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ORB Audio Mod2 Home Theater System
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by Rory Buszka on June 13, 2007 in Speakers/Headphones

Here’s something that’s a bit different for Techgage – we have an in-depth look at a multichannel speaker package from ORB Audio, a new direct-selling speaker manufacturer that’s quickly gaining popularity. And for good reason, as we soon find out.

Unpacking, Setup & Specs


Techgage doesn’t typically review home theater products – we’re styled mainly as a PC technology site, so from the start I was intrigued by the possibility of reviewing a product from a different category of consumer electronics, especially since speakers in particular are kind of my thing. So when three hefty boxes from ORB Audio showed up, it certainly kicked my day up a notch.

The biggest box was also the heaviest, so I assumed it contained the subwoofer. Another large but substantially lighter box and a smaller and even lighter box arrived, though the smaller of those two boxes contained samples of each of ORB Audio’s different available finishes, both painted and clear.

Super Eight Subwoofer

I’ve got a thing for high-quality subwoofers. In my opinion, you just don’t get the whole audio experience if there isn’t plenty of deep, clean bass, so I’ve developed quite an appreciation for beefy woofers, gaping reflex ports, and powerful amplifiers, the things that make a serious sub. Naturally, I opened the subwoofer’s shipping carton first.

The ORB Audio Super Eight subwoofer’s box only includes the subwoofer itself, with its hard-wired power cord. The sub is wrapped in a plastic bag to protect it from cardboard dust, while its ends are encased in Styrofoam to prevent crushing of the box. The box containing the sub is the largest and heaviest of the three boxes, but I had no difficulty in lifting it. Still, I began to dread the thought of having to ship the system back to Orb upon completion of the review.

Mod2 Satellite Speakers, BOSS Stands

The second box contained the spherical ORB speakers themselves, as well as the BOSS stainless-steel stands, an option that ORB Audio included with my review sample. The BOSS stands were packed in pairs in bubble wrap in smaller cardboard boxes. The orbs themselves were packed neatly in custom-cut open-cell foam and individual plastic bags – the royal treatment. Of course, for a business that does all their business online, top-notch packing is a must. I’d like to see UPS put a scratch on these.

The ORB speakers arrived in perfect condition, however I did notice a flaw in two of the BOSS vertical speaker stands – while three of the stands were perfectly straight, one of them leaned slightly forward, and another leaned slightly backward. It’s a subtle deviation, but noticeable when the stands are placed side by side.

As you’ve probably guessed by now, some assembly is required. This isn’t rocket science – each sphere has a threaded insert at the rear, which is fastened to the stands using the included hardware. You’ll only need a flat-blade screwdriver to perform the assembly.

The Mod2 Center Channel speaker uses a BOSS horizontally-oriented stand, which has an adjustable tilt function that’s locked in place by a setscrew. If you order the BOSS stands as an upgrade, be sure to order four vertical BOSS stands and one horizontal, unless you prefer having a vertical center channel as well.

So what do you get if you didn’t order the upgraded BOSS stainless-steel stands? The normal stands simply feature painted steel construction, and are somewhat less substantial, but you won’t likely experience any sonic differences. The BOSS stands are much more aesthetically appealing, however. The appearance of the ORBs themselves reminds me of eyeballs. I’m not sure if I’m completely sold on their design – I felt like I was being studied closely throughout testing by the ocular forms placed around my room.

The third carton ORB Audio shipped to me contained samples of the other finishes ORB offers. There’s also glossy painted black and white spheres (which are really completely white, grilles and all, if your décor calls for it), and a sample of ORB’s hand-antiqued bronze finish. Like the polished steel finish of my review sample, the hand-antiqued bronze finish carries an extra charge over the painted finishes.

Mod2 Specifications

Specification
Value
Speaker Type Magnetically shielded full-range satellite speaker. Crossover-free design for coherent, lifelike sound.
Driver Advanced high-excursion 3″ full range polypropylene driver cone with Santoprene surround. These materials maintain their sonic characteristics over long periods of time and also through a broad range of temperatures and operating environments.
Magnet Assembly Fully shielded, high-density neodymium magnet with proprietary voice coil in high tolerance gap to create strong, highly focused magnetic field. Compact magnet design allows for maximum free internal volume and extension of low midrange performance.
Connections Custom gold-plated brass binding posts (fits up to 14 Ga. wire)
Frequency Response 80Hz – 20,000Hz
(120Hz-18,000Hz optimal)0
Efficiency 89dB per module
92dB per Mod2 satellite speaker
Impedance Mod1: 8 ohms nominal
Mod2: 4 ohms nominal*
*Mod2 is compatible with all popular receivers & amps rated at 6-8 ohms
Power Handling 15 – 110 watts
Dimensions Mod2 On Desk Stand:
4 3/16″ W x 9 1/2″ H x 4 7/8″ D
(may also be assembled horizontally)
Weight On Desk Stands:
Mod1: 17 oz.
Mod2: 33 oz.
Construction American carbon steel, assembled in USA
Finishes Premium Black Metallic Powder Coat
Premium Pearl White Powder Coat
Hand Polished Steel w/ Clear Coat
Hand Antiqued Bronze w/ Clear Coat
Included Accessories 16 gauge American steel adjustable desk stands (available in black and white)
Jumper wires
As-Tested: BOSS Stainless Steel Desk Stands

Super Eight Specifications

Specification
Value
Speaker Type High-performance ported bass-reflex design.
Port Type Precision-tuned, flared snorkel port.
Amplifier Type & Power Custom high-power class AB amplifier with digital switching power supply for enhanced peak power output

150W (continuous)
400W+ (peak)

Amplifier THD <.1% (100hz at full power)
Amplifier S/N >95dB
Driver Super long-throw 8″ high-performance driver with composite paper/high density ABS cone. This yields rigid, lightweight design with excellent low frequency performance and increased detail and musicality.
Magnet Assembly 30 oz. ferrite magnet
Frequency Response 28-180hz
Adjustable Crossover (40-160hz)
Max SPL Peak 111dB
Max SPL Long-Term 107dB
Features Phase Switch (0/180)
Adjustable Crossover (40-160hz)
Temperature protect circuitry
Auto/On/Off Power
RCA gold-plated stereo line level inputs
High level gold-plated inputs and outputs
12dB/Octave hi-pass circuit
Weight 31 lbs
Dimensions 12″ H x 11 3/4″ D x 11 1/2″ W
(optional 1″ feet)

Next, let’s take a closer look at the features and design of the ORB Audio Mod2 system.