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March 2011
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
World Premiere!
Aperion Audio Verus Grand Tower Loudspeaker
A practical perspective on a a true overachiever.
Review By Alfred R. Fredel

 

Aperion Audio Verus Grand Tower Loudspeaker  In these uncertain economic times, many audiophiles have been forced to become more frugal in their equipment choices. Moderation is the theme of the day and for some the option of having an audio system that surpasses the cost of a luxury vehicle is just not going to be in their cards. Many of them have taken the elevator to the ground floor, where reality reigns supreme; becoming "practical" audiophiles searching for good sound at an excellent value. Where oh where does one such individual go to achieve this demanding balance? One place to start is Aperion Audio, a company based in the good old USA that delivers high quality loudspeakers at very reasonable prices.

The business model at Aperion Audio is fairly simple. The company has elected to cut out the traditional brick and mortar dealers in favor of selling directly to the public via their website. This allows them to pass on the savings to the consumer and put more money into the development of their products. To ease the minds of skeptical audio enthusiasts, Aperion Audio offers free shipping, a 30-day in-home money back trial and a website filled with useful information. In addition to all this, the company gives its customers excellent service and advice over the telephone. Their products are designed in Portland, Oregon and are manufactured in Asia, something that many loudspeakers companies have done to stay competitive. This is a "dream come true" for the practical audiophile searching for a great deal while getting the added bonus of trying a pair of loudspeakers in their home knowing that they can return them if not completely satisfied.

 

Technicals
After speaking with the company’s personable CEO Jim Hillman, I chose to audition the company’s new Verus Grand Towers. They are the company’s top of the line loudspeakers and are aggressively priced well under $2000, a considerable value given the fine construction and sophisticated technology used in the design of the product. The loudspeakers employ a 3-way bass reflex design that includes a proprietary 1-inch Aperion Axially Stabilized Radiator silk dome tweeter, two 5-inch woven Kevlar mid-range drivers with aluminum phase plugs and two 6-inch woven Kevlar woofers with butyl rubber surrounds. Around back, there are high quality bi-amp ready 5-way gold-plated binding posts that are well laid out. The loudspeakers are very solid, each weighing in at over 65 pounds and they are internally braced to improve rigidity. The beautiful cabinets are curved with compound angles and my audition pair came in an impressive furniture-grade gloss cherry wood veneer finish. My first impression was that these loudspeakers were visually stunning, truly elegant with great aesthetic appeal. The Verus Grand Towers are also offered in a gloss black finish; which I imagine are also very finely crafted. This is a lot of loudspeaker for under $2000, a good start for the practical audiophile.

 

Into The Sonic Dungeon
Aperion Audio Verus Grand Tower LoudspeakerMy wife has affectionately named our basement, which serves as my main listening room the "sonic dungeon". It is here where all recorded materials as well as audio equipment are given their sentence to either be part of the listening experience or lay in waiting until the time has come to use them again. During my introduction to Verus Grand Towers, I paired them with all manner of amplifiers and source components that resided there including a low-powered amplifier (35 watts per channel at 8 ohms) and something a little bigger (50 watts per channel at 8 ohms). With these smaller amps, the Towers performed well, relaying clear differences between all the components while remaining very smooth without any strain. For the final pairing, I chose my Linn Sondek LP-12 turntable with an Audio Technica AT-OC9 MLII cartridge and a Tokyo Sound Phono Preamplifier for the analog. In the digital domain, my source was a Cambridge Audio Azur 840C Upsampling CD player that has been my go to unit for the last few years. The amplification was achieved with a PS Audio Trio P-200 preamplifier and GCA 500 power amplifier, a unit that has more than enough power with ample headroom to put the Verus Grand Towers through its paces. Finally, the loudspeaker cables used were Audio Art SC-5 in a bi-wire configuration with Kubala-Sosna interconnects for the analog and Audio Art ICE-3 cables for the digital side. Between the amplifiers were balanced cables from Ultimate Audio and the power cables and filtering were from PS Audio, Bybee, and Audio Art.

Positioning the Verus Grand Towers was a very simple task and after working with them for a while, I found that the best place to locate them in my smallish listening room was to have them about 4 feet from the back wall, 3 feet from the side walls and about 12 feet apart. My listening position was 12 feet from the loudspeakers where I settled on a 15% toe in. My first impression upon listening to the Towers was that they exhibited a large sweet spot and sounded full and accurate along all points within my chosen listening position.

Aperion Audio Verus Grand Tower LoudspeakerI have very eclectic tastes in music that include classical, jazz, world and contemporary music. For me, it is extremely important that the equipment I use meets the demands of these diverse genres. It was Carlos Santana who started off my listening adventure with Aperion’s loudspeakers with a track from his CD Milagro. In "Agua Que Va Caer" there are several different percussion instruments along with piano, drumset, bass and of course Santana's electric guitar. With the Grand Towers, the percussion instruments were clean and crisp with each instrument clearly represented. The imaging that the Towers offered of the whole band was dead on, creating believability and an honest reproduction of the attack and resonance of each instrument. I found this same strong imaging effect when I changed to Miles Davis and the LP Basic Miles. On the cut "Round Midnight", the sound of Davis' trumpet was clear and refined with the loudspeakers realistically conveying the unique timbre of his muted trumpet. The hi-hat shimmered with every strike of the cymbals while the warm breathy tone of Coltrane's sax was beautifully portrayed. In Hell Freezes Over, a live recording by the Eagles that features a mixture of percussion, acoustic instruments and electric guitar; the Verus Grand Towers turned in a very solid performance on the track "Hotel California". The bass was defined and strong with lots of slam, but was never muddy or overbearing. The high frequencies were crisp and flowed smoothly into the midrange making the Grand Towers slightly warmer in the middle, something that this listener views as a positive attribute.

