Orb Audio Mod2 Home Theater Speakers Review

Do you enjoy going to the theater to watch movies, or do you prefer to stay home? For myself, I’d much rather just stay home for several reasons. One reason is that gas prices are crazy and the nearest theater is approximately 16 miles away from where I live. Then there’s the fact that my Lazy Boy recliner is much more comfortable than any seat in a theater… and, I don’t have to worry about a tall person blocking my view. Another reason I prefer to stay home, is the big screen movie feel that I get from my 65″ RPTV. Orb Audio just gave me another reason to never leave my house again. They sent me their Mod2 Home Theater System to review. Let’s check it out…

Hardware Specifications

Satellite speakers:

Speaker Type: Magnetically shielded full-range satellite speaker
Driver: Advanced high-excursion 3″ full range polypropylene driver cone with Santoprene surround
Magnet Assembly: Fully shielded, high-density neodymium magnet with proprietary voice coil in high tolerance gap to create strong, highly focused magnetic field
Frequency Response: 80Hz – 20,000Hz (120Hz-18,000Hz optimal)
Efficiency: 89dB
Impedance: 4 ohms nominal. Compatible with all popular receivers & amps rated at 6-8 ohms
Power Handling: 15 – 110 watts
Dimensions: 4 3/16″ W x 9 1/2″ H x 4 7/8″ D (on included desk stand)

Super Eight Subwoofer:

Speaker Type: High-performance ported bass-reflex design

Port Type: Precision-tuned flared snorkel port
Amplifier Type & Power: Custom high-power BASH digital hybrid amplifier with digital switching power supply for enhanced peak power output, 200W (continuous) / 450W+ (peak)
Amplifier THD: < .05% (100hz at full power)
Amplifier S/N: >95dB
Driver: Super long-throw 8″ high-performance driver with composite paper/high density ABS cone
Magnet Assembly: 30 oz. ferrite magnet
Frequency Response: 28-180hz
Adjustable Crossover: (40-160hz)
Max SPL Peak: 111dB
Max SPL Long-Term: 107dB
Weight: 26 lbs
Dimensions: 12″ H x 11 3/4″ D x 11 1/2″ W

orb audio speakers

Arriving in three big boxes, I felt just like a kid at Christmas when Mr. UPS man stopped at my home a few weeks ago.

orb audio speakers

One box contained ten satellite speakers with stands and hardware, another held the Super Eight subwoofer and Quick Start guide, and the last box contained a couple spools of speaker wire and a subwoofer cable to connect to my A/V receiver. Some of these items (special stands and speaker wire) are not part of the actual Mod2 package and are optional purchase items.

orb audio speakers

Available in five colors: Pearl White Gloss, Hand Antiqued Bronze ($300 option), Metallic Black Gloss, Hand Antiqued Copper ($300 option), and Hand Polished Steel ($200 option, not shown) these little 13 ounce grapefruit sized satellite speakers are what I am guessing prompted the Orb Audio company name.

orb audio speakers
orb audio speakers

I was sent 10 hand antiqued Bronze satellites as part of the Mod2 system. These little speakers are just gorgeous. I love their simple design as they have no gaudy logos or writing of any kind on them. They feel like a solid sphere of smooth metal in your hand. That’s because they are made of American carbon steel. The front grill is finished in Black (except for the Pearl White version, which is … White) and is made of metal as well. In the center of the back side, is a threaded screw hole for connection to various mounting and stand hardware. There are also two color coded speaker wire binding posts on the back of each satellite.

orb audio speakers

The posts are made of gold plated brass and are spring loaded to allow for easy attachment of up to 14 gauge speaker wire.

orb audio speakers

When you press them completely down, you will see a hole in which to feed the stripped end of the speaker wire.

In case you haven’t already guessed by the pictures and the system name of Mod2, everything that you purchase from Orb Audio is modular by design. This allows you to build your sound system slowly and upgrade it over time, which is great for those of us that can’t afford to buy the top of the line system right away. The way it works is that the satellite speakers can be used individually, in pairs (Mod2) and in fours (Mod4). Since I was sent the Mod2 system to review, I will have 5 sets of 2 speakers, for a 5.1 surround sound system.

