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post #1 of 35 Old 02-21-2011, 03:20 PM - Thread Starter
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After some fairly diligent research, and careful deliberation, I decided to purchase speakers from Orb Audio for my home theater. Well, maybe home "cinema" is a more appropriate designation, because I didn't go the traditional route.

Unlike perhaps most of you I don't feel the whole 5.1/surround sound phenomenon provides all that much benefit. Personally, I find having sound emanating from all around me to be a distraction, and diminishes the viewing experience. Call me old school, old fashion, or just plain old, but having the sound originate from the same area as the picture is much more pleasing to me.

Regardless of my own proclivities -- or your feelings towards them -- I still have discerning tastes. So essentially what I did was create my own version of a 2.1 speaker system, but using quality components of my own choosing. I opted for the Classic Two system which consists of two Mod2 satellites and a Super Eight subwoofer. In addition to the speakers I also purchased a small amp to power the Mod2's (the sub has it's own amp).

Note that I'm not a professional reviewer -- or even much of a writer for that matter -- so my version of a review will more then likely pale in comparison to what some others are capable of producing. But here goes anyway...


For Starters
My viewing room is approximately 13x17x8.5, so it's rather small by way of comparison. There is wall-to-wall carpeting, no drapes and a few pictures hanging on the walls. The TV is positioned diagonally in a corner on top of a heavy wooden table, which contains doors and shelves underneath. Basically, a pretty common TV stand. The Mod2's are on top of the TV stand, mounted in pairs horizontally. The Super Eight is on the floor next to the stand. I've had this setup for almost 2 months now, and broke in all the components for over 50 hours before I wrote this review.

I probably should preface the actual review by saying that I purchased 'B' stock items, in order to save a few dollars. The equipment is all supposedly brand new, with nothing more then cosmetic blemishes to distinguish them from the other products Orb Audio sells. And what I received is definitely 'B' stock; 3 of the 4 Orbs have slight defects in the finish. The stands have a rough spot or two as well. The subwoofer, however, has no problems that I'm able to find. None of the defects are anything other then appearance-related. Only one of the Orb's has what I would consider a noticable paint flaw, and even that is relatively minor. Mine are configured horizontally -- side by side -- so I merely mounted that particular Orb so the mark was facing down, and now it's pretty much invisible. The remaining issues are not substantial in nature, so I was less concerned with "hiding" anything. Because I knowingly purchased 'B' stock I can't effectively comment about the quality of workmanship so I'll refrain, except to say that other then the cosmetic blemishes the components appear to be solid and well made.

Mod2 Satellites
'Interesting' is the first word that springs to mind when you unpack them. They are literally the size and shape of a softball. I don't recall ever seeing anything like it before. I know once you start to spend extraordinary amounts of money on speakers you can find some pretty bizarre and esoteric looking units, but this is a new one on me. In general they feel like well constructed speakers.

The binding posts on the rear seem to be sturdy, but one learns rather quickly they aren't large enough for the wires you need to use. Let me clarify that statement a bit further; I suppose for single speaker setups (Mod1) the posts are large enough for wire up to maybe 14 gauge, but when used in pairs (Mod2) the posts quickly become a hassle. Wiring them in parallel, as you must when hooking up the Mod2's, is an exercise in futility; trying to get two wires into one set of binding posts, even when both are only 18 gauge, can be a struggle. If you posses a third hand that could mitigate the issue to some extent, because you would have more dexterity, but even then I suspect it would be a difficult. Of course, this is not something you'll need to do frequently, but when you do find yourself in that position you might end up frustrated by the whole endeavor.

Confronted with an aluminum softball that contains a mere 3" driver -- without a crossover, no less -- makes you think there will be some prominent shortcoming in the sound, but for the most part I found none. There is a small amount of "sizzle", often associated to the very highest frequencies, that's missing, but it's not terribly conspicuous. There's a slight hole in the lower midrange too, a bit of "punch" if you will, that's not there.

