Aperion Audio 4T Two Channel and Hybrid 5.1 Speaker System review

Aperion Audio 4T Two Channel and Hybrid 5.1 Speaker System


4T Towers

  • Frequency Response (+/- 3dB) 55Hz -20,000Hz (+/- 6dB) 45Hz -22,000Hz Impedance 6 Ohms Sensitivity 86 dB
  • Recommended Power 25 – 150 Watts Tweeter1″ Audiophile-grade Silk-Dome Tweeter Midrange/Woofer 2 4″ Woven Fiberglass Composite Woofers
  • Driver Configuration 2-Way
  • Enclosure Type 3/4″ HDF, Ported
  • Dimensions 34″ H x 5″ W x 7.5″ D (Base: 8.25″ x 10″)
  • Weight 19 lbs
  • Price $325 ea.

Bravus 8” Subwoofer

  • Frequency Response -3dB, 35Hz – 180Hz — -6dB,
  • 30Hz – 180Hz
  • Amplifier Power 150W
  • Woofer Dual 8″ Aluminum Cone Drivers
  • Driver Configuration Dual Drivers
  • Enclosure Type Sealed and Internally Braced 3/4″ HDF Dimensions 13.5″ H x 12″ W x 12″ D (with feet at- tached)
  • Weight 33lbs
  • Price: $499

4B Rear Channel Speakers

  • Frequency Response (+/- 3dB) 120-20,000 Hz (+/- 6dB) 100-22,000 Hz
  • Impedance 8 Ohms
  • Sensitivity 84 dB
  • Recommended Power 50-150 watts
  • Tweeter1″ Audiophile-grade Silk-Dome Tweeter
  • Midrange/Woofer 4″ Woven-Fiberglass Composite Woofer
  • Driver Configuration 2-Way Enclosure Type 3/4″ HDF, sealed Dimensions 8.75″ H x 5.33″ W x 5.5″ D Weight 6.5 lbs
  • Price: $130ea

4C Center Channel

  • Frequency Response (+/- 3dB) 80-20,000 Hz — (+/- 6dB) 70-22,000 Hz
  • Impedance 8 Ohms
  • Sensitivity 84 dB
  • Recommended Power 25-150 Watts
  • Tweeter1″ Audiophile-grade Silk-Dome Tweeter
  • Midrange/Woofer 4″ Woven-Fiberglass Composite Woofer
  • Driver Configuration 2-Way
  • Enclosure Type 3/4″ HDF, sealed with one passive radiator
  • Dimensions 5.33″ H x 12.8″ W x 5.5″ D Weight 8 lbs
  • Price: $160

One of the interesting side benefits of doing audio reviews is that you get to find out ahead of the general public when new models and an entire series is being upgraded. Sometimes the manufacturer with reveal some of the details in an “off the record” conversation. I honor these requests, as I’m a firm believer that in order for society as a whole to become better it must start with keeping one’s own gentleman’s agreements. Last spring I was at Aperion Audio’s headquarters filling in the details for my review of the 533T’s. At that time John Wanderscheid informed me that the entire lineup of Aperion speakers were to be refreshed with all new components, only the cabinets would stay the same, except for a new subwoofer styling.

I asked John at the time what the process involved for them. His reply was that the new designs would go through a series of group listening evaluations by the staff. In this way adjustments could be made that would allow for the speakers to appeal sonically to the widest group of buyers/listeners possible. As I thought about this process I realized that the chief designer, Ken Humphreys, would need to be both open-minded and have a bit of a thick skin. After all, it’s human nature to get a bit anxious after hearing a multitude of suggestions to improve upon a design that Humphreys’ spent months on.

