Aperion Intimus 6T-DB Hybrid XD Speaker System
Life’s Too Short for Bad Shoes
Buy a pair of shoes online that don’t fit quite right, and it’s easy enough to box them back up for the round-trip refund. You wouldn’t think you could say the same about a 70-pound speaker like the Aperion Intimus 6T, but mailorder company Aperion Audio makes it almost as easy. The Portland, Oregon–based company manufactures in China and purports to pass the savings on to you. Aperion wants you to be 100-percent satisfied, so it gives you 30 days to try the speakers at home. The company will even pick up shipping costs both ways if you decide not to keep the speakers. So even if you can’t go to a store to listen to them, Aperion speakers are a no-risk purchase. Still, six boxes full of speakers worth almost $4,000 is hardly an impulse buy like a $39 pair of Converse All Star Sailor Jerry high tops on eBay, so listen up.
The Intimus 6T looks a lot like the Intimus 633T that Thomas J. Norton reviewed at www.UltimateAVmag.com a few years ago. A handsome tower speaker, the two-way Intimus 6T uses a single 1-inch silk-dome tweeter and two woven-fiberglass composite-coned 6.5-inch woofers. All the drivers are bunched near the top of the 41.5-inch-high tower, with a large front-facing port centered on the baffle. The gloss-black piano finish is a pay grade over each Intimus 6T’s $695 asking price. But I’d recommend this finish more than the cherry wood veneer option if you’re going to use these speakers (properly) in a darkened home theater.
The Intimus 6T is very heavy and dense, thanks to its 1-inch-thick high-density fiberboard construction. As a result, you’ll feel very little vibration from the front, rear, and top panels when the speaker is playing. The sides of the speaker are more energetic but still commendably close to inert given the Intimus 6T’s price. The speaker comes with a stabilizing base that extends a few inches around the speaker. Aperion also provides both spikes and floor protectors (for hardwood floors) for installation. Around back, the Intimus 6T has a single set of five-way binding posts. But it eschews the easy-to-tighten and more common hexagonal nut in favor of a hard-to-grip (even with pliers) knurled circular knob. As a result, I could not get the heavy spade ends of my AudioQuest Mont Blanc speaker cables to stay connected without shoving one tine in the post hole meant for bare wire. I’d recommend not using spade connectors, and since the manual only discusses bare wire and bananas, I’d bet that Aperion agrees.
The Intimus 6C center-channel speaker is a true three-way design with a vertically oriented midrange-tweeter array sandwiched between two 6.5-inch woofers. The 5.25-inch midrange cone is also a woven-fiberglass design, and the 1-inch tweeter is the same silk dome used in the Intimus 6T. The advantage of a three-way design with a vertically stacked midrange and tweeter compared with a horizontal two-way design for a center channel is well established. This design potentially provides more even horizontal dispersion than a horizontal two-way. A two-way’s phase cancellation between the horizontally aligned tweeter and woofers can lead to changes in frequency response at different seating locations around the room. To further improve dialogue intelligibility, the back of the speaker has a two-position switch to select in-/on-cabinet or speaker-stand installation. This ensures that sports announcers and male vocalists don’t inherit the boomy, thick-sounding coloration that results from boundary reinforcement. I set mine on top of my Salamander Synergy equipment cabinet, and the in-/on-cabinet setting provided the best results.
I really liked the Intimus 5DB surround speaker’s dipole/bipole design. Each Intimus 5DB has two of the same 1-inch silk-dome tweeters found in the tower and center, along with two of the 5.25-inch woven-fiberglass-coned drivers that the center uses. I wasn’t expecting earth-shattering bass from the surround, considering its diminutive size. However, it was definitely an overachiever and ran comfortably crossed over at 80 hertz in my system.
The Intimus 5DB is meant for wall mounting, where it would inevitably develop even more elevated bass due to boundary reinforcement. It has a pair of baffles, one angled forward and the other angled back. The ideal location would be a few feet above a seated listener’s ears, directly to the sides of the listening area or just a little further back. My room didn’t allow for wall mounting, but I got excellent results from stand mounting. A switch lets you configure the surround either as a bipole (where both front and rear drivers move outward or inward in unison, commonly referred to as “in phase”) or a dipole (the front drivers move outward as the rear drivers move inward, or “out of phase”). I wasn’t about to get up, pull off a grille cover, and flip a switch from dipole to bipole depending on the program material, so I left the surrounds configured as dipoles.
The Bravus 12D sub is fairly compact, but it houses two 12-inch side-mounted woofers and a 500-watt BASH amplifier. It includes three RCA-style inputs (left, right, and LFE) and two pairs of speaker-level inputs (left and right). The Bravus 12D does not provide an additional set of speaker-level outputs to route a high-passed signal to your main speakers, but I doubt many readers interested in this system would use anything other than the line-level LFE input.