Set-up and operation are a breeze. The sub and soundbar come already paired out of the box, however there are reset buttons on both the soundbar and sub should you need to reconnect. Bluetooth pairing involves holding down the button on the unit and selecting the M9 when it appears on your device. It's as simple as that.
The M9’s remote is the same one that was supplied with the T9, and to be honest it’s not great. The buttons are too hard and clicky for comfort, plus they’re unhelpfully arranged in two columns, with a cluster in the middle housing the track skip and enter keys.
As it was designed for previous models with iPod functionality, buttons like ‘iMenu’ are somewhat redundant. On the plus side the gloss black finish looks rather fetching and it’s a more ergonomic shape than the credit card style remotes that you usually get with a soundbar.
It’s easy to be sceptical when approaching a soundbar like this – claims of ‘room-filling sound’ are often nothing more than PR guff. However the M9 really does put its money where its mouth is, delivering a rich, enveloping sound no matter where you’re sitting.
It’s truly remarkable that a unit this small can fill a room so easily – all through the magic of Spatial Stereo. It’s highly immersive, and you can hear subtle details being dispersed from the side speakers to give it an unmistakeable sense of width.
We found its effect was most noticeable with live music recordings, as the M9 spreads applause and emphasises echoes in a way that makes you feel like you’re right there in the crowd.
It also pays dividends when watching movies on TV. During big action scenes, effects, explosions and music flood into the room with remarkable drive and authority. It doesn’t purport to offer ‘virtual surround’ and naturally it lacks the precise effects placement of a 5.1 system, however as a way of making a stereo signal sound full and immersive, it’s still highly impressive.
Audiophiles might not like the way Spatial Stereo meddles with music playback, so we’d suggest they stick to a straight-up hi-fi system. But for those who crave an absorbing, entertaining experience over two-channel neutrality then the M9 is money well spent.
But even without Spatial Stereo we’d be singing the M9’s praises. There’s a general finesse and composure that makes music sound fantastic. It’s rich in top-end detail, vocals sound silky and the agile subwoofer supplies thick, punchy bass that never sounds bloated or out of sync – proof that Orbitsound’s wireless system does a good job. We really can’t sing this system’s praises highly enough.
It seems inconceivable that a small, unassuming soundbar like the Orbitsound M9 could deliver such an expansive, room-filling sound, but that it does – making it a terrific choice for those who want to upgrade from TV speakers but don’t have a lot of space. Add a chic design, gorgeous build quality and Bluetooth into the mix and you’ve got one of the best soundbar solutions on the market.