Aperion Audio 5.1 review

In the case of the new 4T speaker mini-towers, the difference is that this is a new model altogether. However, it has some basis from the design of the 533T’s. But that ends with the general cabinet design, as from that point on as the 4T’s are truly an improved sonic experience. But first, the physical attributes need to be discussed. The 4T’s size is very similar to that of the Totem Arro, it’s is small, simple, and easily won the WAF in my home. To Aperion’s credit they have continued with the new version of using what I consider to be the BEST and simplest base design in the under 2K price range. Once the spikes are put on (yes. Aperion still uses brass screws and provides the saucer for those with wood floors), I don’t worry about their stability even when being bumped into unlike other manufacturers. I would be remiss not to mention the very complete packing that Aperion Audio speakers come in, with the trademark purple drawstring felt bag.

Aperion Audio 4T speaker

The Chinese factory that Aperion uses for building their speakers does some of the finest veneer work in the industry. The cabinets were flawless, the rich medium stain was gorgeous, as I have come to expect. One of the construction decisions I very much appreciate with Aperion is the usage of ¾” HDF rather than MDF that is the industry standard. That extra density further deadens the cabinets making the design process easier when dealing with the components. The tweeter is a 1” inch silk dome that is built specifically for Aperion. Two 4” inch drivers using woven fiberglass are employed to provide pleasing mids and subtle bass. The 4T’s even in a two-channel setup are designed to employ a subwoofer, Aperion’s new Bravus Series, but more on it later. Just below the two drivers is the port. At the base on the back-side (good choice) is a single set of five-way binding posts, a nod in recognition that the 4T’s will not have owners who would desire bi-amping, so why spend the money.

Listening Aperion Audio 5.1

The Aperion Audio 4T’s spent the month of December in my main rig that meant that a great deal of Christmas music was played thru them. One of the things that I appreciate about holiday cd’s is that they usually sound as though less tinkering by the engineer was done. This usually means a more organic sound for lack of a better term. This allows one to hear the abilities and limitations of the vocalist, leaving a truer impression of what one could expect to hear at a concert.

First off, the 4T’s immediately demonstrated a far superior ability to image than the old 533T’s, three-dimensionality was exceptional for this price range. Even more impressive to my ears was how effortlessly this was accomplished as the speakers were placed 8ft apart and firing straight ahead rather than toed-in. This setup allowed me to sit and enjoy from various parts of the room instead of just my preferred position. When I did toe them in for my “spot” the improvement was more subtle than obvious, instrument placing did improve, but if I moved off angle, the presentation lost the third dimension. Therefore, I went back to the straight-ahead placement and never complained again.

Most of my Christmas music collection is comprised of country artists, and what I enjoy about their cd’s is that they all have a few non-traditional tracks that offer great seasonal sentiment. Reba McEntire’s Secret of Giving contains one of my favorite of this “new” generation of songs “One Child, One Day”, demonstrates Reba’s ability to convey from a soft passage to an anthem led by her powerful vocals almost instantly. The Aperion 4T’s quick, small drivers left no hint of drag that could have muddied up the song. Instead, I heard a clear fast, and sonically fast performance with terrific tonal value.

Another terrific holiday cd is The Christmas Album, by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. It’s signature song “Colorado Christmas” with is lamentation of trying to find the holiday spirit in the warm air of Los Angeles and desire to be in snowcovered Colorado. What the 4T’s offer is clarity to the vocals, and with the volume up the 4T’s demonstrate a pleasant bass response. Though, for those wanting richness the Bravus sub is definitely desired.

The Bravus 8D Subwoofer

This isn’t you uncle’s subwoofer; let me state that first off the Bravus 8D is a 21st century unit, with an on-screen display built into the front face of the cabinet. The slightly more rounded front-top-back is reminiscent of Scandinavian furniture design. The two-inch by one-inch screen uses a blue background with white display that makes readability, even at a distance of 10 feet, workable. Thankfully, Aperion also placed a five-button control in a spherical shape to the right of the display. A fully functional credit card sized remote is also included that is a bit easier to work with than the panel, plus it includes the ability to access the ON/AUTO/MUTE feature. When you first use the remote you need to completely pull out the clear plastic tongue that is inserted to protect the battery I believe, if you leave a little behind it may affect the remote’s performance.

