updated 12:50 am EST, Fri March 11, 2011
Handmade home-theatre quality modular systems
Orb Audio has expanded and launched their latest line of tiny but audiophile-class, hand-made in the US speakers, called the Orb. The four-inch, 17-ounce round satellites -- about the size of a baseball -- can function as stand-alone units or be part of a modular system that includes subwoofers and additional speakers. The company says they offer high-quality construction but with direct-from-manufacturer pricing.
Orb Audio uses technologies such as rare earth magnets, CCAD voice coils, Santoprene, Nomex and other materials to get "big" sound from their small speakers. The body of the Orb is made of carbon steel and comes in six finishes: Black Gloss, Pearl White Gloss, Hand-Polished Steel, hand-antiqued Copper and Bronze, and a new offering, Hammered Earth.
Though hand-making the speakers in small batches using very high-quality parts is a very labor-intensive process (the exteriors rely on metalwork artisans), the company avoids the high markups usually associated with such products by selling on the internet only and direct to consumers rather than pay high distribution fees.
The systems are all entirely upgradeable as well, meaning those on a tight budget can start with a very modest two-satellite setup and upgrade adding a subwoofer and additional speakers as required. Pre-configured full systems are also offered, from a two-speaker system aimed at desktop computer users to elaborate home-theatre setups. The company's most popular system, which includes five satellites, a 200-watt 8-inch "Super Eight" subwoofer, hand-made stainless steel speaker stand and all necessary cabling sells for under $1000.
Orb speakers start at $239 for a Quick Pack (two satellites), and the company has locations in New York and Los Angeles where customers can try out the systems first hand. For clients outside those locations, Orb Audio points to strong reviews from various audio magazines and websites, and offers a 30-day in-home trial period.