Orbitsound T12 v2 Soundbar - Design and Features

By Hugo Jobling
Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score

8/10

Review Price free/subscription

The rear of the soundbar is home to its connections and controls. There are both a coaxial and an optical digital input, alongside both phono line-level and 3.5mm aux stereo inputs and the system's subwoofer connects via nasty spring-clips. The presence of video-out is puzzling until you notice that there's an iPod dock up-top. This works with the entire current raft of iPod touches, iPod nanos, iPod classics, and iPhones - including the iPhone 4. Usefully, the bundled remote will control any docked device.

The Orbitsound T12 v2 has a switch varying the spatial setting between 'Off', 'Normal' and 'Wide.' While the latter option does indeed increase the stereo width, and the foremost removes it, we're not fans of either. The 'Wide' setting sounds artificial and forced and the 'Off' setting sounds flat and lifeless. Besides, removing the spatial stereo from the T12 v2 rather misses the point.

While trailing a piece of wire between the soundbar itself and the subwoofer isn't too much of a concern, we can't help but think that this system is just crying out for a wireless connection between the two parts. Bearing in mind that the low frequencies supplied by the sub are about as direction-independent as the stereo from the soundbar, there's really no need to restrict the placement of either.

The Orbitsound T12 v2 is equally at home playing music, or used in conjunction with a TV. Unsurprisingly the soundbar did a much better job of audio reproduction than the built-in speakers of the Panasonic TV we tested against. The Orbitsound T12 v2 sounded clearer and had superior bass response, thanks to the subwoofer. A separate volume control for the sub would have been welcome, though, as it can sound a bit boomy at times.

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Mike Turner

July 14, 2010, 12:33 pm

I have had the T12 soundbar for the last 6 months. It is the first version without the optical inputs. To say that I have been impressed with the sound quality of this thing is an understatement! It has transformed my family's TV watching experience. The depth and space it creates is uncanny coming as it does from a modest sized unit that sits happily under the TV with the sub tucked behind a curtain out of sight. Action movies are amazing. I used to have a decent 5.1 surround sound system but succumbed to the wishes of my wife to reduce mess and wires. The T12 has proved to be the perfect replacement. I would recommend this in a heart beat!

the near side

July 14, 2010, 4:53 pm

PLEASE, Please, please, look out for similar offerings (with a smaller sub-woofer with volume cotrol,or no sub-woofer at all) and review. There must be many people who, like me, want decent sound without enormous expensive speakers and a forrest of wiring.





Thanks too for the information provided in the other reviews I have read.

Keithe6e

July 14, 2010, 7:10 pm

@the_near_side: PLEASE, Please, please, look out for similar offerings





Try typing soundbar into the search.


http://www.trustedreviews.com/...

the near side

July 14, 2010, 11:13 pm

@Keith - Possibly I should have added that my search would be limited to soundbars with stereo only and without a "sweet spot". Thanks anyway, I have seen most of the other TR reviews of soundbars.

Tony Walker

July 15, 2010, 8:29 am

@Hugo





The wireless option would be equally limited (perhaps more so) by the need for it to be near a plug

simonpjd

August 26, 2010, 7:21 pm

How would I connect this to my SKYHD box. It has a digital audio output - does this work. Or do I simply use the usual audio cables.

JohnSC

September 25, 2010, 11:30 am

Answering Simonpjd's comment, the T12 v2 does have a digital optical input and comes with a cable to connect to your digital audio output, but rather than connecting to your SkyHD box you are much better connecting direct to the TV using the digital input. Then the T12 soundbar will play whatever you are watching on the TV at the time and you don't need to change anything if you are playing a DVD or Blu-ray. My own personal favourite feature of my T12 v2 soundbar is the video out - i love watching video content from my iPhone through the T12 on my flat panel TV - the old version i had before couldn't so this so this is a big step forward.

Stereophile

January 8, 2011, 6:49 pm

It takes a bit of perseverance to get the best out of this system. Positioning of the subwoofer is critical. It needs a good deal of free space around it (especially the rear ports) and should be placed well away from a corner; otherwise it is horribly boomy and distortive and drowns out the sound bar. It took quite a lot experimentation to get that right. Secondly, I found the sound improved hugely after the rather basic speaker cables supplied were replaced with good quality audio cables. Finally, be prepared to keep adjusting the tone controls according to the type of music you are listening to. Follow these rules and it works pretty well.

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