The latter of the above concerns is most noticeable if you happen to be playing music. Thankfully voices are not effected; those come through with great detail, which is especially critical in movies. I've attempted to adjust the crossover up on the sub, so it can take on a larger amount of those lower-mid frequencies, but that only served to make the sound a little muddy. That became quite obvious too, because the Mod2's have incredible accuracy and clarity. To be honest, the Mod2's project detail in a manner that surprised me; when you look at them they don't appear to be much of anything, but once they're broken in the sound they produce is remarkably smooth and precise. They can be a little directional, but that might be related to the fact that I can only separate them by about 30".


Super Eight Subwoofer
At only 12" cubed it's also very compact. Not quite as diminutive as the Mod2's are, but still very small nonetheless. It's covered on all sides in a textured material, with a black non-gloss finish. It doesn't match the piano-black finish of the Mod2's, but it's not unattractive. The grill is held on with magnets, which is something I've never encountered before. Initially I was concerned it might not be tight enough, and could possibly vibrate during more aggressive bass passages. That concern hasn't proven true thus far; I've heard no untoward noises or rattling, regardless of the volume or intensity.

The purist I'm sure will say this is not actually a subwoofer, but more like a bass enhancing device, and I suppose to some extent that might be accurate (realistically, how much bass can you expect to get from an 8" driver?). But don't tell the Super Eight it isn't a subwoofer, because it's definitely an overachiever. Like the Mod2's I was pleasantly surprised by the sound this little unit puts out. Orb Audio's website is woefully lacking in specifications for their products, so I can't say for certain how low it actually goes, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was in the lower 30's range. I wouldn't be terribly shocked to find that it can go down into the upper 20's. There have been times when I've actually gotten "feel" from the lower frequencies, something I didn't anticipate from an 8" subwoofer. It could use a bit more clarity though, because not everything is as precise as it probably should be (made somewhat more obvious I'm sure by the astonishing openness of the Mod2's).

I found the amp in the sub could use a little work with Standby Mode. The volume it needs to "wake up" is too much, substantially more then what it takes for the amp to go back to sleep. For example, it might require a volume of 15 on the TV in order to wake the amp up, but 8 for it to go back to sleep. Seems to me like whatever the volume level is to wake it up should be virtually identical to what makes it go to sleep, but that's not the case. One thing the amp doesn't do is get hot, regardless of how long you use it or at what volume. Warm is about all it ever seems to get.


Miscellaneous
Often times clarity and volume are mutually exclusive - if you have one you generally don't have the other, especially with smaller speakers. The Classic Two defies that stereotype. Not only do they have exceptionally clear and accurate sound, they can play loud. I've turned them up far louder then I would dare listen for too long -- to the point where pictures on the wall rattled -- and the sound remained as precise and clean as when the volume was much more reasonable. It was incredible; I just kept twisting the volume knob and they simply got louder and louder. No distortion, no clipping, no drama whatsoever.

I do have one considerable beef with Orb Audio though; contrary to what their website heralds there speakers are not made in America. Not all of them, anyway. My Super Eight came in a box that prominently said Made in China. I'm a huge Buy American person, so part of my purchase decision always considers country of origin. Much to my chagrin it's virtually impossible to buy electronics made in this country, so when I saw Orb Audio practically sermonizing about how their stuff is made in America I was thrilled. Turns out not to be accurate, which doesn't sit well with me at all.


Conclusion
The aforementioned honesty issue notwithstanding, the bottom line is I love this speaker system. The quality of the sound is outstanding, with a precious few shortcomings. They make quite the conversation piece as well. Orb Audio unabashedly proclaims that their direct sales approach results in a significant savings, making it so you get far more for your money. I'm not firmly convinced it results in the phenomenal bargain they allude to, but I do believe you get a lot for your money (except for the stands they sell, which go from merely over-priced to ridiculously over-priced). However, if I had to do it all again I absolutely would. The definition, clarity and volume the Classic Two is capable of is very impressive, and worth the price you pay. If you're considering a speaker purchase you might wish to audition them for yourself. Like me, you may end up being pleasantly surprised.


