by Rory Buszka on June 13, 2007 in Audio & Media
Here’s something that’s a bit different for Techgage â€“ 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.
Techgage doesn’t typically review home theater products â€“ 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 â€“ 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 â€“ 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 â€“ 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 â€“ 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.
|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|
|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) |
As-Tested: BOSS Stainless Steel Desk Stands
Super Eight Specifications
|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|
|Amplifier THD||<.1% (100hz at full power)|
|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
RCA gold-plated stereo line level inputs
High level gold-plated inputs and outputs
12dB/Octave hi-pass circuit
|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.