It’s interesting to note that all the satellites are the same. So instead of having special front channel speakers, special rear channel speakers and center channel speakers, they are all interchangeable. That means that you can mix and match colors if you want to be unique. You could go with Black front channel satellites, White rear channels to mount on your White walls and then go nuts and have Copper finished center channel.

There are several options available for mounting the satellite speakers. The least expensive (free) option is their basic metal desk stand.

orb audio speakers

This stand is available in Black and White, with a round Orb Audio decal on the base.

orb audio speakers
orb audio speakers

No tools are required to attach the satellite to the stand as thumbscrews are included. Extra brackets are also included to allow the attachment of a second satellite to the desk stand.

Other mounting options and stands include various wall brackets and gorgeous handmade floor stands called HOSS (Hunk Of Solid Steel).

orb audio speakers

With my Mod2 package, I was sent the stainless steel BOSS desk stands. These are a $49 (each) option. With each stand comes two speaker jumper cables, bolts and spacers.

orb audio speakers

Assembling two satellites and a BOSS stand is simple. You just screw in one of the include bolts with a spacer. A flat screwdriver is the only tool needed. In my opinion, these stands look terrific. I really like the contrast of the Silver and Bronze. They also don’t take up much space at all. In the BOSS stands, they are approximately 9.5 inches tall x 5 inches wide. It’s hard t measure something that is round :o)

orb audio speakers

Once the satellites are attached to the stand, you can then connect them together using the speaker jumper wires. Red to Red, Black to Black. Not difficult at all. The only problem that you might have is when you go to connect the speakers to your receiver. You’ll need to insert a second pair of speaker wires to the bottom satellite. This can be a challenge to hold the speaker, press the spring loaded post and put the new wire in, without pushing the other one out the other side.

orb audio speakers

There’s also a horizontal BOSS stand that you can purchase for your center channel.

orb audio speakers

Each one includes all the hardware you need to assemble two satellites to the stand.

orb audio speakers

I don’t know about you, but I really like the style of these speakers. Reminds me of bug eyes ;o)

orb audio speakers

Just like the vertical BOSS stand, you have to use the speaker jumper wires to connect the two satellite speakers together.

Once you have assembled the Left and Right front speakers, Left and Right rear speakers and the center channel speakers, it’s time to connect them and the Super Eight subwoofer to your receiver.

Orb Audio offers two subwoofer models. The Super Eight has a 200W hybrid BASH amplifier that can peak at over 400 watts. and the Uber Ten a proprietary 300 watt BASH hybrid amplifier (dynamic peak over 500W).

orb audio speakers

I was sent the Super Eight subwoofer with the Mod2 system. At 12″ x 12″ x 12″, it’s compact and easy to locate in most rooms. It has a knit fabric grill on the front that I’m not overly in love with though. I have a cat and his hair tends to stick to materials such as this.

orb audio speakers

You can see the sound port on the bottom, along with the large rubber standoff feet.

orb audio speakers

The controls and connection points are located on the back of the unit.

orb audio speakers

The toggle switch in the upper Left corner is for power (the master power switch isn’t shown in the image above, it’s right above the power cord). When set to Auto, the subwoofer will power up when it receives an audio signal. It will then go to sleep mode when no signal is received for 15 minutes.

The volume knob is next in line. The manual suggests setting it to the 12 O’clock position, which is 50%. That seems to be fine for me in my medium sized room.

The Phase knob allows you to set the location of the subwoofer. It should be set to 0 when it is in the front of the room, and 180 when it’s in the back. The subwoofer has a variable phase control. Phase is the degree to which the satellite speakers and subwoofer are ‘pushing’ or ‘pulling’ at the same time. A phase setting of zero means that they are both pushing and pulling at the same time, but a setting of 180 means one is pushing while the other is pushing.