Update 2/22/11:
I inadvertently left out one topic from the original post - customer service. I've had the opportunity to contact Orb on several occasions, all but once via email. In every instance they responded within 24 hours, sometimes even the same day (there was one email that I got a reply to on Saturday, which is highly unusually). In every exchange I've dealt with the same person, who has been profession and courteous, so for me I'd rate their service as quite good. Too often now you get pathetic service and/or support, but thus far Orb has been the exact opposite.



Update 4/29/11:
Since posting my original review I've had the opportunity to try the Classic Two speakers with a few different amps, so I thought it was time to update my findings.

The first change I made was ditching my old TV for a new plasma. This necessitated the updating of the amp. Honestly, I was never thrilled with the Pyle "solution" to begin with (as noted above) so I dug out of storage my cherished old friend; a Denon PMA-700v integrated amp. I bought it in the late 80's, but it's been packed away for a number of years so it's still in excellent shape. I connected that to the new TV via an optical connection -- and the Classic Two's of course -- to create a much better setup, with one notable exception; due to it's age the Denon has no remote control. That became a huge issue because the optical audio out connection on the new TV was unlike the older TV's analog audio out in as much as the TV's remote doesn't control the gain. Sadly that meant the Denon wasn't going to work either.

So I went shopping. Again. I now own a Sherwood R-904N. Not a great AVR I suppose, but I have space limitations which prevent me from purchasing anything more conventional. However, that means I've now used the Classic Two system with 3 different amps, so I'm able to draw some revised conclusions.

-- The speakers have more "sparkle" (high frequency presence) when using the Denon or Sherwood. The latter is not quite as good as the former, but it's still better then the Pyle. That was a big complaint of mine; the upper frequencies were lacking, but it appears as though the Pyle amp was the culprit and not the Mod2's. Now I have the upper frequencies I coveted, and they're quite distinct and precise too. Much more to my liking.

-- The lower midrange/upper bass is still not quite sufficient. I've tried all manner of crossover points, sundry configuration settings and now 3 different amps, but there's just something missing in that range. A lack of punch or depth if you will, but it seems like this issue is due to the Mod2's because none of the amps could rectify that. The Denon and Pyle didn't have any special adjustments for the crossover, as you would expect, so I used the one on the Super Eight subwoofer. Now that I have a true AVR I've disabled that and use the Sherwoods adjustments, which can be set for 40/80/100/150/200Hz. Sadly, it appears none of those are ideal; 100Hz exacerbates the midrange problem, but makes the highs sound better, while 150Hz brings in a bit more lower midrange, but can make the vocals "heavier" and less clear. What the Sherwood needs is a 120Hz setting, which is what seemed to work best when I was using the Super Eights crossover with the other two amps.

-- The subwoofer is now even more reluctant to "wake up" when the amp is turned on. With the Pyle and Denon the sub was hooked up via high level inputs. The sub would only come to life if you had the volume up past what I feel should have been necessary, more then the volume needed to make the sub go back into standby mode anyway. Now that I'm using the line level connection I find it's even more difficult to get the subwoofer out of standby mode. More often then not I have to wait until a commercial comes on (which general have a blaring sound track) or really crank the volume. The latter choice I don't consider optimal because that often leads to a less then graceful transition from off to on, which could potentially impact longevity.

The bottom line is that now the highs are definitely better, the lower midrange is still not what I hoped it would be and the sub is rather hesitant to come out of standby mode. The highs improved because of the better amps, the midrange "hole" is probably due to physics (3" speaker) and can't be fully mitigated, while the standby issue is just perplexing.


One other nit to pick; the cross-bar on the horizontal BOSS stand does not seem to be very sturdy, regardless of how much you tighten the anchoring screw. It doesn't take much pressure for the position of the orb's to change; seems like the slightest movement and they just flop down.

I ultimately eliminated one of the horizontal BOSS stands by changing my configuration from 2.1 to 3.1. As an unexpected consequence the sound actually improved further, counter to what I had anticipated. My assumption was having two dual-orb's for each channel (in a 2.1 configuration) would provide better clarity, resolution and depth, but for TV viewing that wasn't what occurred. What I found is the balance of sound is actually better using 3.1, and nuances that weren't fully projected are more evident now. When listening to music in 2 channel mode -- which utilizes just the single orb's on the FL and FR channels -- the subwoofer can overpower the satellites a bit, but while watching TV, which I do perhaps 90% of the time, the symmetry and cohesiveness is very evident.

