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Orb Audio Peoples Choice Mod2 Speaker System Review

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Orb Audio Peoples Choice Mod2 Speaker System Video

Orb Audio Peoples Choice Mod2 Speaker System Video

Summary

  • Product Name: Peoples Choice Mod2 Speaker System Video Review
  • Manufacturer: Orb Audio
  • Review Date: July 02, 2012 06:20
  • MSRP: $1098
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Buy Now
  • Speaker Type: Magnetically shielded full-range satellite
  • Crossover: none
  • Driver: High-excursion 3" full range polypropylene with Santoprene surround
  • Magnet Assembly: Fully shielded, high-density compact neodymium
  • Voice coil: Proprietary in high tolerance gap
  • Binding Posts: Custom gold-plated brass (14 Ga. wire max)
  • Frequency Response: 80Hz - 20,000Hz (120Hz-18,000Hz optimal)
  • Efficiency: 89dB 
  • Impedance: 8-ohms (Mod1); 4-ohms (Mod2)
  • Power Handling: 15 - 115watts    
Dimensions
  • Mod1 On Desk Stand: 4 3/16" W x 5" H x 4 7/8" D
  • Mod2 On Desk Stand: 4 3/16" W x 9 1/2" H x 4 7/8" D
  • Mod1 No Stand: 4 3/16" W x 4 3/16" H x 4 7/8" D
  • Mod2 No Stand: 4 3/16" W x 8 7/8" H x 4 7/8" D
Weight (w/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            
  • Included Accessories: 16 gauge steel adjustable desk stands (black or white)

Executive Overview

These may not look like much, but these little spheres are speakers from Orb Audio. The company has a unique approach to audio that is simplistic. These Mod2 speakers, for example, are full-range drivers rated at 8-ohms. Orb does something unusual, however. They  let you configure the aptly-named Mod speakers as singles, pairs or even quads - letting you achieve more output. Each Orb speaker has a frequency response of around 120Hz-18kHz, but when you gang them up and increase the output, we found that the response gets more efficient. In either case, crossing over these speakers to the included Super Eight Subwoofer really brings the system together.

Now, at just under $1100, these aren't bargain basement products - but you do get a full 5.1 system at that price and your choice of black or white. For an up charge you can also get them in Hammered Earth, Polished Steel, and even Antique Copper and Bronze. Since you have so many color and configuration options, and because you can wall-mount, floor-stand mount, or even place the Orbs on a table, this is an attractive solution for the... aesthetically-minded.

orb finishes 1 orb finishes 2

While the shell of the Orb speakers are well-designed, connectivity leaves a lot to be desired. The Orbs use a spring clip mechanism that only accepts 14 gauge wire and doesn't facilitate the use of anything that is pre-terminated, save for pin connections, which are rare. Each time we went to push in our speaker wire, the existing wire for the Mod 2, which shares the same clip, would get pushed out of place. This makes for an awkward connectivity experience. Dedicated speaker connections are the key here, even if they are integrated into the stands.

spring clips and cables

Before we get into the listening tests, let's talk about the Super Eight sub. This is Orb's entry-level subwoofer and it features an 8" driver that's powered by a 200 watt BASH amp. On its own, the Super Eight sells for $399. It measures around 12" in all dimensions and, externally, its not much to look at. Unlike the Orb speakers, the Super Eight comes only in a drab, textured Black and the grill sticks way out front, giving it is sort of goofy look in our opinion. I'm not sure if I want to listen to it, or roll it like a giant die and see what side comes up... The sub has line level inputs and both speaker level inputs and outputs. It's a ported design that dips down to 28Hz, which is pretty respectable for a system at this price point.

sub controls

On the back of the sub you've got an adjustable 12dB per octave crossover from 40-160Hz and a smooth adjustable phase from 0-180. Internally, the sub uses temperature protect circuitry to protect it from overloads.

