August 04, 2009
There is little not to like about the Aperion Audio two-way Intimus 5B Bookshelf Speaker. The Intimus 5Bs have the ability to disappear into a room thanks to excellent imaging capabilities and very detailed open sound.
Aperion Audio proved in droves that they could combine great sound, aesthetics (score one for the wives) and build quality into a compact package that most budding audiophiles can afford.
Mated with a powered subwoofer, you’ve got audiophile performance and aesthetics on the cheap. Considering Aperion’s liberal return policy — free 30-day home trial program and free shipping (both ways) — I can’t say anything else other than “highly recommended!”
The Intimus 5B is a pretty standard bass reflex (ported) design boasting a 5.25-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter. The drivers are recessed into the front baffle, as they should be. You would be surprised to know that even some of the more prestigious brands don’t take this measure to reduce unwanted diffraction between the driver faceplates and cabinets.
The 5B is rear ported and sports a single pair of 5-way binding posts. The enclosure is constructed of 1-inch high density fiber board (HDF) that is unusually thick and high quality for such a budget-priced speaker. The sheer thickness of this relatively small enclosure self braces itself, virtually eliminating all major cabinet resonances and producing a consistently deadening thud sound when knocked on any surface.
Aperion Audio products are offered in two finishes: high gloss black and cherry. The cabinetry is among the best, regardless of price. There are no seams to be found anywhere on the cabinet as the veneer wrap seems to flow as one piece.
If you take a moment and really examine these speakers, you will find that they paid meticulous detail to fit and finish. Even the grill is constructed of finished wood instead of flimsy plastic. The grill cloth is a very tightly woven mesh, which, again, is something we rarely find in budget-type products.
The 5.25-inch woofer is magnetically shielded and sports a woven fiber cone with butyl rubber surrounds and a cast aluminum basket. The faceplate of the woofer basket is flatted on both sides, which is done purposely to allow the design engineer to place it closer to the tweeter for better crossover integration. Aperion Audio missed that subtlety and, unfortunately, oriented the woofer 90 degrees likely for aesthetic purposes.
The tweeter is a 1-inch silk dome with neodymium magnet. Normally I am not a big fan of these type of motor structures simply because they tend not to have a low enough free air resonance to allow them to extend down in frequency for proper blending with a woofer. They usually tend to thermally saturate quicker than standard ferrite magnet motor structures when played loudly as well.
I didn’t find this to be the case with these speakers, and it quickly became obvious to me that the little Aperion tweeter was quite a performer. It is a low-profile design that uses a waveguide to control dispersion. Again, it’s a shame Aperion didn’t take advantage of bringing the drivers closer together. That is a big advantage a tweeter like this has over a conventional one with a much larger motor structure.
Click here to read the full review on Audioholics.com.