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Intimus 4B Harmony SA review: Intimus 4B Harmony SA

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The Good Six-piece home theater speaker package with redesigned compact satellites and dedicated center speaker; powered 8-inch subwoofer; superb furniture-grade real cherry wood or black gloss finishes; 10-year warranty; 30-day in-home trial; free shipping.

The Bad Slightly mismatched satellites and center speaker; big subwoofer was too bassy.

The Bottom Line Aperion's Intimus 4B Harmony SA package looks the part, but didn't perform up to the company's usual high standards.

7.0 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 6

We've recently looked at a few solidly performing mini satellite and subwoofer packages, so we were curious to see how Aperion Audio's new entry-level Intimus 4B Harmony SA package would fare. Its somewhat steep $999 list price is $180 below the company's next most affordable six-piece system, the Intimus 4B Harmony SD. Actually, the two systems share exactly the same satellite speakers, but the SA's lower price is made possible thanks to a different subwoofer, the Bravus 8A. While cheaper, it's physically larger than the one found in the more expensive SD package. Unfortunately, in a price category that has become increasingly competitive, the Intimus 4B Harmony SA system wasn't exactly a slam-dunk winner. It's still got the superior Aperion build quality and high-quality finish we've come to expect, but the speakers and subwoofer just don't blend together as well as we've seen on the company's larger systems.

Design and features
The Intimus 4B Harmony SA is a six-piece 5.1 system that includes four Intimus 4B satellites, a 4C center channel speaker, and a Bravus 8A powered subwoofer.

All of the speakers feature the same 4-inch woven fiberglass woofer and 1-inch silk dome tweeter. The woofer is a newer design and looks aesthetically different than the 4-inch driver used in our reference Aperion Intimus 4T Hybrid SD speaker system. The 1-inch silk dome tweeter, however, remains unchanged.

The updated woofer's new design is a departure from the earlier Aperion architecture.

The 4B speaker measures a compact 8.75 inches tall by 5.33 inches wide by 5.5 inches deep, and the fact it weighs 6.5 pounds certainly adds a solid presence. The 4C center speaker is not much larger at 5.33 inches tall by 12.8 inches wide by 5.5 inches deep and weighs 8 pounds. The speakers' all-metal binding posts provide a secure connection with bare wire, spades, or banana plugs. Matching floor stands, and wall and ceiling mounts for the speakers are available separately direct from Aperion.

The speakers in the Intimus 4B Harmony SA system are available in either real cherry wood veneers or high-gloss black finishes. Both are on par with high-end speakers that go for more than double the price of this system. Also, all of the speakers have removable black cloth grilles.

As mentioned earlier, the Bravus 8A is a good deal larger than the company's other 8-inch subwoofer, the Bravus 8D. The 8A is the same size as the 10-inch subwoofer, the Bravus 10D. The Bravus 8A is 15 inches tall by 13.5 inches wide by 13.5 inches deep and weighs a hefty 33 pounds.

The Bravus 8A is the first Aperion subwoofer with a bottom-mounted woofer and port. All of the other subs the company has manufactured have front- and/or side-mounted designs. The Bravus 8A has an 8-inch aluminum woofer powered by a built-in 100 watt amplifier.

The subwoofer's cabinet, like the speakers, is constructed of .75-inch thick high-density fiberboard--which is stronger than more common medium-density fiberboard--and is cross-braced for additional rigidity. Connectivity options include stereo and LFE line-level inputs, plus speaker-level inputs.

The subwoofer comes with a set of metal spiked feet for use with carpeted floors and a set of pointy rubber cones for hardwood or tiled floors. The Bravus 8A subwoofers are sold separately for $319 each.

System setup was a bit trickier than normal. First, when we sent our Denon AVR 3808CI receiver's test tones through the speakers, we noted the Intimus 4B satellites sounded a bit different than the 4C center channel. The 4C, for whatever reason, sounded fuller. Ideally, they should all sound exactly the same, but we were able to smooth everything out after we ran the Denon Audyssey auto setup (you may have a similar technology on your receiver). At the end of the day, we weren't overly concerned with the mismatch between the 4B and 4C speakers.

We were a bit more concerned with the fact that we had to work at blending the speakers with the Bravus 8A subwoofer. The Aperion owner's manual recommends a "80-100 Hertz" crossover point, so we tried 80, 90, and 100Hz, but we were never totally satisfied with the blend between the speakers and subwoofer because the bass region between subwoofer and speakers was too thin.

We also had to keep fiddling with the subwoofer volume setting. Every time we thought we had it nailed, the sound would either become too bass-shy or give off too much of a thud. It was a constant back-and-forth process that never seemed to balance.

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