I recently tested the new Aperion Audio VAC center channel and thought I would share my thoughts. I have been an owner of an Aperion 5.1 system for about 1 1/2 years before trying the new VAC center. Rather than return the original center right away (like most people seem to do), I kept it and spent a few days comparing the two. In audio I have found that you shouldn't assume that newer, bigger and more expensive is necessarily better (which actually explains Aperion's success!). I broke the VAC in for about 10 hours (then more later) before doing my real comparisons. The VAC and 522D-C were both calibrated, though it turns out only a 1 db adjustment was needed in my setup. I tested using tests on the AVIA calibration disk, DVD tracks and some music using DPLII (though I don't usually listen to music with DPLII). Results: Bass sweep from 200hz to 20hz with the subwoofer disengaged showed that the VACs bass extension is as good or better then speced. The VAC played flat down below 70hz which is very good for a sealed design of its size. The original center played flat a little lower which is to be expected. As for how flat is flat? The original center was a good deal flatter in my tests (at +-5db) compared to the VAC which had some larger but still acceptable bumps and dips. Remember though that this is an in-room response using a sweep and not discrete test tones. I don't consider this part of my tests very valuable in itself. The AVIA tap and ball around the room tests which are used to test integration and timbre matching showed that while the original center integrates and timbre matches with the 522d-LRs perfectly (as expected), the VAC exhibited a surprisingly large difference in its voicing. I was curious to see what how this would translate with "real" listening. I played the beginning of several DVDs for my DVD test. I find that opening scenes are a good place to start in evaluating speakers because you get a good score integrating with dialog and effects. I listened to (and watched) Usual Suspects, Ice Age, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and Time Machine. I watched the first 5 minutes or so of each at both -30db and -15db volume levels with each speaker. Always swapping back and forth after each listen. Here is what I heard: I did not really notice any improvement in dialog clarity, detail, or accuracy with the VAC. I did notice a large drop in general detail with the VAC as compared to the original center. I suspect that this is mainly on the high end but think it probably extends down throughout the mid range as well. This was especially noticeable at lower volumes (-30db). Here is one example: In the beginning of Midnight, the scene opens with some soft music as the camera zooms in on Savanna from the ocean. At -30db, with the original center I could here the sound of the wind blowing through the willow trees. With the VAC, I could not here the wind at all. At -15db you could hear the wind through the VAC but just barely. That is just one example, there are numerous other examples I could give about the difference in detail. One other was the sound of a suitcase being dropped on the pavement, just a passing piece of ambient noise in a scene. With the original center I could hear it. With the VAC I could not. As for timbre matching, the different voicing of the VAC was far less apparent in real listening but was still there. As for my music test: I listened to Dianna Krall's new CD using DPLII music mode. As stated above, I would not normally do this but thought it might be a good way of testing the centers. Here I did notice that her voice sounded a little richer and thicker coming through the VAC. However, the percussion coming through the center channel sounded much more real and clear with more detail when coming from the original center. Conclusion: I greatly preferred the original center to the new VAC. I would even if they cost the same, which they don't. I will give Aperion the benefit of the doubt about the superior off axis response of the VAC, I did not test it. I will not outright dispute the idea that the VAC delivers better clearer dialog, but did not find that to be the case. However, I did find that the VAC revealed a loss of clarity, timbre matching, and the light airy sound that is Aperion when compared to the original center. These findings were pretty clear/definitive to my ears and those of my testing partners (wife and friend). However, keep in mind that this was all in my room on my setup and results may vary. I think my findings are more a testament to the original Aperion 522D monitors (since the center is really just one on its side) rather than a critique of the VAC. They are amazing speakers that deliver an amazing sound, especially considering their price and size. I should also mention that customer support was great throughout. The Aperion guys double checked the test results for my VAC to be sure that it was not defective and when I did return it, the RMA went without incident. Still, I recommend that people really consider what is important to them when choosing between the centers and that they do not discount the original 522D-C. If you do buy a new system with the VAC, compare it to one of the 522D-LRs turned on the side. If you decide to upgrade, compare with the original before sending it back.