- Manufacturer & Model:
- Aperion Audio Verus II Grand Tower
- New tweeter and crossover network, gorgeous cabinet design and finish, tonal balance punctuated by smooth high frequencies and controlled bass, excellent imaging.
- The Verus II Grand Tower is Aperion Audio’s newest flagship model. It features a redesigned tweeter and crossover network, in addition to other modest alterations, improving upon the company’s original Verus Grand speaker. Its beautiful cabinet and high-quality fit and finish match the speaker’s smoothly balanced sonic presentation. Considering price, the Verus II offers incredible value and performance.
Seven years ago, Aperion Audio invaded the moderately-priced speaker segment with the introduction of a new flagship line called Verus Grand. The series upped the Internet Direct retailer’s game and impressed critics with a tempting balance of affordability and performance. The company has since issued a refresh called Verus II Grand, a complete lineup of tower, bookshelf, and center channel models. AV NIRVANA was asked to evaluate a stereo pair of the new Verus II Grand Tower (Gloss Cherry), a serious high-performance full-range speaker. If you think the Verus II has a statement appearance, then stick around because the speaker’s capabilities are worth checking out.
A Fresh Start
The Verus II Grand Tower ($2,498/pair in Cherry, $2,318/pair in Black) looks strikingly similar to the original Verus Grand. In fact, the two speakers are practically physical twins. But don’t be fooled by its appearance, because Aperion has injected its new standard-bearer with several noteworthy technical improvements. To start, the company is using a re-engineered custom one-inch silk dome tweeter. The tweeter features a patented Axially Stabilized Radiating (ASR) design that retains the anchored center point of Aperion’s original ASR, but adds a new “wishbone” waveguide. This design better controls break up modes, has a more uniform frequency response, and offers a broader dispersion of sound.
The speaker also features a new re-voiced crossover network for a smoother balanced sound. The crossover houses upgraded parts, such as Mylar and Polypropylene capacitors, and is paired with new wire gauge assignments to the speaker’s woofers (12-gauge), midrange drivers (14-gauge), and tweeter (16-gauge). The company has also replaced stamped metal jumpers on the rear speaker terminals with attractive 12-gauge wire jumpers and spade connectors.
The speaker’s 3-way driver layout remains the same, with five-inch woven Kevlar woofers positioned above and below a single tweeter on the topside, and dual six-inch woven Kevlar woofers on the lower half. The new cabinet also still presents a bass reflex design, with dual ports on the lower portion of the backside of the cabinet.
The Towers were shipped in two separate boxes weighing roughly 75-pounds each. Unboxing proved to be a fairly straight forward process, aided by the fact that Aperion ships the Verus II Grand upside down. Internally, both boxes were strengthened with large sheets of loose cardboard and rigid corner reinforcements, and thick high-quality foam was used to cap the top and bottom of each speaker.
The packaging’s topside foam block housed each speaker’s base-widening foot plates, rug spikes, and installation materials. Total time from cutting tape to installing hardware and flipping a box for speaker removal was measured in minutes. Once standing, the speakers had several more layers of protection, including foam ribbing, a plastic bag, and a blue felt sack with a purple silk lining. The sack is a nice touch and set the stage for the full reveal of the Verus II’s glorious furniture grade finish – just the kind of presentation I like to experience when opening something that’s billed as special. We captured the unboxing process on video (along with lots of cabinet photos), simply click on the image (below) to watch.
Handling the Verus II Grand is a pure delight. The speaker feels every bit of its 65-pounds, but remains rather manageable due to its overall weight distribution. I was able to move both speakers from their staging area (down a flight of steps) into my home theater with relative ease. And while carrying heavy objects might convey as rather mundane, it’s a great chance to become acquainted with a speaker’s true physical prowess. As images of the Verus II’s Cherry Veneer exterior relay, it’s a beautiful speaker. The speaker’s finish is downright luscious with a thick watery presence that’s silky smooth to the touch – total luxury eye candy!
Overall build quality is just what you’d expect from a pair of speakers costing $2,500, and some. To be honest, I had to double-check Aperion’s website for pricing information after wrapping-up unboxing and installation. In a momentary lapse of memory, I’d convinced myself they were priced at $4,000 a pair (which seemed completely reasonable considering fit and finish). While the speaker’s perfectly stained Cherry Veneer is a statement unto itself, Aperion appointed the Verus II with fine touches that up its physical character. From the cloth covered metal grille that inserts tightly into small channels cut on either side of the speaker’s thick black baffle to the quality speaker terminals and attractive 12-guage bridging straps, the Verus II looks like a champion. Other parts, such as the speaker’s foot plates and rug spikes, also look and feel right.
A quick knuckle-wrap test on the Verus II’s topside is like knocking on a concrete slab, and the sides of the cabinet produce a satisfying thud.
