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Intimus 4B Harmony SA 5.1 Speaker System (High-Def Gear)
Intimus / 2009
Street Date: May 22, 2009
List Price: $999.99
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Reviewed by High-Def Digest Staff
Friday, May 22, 2009
With Aperion's latest debut, the Intimus 4B Harmony SA, the high end speaker company is showing that even a low budget can produce high quality results. As the only Intimus family member currently under $1000, this 5.1 system focuses in on the small home theater or bedroom setting, creating an intimate atmosphere without breaking the bank or the square footage of your living space.
Setup and Basics
The user will be delighted to unpack this system, as every speaker comes wrapped in its own velvety bag to not only protect the product from scratches but glamorize the owner's purchase. The 5.1 system consists of 4 two-way bookshelf speakers with a 4” woven fiberglass driver and a 1” silk dome tweeter. The center channel has two of the 4” drivers and one tweeter. The powered sub boasts 100 watts and an 8” bottom-firing ported driver. The complete system retails for $999, but is the same price if purchased separately. At the time of this article, the center channel is unavailable due to high demand, but is expected to ship later in the month. So if you're looking to get a head start on your bedroom or small room system, you can purchase the pieces a la carte as well.
The finish comes in two options. High Gloss Black and Medium Cherry both show off the seamless casing and impressive finishing job. My set was the cherry stain, however it was significantly darker than the model shown on Aperion's website (http://www.aperionaudio.com/product/Intimus-4B-Harmony-SA,185,70,453.aspx) so plan accordingly. The speaker terminals come clad with gold plated binding posts that easily connect plugs, pins and bare wire.
Right off the bat I felt this system worked as a team very well. It is well balanced, creates vivid imagery, and establishes itself as a cohesive unit promptly. The center channel is fantastic. It handles both dialogue and action sequences with the greatest of ease. The system's tweeter performance can express high tones accurately, but not amazingly crisp.
Low orchestral tones were delivered with an almost eerie omnipresence. It permeates the room very evenly, and is near impossible to pinpoint in a dark room, which should be the goal of any true sub. However when even slightly stress tested, and I'm talking just over 65% power, this unit struggles. High demand explosions and commanding orchestral bass push so much air out of the port that the physical noise of the dispersion is distracting.
I didn't push it near enough for the sub to bottom out, but it didn't feel like it would have been much of a challenge. On the flip side, there is only so much one can expect from an 8” driver in a system intended for moderate use in small rooms. Essentially, it does respectful bass, but not overwhelming bass. When accompanied by a diverse range of other frequencies and sounds is where this bass stood out. It complements the system ideally to fill your room with accurate bliss.
I tested a variety of music on this system, from Beethoven to Tool. Again, the system worked great to deliver the sound as a team, and as you listen to this Intimus collection you can tell they are very well trained to team up with one another. This was reinforced when going from Dolby PL surround processing to standard stereo sound; it sounds so much better as a complete unit. When put into stereo mode, I felt the depth and imagery suddenly disappeared. The two bookshelf units simply couldn't handle the load left by removing the center channel and all it can handle.
Again, when giving the sub woofer a little more juice, it struggles. The physical sound of the air moving through the port distracts from the tune and must be dealt with conservatively.
My favorite method to test out any system is to set it up on a date with a female voice. However, if I cross another audiophile at CES with a Diana Krall CD I might pull a van Gogh and put my ears out of their misery. I was also feeling a bit grungy at the time, so Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill made its way into my CD player. Again the center channel really stood out. It brought out intricate details you may not have heard the first time you popped in that album. It even picked up the subtle lip-smacks and offbeat breaths which aren't even present when listening to inferior speakers. These accuracies help the listener become even more engulfed in their listening experience, and further enjoy their entertainment.
In conclusion, Aperion's Intimus 4B Harmony SA 5.1 speaker system is a small room package that delivers what it intends. When played at moderate levels, it performs as a tight unit, and is the complete solution to small dimension entertainment. Pushing this system outside its narrow comfort zone makes the listening experience disappointing, but it is fully capable of bringing quality sound to 100% of the room. It handles both movies and music impressively well, and contributes to the enjoyment of your media exponentially. Bottom line, the complete system, when played at moderate levels, most definitely enhances the music listening experience