Aperion Zona Wireless Surround Speakers Review
The system is very straight forward, and has only a few minor quirks - but they are worth discussing. I will first mention the issues I have noticed (which aren't huge), and then share with you what I believe are the good qualities that make this a really good system.
Under certain circumstances (such as connecting the speakers directly to many television sets), you'll need to use the included remote control to adjust the volume (as well as treble and bass). Hook the speakers up to a PC or a dedicated audio receiver, and I don't think this will be an issue. Why is this a problem? Because you not only need the included remote (yet another remote...) to adjust the volume, but if you lose it, you are not gonna be in a good place. This is further compounded by the fact that aside from the remote there is no native way to adjust the volume. Again, this is not an issue for all uses of the speakers, but in my situation it was an issue. Second (and it is related to the first issue), aside from the remote there are no ways of adjusting the volume or other level on on the speakers themselves or wireless transmitter. This causes a problem if you lose the little remote or it runs out of batteries. It uses a small CR 2025 battery that you likely don't have laying around the house.
Aside from those issues I have no real complaints about the Zona Wireless Surround Speakers. In a nutshell, Aperion really thought out the product well, the construction quality is good, and the performance is impressive.
In the box you get a lot of cables - which is ironic for a wireless system. Though these really can't be avoided. While there is no real way around it, the system requires three separate things to be plugged in to the wall. This applies to each speaker as well as the base station. Though, if you are using the speakers with a computer, you can hook up the base station via USB to your computer which also powers it. Aperion includes cables that are thankfully long enough for most uses. Other cables included are for audio inputs.
Setting the system up is really easy - it is more or less "plug and play." There are basically four major uses you'll find out of the speakers. First are as speakers on your television. This is probably the best use as most of today's flat-panel televisions comes with awful speakers - and more or less require you to use external speakers to sound decent. Next is for use with some style of stereo system. Third is as PC speakers, and last as speakers for your iPhone/iPod or any other DAP (digital audio device). The latter can be connected to the speaker system via an included 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable (that would connect in the jack where your headphones go). Pretty simple right?
The round base station is the component that delivers the signal to the two remote speakers. There is just one button on there that turns the system on or off. Aperion calls the speakers "Surround" but not "Surround Sound." Not sure if they have a system to make sound "appear" as though it is coming from multiple angles (often called virtual surround sound). It is possible they have a different meaning for "surround." Aside from adjusting treble and bass, you can only adjust the volume. For more equalizer functions you'll need a dedicated audio receiver unit to hook the speakers up to. Aperion actually sells two other wireless speakers system that are much more intense that come with such receivers (which cost $2,500 - $3,000).
Sound quality is very good. Levels adjustability is adequate, and the range is impressive with the two bookshelf style sized speakers. Aperion knows good speakers, and they don't really disappoint here for most causal uses. This is easily the most powerful and best set of wireless speakers I have ever used. Set up is a breeze, and (given some practical constraints) the system really helps reduce wire clutter (while giving you more flexible speaker placement options). I feel that the price of $499 is actually quite fair given the quality. You can even buy them online direct from Aperion.
Ariel Adams publishes the luxury watch reviews site aBlogtoRead.com.
Thanks to Aperion for the review unit. Opinions are 100% independent.