Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Orbitsound: unobtrusively making TV better

I had an issue with the sound on my TV. I admit the issue was mostly 'Guy is a fussy little sod' and it was perfectly comprehensible, but I do like a bit of bass when I'm listening to music or watching a movie. On the other hand my wife has this incomprehensible aversion to wires and speakers all over the room. I assume this is because she's a bit weird or something, looks perfectly OK to me, you should see my office.

Nonetheless we started investigating sound bars. I've been loaned a few in the past and they've been difficult to set up, needed the right connections, all that confusing stuff. The Orbitsound M12 (pictured) had none of this trouble. Inputs through optical (which we use) port, or a standard 3.5mm port like you'd use on an earphone (avoid if possible, you have to turn the TV volume up really high so don't get so much control), speaker cable options (again quite good but not quite what you'd get from optical) or Bluetooth.

Bluetooth is a great option because the predecessor, the T12, had a little iPhone stand on it. I now don't have to have my iPhone in the dock whilst listening to music, just pair it up and go. The sound is good - no, not quite the spread you'd get from separate speakers but a decent beefy sound nonetheless. It's particularly effective on music programmes and movies but improves most things.

Best of all is that this time around the subwoofer is smaller than on previous models so you can hide it away more easily; this is simplified and helped by the fact that, Hallelujah, it's connected wirelessly so just put it near a power socket and you eliminate the trailing wires.

By all means I'd prefer a full-fledged, five-speakers-around-the-room system but if I want my marriage to last that's not going to happen. This is a neat solution for just under £400 (so no, not cheap) with enough oomph to keep me happy.

P. S. Although we don't have a convenient shelf on which to try it out, the soundbar is apparently non-directional. So although you get sounds clearly coming from the left or the right, you can in theory put the soundbar on a shelf nowhere near the telly and it should still sound OK. That said, you're then back to having wires trailing around the room everywhere.

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