About the only thing I don't like about the 3.1 setup is the FL and FR stands are black, while the center is brushed aluminum. Don't know how I'll resolve that, but right now it looks rather unbalanced. It sure sounds nice though.


One final thought, simply to reiterate what I said earlier... Orb's support is really second to none. I have had occasion to contact them several times recently, and in every instance my emails were answered in a timely and professional manner. You never have to fight to get assistance, unlike the vast majority of companies today. These guys put in the effort to make sure you're happy, which is a very pleasant surprise.

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post #2 of 35 Old 04-01-2011, 01:16 PM
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Thanks I also have been looking at this system and by your review I believe I will have a set sitting in my home shortly. question what amp are you using to drive the speakers?
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post #3 of 35 Old 04-01-2011, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
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It's funny you should mention that, because I'm looking for a new AVR at this very moment. Actually, I should say my first AVR.

Right now I have the Orb's hooked up to my beloved, but sadly quite old (circa 1986), Denon PMA-700V integrated amp. I've had it since day one, 25 years ago. It still looks brand new, and works just as well today as it did all those years ago. But it has no remote control, wherein lies the problem.

About 3 weeks ago I bought a Panasonic plasma TV. I foolishly assumed it had analog audio out jacks, because realistically what multi-billion dollar company would be so stupid as to not include $3 or $4 worth of electronics and connectors for something so universally used as that? Apparently Panasonic, that's who (and myriad others, as I've come to find). The only way to get audio out to my old receiver is via TOSlink, and a DAC to convert it. So I bought all that, only to find the remote no longer controls the volume! What idiot thought that was a good idea? Unfortunately, what this means is I must now adjust the volume on the amp itself -- which is not workable at all -- so I'm now forced to retire my dear old friend and buy a new amp.

So to make a short answer long... I'm currently using the aforementioned Denon integrated amp, but will have to replace that shortly with a new AVR.

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post #4 of 35 Old 04-29-2011, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
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I updated the original post with a substantial amount of new information.

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I updated the original post with a substantial amount of new information.
Jim,

Very nice personal review. I don't know how I missed it. You might want to Post this in the Orb Audio "Official" Thread. Or, better yet, asked a Moderator to marry this Thread with the official one.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...ight=orb+audio


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Since there seems to be little written about the Orb products I decided to try my hand at reviewing them. Note that I'm not a professional reviewer -- or even much of a writer for that matter -- so my version of a review will more then likely pale in comparison to what some others are capable of producing. But here goes anyway...
There are numerous consumer & professional reviews regarding the Orb Audio systems.

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post #6 of 35 Old 05-21-2011, 03:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Very nice personal review. I don't know how I missed it. You might want to Post this in the Orb Audio "Official" Thread. Or, better yet, asked a Moderator to marry this Thread with the official one.
Thank you.

I had actually left a comment in the official Orb thread about my review when I originally posted it (here). And, oddly enough, you responded to it saying you like what I wrote. Alzheimers creeping in perhaps?


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There are numerous consumer & professional reviews regarding the Orb Audio systems.
You are indeed correct. When I first started writing that I was only searching for Mod2, which yielded far fewer results then Orb Audio in general. I'll reword that to something a bit more appropriate.

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post #7 of 35 Old 05-21-2011, 03:26 PM
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Thank you.

I had actually left a comment in the official Orb thread about my review when I originally posted it (here). And, oddly enough, you responded to it saying you like what I wrote. Alzheimers creeping in perhaps?
I know! When I first read your review, I scanned over it. Then, after I Posted, I re-read it in it's entirety and thought to myself, a lot of this sounds familiar.


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You are indeed correct. When I first started writing that I was only searching for Mod 2, which yielded far fewer results then Orb Audio in general. I should probably reword that to something a bit more appropriate.
The funny thing is that I sold my Orb system just before I traded home States roughly a year ago and purchased all Definitive Technology speakers. After my move, I was upset with myself because I moved into a home with a smaller living room. Now that the Def Tech's are too big, I'm looking to replace them. I don't know if I'll go back to the Orb's (second choice) or one of the new Cambridge Audio Minx systems (first choice).

