Towers in place, surrounds on my usual high shelves flanking the listening position, and sub in my established woofer location behind/right of the right-front speaker, I left the system alone for a week of casualuse break-in. When I returned to serious listening, beginning as always with 2-channel full-range playback, I began directly to wrestle with next-to-bottom-octave response. The issue to my ears was that the towers displayed a modest but consistent emphasis in the 50- to 100-Hz octave, resulting in a slightly too-rich balance and a touch of heaviness to kick-drum and bass on typical pop tracks. (My room, like so many, has some gain in this octave, though mine is far milder than most.) I could mitigate this by pulling the speakers more than 6 feet out into the room — not very practical in my setup, and anyway rather odd-looking with so compact a loudspeaker. Even so, the Verus Forte pair still sounded great, with serious bass delivery down into the 35-Hz region.
By contrast, classical and jazz material sounded stellar. A 96/24 HDtracks download of Charles Ives’s wonderful 1776 Overture & March sounded seriously deep (in soundstage terms), with real delicacy and precision on its scattershot brass and percussion colors — and this less midbass-rich music sounded just about ideally balanced, with a very fair dose of honest bottom-octaves heft.
The same can be applied to vintage rock, much of which is less generously bottom-heavy than modern sessions. When HDtracks issued high-rez remasters of the Rolling Stones catalog, I couldn’t resist sampling at least 1964’s 12x5 (still my favorite Stones opus). These tracks really do sound vastly improved. For instance, on the Booker T. impersonation “2120 South Michigan Avenue,” I clearly heard for the first time all the “hair” on Bill Wyman’s overdriven bass amp (an Ampeg “flip-top,” I’m betting) and the full effect of the Chess Records basement-vault echo chamber. Aperion’s little towers seemed ideally suited to such work, leaning as they do just onto the warmer, bass-rich side of things.
With all this in mind, I deliberately “under-lapped” the crossovers when I integrated the Bravus II sub into the system, setting my A/V controller for “small, 80 Hz” high-pass on the main-front channels and dialing in the sub’s filter to limit output above around 60 Hz. This worked brilliantly, yielding a tighter, more defined sound that retained very solid deep bass while revealing the Forte pair’s considerable treble finesse.
On this setup, I screened (among other titles) the heavily Euro-tinted The American, whose DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack proved a treasure trove of the Foley-effects art. Scene after scene presented subtle but rich arrays of street and interior ambience: footfalls, rustlings, breathing, clinking tools or glassware, and more. The Aperion suite produced all of this with impressive spatial and tonal integrity, and thus solid believability. And on the rare, brief eruption of higher-volume sound in The American, such as the sudden chase in Chapter 12, the Verus Forte system proved equally adept, sounding clean and punchy.
The Verus Forte Center proved a highly competent reproducer and quite well matched to the little towers, so panned sounds proceeded very smoothly. It also revealed excellent off-axis integrity. Tonal color remained impressively consistent about 30° to either side (plenty for most home theater setups), doubtless thanks to the three-way, coaxial-mid/tweeter design, which keeps a low-height form factor without suffering the off-axis lobing that dual-woofer, two-way centers typically impose. But male-voice tonality was audibly leaner on the center as compared with the towers.
The Verus Forte Satellite worked excellently in the surround channels — as would most reasonably competent small two-ways. In the interest of science, I temporarily relocated them for a quick A/B comparison with the towers: a very close match from 100 Hz on up, and an impressive little speaker in its own right.
The Bravus II 10D has a digital display that provides considerable configurability. You get ±6 dB range for “Low Bass” and also for a single semi-parametric band higher up, each of which can be stored for three selectable modes: Movie, Music, and Night. (As you might guess, this last one also clamps down the amp’s compression circuit so that late-night booms won’t quite so readily lower the boom on sleeping children or waking landlords.)
As to performance, the Bravus II 10D was just as satisfying as its upstage mates. The compact Aperion had plenty of impact down to the 30-Hz region on my familiar deep-bass trials and played plenty loudly without evident distress, doubling, or boom, though these did begin to emerge at extreme levels. But the Verus Forte Towers are themselves intended for moderate-sized rooms, so the sub seems well matched.
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