The Verus II’s curvilinear cabinet design offers smooth lines and an aerodynamic appearance. Its sides taper to the rear and its top has slight rounding for an extra bit of visual pop. Perhaps artful is an appropriate word, but the cabinet is distinctive and ready to stand as the centerpiece of a room (making it easy to integrate into high visibility areas of a home). At 8-inches wide and 43.5-inches tall, it’s a narrow speaker that definitely requires the use of the included footing plates (which are wider) for stability.
If you’re a home theater owner looking to integrate the Verus II into a light controlled environment, it’s worth noting that the cabinet's finish is light reflective. For the record, I tested the speaker's dark room-impact on either side of a 105” cinemascope screen and found it to be a non-issue to the eye. The Verus II’s black baffles and grilles were the primary visual during movie testing (eliminating visibility of the speaker’s sides across my room’s seating positions). That isn’t to say that some light didn’t reflect back onto the screen, but that kind of impact wasn’t readily noticeable.
The Verus II Grands were evaluated in an acoustically treated theater room (18-ft long x 14.5-ft wide x 8-ft tall), positioned approximately 2-feet from front and side room boundaries (10-feet apart) and 10.5-feet from the middle listening position (MLP). Fine tuning the speakers’ final resting spots took quite a bit of experimentation, ultimately resulting in positioning with fairly aggressive toe-ins aimed directly at the MLP; wider toe-ins resulted in loose imaging and a (slightly) smeared presentation, while aiming the speakers to crisscross in front of the MLP resulted in a narrow sound.
After several A-B listening tests, I opted to leave the speaker grills on. My ears had difficulty hearing a definitive high frequency difference with the grilles removed, and I decided to give Aperion’s engineering team a nod of confidence.
Aperion's spec sheet claims the Virus II Grand has an overall frequency response of 45-20,000 Hz (+/- 3dB). My in-room measurement (microphone at MLP, 1/2 averaging) demonstrates quite a bit of extension below the 45 Hz mark.
For this review, I tapped the capabilities of an OPPO UDP-205’s internal ESS DAC and analog output stage connected to a Yamaha RX-A3050 AVR/Emotiva XPA-5 amplifier combo. The RX-A3050 was set-on Pure Direct mode to remove any internal processing, allowing the OPPO’s DAC to run the show.
(Aphex Twin, Warp, Apollo Records)
Thus far we’ve established that Aperion’s Verus II Grand Towers talk the talk with a beautiful physical presentation. But, can they walk the walk in the sound department?
As I found, the answer to that question is YES.
The Verus II is a balanced sounding speaker with a unique character that’s immediately noticeable, making two-channel listening quite a special experience. In fact, it quickly seduced me into a solid week of rediscovering old music favorites and playing preferred demo tracks loaded with reference sound.
Tough work, eh?
The speaker’s high frequency capabilities strike a perfect balance of buttery smoothness and exacting sharpness, which kept my listening sessions detailed and snappy while taming any notion of harshness or fatigue. Its ability to handle delicate fine details without tripping into a world of overly bright playback lends to a listening experience that drips with refinement. My ears prefer a certain sense of brightness in a speaker, and the Verus II was extraordinarily satisfying due to its laid-back sharpness.
The Verus II is also no slouch in the low-end, with a robust punch punctuated by tightness and vibrancy. Even when pushed to reference levels, it maintains control and precision in the bass realm. Much like the high-end, the speaker manages bass output without removing a sense of warmth or expansiveness. Its midrange capabilities are also a strong suit, loaded with uncolored detail, serving as a solid bridge between bass and treble. The result is a listening experience that’s uniformly balanced from top to bottom. And that’s probably the best way to describe the speaker: balanced. While that might read as unexciting and vanilla, let me assure you, the Verus II has plenty of character and pizzazz to make for a presentation that sounds special.
In terms of soundstage, the speaker is dynamic and composed. I found imaging to be exacting, with various instruments and voices occupying their own space with distinctive separation. Not only did the soundstage possess the ability to expand beyond the speakers, it also exhibited a depth that pushed away from the MLP, making for a massive three-dimensional canvas. That combined with a true airiness and sense of endless space for mesmerizing listening. The speaker is also confidently comfortable staying controlled as the volume is cranked.
Here’s a sample of select demo session notes:
The Chainsmokers Collage EP (CD)
This five-song pop gem is loaded with rich details, dynamic electronic snap, and sound that enjoys living outside the speaker arrangement. It also has plenty of gritty imperfections that are fun to discover. “Inside Out,” the fourth track on the EP, allowed the Verus II to shine. Swedish vocalist Charlee Nyman’s voice is full of wispy breaths and a subtle roughness that plays perfectly to the song’s clean electronica presence. The Verus IIs were comfortable revealing all, with a beautiful reproduction of Nyman surrounded by jaw dropping depth powered by the song’s toe-tapping anthem. Imaging was off the charts, with low and mid-range frequencies punching through the front wall and high frequencies dancing happily in the air. At the song’s climax, the soundstage audibly wrapped around the room with a high-frequency burst. I listened to this particular track dozens of times, marveling at the overall balance of presentation and exactness of reproduction. Truly fantastic.
