Editor's note: This system was formerly known as the Intimus 5.1 System D. Aside from the name change to Intimus 533-PT Cinema HD, the system is otherwise identical.
Aperion Audio sells its speakers exclusively on its Web site. You can buy them à la carte from Aperion's wide range of models or select a complete home-theater package, such as the five-piece 533-PT Cinema HD ($1,968) that we're looking at here. That's a lot of money, but Aperion's winning combination of exceptional build quality, customer service, and high-end sound are definitely worth it. Aperion's 533-PT Cinema HD not only knocked our socks off with its home-theater skills, its musical talents were just as keen.
As with all the speakers in Aperion's Intimus line, the models that comprise the 533-PT Cinema HD are available in luscious cherrywood veneer or piano-black finish, both of which make the competition's vinyl-wrapped speakers look low-rent by comparison. The system is anchored by a pair of 533-PT tower speakers--two aptly named giants that each stand 41.5 inches tall, 9.75 wide, and 12.5 deep and weigh in at 57 pounds. The PT designation in the 533-PT's name stands for powered tower, referring to the speaker's built-in 8-inch, 150-watt subwoofer. The pair of 8-inch subwoofer drivers obviates the need for a separate stand-alone subs that you'd find in a standard 5.1-speaker system. Just remember that in addition to running speaker wires, each 533-PT has its own power cord that must be plugged into an AC outlet.
The 533-PT's backside is fitted with two bass-enhancing ports and finned heat-sink cooling for the subwoofer's power amplifier. There's also a subwoofer volume control on each speaker, and we consider the ability to dial in the amount of bass you want to be a big plus. Even in our huge home theater, we had the control set just slightly past the middle position, so there's plenty of reserve bass power for those buyers who like their bass maxed out. While we didn't bemoan the lack of a stand-alone subwoofer--a pair of 533-PTs more than got the job done--it's safe to say that Aperion's 10-inch Intimus S-10 or 12-inch Intimus S-12 subs would delve deeper and pack more of a wallop.
The 533-VAC center speaker is 7.4 by 19 by 8 inches and weighs a hefty 20 pounds. The wedge-shaped 534-SS surround speaker measures 10.6 by 14.25 by 6.75 inches and weighs 16 pounds. The speakers' 1-inch-thick high-density fiberboard (HDF) cabinetry feels extrasolid. We'd rate the overall build quality and finish standard on a par with that of high-end models going for at least two or three times the price. Inside its shipping box, each speaker comes sheathed in a plush velvet bag.
As a special bonus, Aperion sends along a very useful accessory with the 533-PT Cinema HD: a decent-quality sound-pressure meter that will help you get the best sound from your investment.
The Aperion Intimus 533-PT utilizes a three-way design featuring a 1-inch soft-dome tweeter, a 5.25-inch midrange driver, and a side-mounted 8-inch woofer. Since the woofer is powered by the tower's built-in 150-watt amplifier, it effectively eases the load on your receiver.
The 533-VAC center speaker is a three-way design featuring a 1-inch tweeter, a 4-inch midrange, and two 5-inch woofers.
The wedge-shaped 534-SS surround speaker features two 1-inch tweeters and two 5.25-inch woofers that project sound out to the sides in either a bipole or dipole pattern. We like both modes because they produce a diffuse sound field and are therefore harder to localize than a standard box speaker; a front-mounted switch makes it easy to experiment between bi- or dipole operation. The 534-SS was designed to work with OmniMount and B-Tech wall mounts. The speakers' back panel has a channel to route speaker cables when flush wall-mounting the speaker.