The X-Over Freq knob and X-Over toggle switch are for use when your receiver doesn’t have a subwoofer output jack. If you’re using the subwoofer with a surround sound system using a home theater receiver, you can just toggle it to disabled. The gold Line In jack is where you connect your subwoofer to your home theater receiver’s subwoofer out / pre-out jack.

The Hi Level in and out connectors below the Line In jack probably won’t be used if you’re connecting the Mod2 system to your home theater receiver. You actually connect the satellite speakers directly to the receiver and not the Super Eight subwoofer.

The moment of truth came after I connected the front, rear, center and subwoofer to my Denon A/V receiver, pulled out several CDs and DVDs, and settled back to watch and listen. I work hard so that you folks can be better informed ;o)

Music through the Mod2 system sounds smooth and clear. For small speakers and a small subwoofer, this system packs a real punch! I spent quite a while listening to all types of music from smooth jazz to hard rock and country. My ears were very happy with clear highs and rumbling lows.

Next up, DVDs… I tested a couple Harry Potter, Indiana Jones movies, as well as War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise (hey, it caught my eye, so sue me…). Yet again, very happy ears… During one of the movies, my SO kept asking if it was thundering outside because the subwoofer was growling in one of the action scenes. You just don’t realize how much better a movie experience can be when you have great speakers pumping out the sound. Even watching regular TV shows is more enjoyable now because the center speaker is great for dialog.

I don’t know why I had never heard of Orb Audio before their PR person contacted me about conducting a review. You would think something this good would be known far and wide. Maybe it’s because people are afraid to spend over $1200 on a speaker system without being able to hear them first. The great thing is that Orb Audio offers a 30 day Satisfaction Guarantee. That way if you buy them and aren’t happy for any reason at all, you can return them. It’s also nice to know that the satellites are backed by a five year limited warranty. When you take their quality construction, compact size, high quality sound performance and low price (when compared to similar systems), the Mod2 Home Theater system from Orb Audio is a great value. I highly recommend them.

 

Product Information

Price:1289.0
Manufacturer:Orb Audio
Pros:
  • Looks as good as they sound
  • Easy to setup
  • Compact
  • Many mounting and stand options
  • Competitive price
Cons:
  • Can be a challenge to insert two pairs of speaker wire in one post
  • Stands are expensive
Posted in: Audio, Video, TV Gear

{ 21 comments… add one }

  • Taire Avbovbo June 18, 2008, 11:06 pm

    Julie,
    I envy you sooo much. I cannot believe you got to review these speakers. They have been on my wish list for so long. I actually remember discussing these a while ago (you probably dont remember) and at that time you had’nt heard about them…. Keep up with the good reviews :-)

  • Julie June 19, 2008, 5:27 am

    Hi Taire:

    Yes, I do remember talking to you about these exact speakers :o) Trust me, you NEED these speakers! You won’t be sorry. I can’t believe how good they sound.

  • Taire Avbovbo June 19, 2008, 8:10 am

    I wish they would change the design of the subwoofers. Right now they look plain and dont match the speakers in term of delivering visual oomph

  • Julie June 19, 2008, 9:12 am

    You make a good point, but a lot of times, people hide the subwoofer under a table or in a corner anyway…

  • orbseemsnice October 1, 2008, 1:34 pm

    Orb seems to me like the best-kept secret of audiophiles. I found out about them about a year ago and they have been on my list since. Supposedly they are better than Bose but no one has taken the time to create a comparison chart of the various top-rated systems. Everyone recognizes Bose but I’ve never met anyone who has even heard of Orb. I guess that is a side-effect of being a “direct-to-market” company.

    Since you’ve reviewed Orb and you get all sorts of toys, perhaps you could tell me how it stacks up against your other toys (e.g. Bose, if you’ve got any).

