Aperion Audio may not be a household name, but the Portland, Oregon company is no slouch when it comes to designing high-quality home theater speakers. In fact, Aperion’s Verus Forte and Verus Grand tower speakers floored us when they hit our evaluation room a few years back, each offering incredibly rich and articulate sound at (relatively) affordable price points. Now Aperion is back with an update to its prized Verus Grand, and as you might imagine, we weren’t upset about giving them a go. In our Aperion Audio Verus II Grand review, we reveal that a few small tweaks have only improved the Verus Grand line, which dishes out incredibly live and organic sound that quickens your pulse — without robbing you blind.
Out of the box
The Verus II Grand arrive in sarcophagus-sized boxes, each speaker within wrapped neatly in purple velvet stockings a la Crown Royal whisky. One touchpoint we appreciate about Aperion is the biodegradable foam that protects its speakers during shipping — not only is it better for the environment, but it’s also far less likely to shower your floor with the snow flurried mess that accompanies most speakers.
Each wooden monolith sports a gleaming veneer finish in cherry (in our case) or piano gloss, and furnished at the back with dual sets of 5-way gold-plated binding posts for bi-amping, if you’ve got a second amplifier in the mix.
Apart from cabling, all the basic hardware you’ll need is packaged along, including sturdy aluminum floor stands, floor spikes for carpet, and even protective discs to soften the blow. The accompanying metal grills ship separately for protection and offer cloth coverings on the exterior, while magnets embedded behind the baffling allows for easy setup and removal.
Features and design
Very little has changed between the original Verus Grand and the second coming, and yet again we’re reminded of just how big these speakers are, rising over 43 inches tall to go with an 8-inch width and 12-inch depth. The speakers also weigh in rather heavily at 65 pounds, so you’ll want some help when setting them up. As big as they are, though, the chic veneer finish looks handsome next to your entertainment center, and the choice between piano gloss and cherry designs should accommodate most any decor.
The Verus II Grand arrive in sarcophagus-sized boxes, wrapped neatly within in purple velvet stockings.
Under the speaker grills, drivers include dual 6-inch woven Kevlar woofers at the bottom, dual 5-inch Kevlar woofers above, and the all-new 1-inch Aperion Axially Stabilized Radiator (ASR) silk dome tweeter at the top, custom designed to stabilize the diaphragm for minimal rocking, and thus, lower distortion.
The drivers are set inside anti-resonant, internally-braced cabinets with dual rear bass ports. The impedance for each speaker is 6 ohms, and Aperion recommends 20 to 300 watts of power per side. Along with the brand-new tweeter, the drivers have been re-voiced slightly for better clarity, and the crossovers adjusted to 300 Hz between the woofer pairs, and 2.2 kHz between the midrange woofers and tweeter.
Our first impressions of the Aperion Verus II Grand included the words “organic,” and “lush” and those words peppered our notes throughout as we listened to these sweet speakers. Detail is a paramount with the Verus II, especially considering their price point, but that clarity is matched by a smooth and satiny finish in the midrange and treble. Transients are swift, clean, and very well articulated, yet the speakers never sound sharp or cutting at the top of the register.
At the far end, bass response is solid as an oak, and quite clean, carving out a firm and stable foundation for the rest of the frequencies. The very low-end response was deceivingly subtle when connected to our Peachtree Nova 220SE amplifier, while things opened up further in the lowest register when connected to an Anthem MRX 1120 reciever. In either configuration, while the speakers are more than able to stand alone for music playback with plenty of heady force, you’ll want to pair the Verus II Grand with a subwoofer for cinematic sound. And if you have a sub as grand as the SVS SB16-Ultra, which packs 1,500 watts of power inside, all the better.
Speaking of cinematic sound, while the Verus II Grand scream for music, they do a fantastic job with TV sound, placing dialogue dead center (we even had to check once to make sure our center channel was out of the loop), and using their expansive stereo imaging to create a rich and engulfing soundstage for effects and soundtracks alike, with little to no audible masking.
