By Ben Bowers
on 5.27.09

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The Question:

Man has an itch for improvement, there’s no denying that fact. However, improvement means nothing without a starting point. Our first clunker car, the hand me down suit from dad, that TV from the basement; they are all typical starting points we’ve dealt with at some time in our lives. They last as long as they can, and often longer than we’d like, as we stretch them through their twilight years of usefulness.

Eventually, though, all good things must end and this often marks a difficult moment for men. It’s a time when we must confront our itch openly and then decide the next steps. Do you buy the cheap, short-lived replacement to tide you over until future upgrades? Do you just appreciate the run while it lasted and go without? Or do you find the cash to buy something that might stretch your budget, but will last as long as the faithful product it replaces?

These are the scenarios I agonized over this last year after my previous Kenwood home theater system finally bit the dust. I had stood firm against my itch for ages, but the time was coming for me to give in.

“Do you find the cash to buy something that might stretch your budget, but lasts as long as the faithful product it replaces?”

Fortunately, my tenure here at Gear Patrol has allowed me to review many audio systems, so I already had a short list of companies to focus on. About the time I began searching, the heavens parted and Aperion Audio (which was on my list) released it’s new base level hybrid system, the Aperion Intimus 4T Hybrid SD (5.1 channel speaker system).

Always eager to test products (and to conveniently delay making my own decision), I contacted Aperion about reviewing the unit and a few days later the speakers arrived at our office. What follows can only be described as the birth of an obsession.

Before wandering down that road, though, let me first provide some background information on Aperion as a company, for those who might not know them. (If you are already aware of Aperion’s great customer-focused policies, I’d suggest skipping the next three paragraphs of gushy infatuation to read the review on the next page)

The Company:

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Based in Portland Oregon, Aperion was founded with one sole purpose: to sell high quality speakers at great prices. They do this by dealing directly with consumers and eliminating the middle man. Sure, it may sound like a no-brainer business model, but remember that speakers are a product most people refuse to purchase without first listening to them (and rightly so).

Aperion’s solution to this hesitancy centers around a 30 day risk-free trial given to anyone who takes a chance on purchasing a system. What’s meant by risk-free you ask? Shipping on all systems is free. After receiving your system you have 30 days to evaluate it in your home. If you find yourself unsatisfied during that time, you can pack up the system, request return (pre-paid) shipping labels from Aperion, and send it back for a full no questions asked refund. Seriously? Seriously.

But that’s not the only assurance Aperion offers in way of standing behind their products. All their speakers are backed by a 10 year warranty and 3 year warranty on sub woofer amplifiers… standard. No extra fees. No up-sells. No Best Buy extended warranty “assurance” programs. Additionally, if you find yourself wishing you purchased something a little bigger or more powerful, you can take advantage of Aperion’s full-value trade up program. Just send them the speakers you wish to upgrade and they’ll award you a credit for the full, original purchase value. You can apply this towards any other Aperion speaker. Talk about building customer loyalty.

If this weren’t enough, then perhaps you unboxing-philes will have something to latch onto. Similar to our experience with the Richter-scale rocking Intimus 6T-DB Hybrid XD system, the Intimus 4T Hybrid SD’s packaging is immaculate. Each speaker is double boxed, and wrapped in individual velvet bags (King’s gold scepter not included). So unless your Fedex truck traveled through Kabul, your speakers will arrive in pristine condition.

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