We’ve auditioned plenty of satellite systems recently, but Apex is in a different league to anything we’ve heard before. You’d expect that for this sort of money, but even with that price firmly in our minds we still weren’t quite prepared for how good Apex sounds.
The intricate internal construction of each speaker, coupled with the inert enclosures, enables the Apex to deliver an astonishingly fast and detailed sound. When you feed them movie material – in this case The Dark Knight on Blu-ray – the way those Apex A10 satellites zap effects around the room will leave you feeling like a kid at a fireworks display. Oohs and aahs abound.
They dig out the smallest, most insignificant high-frequency details in the movie’s soundtrack, stuff you probably never even noticed before. But they’re not just about the delicate stuff – they’re remarkably powerful too. Even without the AW-12 sub's input, the Apex A10s muster the sort of explosive, muscular bass that you simply don’t expect from cabinets this compact.
But you’d be a fool not to get the AW-12 involved. It’s a phenomenally powerful bass purveyor, dredging up low frequencies from the depths of hell and turning them into a thrilling visceral experience. You can literally feel every blast from the Joker’s rocket launcher and the rumbling engine of the Batmobile course right through you. Transient bass sounds, such as punches and gunshots, are taut and punchy. It is, in a word, awesome.
What’s more, the Apex A10s and Apex A40 centre integrate flawlessly with the AW-12, creating a wonderfully cohesive soundstage, while the interplay between channels is mesmerising. Dynamic shifts are effortlessly handled, surround effects are expansive and dialogue is crystal clear yet full-bodied. We defy anyone to hear this system in action and not be completely and utterly hit for six.
The Apex system is equally assured with music, reproducing vocals with life-like purity. Sade’s breathy voice on the Soldier of Love CD is more haunting and ethereal then ever, while a Dolby TrueHD performance by jazz singer Jane Monheit on Dolby’s The Sound Of High-Definition Blu-ray is spellbinding. The speakers pick out minute musical details, lending irresistible texture to the overall sound.
The Apex system is the holy grail of style speaker systems, one that delivers audiophile standard sound quality without making huge demands on your living space. It offers the sort of powerful, insightful audiophile sound that you don’t automatically associate with satellite speakers, a result of the astonishing build quality and clever technology that lies within each unit. The price tag might seem exorbitant at first, but have a listen for yourself and you’ll soon appreciate how easily they justify the expense.