Orb Mod2 Home Theater Speaker

There’s a fundamental problem one faces when buying speakers:  the very best ones are both huge and very expensive. Sure, I’d love a pair of Martin Logan Summits,  but I’m not sure I could get $10k by selling my kitties for science experiments, and even if I could, I’d still have to spend another $10k or so to get their matching center channel and surround speakers.  And then my living room would be dominated by my speakers, and my neighbors would hate me for the awesome servo-driven subwoofer.

So, for those of us on real budgets, with limited space, and with neighbors, speaker decisions always involve compromise.  I’m here to tell you that if you’re looking for a quality home theater setup with good design and good sound, these Orb Mod2′s are a great choice.  They sound great, provide a matched surround setup that’s incredibly clean, and come in at a reasonable price.

The package consists of five matched Mod2 speakers and a powered 8″ subwoofer.  Each Mod2 speaker itself is made from a pair of Orb’s spherical enclosures, each housing a 3″ long-throw neodymium speaker.   These are smallish speakers, but they are potent, and are rated at 110 watts of power — which is probably more than you’ll even want to use unless you’re still in a college dorm.

I’ve used these speakers for a while now, and I can comfortably say that they sound great. Some speakers wow you when you first plug them in and then fail to impress over time.  If anything, I have become more impressed with the Orbs’ accuracy and detail as time has gone on.  These are truly wonderful home theater speakers — dialog is crisp and clear, and the fact that the front, center, and rear channels are identical makes for completely immersive surround environments.

For music, the Orbs’ transparency is fantastic.  The level of detail and clarity is really remarkable, easily rivaling speakers that cost much more.  From Tori Amos to Nine Inch Nails, the Orbs produce a wonderfully clean and pure sound that only starts to verge into shrill at unreasonably high volume levels.  The Super 8 subwoofer does a good job with most styles of music, handing a solid bass drum hit wonderfully and taking case of most mid-bass material just fine.

The Mod2 system isn’t without faults.  Sonically, the system’s biggest flaws are the lack of a truly earth-shaking subwoofer and a noticeable lack of mid-bass punch.  In contrast to traditional floorstanding speakers featuring 6″ or larger drivers, the Mod2 system feels weak when playing thundering metal music like Opeth or Pantera.  Orb does sell a larger subwoofer, the 10″ Uber Ten, which might address one or both issues — albeit at an additional $299 cost.

Orb Mod2 Home Theater SpeakerThe speakers have a modern style that won’t dominate your room, and are especially attractive in the polished steel finish (which adds $200 to the package price) and with the HOSS stands ($299/pair).  Altogether that’s an $800 upgrade that does nothing to improve the sound, only appearance.  It may be that you could find better sound for the same total price… but only by going with traditional, ugly, boxy speakers.   For those of us whose primary concern is sound but for whom overall appearance is also important, the Orb Mod2 system is a fantastic compromise at a reasonable price.
4 stars

Base price: $1289 + shipping

Price as tested: $2087 + shipping

Website: www.orbaudio.com

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