear the speakers in your home to decide if you like them, and return them if you're not satisfied – sweet!

Features: Intimus 5B Speakers and Bravus 8A Subwoofer

Portland, Oregon based Aperion Audio offers a wide range of stereo and home theater speakers, in-wall speakers, subwoofers and accessories sold only online. The Intimus 5B is their midline bookshelf speaker; a two-way model with a 5.25" woven fiberglass woofer and a 1" silk-dome tweeter in a rear-ported bass reflex enclosure. The 12" tall cabinets are made of 1-inch thick high-density fiberboard (HDF) and feel remarkably solid. My cherry wood review samples have a beautiful fit and finish, especially the tight-radius curves on the sides of the cabinets; they're also available in high-gloss black lacquer finish.

Contrary to their name, the best placement for bookshelf speakers is on stands, not a bookshelf. Stands place the speakers at the correct height when the listener is seated and help get the best audio performance. Wall mounting is also an option. The Intimus 5B speakers have dual ¼" threaded inserts on the back for connection to a wall mount bracket. The inserts are spaced according to industry standards so wall mount brackets from several manufacturers, including Aperion Audio are compatible. The 5B speakers are magnetically shielded so they can be safely placed near a television or flat panel display.

The Aperion Audio Bravus 8A powered subwoofer completed the 2.1 channel system. The 8A features a down-facing 8-inch aluminum cone driver powered by a 100-watt amplifier. The enclosure is ¾" HDF with internal bracing and like the bookshelf speakers, it has a solid feel and beautiful finish. Spikes on the bottom of the subwoofer raise it off the floor a bit.

Stereo Listening

Aperion Audio Intimus 5B Speaker without grille

Aperion Audio
I placed the speakers on speaker stands with steel columns filled with sand (as recommended by the manufacturer) to make them heavier. The added weight firmly couples them to the floor and the sand damps vibrations from the speakers. The extra weight also makes them less likely to tip.

In general, the 5Bs had a very satisfying sound, good for easy or critical listening. The silk dome tweeter was crisp with plenty of detail but no edginess, and the midrange sounded open and transparent with very good dynamics. The acoustic guitar and shaker in Lawrence Juber's "Mosaic", a DVD-Audio recording from AIX Records (arguably one of the best recording labels) was reproduced with excellent resolution of subtle musical details. The banjo in John McEuen's "Miner's Night Out", another very good AIX recording, had great transient response combined with the spot-on imaging of the fiddle.

The Intimus speakers had wide dynamic range in Zephyr's "Now Is the Month of Maying", a unique recording featuring twelve a cappella vocalists standing in a wide circle around a microphone. The multichannel version of this recording is extraordinary and the stereo down-mix is no less impressive, even without the surround sound experience. The volume range of the vocals in this recording transition quickly from low to high then rapidly back to quiet, a challenge for any speaker (or amplifier), yet the 5Bs seemed to handle the wide dynamic range effortlessly and with good clarity.

Subwoofer

Bad Haggis played a tight, deep bass in "The Hag at the Churn" (AIX Records), though not before I found the best placement for the subwoofer. Finding the best location for a sub is arguably a tough job. Room resonances and vibrations can cause peaks and dips in the bass leading to less than ideal sound quality. The carpeted wood floor and raised foundation in my home makes subwoofer placement even more challenging. I also discovered that the down-firing woofer in the 8A was occasionally hitting the carpet on the down stroke. The 8A has adjustable spikes on the bottom, and raising them solved the problem, but I got the best performance when the subwoofer was placed on an Auralex SubDude HD Subwoofer Isolation Platform, a 15" x 15" platform wrapped in fabric resting on a 2.5" layer of dense foam. It effectively isolates the sub from the floor allowing the listener to hear more of the sub and fewer room vibrations. Bad Haggis' bass suddenly got badder, tighter and deeper. The SubDude benefits most subwoofers, especially those with down-firing woofers.

The Bottom Line

The Intimus 5Bs are great for a modest, yet robust stereo system. That is, a modest price and a robust sound. Pair them with a receiver with 75-100 watts per channel and the Bravus 8A for a classy and affordable stereo system, or wall-mount the 5Bs as surround speakers in a home theater system. To get the best stereo performance use solid speaker stands and high quality speaker wire.

Aperion Audio recommends an amp with 25-200 watts per channel, but it should be noted that the Intimus 5B speakers have a low sensitivity spec of 84 dB. An amplifier with at least 50 watts per channel would be a good idea to get the best performance from the speakers. My Yamaha stereo amp with 70-watts x 2 was enough, but more power might deliver improved dynamic range.

The days of the audio salon are in the past, but hearing speakers in your home is the best way to choose the right ones. Buying direct has its advantages and the Aperion Audio 30-day no-risk in-home audition is a tempting offer. It may become irresistible when you hear the Intimus 5B bookshelf speakers and the Bravus 8A subwoofer. Check out Aperion Audio for more information

Specifications

Intimus 5B

  • Mid/Woofer: 5.25" Woven-Fiberglass
  • Tweeter: 1" Silk-Dome
  • Frequency Response: 75Hz–20kHz (+/-3dB)
  • Impedance: 6 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 84 dB
  • Enclosure: Ported
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 6.75" x 12" x 8"
  • Weight: 14 lbs
  • Price: $225 each

Bravus 8A

  • 8" aluminum cone
  • 100-watt amplifier
  • Frequency Response: 36Hz-160Hz
  • Enclosure: Ported
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 13.5" x 15" x 13.5"(w/feet)
  • Weight: 33 lbs
  • Price: $319.00
  • System: $769.00
  • Contact: Aperion Audio

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