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post #8 of 35 Old 05-21-2011, 03:30 PM
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Jim,

If you read the Home Theater review from 2005, you will find that the reviewer found low frequency effects down to 25 hz with the Super 8.
Also, there's a graph on there that shows why you are hearing that whole in the middle band. Obtaining a smaller sub that can cover the 50-150 hz band to use in tandem with the Super 8 should solve the problem.

http://www.orbaudio.com/images/HTMagSept2005.pdf

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post #9 of 35 Old 05-21-2011, 03:35 PM
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You are indeed correct. When I first started writing that I was only searching for Mod2, which yielded far fewer results then Orb Audio in general. I'll reword that to something a bit more appropriate.
Did you see this? http://www.orbaudio.com/index.asp?Pa...n=Custom&ID=58

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post #10 of 35 Old 05-21-2011, 05:06 PM - Thread Starter
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I know! When I first read your review, I scanned over it. Then, after I Posted, I re-read it in it's entirety and thought to myself, a lot of this sounds familiar.
That's the only good thing about getting old; I meet new people every day, even if it's the same new people.


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The funny thing is that I sold my Orb system just before I traded home States roughly a year ago and purchased all Definitive Technology speakers. After my move, I was upset with myself because I moved into a home with a smaller living room. Now that the Def Tech's are too big, I'm looking to replace them. I don't know if I'll go back to the Orb's (second choice) or one of the new Cambridge Audio Minx systems (first choice).
Ironically, I'm in a very similar boat...

I really love my Orb's but that lack of depth is starting to become more noticeable, to the point where I've begun to look into potential alternatives myself. It may be a simple case of me fixating because I know it's their, but regardless it isn't something I seem able to overlook. It's a d@mn shame too because I'd rather not make a switch, but I may ultimately do that very thing. In order to stay in the "Orb family" I even went so far as to contact the guy I've been dealing with since the beginning to ask if they had any new products on the horizon, ala A'Diva Ti, or using a 4" speaker, or something along the lines of a "true" center. But he said there isn't anything in the pipeline, so I may end up defecting (I know that sounds rather odd, but it's almost how it feels sometimes).

The Minx is high on my list too, but that 2.25" driver has me very concerned. I have qualms about the lower midrange I'm getting now, I can only imagine how deficient that would be. Seems like they're just up against some immutable laws of physics there, and no amount of clever engineering is going to mitigate it. Who knows though; maybe that BMR technology can perform magic.

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post #11 of 35 Old 05-21-2011, 05:19 PM - Thread Starter
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If you read the Home Theater review from 2005, you will find that the reviewer found low frequency effects down to 25 hz with the Super 8. Also, there's a graph on there that shows why you are hearing that whole in the middle band. Obtaining a smaller sub that can cover the 50-150 hz band to use in tandem with the Super 8 should solve the problem.
The Super 8 is a pretty nice sub, but I would have to argue with that reviewer on 25Hz extension. I ran some test tones through mine and it started to struggle by the time it got around 31-32Hz. Not bad, but a long way from 25Hz. AAMOF, when I tried a few tones in the upper 20's the sub had clearly bottomed out, to the point where I was beginning to wonder if the cone was trying to separate from the frame. The excursion was very pronounced. Orb's website says the the Super 8 can go down to 28Hz, but I have my doubts (they also claim the Mod1 can go to 80Hz, but I consider that highly questionable as well).

Nice article - echo's a lot of my own sentiments. Did you see any anomalies in that graph though? According to the accompanying text it says the Mod1 was -3dB at 170Hz, while the Mod 2 was -3dB at 173Hz. Does that sound backwards to you?

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post #12 of 35 Old 05-21-2011, 05:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Lots of positive comments, and I'm not surprised to be honest; they are one helluva nice speaker. That being said... I'm always a bit leery when a website is posting user comments without attributing them to the owner by name, or even showing something as simple as the date they received them. Having dealt with these folks as much as I have makes me feel they're probably all legit, but it's always a little suspicious nonetheless.