“All We Know” proved to be another ear pleasing listen, showing off the Verus II’s ability to deliver an extravagantly smooth presentation. Again, balance from top to bottom was present, perfectly punctuated with ridiculously clean bass.
Lou Reed Walk on the Wild Side, The Best of Lou Reed (CD)
Let’s cut right to the chase and talk a little “Walk on the Wild Side.” The Verus II devoured this track and regurgitated a gorgeous sonic presentation. Reed’s vocals were raw and revealed, and his voice appeared both centered and distant from the soundstage. The song’s backing vocals entered the mix by blossoming forward, ever expanding outward. And the song’s punchy bass guitar dripped with character.
Pink Floyd The Wall (CD)
The Wall (in particular “Another Brick in the Wall, Pt 2”) proved to be the perfect sonic playground for the Verus II, and perhaps my favorite demo material. The speakers’ minutely tamed tweeter presentation allowed this song to sing without a hint of harshness, and mid-range sounds (such as the song’s strumming guitar) seemed to effortlessly slide into the room. The soundstage for this track was immensely diverse, pushing to the room’s boundaries and punching away from the MLP. It was quite the sonic experience. The transition to “Mother” literally sent a shiver down my spine as the track blossomed to life with a vibrancy and airiness that sounded magical. The Verus II had such a delicate nature about its ways, easily touching on high-end variables that punctuate audiophile qualities.
Aphex Twin Selected Ambient Works 85-92 (CD)
Richard D. James’ Selected Ambient Works 85-92 is an ambient gem loaded with throbbing beats and subtle scratchy details just begging to be discovered. This album gave the Verus II a workout and proved to be a joy to the ears. Other albums demoed during this review featured punchy bass that existed in the middle of soundstage. Ambient Works, however, has quite a few bass tracks that like to be dispersed in the air (and that’s exactly what the Verus II delivered). The album’s copious echoes were also revealed in a detailed and airy fashion, making my home theater room sound unusually hollow and cavernous. To note, this was the only album that coaxed any objectionable distortion from the speakers’ bass drivers when taken to reference levels. To be fair, its low-end material can be ruthless. Nevertheless, buyers hoping to drive massively bass-laden music might want to consider using an external subwoofer with the Verus Grand IIs (for that kind of material).
Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band Almost Acoustic (CD)
Almost Acoustic is a fantastic live performance recorded in 1987, and the Verus IIs did it justice. This particular recording dispenses of a wide soundstage in favor of one that lives squarely between the speakers. What happens there, however, is truly magical. The Verus II Grands created an experience where each instrument (from guitar to mandolin and banjo to dobro) occupied its own space, razor sharp and precise in presentation. The speakers’ playback of “Blue Yodel” was simply spectacular, as Garcia’s voice seemed to step into the room with astounding realism. The character and definition of his voice, backed by the beautiful inexactness of the song’s acoustical jam, was simply special. The Verus IIs didn’t force themselves upon the music, stepping back and allowing the music to flow with its own natural beauty. That natural flavor was on full display as the speakers delivered every little imperfection from the guitars’ sparkly twangs and squeaky strings. And while not as dramatic and robust as other demoed music, the Verus II’s treatment of this album sealed my stamp of approval.
The Verus II Grand Tower is a total delight, offering a true sense of unique audiophilism without a massive price tag. The speaker's looks are gorgeous and its balanced sound makes for hours of pleasure-filled listening. While its high-frequency qualities (which are tamed just enough to keep sound sharp) might be its defining audio characteristic, it’s a true solid performer from top to bottom. The beauty of Aperion’s sales model is a free 60-day in-home audition period (free shipping both ways), making the Verus II an easy speaker to recommend.
Verus Grand II Tower Specifications
- Weight: 65.0 lbs
- Frequency Response: (+/- 3dB) 45-20,000 Hz -- (+/- 6dB) 35-22,000 Hz
- Impedance: 6 Ohms
- Sensitivity: 92 dB
- Recommended Power: 20-300 Watts
- Crossover: 300 Hz between woofers & mids, 2.2 kHz between mids and tweeters
- Tweeter: 1" Custom Aperion ASR Tweeter
- Midrange: Two 5" Woven Kevlar Woofers with Aluminum Phase Plugs
- Woofer Two: 6" Woven Kevlar Woofers with PVC Dust Cap and Rubber Surrounds
- Driver Configuration: 3-Way
- Enclosure Type: Anti-Resonant, Internally Braced, Dual Rear Ported
- Dimensions: 43.5" H x 8" W x 12" D
- Product Family: Verus
- Placement Location: Front Speakers
- Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior AdminStaff MemberThread Starter
- Jan 20, 2017
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