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Back in September, a number of us at the Great Northwest GTG had the honor and good fortune to be the first audio hobbyists to audition the new Verus Grand Bookshelf (VGB) speakers. The pair was brought straight from the first production run by Aperion designer, Ken Humphreys. For those not familiar with the event, you can read all about it here .... http://forums.audioholics.com/forums...+northwest+gtg (my screen name on Audioholics is "Tomorrow").


The VGB speakers were auditioned both blinded and unblinded with 5 quality monitor speaker pairs (Salk, Selah, Ascend, Usher, and Tyler Acoustics). The only limitation for the speakers in this comparo was that they were to cost less than $2,000 and be available for internet-direct only purchase. (The Usher was added to this mix.) The idea was to offer neutral, unbiased auditions to hobbyists looking for review information regarding I-D speakers.


The VGB's were far less expensive that most of the pairs. Disadvantaged? Maybe. But these little dudes surprised most of us and hung in there with the big dogs on most of the auditioned elements. They ended the event as my "Best Value" pair. You can get details on the speakers' specifications here ... http://www.aperionaudio.com/home.aspx


Having run a number of blinded/unblinded comparos, I've become accustomed to auditioners varying reports when speaker play order is changed...when different speakers immediately precede and follow other (varying) pairs. In other words, a bright speaker pair can make another bright (but not quite so) pair sound reserved. Thus, even seasoned listeners have difficulty maintaining identical element (e.g. 'resolution', 'soundstage', 'dynamics', etc.) reporting on speaker pairs from one session to the next.


So I was a little surprised at my own reports. My two session auditions of the VGB's resulted in a solid identification of my experience with the units. My blinded audition report exactly matched my unblinded report. (You can find the summary reports from all auditioners in the linked Audioholics thread.) I was amazed that these really inexpensive Aperions could, more or less, keep up with the more expensive pairs in many of the measured, tested, and auditioned criteria.


From my report forms...remember, these are being measured against a number of $2,000 pairs:

Resolution - Smooth. Could have used a bit more air compared to previous pair (Tyler Acoustics Taylo).

Bass - Emphatic. Very good bass presentation. (Actually amazing for their size.)

Midrange Purity - Neutral, clean.

Transparency - Resolved. Still could use a bit more air to keep up with other pairs in this session. Grain-free.

Transients - Good dynamics. Shifts acoustic gears nicely.

Visceral Impact - I got the feeling. Grabbed the intimacy of the music nicely.

Soundstage - Surprising depth to go with width...just outside the speakers...and above.

Dynamics - Good, but not quite as sharp as some in this session.

Overall - When revealed as the little Aperions, I was amazed at their performance against some super high quality monitors. Good job. These are a great value at their pricing.


Lastly, I had the opportunity to ask some questions of the Verus Grand line designer. Ken is a delightful fellow and knowledgeable as heck (as are all the gents I've met from Aperion) I thought you might enjoy his reponses to this mini-Q&A. It provides some interesting insight to the ideas behind the development of this new Aperion line-up.

Mud: You've been in the audio business for a number of years, Ken. What brings you the most joy...listening, designing, or...?

KH: Music (or movies) can create a magical illusion. Trying to capture this experience undiminished is certainly understandable, not to mention fun and addicting. So I have no problem with those who make this quest a consuming passion with little regard for cost, but for me, trying to capture this magic on a budget seems a higher calling. Often improvements in speaker performance, easy to achieve when cost is no object, can be realized by making careful design choices that may add nothing to the cost. What kind of glue allows for a uniform mechanical impedance match from cone to surround? Why pay extra for the capacitor with a lower effective series resistance when the design ends up calling for a series resistor anyway? Such engineering decisions may go unnoticed by the eye, but not by the ear or the pocketbook. So no ill will meant towards those unconstrained by a budget, but most satisfying to me is bringing this magic to those I identify with – folks who work hard for a living and need to balance the joy of a captivating music or movie experience with other priorities in life.

Mud: What portion of the Verus Grand line were you responsible for?

KH: The Verus line (both Grand and the soon-to-be launched Forte) has been a really cool team thing. Ed, Mike & I defined the product line objectives, Oliver & I voiced the speakers, and Mike & I managed the project with our vendors. We have a wonderful vendor I worked with on the new tweeter design.

Mud: What exactly were your design goals for the line?

KH: True-to-life sound -- no euphonic hyping.

- High value targeted at sensible price points

- Stunning yet easy-to-fit-with most-decors styling.

- Consistent performance ; very good fit & finish.

- From an engineering perspective --> flat freq response, smooth power response, vertical response that "aims" at expected listening elevations, sensible sensitivity but prioritized below bass extension, LF response tailored to expected room placement, system-wide sound character matching....... All sensible stuff.

Mud: What makes these speakers unique?

KH: If good sound comes from good balance, uniqueness can be, more often than not, a problem. I guess the main thing would just be a well executed design aimed at honest sound.........but (you guessed it) with value in mind.

The one thing that IS unique and worth mentioning is our patent pending tweeter. Stabilizing the diaphragm from rocking allows it to go very low very well. Which unburdens the cone drivers where they both beam and are non-pistonic. This results in better dispersion / smoother power response and lowered midrange distortion.

Mud: For whom do you see this line being the perfect fit?

KH: Anyone whose love of music (or movies) is enriched by realistic sound reproduction -- but is looking for the best possible value.

Mud: Does Aperion have anything else up their sleeves that you can give us any tantalizing hints about?

KH: Of course!

- You were the first to see & hear the Grand Bookshelf. The Tower and Center Channel have just launched

- The balance of the Verus line -- the smaller Fortes -- are just a couple months away --> the 4" bookshelf and center channel use a mini-version of our tweeter with the "axially stabilized" diaphragm in a time aligned, concentric (or co-axial) configuration with our 4" driver. Also a really cool slim tower.

- The Bravus subwoofer line is getting refreshed --> more power among other things.

Nothing else this year.

MUD: Many thanks, Ken, and best of wishes for success with this deserving new speaker line.

 

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I liked them when I heard them at RMAF2010. I think they are a real bargain for that price.
 

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Does any one in the metro Detroit area have the following speaker? I would like to listen to these to decide whether to
Buy them or not:

1) Aperion audio Verus bookshelf
2) silverline minuet supreme plus
3) Ascend acoustics Sierra 1
4) Philharmonic audio Philharmonitor
 
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