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Orb Audio subONE Custom 200W Subwoofer and Klipsch Wireless Subwoofer Kit review

on December 15, 2013 11:00 am

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I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing Orb Audio speakers and a subwoofer in the past.  (See the related posts at the end of this post for links to those reviews.)  I received a big 200W subwoofer with the original setup, and it performs beautifully, adding a lot of life and resonance to music and the audio portion of TV shows and movies.  That Super Eight Subwoofer is capable of rattling the windows and vibrating the floor.  That wasn’t a problem while I was living in a detached house in a noisy neighborhood, but now that I’m living in a high-rise condo with neighbors to the sides, bottom, and top of my unit… not so much.  Luckily, the Super Eight performs admirably at lower volume levels, so I don’t have to worry I’ll be rattling the neighbors.  I was wishing I had a subwoofer that was a bit smaller, though, as I no longer have room to hide the subwoofer behind the media cabinet in my new home.  Orb Audio luckily had been working to update their subwoofers, and they offered The Gadgeteer a chance to look at their new subONE Custom 200W Subwoofer.  While it’s not really any smaller than the 200W subwoofer I had reviewed before, it can be converted to a wireless subwoofer with the addition of a Klipsch Wireless Subwoofer Kit, so I could place it anywhere in my living room.

orb-audio-subone-subwoofer-11orb-audio-subone-subwoofer-12The standard subONE comes with a black cabinet, but I received the optional model that’s wrapped in real walnut veneer.  As you can see, it’s a beautiful piece in walnut.  There’s a removable cloth grill that covers the cone, but I prefer to leave the cover on.

orb-audio-subone-subwoofer-4The bottom has four 1″ feet to elevate the downward-firing “precision-tuned snorkel port” off the floor.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 12″ H x 12″ D x 12″ W (on 1″ feet)
  • Weight: 26 pounds
  • Features: Adjustable phase (0-180); adjustable crossover (40-160hz); temperature protect circuit; signal overload protect circuit; auto/on/off power; auto voltage sensing; LFE/Crossover Defeat
  • Speaker type: High-performance ported bass-reflex design
  • Port type: Precision-tuned flared snorkel port
  • Amplifier type and power: Custom high-power 2nd generation 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.  This yields rigid, lightweight design with excellent low frequency performance and increased detail and musicality.
  • Magnet assembly: 30 oz. ferrite magnet
  • Frequency response: 28-180hz; adjustable Crossover (40-160hz)
  • Max SPL peak: 111dB
  • Max SPL long-term: 107dB

Orb Audio says: “The subONE has all of the features you would expect in a high performance subwoofer.  We match a custom 200 watt hybrid amplifier with a powerful, dynamic subwoofer driver to achieve performance that delivers emotional, accurate bass.  By spending more on important components, Orb Audio can deliver a subwoofer capable of producing thunderous bass while still retaining the tightness and accuracy often lost in other designs.”

orb-audio-subone-subwoofer-5The back of the unit has a multitude of controls.  Refer to the installation booklet for instructions.  You’ll also notice that the subwoofer is powered, so it will provide its own power to drive the big cone.

The back is a bit different than the Super Eight.  I was a bit concerned when I noticed it had two RCA jacks to connect the subwoofer to the amplifier, because my amp doesn’t have that type of subwoofer connector.  Luckily, you can connect the single-plug cable, like my amp uses, to the left, or LFE connector, on the back of the subONE.

orb-audio-subone-subwoofer-2orb-audio-subone-subwoofer-3Orb sent a pair of their beautiful little satellites to use with the subONE.  I was sent the MOD 2X satellites in hand antiqued copper.  They were mounted on the optional BOSS stainless tabletop stands.

orb-audio-subone-subwoofer-13orb-audio-subone-subwoofer-14I used my trusty Orb Audio Booster Mini Amplifier with the new satellites and the subONE.  You can refer to my review of the Booster for more information about the satellites and the Booster itself.

orb-audio-subone-subwoofer-5aAs a first step, I tried hooking up the subONE and the Mod 2X satellites using the supplied cables.  This setup is equivalent to how I used the original satellites and the Super Eight I reviewed.

Everything worked perfectly, first time.  The satellites sound clean and clear, and they are much richer and warmer than I ever thought metal enclosures could sound.  As you’ll see in my original review, I waxed rhapsodical about how great these little speakers sound with the complete variety of musical styles I own.  They make TV shows and movies sound much better, too.

I did notice that the subONE, while it does add the thumping bottom end to the audio, didn’t seem quite as loud as the old Super Eight did.  That’s not a bad thing, since I do live in a condo now and have neighbors (some of them older and grumpier than I am) to consider.

The subONE speaker enclosure is the same size as the Super Eight, so it won’t fit behind my TV cabinet in the living room any better than the Super Eight will.  That’s okay, though, because the subONE is equipped with a WA port, which means it can be converted into a wireless subwoofer by connecting a transmitter.

orb-audio-subone-subwoofer-6As luck would have it, Orb included the Klipsch Wireless Subwoofer Kit with the subONE.

orb-audio-subone-subwoofer-7The kit consists of a transmitter that connects to the amp.  It comes with a power adapter and a cable with left/right RCA connectors.  As I mentioned before, my Booster amp doesn’t have the dual RCA ports, but the transmitter can be connected (via the left port) to the amp using the single-plug cable that’s compatible with my amp.

orb-audio-subone-subwoofer-8The receiver connects to the WA port on the back of the subONE using its attached cable.  It doesn’t require a separate power source, as power is supplied through the WA connection.

Both the transmitter and the receiver have a green light on the front.  They each have a pairing button, too.

orb-audio-subone-subwoofer-9I attached the receiver to the back of the subONE with the included adhesive Velcro patch, then plugged in the WA cable.  I plugged the sub cable from the Booster amp into the transmitter.  Both green lights immediately lit, which should indicate they were paired, but I didn’t get any sound from the subwoofer.  I tried pairing them a couple of times, but I wasn’t successful until I brought the transmitter and receiver close together before pressing the pairing buttons.

orb-audio-subone-subwoofer-10Once I successfully paired them, I could move the transmitter to the top of the Booster amp without breaking the connection.  The subONE performed just as well wirelessly as it had performed wired up to the Booster amp.  Now that it isn’t tethered to the amplifier, the subONE can be moved closer to my favorite listening position so that I can hear and even feel the bottom end of music or my program’s soundtrack without blasting the neighbors out of their condos.

Right now, I’m using the subONE with my bedroom TV.  I plan to use it in my living room, once I get everything done in there and get the TV and all its components set up.  I love that the Klipsch wireless kit works so well with the subONE.  I’ll be able to have the TV and my hammered earth MOD 2 speakers on their TOSS floor stands beside my TV, but have the subONE subwoofer sitting on the opposite wall, under an end table.  I’ll be able to enjoy the beauty of the Orb Audio Mod 2 satellites and stands, and I’ll be able to enjoy the oomph the subwoofer adds without having wires draped across my room.  The beautiful, rich walnut enclosure of the subONE is the icing on a great-sounding cake!

 

Product Information

Price:$399 for subONE; $118 extra for walnut veneer; $129 extra for wireless kit
Manufacturer:Orb Audio
Retailer:Orb Audio
Pros:
  • - Optional walnut veneer for the subONE is beautiful and rich
  • - Mod 2X speakers sound as good as they look
  • - subONE adds fullness and life to sound that small speakers can't
  • - Klipsch Wireless Connection Kit makes it possible to put the subwoofer near my listening position, so I can enjoy the bottom end without turning it up so loud
Cons:
  • - None

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