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post #13 of 35 Old 05-21-2011, 06:10 PM
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It's a d@mn shame too because I'd rather not make a switch, but I may ultimately do that very thing. In order to stay in the "Orb family" I even went so far as to contact the guy I've been dealing with since the beginning to ask if they had any new products on the horizon, ala A'Diva Ti, or using a 4" speaker, or something along the lines of a "true" center. But he said there isn't anything in the pipeline, so I may end up defecting (I know that sounds rather odd, but it's almost how it feels sometimes).
Believe me, I've done the same in asking them for a little bit larger speaker not too long ago. So, you know there has to be more than just the two of us asking.

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The Minx is high on my list too, but that 2.25" driver has me very concerned. I have qualms about the lower midrange I'm getting now, I can only imagine how deficient that would be. Seems like they're just up against some immutable laws of physics there, and no amount of clever engineering is going to mitigate it. Who knows though; maybe that BMR technology can perform magic.
I don't know if you are a subscriber to Home Theater mag but in the new issue, they review the Minx S215 5.1 system which consist of the smaller sat Min 10's. They show a graph on there too and it seems a bit better than the Orbs by a hair. I've been looking at the Min 20's because they play a bit lower. The gentleman at Cambridge Audio told me in an email: "The Min20 would be your best option because of its twin driver configuration, gives superior power over a wider bandwidth, hence it will sound more dynamic' than the Min10.
It is configured as a 1.5-way design, with both drivers playing lower frequencies, but only one unit playing higher frequencies. FYI, the full-range unit runs open' without any crossover components."

I really like what their subs are capable of doing on paper.

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The Super 8 is a pretty nice sub, but I would have to argue with that reviewer on 25Hz extension. I ran some test tones through mine and it started to struggle by the time it got around 31-32Hz. Not bad, but a long way from 25Hz. AAMOF, when I tried a few tones in the upper 20's the sub had clearly bottomed out, to the point where I was beginning to wonder if the cone was trying to separate from the frame. The excursion was very pronounced. Orb's website says the the Super 8 can go down to 28Hz, but I have my doubts (they also claim the Mod1 can go to 80Hz, but I consider that highly questionable as well).

Nice article - echo's a lot of my own sentiments. Did you see any anomalies in that graph though? According to the accompanying text it says the Mod1 was -3dB at 170Hz, while the Mod 2 was -3dB at 173Hz. Does that sound backwards to you?
That's exactly right....170 hz is where it's at.

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post #14 of 35 Old 05-22-2011, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
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I've been looking at the Min 20's because they play a bit lower. The gentleman at Cambridge Audio told me in an email: "The Min20 would be your best option because of its twin driver configuration, gives superior power over a wider bandwidth, hence it will sound more dynamic' than the Min10. It is configured as a 1.5-way design, with both drivers playing lower frequencies, but only one unit playing higher frequencies. FYI, the full-range unit runs open' without any crossover components."

One of the articles/reviews I had found mentioned that "1.5 way" thing too, which I found terribly odd. Why not just wire the drivers in parallel and let them both handle the entire frequency range? Setting up something that's similar to a conventional 2 way system, with such minuscule drivers, strikes me as a less then sound (no pun intended) idea.

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post #15 of 35 Old 05-22-2011, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimWilson View Post

One of the articles/reviews I had found mentioned that "1.5 way" thing too, which I found terribly odd. Why not just wire the drivers in parallel and let them both handle the entire frequency range? Setting up something that's similar to a conventional 2 way system, with such minuscule drivers, strikes me as a less then sound (no pun intended) idea.

Yeah, I thought of that. I'd like to see 4-8 of those drivers in parallel. One thing I find great about the Orbs is that you can wire more than just two. The Mod4 is what I loved and was on my way to doing a Mod8. Just gotta love those balls of steel.

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post #16 of 35 Old 05-22-2011, 11:24 AM - Thread Starter
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A Mod 8? Now that would have been something to behold...