Much credit for the smooth sound in the midrange must be given to Aperion’s proprietary tweeter that is designed to permit the use of lower crossover frequencies to unburden the midrange cones above 1.8 kHz. Designed by Ken Humphreys, the new tweeter is called the Axially Stabilized Radiator and basically pins the diaphragm’s center in a plane above the voice coil to axially stabilize the driver, which effectively allows it to handle frequencies an octave lower than traditional tweeters. To my ears, this is an excellent solution that helps to provide these loudspeakers with a smoother transition from the midrange to higher frequencies.

Aperion Audio Verus Grand Tower LoudspeakerAs impressive as the Verus Grand Towers were in most areas, they really stood out with their ability to create a truly impressive soundstage that fully and effortlessly envelops the listener in a blanket of warm sound. A few years ago, guitarist Brent Rowan released an intimate solo recording featuring original compositions played on his hand crafted Dillon guitar called Bare Essentials. This is a truly revealing recording…just a man and his guitar. The Grand Towers presented a believable image of this artist sitting in front of me with his instrument playing for my ears only. I was able to hear all the notes and overtones from his strings (which was truly a pleasure) but more importantly, I experienced the deep silences that balanced each note from his guitar. After this fantastic experience, I moved to one of my favorite recordings to close out my evaluation period with the Verus Grand Towers.

Many of my friends and colleagues have given me the label of opera aficionado. While I do not quite believe that this moniker really suits me, I do enjoy going to the opera and listening to good operatic recordings. One of my favorite recordings from the opera world is the 1960 Rome Opera recording of Turandot featuring Birgit Nilsson in the title role and Jussi Bjoerling as Calaf. I challenged the Grand Towers to a test of frightening proportions; to tame and bring to life the powerful voices of Nilsson and Bjoerling, quite like taming Turandot herself. This proved to be a good contest where the Verus Grand Towers were given the opportunity to shine. When I played the Aria "In questa Reggia", the power and drilling focus of Nilsson’s unique voice was ever present and one could even hear her move from one end of the stage to the other as Turandot approaches Calaf with her fateful line of questioning. The Verus Grand Towers effortless conveyed the drama, brilliance and fullness of Bjoerling’s tenor voice in Calaf’s aria "Nessun dorma", one of the most recognizable pieces in the operatic repertoire. These loudspeakers absolutely shined with everything else that was thrown at them and I must say that I am very impressed with their performance especially for a pair of loudspeakers at their affordable price point.

 

Final Thoughts
The Aperion Verus Grand Tower Loudspeakers are certainly a true overachiever. To think that you can have it all; a beautiful statement of solid craftsmanship, intelligent design that results in a product that truly performs above and beyond its modest price point all for $1798 (for the pair) is just astounding. I have to say that these loudspeakers outperform others that I have heard that retail for more than twice the price. Do I think that they are a great value for the money? Absolutely yes! With the Verus Grand Towers Loudspeakers you get superb high quality audio reproduction at an affordable price and that is music to the ears of even the most practical audiophile or anyone else who wants to have great sound for their listening room or home theater.

 

Tonality

Sub-bass (10Hz - 60Hz)

Mid-bass (80Hz - 200Hz)

Midrange (200Hz - 3,000Hz)

High Frequencies (3,000Hz On Up)

Attack

Decay

Inner Resolution

Soundscape Width Front

Soundscape Width Rear  
Soundscape Depth Behind Speakers

Soundscape Extension Into Room

Imaging

Fit And Finish

Self Noise

Value For The Money

 

Specifications
Type: Three-way D'Appolito driver configuration loudspeaker
Tweeter: 1" Custom Aperion Axially Stabilized Radiator Tweeter
Midrange: Two 5" Woven Kevlar Woofers with Aluminum Phase Plugs
Woofer: Two 6" Woven Kevlar Woofers with PVC Dust Cap and Rubber Surrounds
Sensitivity: 92dB/W/m
Impedance: 6 Ohms
Frequency Response: 45 Hz to 20 kHz (+/- 3dB) -- 35-22,000 Hz (+/- 6dB) 
Recommended Power: 20 to 300 Watts Amplifier Power 
Dimensions: 43.5" H x 8" W x 12" D 
Weight: 65lbs
Finish: Cherry or Black
MSRP: $1798 per pair

 

Company Information
Aperion Audio
18151 SW Boones Ferry Road
Portland, OR 97224

Voice: (503) 598-8815
Fax: (50)3598-8831
E-mail: info@aperionaudio.com
Website: www.aperionaudio.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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