  • Julie October 1, 2008, 3:52 pm

    I’ve never tried Bose speakers. I have Polk Audio speakers and I think the Orbs blow them out of the water and look so much cooler too :o)

  • Drew January 7, 2009, 2:32 pm

    Yea, so how about a little bit of bad news to go along with this review. I had discovered these little golden jewels a couple of years ago and am so glad that I did. I bought them solely on reviews at the time (against my wife’s judgement) and, when they arrived at my house, was ever so impressed with their out of the box sound. Heck, I am still impressed after almost two years of owenership. (P.S the sound gets even better after about 40 hours of the break in period). Now for the bad news. Not even a year after I had bought the 5.1 set up with Mod 2’s fronts and center, Mod 1’s for rear and the Super 8, I had decided to unplug my subwoofer (Super 8; which the sound was awesome) and move it out of the way to make room for Christmas decorations. I simply picked the sub up, moved to another room, set it down and there it remained for about a month and a half. When I went to go set it up again….no sound. To top it off I was just out of my 1 year warranty (that’s right they only warranty the amp on the sub for 1 YEAR; or simply that is the amount of time their amps will last with a lot of use). After making contact with their service department I was told I had to PAY to send it back so that they can look at it and charge me with any repairs that needed to be made. On top of that they said that it was the amp that was the problem and they have since upgraded the Super 8 and if I wanted to I could shell out another 190 dollars to have them replace the amp. Very long story short, be prepared for any of these speakers to go caplooey right/close to their warranty expiration and then expect to be try and be upsold when trying to get something justifyingly replaced. This company is not well known because they are probably all a bunch of thugs who could not operate in a corporate world because their product could not meet the standards we all deserve when it comes to shelling out lots of money for home enjoyment. I thought it would be good to spend some money on an American company for a change when it came to electronics. Unfortunately all I got was a bunch of flack from my wary wife and a speaker system that may or may not work tomorrow without any support from the company who makes them. Buyer definetly BEWARE!!!

  • james January 10, 2009, 10:25 am

    I’ve also chose these speakers over Bose, Mission M-Cubes & Kef Eggs (all of which I have heard & used apart from the orbs). I’ve had them for over 7 months now hooked up to an Onkyo 606 Av amp (BR PS3 & Panasonic Plasma). I went for pearl white and basic stands, sub and with wiring supplied too. I bought on recommendations / reviews online & mags as over her in Munich, Germany I know of no one who has them… A wee bit of a risk I know but what the heck.

    My general quick thoughts go like this:
    – Ordering, packaging and arrival was very quick even to Europe with customs being a doddle.
    – Chaps at the other end of the phone were helpful throughout & polite – that helps a lot!
    – The simple, slick attractive design manages to be discrete amongst our living room.
    – I love the look of them before I bought and still do 7 months later setup in our room.
    – Easy to setup, but the basic low cost (white) wall / roof brackets supplied are complete rubbish, they struggle to cope with the weight and over time have drooped. I would have bought the more expensive brushed stands, but I needed them to be white which they don’t do sadly.
    – Upon arrival I had two speakers which were faulty. The rivet type rear thread to screw the speaker to the bracket spun meaning they could not be tightened and secured properly. I phoned the guys up and they sent new items out asap. The replacements were fine and the faulty ones were returned. My customer service experience throughout has been perfect despite the 2 faulty speakers.
    – The sub certainly works well, but i agree with the comments above, it looks dated and not a show piece to look at. The aesthetic design could do with a revamp. That said it works perfectly and performs nicely (deep and rich base).
    – Regarding the sounds quality, I’m pretty impressed considering the size of the speakers and very happy with the overall range when playing music or watching blue ray dvds. The sub has to work hard though to make up for the loss low frequency in the smaller speakers and sometimes gets caught out on quiet film scenes. I’ve tweaked and twiddled with settings and struggled to find an optimum solution. This though for me is a minor, minor quibble as all the competitors above suffered similar things and you will always have this issue to a degree when going for smaller discrete speaker surround packages relying on the sub to make up the difference.
    – The KEFF Eggs do sound slightly better in my opinion. The Bose stuff being bottom / far too overrated and expensive. The Mission M Cubes had the best build & most attractive design, but the sheer size of the sub put me off and they also struggled with the low v’s high frequency cross over from speaker to sub etc.
    My conclusion, super happy considering the amount they cost and would only change the wall bracket mounts if buying now 7 months later.