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post #17 of 35 Old 05-23-2011, 07:14 AM
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Hey Jim - thanks for the review. I'm an Orb owner for many years now. One thing that I felt really helped the performance of the Orbs, especially with the fullness of the sound, was getting a receiver with Audyssey or some type of frequency calibration. I can tell a huge difference when the Audyssey settings are off. If you have a chance to get that new AVR before you give up on the Orbs I think you might be pleasantly surprised. It certainly doesn't turn them into larger bookshelves or floorstanders, but it did help the sound in the fullness and lower midrange areas for me.
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post #18 of 35 Old 05-23-2011, 07:17 AM
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Also, if you connect an ipod or play cds you have burned from mp3's, my receiver has a "Restore" setting that really compensates for the loss of highs and lows associated with those formats.
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post #19 of 35 Old 05-23-2011, 08:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Mark;

I did actually get a new AVR, a Sherwood R-904N, which helped with the missing highs. It doesn't have Audyssey but it does have "Room Acoustic Calibration with EQ", which is equivalent to an Audyssey-lite I suppose. It doesn't work all that well though; for some inexplicable reason it keeps setting my sub to -15dB, which makes the sound akin to an AM radio from the 80's (in order to make the sub blend properly I have to change the setting to +10dB, which just goes to show you how poor the calibration functions). That's not the only issue I have with it either.

I've played around with all the settings manually too, so even though the automatic calibration is pretty useless I'm confident I know virtually everything that can be wrought from the Sherwood/Orb combination. What's "missing" is not something that can be adjusted in/out apparently.

I use the term "missing" loosely though. The speakers have a remarkable sense of clarity and detail, it's just there's a certain "presence" that's lacking. Call it weight, punch, depth, whatever, but it's not as full a sound as I'd prefer.

All thing being equal I would definitely stay with the Orb's -- and I may still do that, if I can't find something significantly better -- but I am looking, because it seems Orb has no updated products planned for release.

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post #20 of 35 Old 05-23-2011, 08:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimWilson View Post

I did actually get a new AVR, a Sherwood R-904N, which helped with the missing highs. It doesn't have Audyssey but it does have "Room Acoustic Calibration with EQ", which is equivalent to an Audyssey-lite I suppose. It doesn't work all that well though; for some inexplicable reason it keeps setting my sub to -15dB, which makes the sound akin to an AM radio from the 80's (in order to make the sub blend properly I have to change the setting to +10dB, which just goes to show you how poor the calibration functions). That's not the only issue I have with it either.

The most likely reason why your Room Calibration is setting your Sub to -15 is because the volume control is too high on your sub. RC systems do their best to blend the speakers as far as volume goes. Better RC systems will tell you when you have your sub set too high in order for you to better dial in the controls.

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post #21 of 35 Old 05-24-2011, 06:17 AM - Thread Starter
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That's an interesting thought, one that's frankly never occurred to me.

When setting everything up prior to running the calibration I did adhere to what both Sherwood and Orb say; place the gain on the sub at 50% of it's range. In this case that's 12:00. I've basically just left it that way.

I'll give it a try and see what happens. Thanks for the advice! In your experience what seems to work best? Something along the lines of 25% then?

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post #22 of 35 Old 05-24-2011, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
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That's an interesting thought, one that's frankly never occurred to me.

When setting everything up prior to running the calibration I did adhere to what both Sherwood and Orb say; place the gain on the sub at 50% of it's range. In this case that's 12:00. I've basically just left it that way.

I'll give it a try and see what happens. Thanks for the advice! In your experience what seems to work best? Something along the lines of 25% then?

Personally, I try to keep it in the +/- 2 db range....as close as possible to "0". That's your reading on the AVR side. Overall, it sounds like your RC is pretty useless. Please don't take that the wrong way.

Edit: Overall, you would probably be good to go in the +/-5 range. You don't want you AVR to have to jack the volume too far up or down. This is my experience anyway and I'm sticking to it.

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post #23 of 35 Old 05-24-2011, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
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No offense taken. Sherwoods RC is crap, at least that's been my experience with it.

