- Review Price: £299.99
Traditional stereo speakers setups have one shortcoming above all others: to hear the left and right channels in the correct balance you have to sit in a rather particular position, or sweet spot. Stray too far left or right and the spatiality is lost. Not so with the Orbitsound T12 v2 Soundbar; using a nifty technology it dubs ‘spatial stereo’ the Orbitsound T12 v2 radiates stereo sound the full stereo effect of which is experienced no matter where you place yourself in relation to it.
The Orbitsound T12 v2 soundbar uses a technology called airSOUND, developed by a rather brilliant chap called Ted Fletcher. In very simple terms it works as such: a single loudspeaker produces the ‘main’ sound of the system, while a pair of speakers (in the same enclosure) directs the ‘spatial’ sound out to the left and right. You can think of it as the ‘main’ signal being the sum of the left and right channels, while the ‘spatial’ signal is the difference. When the two converge at the listener, you get the same stereo effect as you would sitting in a ‘normal’ stereo system’s sweet spot.
Because the signal for both channels is emanating from the same point – the T12 v2 soundbar in this case – the signal path for both the ‘main’ and ‘spatial’ outputs is the same even if you move about. This is unlike two-speaker set-ups where moving towards one speaker will bias the audio balance in that direction, distorting the stereo balance.
Technical tomfoolery aside, what’s important is that the system works. The Orbitsound T12 v2 really does produce a stereo output that remains stereo whether you position yourself directing in front of the system or off in a corner of a room – it’s almost eerie.
Moreover, aside from the benefit of being able to pick out the ‘stereo’ of the T12 v2 easily, there’s spatiality to the output that you really don’t expect from what is, after all, a relatively compact system. We’d argue that the feeling of ‘space’ this soundbar creates is better than many ‘virtual 5.1-channel surround’ alternatives. That shouldn’t be surprising, really – the Orbitsound T12 v2 isn’t using tricks to make you think you’re listening to surround sound; it’s delivering actual stereo.