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Aperion Intimus 4T Hybrid SD review: Aperion Intimus 4T Hybrid SD

Aperion Intimus 4T Hybrid SD

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Steve Guttenberg
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Steve Guttenberg

Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Stereophile.

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5 min read

We've reviewed a lot of speaker packages over the years, but fewer and fewer of them feature large full-size speakers. That's because the market has been migrating to ever-smaller designs. And while Aperion Audio still offers plenty of beefy, monolithic speakers, the company has a wide selection of smaller models that don't take up quite as much of your living room's real estate.

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8.8

Aperion Intimus 4T Hybrid SD

The Good

Six-piece home theater speaker package with slender towers; compact center and surround speakers; remote controlled subwoofer with adjustable equalization; gorgeous furniture grade real cherry wood or black gloss finishes; 10 year warranty; 30 day in-home trial; free shipping.

The Bad

Subwoofer equalization may require an expert touch for best sound.

The Bottom Line

Anchored by its minitower speakers, the Aperion Intimus 4T Hybrid SD is an exceptional surround speaker system that ably combines good looks and superior sound.

Case in point is the Intimus 4T Hybrid SD. In addition to offering Aperion's smallest ever center (the 4C) and satellite surround speakers (4B), the package includes the unique 4T tower speakers for the front left and right channels. However, "tower" is something of a misnomer here: the 34-inch tall 4Ts are a mere 5 inches wide and 7.5 inches deep (sitting on bases, for better stability, that are a bit larger: 8.25 by 10). They don't have the imposing bulk we associate with most floor-standing speakers--and they obviate the need for stands or finding dedicated shelf space. Rounding out the system is the 8-inch Bravus subwoofer (which has received some design improvements since we've seen it last). The system costs $1,569 at Aperion Audio's Web site.

The speakers
All of the Intimus 4T Hybrid SD's speakers share the same 4-inch woven fiberglass woofer and 1-inch silk dome tweeter. The 4T tower and 4C center speaker feature a pair of the 4-inch woofers while the 4B satellite has just one. We noted that when setting up the entire Intimus 4T Hybrid SD system the five speakers' tonal matching was exceptionally good. That manifests itself with superior surround imaging. Likewise, the advantage of the towers' dual woofer design was far from subtle. The speakers' all-metal binding posts provide a secure connection with bare wire, spades, or banana plugs.

The 4C center speaker is just 5.33 inches tall by 12.8 inches wide by 5.5 inches deep, and the 4B is even more compact--it's 8.75 inches tall by 5.33 inches wide by 5.5 inches deep. The solid feel and build quality of the cabinets is extremely impressive. Aperion's real cherry wood veneers and high gloss black finishes are on par with high-end speakers costing more than double than Aperion's prices. All of the speakers have removable black cloth grilles. Floor stands as well as wall and ceiling mounts are available for all Aperion satellite and center speakers.

The Bravus 8D subwoofer
The Bravus 8D subwoofer has an 8-inch aluminum woofer on each side of its cabinet (both covered with removable black grilles) and a built-in 150-watt amplifier. The 33-pound sub comes with four metal "spike" feet and a set of pointy rubber cones. The subwoofer is 13 inches tall by 12 inches wide by 12 inches deep.

The cabinet is constructed of 0.75-inch thick high density fiberboard, cross-braced for additional rigidity. Connectivity options include stereo and LFE line-level inputs, plus speaker-level inputs. The sophisticated subwoofer has Music, Movie, and Game modes, each of which can be customized beyond the factory defaults via a small LCD screen built into its front panel. Adjustments can be made via a directional pad next to the screen or the included credit card-size remote control. Having a remote control for your subwoofer is a great convenience because we often like to adjust the sub's volume for different sources, but it's a pain getting off the couch to do so.


The Bravus 8D subwoofer has a couple of design improvements since the last time we saw it.

The menu lets you tweak parametric equalization to help deal with difficult room acoustic problems. That's nice, but unlike other subs with auto EQ, the Bravus' EQ is completely manual. You really have to know what you're doing and use a SPL meter (such as Radio Shack's 33-4050) and a CD or DVD with test tones to get anywhere with the sub's room tuning potential. On the bright side, Aperion fixed two annoyances we saw in an earlier version of the Bravus 8D: the LCD screen is now far more legible, and the built-in directional pad is far more responsive.

Configuration and warranty details
Aperion products are only available on the company's Web site, where they're sold with a 30 day, money back guarantee. If you're not satisfied with the speakers or subwoofer, Aperion will pay for the return shipping. Also noteworthy: the speakers come with a 10-year warranty--that's twice as long as most speakers' warranties.

The Intimus 4T Hybrid SD is a 5.1-channel system, so if you running a 6.1- or 7.1-channel home theater you'll need to buy additional 4B satellites for $130 each. Aperion's upgrade from the Intimus 4T Hybrid SD, the Intimus 4T Grand SD, replaces the rear satellites with 4T towers (that is: four 4T minitowers, one 4C center channel, and one Bravus 8D subwoofer). That bumps the price by $400 to $1,959 for the 5.1 channel system. We think it might be worthwhile if you play a fair amount of multichannel music on SACD or DVD-Audio--or now, Blu-ray. Also, using full-range surround speakers can sometimes provide a more satisfying home theater experience.

Performance
I started listening to the svelte 4T towers in stereo with the CD soundtrack to the film Perfume. The orchestral score had the weight and full-bodied dimensionality I expect from towers double the size of the 4Ts. We briefly compared the 4Ts with the 5B satellite speakers found on the Aperion Intimus 5B Harmony SD. The 4T's larger size was immediately obvious--the minitowers' sound was bigger with a richer balanced midrange.

A cappella music from The Persuasion Sing the Beatles CD further proved the 4T's midrange was definitely up to snuff. John Mellencamp's Life, Death, Love and Freedom CD rocked pretty well, up to a point. On their own, the speakers can only play so loud; but beyond a certain volume level we heard them straining. Switching the receiver over to Dolby Pro Logic IIx surround helped, and then we could play the system loud enough to satisfy our lust for volume.

Moving to Shakira's The Oral Fixation Tour Blu-ray, we immediately noted the Intimus 4T Hybrid SD's surround speakers were doing a great job creating a room filling sound. The front-to-back imaging was way above par, so we heard the audience cheers from the sides of the room between the front and rear speakers.

We finished up with the Kingdom of Heaven Blu-ray Disc. The little center speaker didn't have the cramped and closed-in sound we associate with small centers--not one bit. Male and female voices were naturally balanced. The desert sandstorm sequences whipped up a frenzy, swirling sound across all the channels, and the Intimus 4T Hybrid SD seamless imaging put us in the midst of the action. The swordfights' metallic clangs and clashes demonstrated the virtues of Aperion's 1-inch tweeters.

In sum
The Intimus 4T Hybrid SD is a hard system to fault. Its compact dimensions should make for a fine fit in most rooms and decors, and the sound is fully up to Aperion's high standards. All in all, its nearly $1,600 asking price is an absolute bargain considering the quality of speaker system you're getting. We highly recommend it.

Editors' Note: This review has been updated to note the difference in sizes between the 4T speaker's body and its larger base.

aperion-intimus-4t-hybrid-sd-speaker-system-for-home-theater-5-1-channel-medium-cherry.jpg
8.8

Aperion Intimus 4T Hybrid SD

Score Breakdown

Design 9Features 8Performance 9