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post #24 of 35 Old 05-25-2011, 08:25 AM
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I'm far from an expert, but what I've heard and read about any AVR calibration function is that it's very common for it to set the sub too low. My Audyssey sets it a -8 and I boost it to -2 (music) or 0 (movies) on the AVR. I knew going into purchasing the Orbs that it wouldn't be reasonable to expect floorstander or larger bookshelf performance, but the tradeoff in room decor and floor space was worth it for me. I've been through the big floorstanders, bookshelf speakers on stands, etc., but for the most part my speaker needs in this room are surround sound and background music for parties. There's the occasional cranking it up when people ask where the music is coming from and most responses are still amazement that such great sound can come out of that small speaker. Anyway, good luck on your quest! For me the journey is just as much fun as arriving at the destination.
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Also, I couldn't tell from your post about the Sherwood's calibration, but my Denon actually adjusts the frequecy response of the individual speaker up or down, not just equalizing the volume from each channel. That's what I meant when I said the speakers have a fuller (more full?) sound when the Audyssey settings are on.
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post #26 of 35 Old 05-25-2011, 08:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark McIntosh View Post
Also, I couldn't tell from your post about the Sherwood's calibration, but my Denon actually adjusts the frequecy response of the individual speaker up or down, not just equalizing the volume from each channel. That's what I meant when I said the speakers have a fuller (more full?) sound when the Audyssey settings are on.
Unfortunately, with the Sherwood it's just equalization -- it's doesn't make any adjustments to the frequency response -- so perhaps that's partially to blame.

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post #27 of 35 Old 05-25-2011, 09:30 AM
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Unfortunately, with the Sherwood it's just equalization -- it's doesn't make any adjustments to the frequency response -- so perhaps that's partially to blame.
You need a new AVR toot sweet!
Try a reasonably priced Denon or Onkyo for Audyssey.
Or, at least, a Pioneer with MCACC.
It will make a world of difference.
Like, you're on Pandora.

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post #28 of 35 Old 05-25-2011, 11:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perpendicular View Post

You need a new AVR toot sweet!
Try a reasonably priced Denon or Onkyo for Audyssey.
Or, at least, a Pioneer with MCACC.
It will make a world of difference.
Like, you're on Pandora.

That ain't happening for a long time - I just got this AVR about 2 months ago.

Because of physical restrictions on where I can place it I need a slim-line AVR, which in that area of the electronics world constitutes an oxymoron. I was able to find only 2 measly units that satisfied (on paper, anyway) the majority of my needs; the Marantz 1501 and the Sherwood R-904.

While researching them the Marantz seemed to be spotty, at best. The Sherwood wasn't much better, but it appeared to be somewhat so.

All things being equal I would not have purchased either, but given the limited available candidates I had virtually no options.

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post #29 of 35 Old 05-25-2011, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
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That ain't happening for a long time - I just got this AVR about 2 months ago.

Because of physical restrictions on where I can place it I need a slim-line AVR, which in that area of the electronics world constitutes an oxymoron. I was able to find only 2 measly units that satisfied (on paper, anyway) the majority of my needs; the Marantz 1501 and the Sherwood R-904.

While researching them the Marantz seemed to be spotty, at best. The Sherwood wasn't much better, but it appeared to be somewhat so.

All things being equal I would not have purchased either, but given the limited available candidates I had virtually no options.

Then, you are better off not using the room correction and performing the adjustments yourself. IMO

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post #30 of 35 Old 05-26-2011, 08:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimWilson View Post

That ain't happening for a long time - I just got this AVR about 2 months ago.

Because of physical restrictions on where I can place it I need a slim-line AVR, which in that area of the electronics world constitutes an oxymoron. I was able to find only 2 measly units that satisfied (on paper, anyway) the majority of my needs; the Marantz 1501 and the Sherwood R-904.

While researching them the Marantz seemed to be spotty, at best. The Sherwood wasn't much better, but it appeared to be somewhat so.

All things being equal I would not have purchased either, but given the limited available candidates I had virtually no options.

What about the Marantz SR1601? It has Audyssey MultiEQ at least and retains the small size factor.
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