The Bravus 8D Subwoofer

I rarely say this, but since all the adjustments are on-screen, READ AND FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS. Do not be like this humble reviewer and try and setup by memory from a quick scan of the manual. Chances are you will get an uneven performance by the subwoofer. The Bravus 8D comes with several terrific capabilities, such as programmed settings for Music, Movies, and Games. That is only the beginning as the owner also can explore far deeper than just the included Crossover and Phase settings, but also Parametric EQ Frequency, Width, Level, and Low Bass Adjustment. This sort of control allowed me once I had swallowed my pride and followed the directions properly to set up the Bravus 8D to work with my room rather than struggle with it.

Once setup the Bravus is setup the amount of richness and depth added to the music thru the 4T’s is stunning. The BASH 150 amplifier powers the dual 8” inch side firing subs effortlessly. This is how a three-piece, two channel system is supposed to sound ladies and gentlemen. The ability to have such control over the lower frequencies is a joy to those of us who hate boomy/sloppy bass. A nice touch is the usage of black sorbothane-style conical shaped feet. I understand and whole-heartily agree with Jeff Dorgay of TONEAudio in giving the Bravus 8D an Exceptional Value designation.

Home Theater

When I was offered the chance to review the 4T’s and Bravus 8D, John was also kind enough to let me try out their 4T Hybrid 5.1 system. I had previously reviewed their Harmony 422 5.1 system in the December. That setup I found to be extremely fun and a very good value. With the 4T’s as the fronts and the ability to program the 8D, the Hybrid setup definitely went up in performance, especially concert DVD’s. One evening the wife and I sat and were taken aback by the presentation of Andrew Bocelli’s Places in the Desert. For one of the only times she understood completely the value and sheer pleasure of watching and hearing what home theater really offers.

Over the time spent in the HT setup I enjoyed a variety of movies. . The 4C center channel compared favorably to my notes from the 422 center, dialogue was tighter and the Bravus sub added needed resonance to male voices. The 4B rear channels, though quite small match up seamlessly with the mini-towers. I appreciated the thoughtfulness of installing the binding posts upside-down and the built-in hosts for a wall mounting kit. What the 4T’s do so very well in this setup is provide the intensity, but without the bulldozer effect that some HT setups try to do. Being blasted or pounded into submission by the audio is not my idea of an enjoyable movie experience. I much prefer to hear all the details that one would get in a real experience. The Aperion 4T Hybrid does that so very well

Caveats and Limitations

The 4T towers like all speakers under 2k can’t do everything, bass performance at low volume (under 70db) is barely perceptible without the Bravus 8D subwoofer. Their small stature and footprint means that overly large rooms would better be served by the 4T’s big brother the flagship 6T’s, a speaker I hope to review by summer. The high frequencies that are usually over boosted at this price point don’t exist with the 4T’s and this may fool some listeners, but have no fear, this is a good thing as listener fatigue is an absolute non-issue.

Final Thoughts

The old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” definitely doesn’t apply in the case of the Aperion series, by carefully following the group listening sessions speaker engineer/designer Ken Humphreys, has created a valued upgrade to the complete Aperion Audio lineup. The 4T’s are a speaker worthy of placement in any budget conscious, WAF required, audio fanatic’s system. The 4T’s smooth, consistent performance, coupled with an endless listenability, makes it an absolute winner. With Aperion’s 10 year warranty, free shipping, and 30 day trial, make the 4T’s in any grouping: 2 piece, 3 piece, or the Hybrid 5.1 HT, an obvious choice for for an in-home audition.

Review Equipment

  • Onix SP3 Integrated Tube Amp
  • Underwood Modified Trio C-100 Integrated Amp
  • Modified Jolida Tube CD Player Adcom GFP-555 Preamplifier Onix A-2150 Amplifier
  • DuGood CD Transport
  • Promitheus DAC
  • Grant Fidelity B-283 Tube Buffer
  • AudioArt Cabling

from affordableaudio, By Mark Marcantonio

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