The Good Superb satellite speakers; remote-controlled subwoofer with adjustable equalization; gorgeous real cherry wood or black gloss furniture-grade finishes; 10-year warranty; 30-day in-home trial.
The Bad It's expensive; subwoofer interface could be better implemented.
The Bottom Line Aperion's awesome 5.1 speaker system is pricey, but the Intimus 5B Harmony SD's great sound and superb build quality are definitely worth it.
Aperion Intimus 5B Harmony SD
For a speaker company that's been around for nearly a decade, Aperion Audio has been remarkably focused on a product range with just a few bookshelf, center, and tower speakers. That's probably because Aperion designs each speaker with a lot of care and sees no need to come up with "all new" products every year. So we were surprised to find that the entire 5.1 channel system we're evaluating in this review really is all-new. The Aperion Intimus 5B Harmony SD ($1,750) boasts more than a few design details not seen on previous generations of Aperion products, and the changes aren't merely cosmetic.
The six-piece Intimus 5B Harmony SD system comes with four Intimus 5B bookshelf satellites, one Intimus 5C center speaker, and the Bravus 8D subwoofer. The satellite speakers are a foot tall and the center speaker is 19.3 inches wide. The 5B satellites have rear ports, which somewhat limits their placement possibilities, as wall-mounting won't sound optimal. The 5C center speaker isn't ported so it won't be adversely affected by wall mounting. The rock-solid feel and weight of the cabinets is extremely impressive. Cosmetically, they're nearly identical to older Aperion speakers, but the Bravus 8D subwoofer is a departure. Our sample's cherry finish covered the front, top, and rear of the sub; removable black cloth grilles cover the sub's sides. The 33-pound sub comes with four metal "spike" feet, and a set of pointy rubber cones. The sub is 13 inches high, and a foot wide and deep. The speakers' all-metal binding posts provide a secure connection with bare wire, spades, or banana plugs.
The satellite speakers and subwoofer are available in real wood cherry veneers or high gloss black finishes. We had the former, and it was stunning--easily on par with high-end speakers costing more than double the price of the Aperion's package. The Intimus 5B Harmony SD system is available in 5.1, 6.1, and 7.1-channel versions. If the Harmony SD system is a little out of your price range, check out the Intimus 5B Fusion SD. It's somewhat more affordable and is similar to the 5.1 review system, except it uses smaller satellite speakers. (Visit Aperion's Web site if you're interested in checking out different configurations and alternative options.)