The satiny finish is always present, engulfing your ears in comfort like the leather interior of a sports sedan.
Getting back to music, the speakers absolutely shimmer when playing back our go-to jazz test tracks like Ahmad Jamal’s Silver. The tune really lays out the speakers’ luscious tone color before your ears in grand fashion, carving out details like the reedy breath of a saxophone solo or the mouthpiece buzz of a trumpet blast, all with a silkier touch than you’d expect for such precise articulation. Each tick and tap of percussion is recreated with lightning accuracy, but again, that satiny finish mentioned at the top is always present, engulfing your ears in comfort like the sumptuous leather interior of an Italian sports car.
Placing the Verus II Grand at least six feet apart provides impressive stereo imaging, and things really expand when you load up complex tracks like ELP’s From the Beginning and Trilogy. The speakers place the multiple instrumental layers of the former track so well in space, your ears easily recognize not only the height and side placement of each instrument, but even the depth of each track as it enters the mix. The entrance of the dual acoustic guitars after the sparse intro is so expectant, it’s almost as if the air pressure in the room has changed when it finally arrives, while the speakers reveal each parsed breath, string pick, and snare tap with brilliant precision.
In fact, the longer we spent with the Verus II Grand, the more impressed we became. The speakers continuously unraveled a massive soundstage with audiophile accuracy, allowing our ears to explore each track with gut-checking thoroughness, to the point that poorly produced tracks sound almost smashed and fuzzy when compared to cleaner mixes.
Yet always our ears returned to the sweet upper register which, even hours into evaluation, never ceased to pull us deeper into sheer revery. Jazz piano, cymbals, and horns were among our favorites in that saccharine top side, but even indie rock tracks like Father John Misty’s When You’re Smiling and Astride Me are offered in exquisite detail and with grand organic flavor, from the strings and guitar to the snare. The little subtleties in the panned synths seem to just jump out from the song in three dimensions with the Verus II, and if there’s a notable difference between the latest Aperion offering and their predecessor, we’ll wager it’s thanks to that lovely new tweeter and the judicious care with which it renders each note it touches.
The silky smooth treble and upper midrange were also difference makers between the Verus II Grand and the Bowers & Wilkins’ CM8 S2 at our disposal during evaluation. While each speaker pair presented similar clarity and textural detail, the CM8 S2 did so with a tighter, somewhat sharper approach to the upper midrange and treble, while the Verus II seemed to handle details with the same level of care and definition, but with a notable dowse of purer, more organic tone color. And we like that.
Aperion Audio offers lifetime technical speaker support for the Verus II Grand, and 10-year product defect warranties for drivers and cabinets.Our Take
Aperion Audio’s latest Verus Grand towers are sweeter than ever, offering audiophile clarity with a touch of golden goodness that hits our aural sweet spot just right.
Is there a better alternative?
Viable alternatives come in a variety of choices, including the CM8 S2 we mentioned above, which offer similar detail and clarity in a more compact package. Those looking for similarly lush sound who want to save some money may also want to check out options like SVS’ Prime towers, which offer excellent performance for your dollars. Or, if you like the SVS line, you could potentially step up to the brand’s impressive Ultra series, though you’ll walk away with a thinner wallet to the tune of $500 to $600 in price difference.
For those eyeing a much simpler (and smaller) stereo setup, one outside alternative would be KEF’s LS50W powered bookshelf speakers, which cost quite a bit more at $2,200, but allow you to ditch a receiver or integrated amp. The LS50W offer similar detail and midrange power, and even better clarity, but will require a subwoofer pairing to fill out the lower register.
How long will it last?
With quality craftsmanship and a simple, futureproof design the Aperion Audio Verus II Grand should last as long as you need them to.
Should you buy it?
Yes. If you’re eyeing a smooth and supple pair of audiophile towers — but you don’t want to pay audiophile prices — Aperion Audio’s Verus II Grand are an excellent solution.