The age old dilemma of sound quality versus number of speakers is hotly contested with one camp arguing that you need the extra speakers to reproduce the best possible sound quality and the other side saying that it’s possible to get similar if not the same sound using fewer speakers.
I’ve spent the last month using the Orbitsound T12, a high-end dedicated speaker system with an iPod dock built-in. The T12 features a soundbar, the latest technology from the home entertainment industry. Soundbars substitutes the typical 5.1 surround sound systems that dominate your living room. They provide decent sound output emulating surround sound effects and have a dedicated bass box.
Finished with a glossy black exterior, the T12 has a quality finish with serious looks that mean business. It won’t win any awards for innovative design, but what it lacks in ‘prettiness’ it makes up for with pure unadulterated sound quality.
The T12 uses a soundbar with front facing speakers as well as two additional speakers mounted at the ends of the unit. In total there are eight loudspeakers producing wide stereo sound so that you get the same audio quality no matter where you sit in the room.
A passive subwoofer decked out in glossy black sits towering over the main soundbar. Using the slim-line remote, you can control the bass levels, but even when set to minimum levels, you can quite clearly hear the bass come through. Pump it up to the max and even though the sub is passive, you can feel the vibrations in the floor – more than enough volume to hold a party of your own.
The slim remote allows usual playback and volume control including the ability to modify the bass and treble levels. It also allows you to control the menu system on the iPod. Although on paper it sounds like a good idea and it works quite well, it’s actually quite difficult to control if you’re quite a distance away from the iPod and not able to see the screen.
To activate the two side speakers, simply flick the switch at the back. Dubbed ‘airSound’, the two side speakers generates a stereo sound from the soundbar. Having these extra side speakers switched on, surprisingly makes a difference as it helps to deliver that surround sound effect.
For loud, undistorted music, look no further than the Orbitsound T12. With a price tag of £349, it’s not for the lighthearted, however the great news is that the T12 won’t just play your iPod tunes, you can also hook up your TV sound to it using the audio in connectors as well as output video from your iPod to your television set. If you want to reclaim your living room then the T12 is definitely one to check out.