But let's move on to how it sounds. First off, the Orb Mod system is one of those pleasant surprises. Little sphere speakers shouldn't sound good without fancy crossovers and advanced box designs. And yet we found them to be incredibly easy on the ears. For movies, which is what we spent a majority of our time listening to, the Orb Mod2 speakers recreated dialogue in a way that was clear. Even in dynamic films like Captain America, explosions and simple speaking scenes were well presented. A lot of sound bars, and certainly most televisions, make it very difficult to hear dialogue and the Mod 2 speakers have a surprisingly detailed and present midrange. For such small speakers, the sound that comes out of the Peoples Choice Home Theater System is surprisingly big.

Orb Audio mod2 speakers

With both movies and music, the Super Eight subwoofer tended to bottom out easily, producing a hard-hitting snap that let you know the driver had just hit maximum excursion. With that said, we'd love to see some kind of limiter on this sub, it really shouldn't be allowed to do that. In either case, we're glad Orb Audio has some larger models that will play louder and lower. And though I bet they will hate this part of the review, it just doesn't come across that Orbs subs are anything other than an afterthought. They aren't designed as well as their speakers and they aren't a tenth as pretty.

So what do we have? A very flexible, expandable, good-looking speaker system that defies logic and yet manages to sound really good for both movies and music. If you like to play your home theater loud you might want to go elsewhere for the sub, but overall, we can still give the Orb Audio People's Choice System pretty high marks. With $9 shipping and a "No Hassle" 30-day in-home warranty, anybody can at least test drive the Orbs. If they fit your aesthetics, and your budget, be sure to give them a listen.

Which brings us to this week's question. How big is too big for a subwoofer? Would you pay more for the same performance in a smaller package? Or will you take a bigger sized box in order to save some money? Let us know by commenting on this video... To help support us, subscribe to our channel and consider Liking us on FaceBook at facebook.com/audioholics. And, if you want to know what we're doing even before we do, Follow us on Twitter @AudioholicsLive.

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About the author:

Andrew Gash was the online personality for Audioholics' video reviews back in 2010. He's an accomplished video editor and scriptwriter and enjoys masochistic events such as entering 48 hour film festivals each year, for which his last several attempts have placed in various nominations and awards.

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Recent Forum Posts:

zieglj01 posts on July 02, 2012 13:50
theJman, post: 892949
Orb is still getting reviewed in this day and age? Hasn't it been around 10 years since they've had any real update to the Mods? I think they're pretty much the original design, aren't they? Just curious, why do a review now?

It would be nice if we could go outside the popular main stream more.
Something like the HTD Middy would catch my attention, and they did
put a tweeter in it.
http://www.htd.com/Products/flat-panel-speakers/middy-compact-speaker
theJman posts on July 02, 2012 11:02
eugovector, post: 892972
I think the orbs definitely have their place in the lifestyle market, but I, like the previous poster, would love to see an updated design pushing the envelope on what we could expect from small audio.

I actually owned the Orbs at one point, so I know first hand about their shortcomings. For what they are – a very cheap driver in a metal sphere – they sound pretty good, but no matter how many of them you use they don't quite cut it.

If you want to check out other small speakers try this link.
Marshall_Guthrie posts on July 02, 2012 10:47
I love small speakers because, though I wouldn't make any my primary system, it's just cool to listen to something that seems to defy the laws of physics. And their cute.

Would love to see some recommended small systems.

The audioengine A2s sound amazing, though are limited in output. Still, 6 of these with the S8 sub comes in at less than $1k and they're powered.

For towers, Aperions previous generation 4T caught my eye at a trade show, and I went to their listening room in Portland while on vacation to check them out. Of course they're 100x the size of the orbs, but half the size of most Tower Speakers. Once again, just cute.

The Boston Soundware Cubes are intreguing. I haven't heard them, and they're about 1.5 inches larger than the orbs, but they have a 2-way design and audioholics seemed to like them pretty well: Boston Acoustics SoundWare Indoor/Outdoor Speaker Review — Reviews and News from Audioholics

I think the orbs definitely have their place in the lifestyle market, but I, like the previous poster, would love to see an updated design pushing the envelope on what we could expect from small audio.
theJman posts on July 02, 2012 08:39
Orb is still getting reviewed in this day and age? Hasn't it been around 10 years since they've had any real update to the Mods? I think they're pretty much the original design, aren't they? Just curious, why do a review now?
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