A few months ago internet-direct speaker maker Aperion Audio announced a new family of products dubbed Verus. The Verus line-up features higher quality drivers, more elegantly styled cabinets and more advanced engineering than their Intimus series cousins and, according to Aperion, a more authentic and true-to-life sound experience. Currently, the Verus offerings are comprised of the larger, full-sized “Grand” speakers along with the more recently released, and compact, Forte series. In this review, we take a listen to the Verus Forte towers, center channel and satellites and consider their value in contrast with their competition as well as Aperion’s own Intimus line.
Out of the Box
Unpacking speakers may not sound like a ceremonious affair, but Aperion does a good job of making it feel like one. The de-boxing process is both practical and opulent. These days, setting up a floor standing speaker or a subwoofer isn’t as simple as opening one end of the box and dumping the speaker out. Outriggers, floor spikes and curvy, unstable, highly polished cabinet designs often make the ritual just complicated enough for there to be one correct way and a bunch of wrong ways to go about setup. Instructions make it easier and Aperion provides all the guidance you need with a clear, pictorially supported bi-fold guide.
After donning the handling gloves in the provided “speaker care kit”, we set about installing the outrigger feet and floor spikes on the towers then disrobed them from their black velvet sacks. The speakers we received came with a high-gloss, piano-black finish, but Aperion offers a real cherry wood finish as well. The diminutive towers measure 35” H x 6” W x 8.25” D and weigh in at 30 lbs. The center channel measures 6.2” H x 19” W x 8” D and 15 lbs. The satellites: 9″ H x 5″ W x 5.7″ D and 6.5 lbs.
Our experience with the Verus speaker setup was mostly hassle free. We did have trouble getting an outrigger installed on one of the towers. The holes in the rear foot didn’t quite line up with the threaded inserts in the bottom of the speaker. Aperion was prompt with a replacement speaker, which presented no installation challenges, so we were up and running quickly.
At 35” tall, the Verus Forte tower isn’t a “towering” speaker at all. The cabinet’s short height and conservative width, combined with gently curved edges and a tapered back make for what we think is an un-assuming and décor-friendly appearance. The cabinets well executed finish is deep black with a highly glossy lacquer overlay that has a very mirror-like effect. The perforated metal grille is covered with sheer black cloth and is magnetically secured so that it is flush with the front of the cabinet.
Glancing at the drivers in the Forte towers, one might jump to think that it uses an MTM (mid-tweeter-mid), or D’Appolito, design but closer inspection reveals that is not the case. Working our way from the top down, we found a 4.5” Kevlar midrange driver with phase plug, a 1” “axially stabilized” silk dome tweeter with a large ring radiator, then one of two 4.5 Kevlar woofers. The second of the two woofers is positioned well below the rest of the three-speaker array but is crossed over identically to the first woofer. Aperions’ design team says that this driver orientation helps to account for sound reflected off the floor and assists in keeping the bass response even. The tower is bi-ampable and offers two sets of 5-way binding posts on the rear to support such a hookup. If the speaker isn’t to be bi-amped, large gold-plated brackets connect the two sets of binding posts allowing the listener to use either set of binding posts.
The Forte center channel and satellite speakers share the towers’ cabinet and grille designs, but its speaker compliment is slightly different. Rather than use a separate tweeter, it is integrated into the center of a 4.5 midrange drivers. In the case of the center channel, this integrated tweeter/midrange driver is in the center of the cabinet and flanked by a 4.5 woofer and 4.5 passive radiator. With the Forte satellite, the integrated tweeter/midrange driver is the only one in the cabinet. Since the tweeter in this hybrid drive is technically the same as those found in the rest of the Verus line, then it should voice-match any of the other speakers but we found ourselves wondering what effect this design might have on the performance of the satellites as a set of stereo speakers.