  • Darren January 13, 2009, 9:02 pm

    I, too, had sub problems (blown amp). They quickly sent another — DOA (no sound at all). They then sent a THIRD sub, which has worked perfectly ever since. Even though it was a hassle to pack up subs #1 and #2, it cost me nothing and I finally was able to solve the problem. My hat is off to the “thugs” who took the time to provide first-class customer service. They will try very hard to make you happy but a warranty IS a warranty on every product made…

  • Adam February 23, 2009, 1:11 pm

    Question for James.

    James, I’m looking at Orbs and also KEF Eggs. Do you remember which model of the KEF speakers you were looking at? I’m trying to get a sense of comparison between the Orbs and the KEF KHT-1005.2.
    Cheers,
    Adam

  • Brian July 28, 2009, 9:49 pm

    BAD SUB
    I also had the same problem with my Super8 sub. It was less than two years old. I had it unplugged for a couple of days – plugged it back in and nothing. The fuse was blown. Replaced the fuse and it also blew immediately. I was also told by orb it was the amp and not covered by warranty and I could replace it for $190 plus shipping. I sent them an email asking them what component(s) on the circuit board was most likely causing the failure as I have the means to replace it. I received no reply to that email. If I had bought the replacement I would spent over $700 on a sub that is totally suspect. I opted not to. The sub was good while it worked but not worth the money or the hassle of replacing it. I would not recommend purchasing this product and I hope others who have experienced these problems be vocal on sites such as these. I believe they know there is a defect with their super8 sub and if they would have replaced it or even assisted me with a diy repair I would have written a different comment. I have since purchased a new sub from a local dealer that not only sounds better, was cheaper and came with a 3 year warranty on the amp. DON’T BUY A SUB WITH A ONE YEAR WARRANTY!!!!

  • daverave August 11, 2009, 3:54 pm

    I was thinking to getting the 2 satellites for traveling. Can some one comment how they will sound with out the bass box? How would they compare to altec50mm or what i have now is trivoli isongbook?
    I was going to use t-amp to run them with my laptop, is this a good combo?

  • dave September 12, 2009, 8:28 am

    I ended up getting one orb mod 1 speaker off of ebay, $78.

    What this is, is a single mid range speaker with a funky round enclosure. Your speaker box or enclosure effects the sound as it resonates, so this thin metal does not create a deep sound as you would with a heavy wood speaker case. This is why you get more clarity in the mid range and people say wow what a great speaker I hear more. You hear more because you don’t have 1/2 inch of wood around the speaker.
    When you isolate you mid, tweeter and woofer it create a fuller stereo sound and more mids you get more ‘stereo.’

  • Karl Mueller October 6, 2009, 11:09 pm

    I’ve had my Orb audio 5.1 system for about 2 years. The sound is incredible. I have 20 foot ceilings and the system easily fills the room with crisp audio. Unfortunately, I too am a victim of the blown amp disease and when I called customer service, got the exact story as described above. Not cool. The sub did sound great, but it leaves a shitty taste in my mouth to have to shell out another $190 to replace their inferior product after only 2 years. Hey Orb… why don’t you man up and stand behind your product? I’ve been reading that you’ve recently upgraded your amps… How about you send me one of those, and I’ll send back the box of crap you sold me just 2 years ago?

