With symphonic music on a surround SACD, such as a disc of Sibelius's Kullervo, the towers' tweeters provided airy, but never harsh, treble. Violins had a bright, natural timbre, with fine high-end imaging. The lower midrange was pleasantly warm on bassoon and cello, as well as on the baritone soloist and the male chorus. The towers even cranked out a goodly amount of lower bass. This was one disc where I thought the towers' lack of a dedicated midrange driver might have hurt a bit, however; the mezzo-soprano (and the upper midrange in general) just had a somewhat constrained sound. The center speaker, with its dedicated midrange driver, had a much better presence on trumpet and other brass.
Center-channel vocals had excellent clarity from the sweet spot to more than 30° off-axis, though the surrounds (in dipole mode) couldn't match the dynamics of the front three speakers on this track. In Aperion's defense, the company normally mates these towers and center with good-size direct-radiating bookshelf speakers. But the dipoles did add natural hall ambience with a thoroughly diffuse, reverberant sound field. The subwoofer, meanwhile, was quite musical - and after some crossover tweaking in my room, it followed even complex double-bass lines with every note audible and clean.
On more aggressive surround music, such as the DVD-Audio disc of Linkin Park's Reanimation, the towers' enunciated high end was a better match for the music; it really sizzled on the red-hot snare and cymbal samples on the track "FRGT/10." The low-end prowess of the towers, center, and sub was quite evident. Synth drums and bass were absolutely tight, with good punch - albeit with some subtle chattering and port chuffing when the sub was stressed at a really high volume. The surrounds (used here in bipole mode) again had a smaller sound against that of the mammoth towers and the center speaker, but they were a fair timbral match to the fronts, as evidenced by how the dry rap vocals panned there were fully integrated into the mix. For music reproduction, I'd say the front trio is in the upper percentile and the surrounds and sub aren't far behind.
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