In a world where there are wireless speakers, surround sound speakers, iPod dock speakers and even garden speakers the OrbitSound T12 plans to wipe the slate clean, giving you a premium all-rounder. Can it live up to such claims?
The OrbitSound T12v3 is the latest in a trend of products which are being referred to as 'sound bars', and from first glance it's clear to see why. Essentially a long rectangular object the T12 exists to be the perfect loving room sound system, offering premium sound as an iPod dock and great room-filling sound as a compliment to a TV.
In terms of timing, the T12 couldn't have come at a better moment, with TVs getting increasingly thinner, their ability to pack high quality speakers is slowly diminishing. Of course if you want a good cinema system such as the Samsung C6730W you're looking at over £500, so the T12 enters stage left to provide you with an alternative.
OrbitSound T12v3: Features
At first glance the OrbitSound T12 may strike you as a tad Spartan, but that's ok, with only the iPod dock on the top and a minimal selection of controls on the back, the T12 feels refreshingly uncluttered but without ever feeling under-equipped.
What it hides underneath that spartan shell however is rather special. Known as Spacial Stereo Technology, the T12 is able to create what OrbitSound believes, to be the most immersive stereo sound experience available. The technology allows the T12 to take stereo sound and make it feel as powerful as full 5.1 surround sound and after using it, we can definitely confirm this to be the case, but more on that later.
OrbitSound T12v3: Design
The T12 has opted for a minimalistic design approach with only the back containing the inputs/outputs and controls, it's not as attractive as say the B&W Zeppelin Air, but it's by no means bad-looking. On top you'll find the iPod dock while on the front is a metal grille protecting the speakers with a small LED indicator being the only sign that the T12 is up and running.
The subwoofer has gone for a similar approach, maintaining the black glossy style of the sound bar, be warned however, it is more fingerprint happy than an iPad. Finally the remote offers improved controls on the previous model however is probably the only weak spot in the whole package, feeling plasticky and slightly unresponsive at times.
OrbitSound T12v3: Specs
Inside the T12 is a 100watt amplifier which makes sure all that input gets turned into beautiful audio candy. On the outside you'll find inputs for optical, coaxial digital, RCA phono and also the trust 3.5mm jack finally on top of course is the iPod dock.
OrbitSound T12v3: Audio performance
This is in fact the 3rd incarnation of the T12 and with v3 they've improved the subwoofer, added new features such as video streaming through an iPod and generally given the internals a tweak to get every last drop from the speakers, boy does it show. With our press product we were able to turn the Spacial Stereo tech off, this shows the T12 as a fairly decent set of speakers, however turn it on and you're greeted with what can only be described as a completely different animal.
At low volume levels the clarity is exceptional with the subwoofer keeping basses low and crisp but most importantly, it doesn't then drown out the high trebles which are bright and chirpy. Turn the volume up however and you're greeted with a different much more primal beast; rather than feel like your being attacked from specific angles (which can be so often the case with surround sound) the sound buffets against you, it's certainly an experience we'd recommend you try out.
OrbitSound T12v3 Verdict:
At £299 the T12 is exceptional value for money especially considering how expensive some iPod docks can cost, let alone adding the cost of a surround-sound system. In terms of negatives, the remote feels like it could break easily, and in relation to adjusting the sound, bass and treble adjustments are not as precise as they could be. In truth though these are just niggles.
OrbitSound T12v3 availability: Out now
OrbitSound T12v3 price: £299