  • Rich Lobovsky April 19, 2010, 11:39 pm

    So thinking about buying the Orb People’s Choice Home Theater Speaker System with three Orb mod 2 for front and center and two Orb mod 1 for back speakers. Most reviews I have read say these blow away Bose and most other small footprint surround sound speakers but I’m concerned about the blown amp problem listed here by a number of folks. Any update on whether the new amp addresses the problem? Thanks, Rich

  • mike November 24, 2010, 12:16 am

    Buyer Beware, the ORB Super 8 subwoofer does not last. It’s no wonder it only has a 1yr warranty! The first one I had lasted just over 1 year before it died. When I called ORB’s warranty dept. they informed me that I would have to pay for replacement. After a major argument and talking to several people at the company, I finally got them to agree to inspect & replace it (but I still had to pay for shipping both ways!). The 2nd replacement subwoofer they sent me lasted approx. 2yrs then also recently died. This appears to be a common problem with these subwoofers, Beware!

  • AndyC January 15, 2011, 4:02 pm

    Hello my fellow sound-fiends;

    Well it’s 2011 now, and I’ve had my mod2 system now for about 5 years. The Orb modules have been flawlessly reliable. I also had the gen 1 sub go out, and did the drill to get a new “BASH” sub from Orb. It has been working now for better than 1.5 year, and I hope it doesn’t go out! But, I have to say, these guys have been good to me, and, as I see the junk being sold at retail, even with the sub issue this is the best solution I can have for HT speakers. I’m amazed the world has not caught fire over these “American Made” wonders. And, I’m an active shopper for “Made in America”!

  • rob parsons April 29, 2011, 6:37 am

    hmmmm, you see, ‘ORB ‘ people , I was seriously impressed with all the rave reviews, and was on the brink of saying ‘cool , ok lets do it’ …then I read about ‘subgate !!!’ and have decided that if I do go ..’orb’ way, then it will obly be the sattelites, not the sub.
    …what I mean is, ….is it really worth the loss of ‘name/rep’ to put out an inferior product, and not ‘man up.?
    I’m happy to change my mind if and when I start seeing reviews that say “hey they’ve fixed it and now it is cool ”
    Good luck anyway, the system sounds like it will be a winner,if…..
    Rob

  • C October 30, 2011, 1:17 pm

    First let me say that my ORB speakers do sound great. There’s no doubt that sound/dollar ratio is probably unbeatable. I’ve bragged on them so many times and all that have listened to my system have been very impressed. Apparently I have the opposite problem of most disgruntled ORB owners. My first set (2) of satellites blew after about two weeks-but I was so impressed with the sound that I had them re-paired at my expense and chalked my experience up as user error. So far so good so I expanded the system with 4 more sats.running single RT/LT front and surrounds and doubled up the center channel and no problems for about a year and 1/2. Upgraded my receiver (Pioneer VSX-1020) for the Super Bowl last year and OMG the Orbs sounded better than ever. Last night in the middle of my Halloween party all six of my satellites blew at once. I’m still not quite sure why as volume was about 50% and I’ve had it much much higher on the six speaker stereo setting so I won’t take the blame this time.
    My wife forwarded to the next song on the I-pod and that was all she wrote. I’m sure someone will have some explanation on how this was our fault but I thought I would share my experience anyway. I don’t think the guys at ORB are thugs or out to rip people off and the product has exceptional sound quality but after blowing them up twice (and mind you I have never blown a pair of speakers in my life until my last 2 events with separate equipment) I have to believe that the speakers are somewhat delicate. I have not contacted customer service yet but I’m sure the folks at ORB will expect me to foot the bill again-and I’m not so sure I want to spend the money and live in fear of mass destruction every time I change a function or increase volume or whatever the problem may be. I hope I can follow up with good news soon-either way I’ll let you know.

  • C October 31, 2011, 11:59 am

    Following up to my commnets above I have 6 blown Sats which Orb will repair for $45 each-not to bad considering my wife fessed up to turning up the volume which I must reason is what caused the incident!

  • floyd December 30, 2013, 12:33 am

    I have à Super Eight Power subwoofer with 2 of the round orb speakers.. i see then online around 400$ and up with all the speakers (8). What would be a reasonable amount to ask for my Super Eight Powered Subwoofer.

Leave a Comment