Orbitsound T9

The Orbitsound T9 is a versatile soundbar setup with a passive sub and iPod dock that's all rolled into one (well, two, pieces). Unlike many larger soundbars, however, the T9 is just shy of a meagre 30cm in length. Is it as mighty in output as it is mini in size?

Design

The T9 is pitched as a soundbar that'll beef up the sound of a small TV with ailing audio, or add some audio power to gaming PCs or when laptop viewing. As it's aimed at this smaller screen the device is also suitably small - approximately 30cm long and 9.5cm in both height and depth.

The soundbar's front grill with added Orbitsound logo covers up two 2.5-inch mid-level drivers and a smaller 1-inch tweeter to the front. It connects via a magnetic grip so can be removed easily if you prefer the exposed look. To the left and right sides there are two additional outputs designed to fill the room with sound using what Orbitsound calls its "spatial technology".

The included 6.5-inch subwoofer - which, of course, you don't have to use, though we do advise it - is the bigger of the two parts, yet it's still a lot smaller than some dedicated subs and could easily be tucked behind existing kit. As it's harder to "block" low-frequency sound any obstructions will be less problematic.

We found that resting the soundbar itself on the sub added some much needed height so that the twinkly highs were projected to a more ear-receiving level. As there's no stand of any kind included you'll want to think about how the kit will fit among your existing set up for the best possible results. Saying that it works just fine sitting on a desktop, which is what it's designed to do.

The design is simple; functional even. And while it may not too exciting, it's also rather unassuming and the black or white finishes available will blend seamlessly into most setups.

Connections

Flip the T9 around and there is no shortage of connections: AUX, digital and 3.5mm stereo inputs - and, of course, the iPod dock on top - cover the majority of consumer kit. All the necessary leads are included too, so you needn't pop down to your local electrical store to buy that 3.5-3.5mm stereo cable.

There's also a remote control included which allows for adjustment of volume, bass, treble and control tracks.

Our only qualm here is the lack of visuals. For £200 you can't expect the world, but some kind of system to show which source is selected as well as the volume level would be helpful.

Sound

Despite it's small size the T9 delivers a mighty wave of sound. But it's not a thoughtless barrage; there's good separation of lows, mids and highs that really come together when the sub is wired up.

The soundbar design may have benefitted from a slight tilt to throw the higher-frequency sounds up, as most will have the soundbar set low down by default. It's not a huge problem, but could be a future improvement.

Volume too shows no lack of punch. This 140W system and 80W sub certainly has some grunt. It'll easily beef up a small TV or, as for the majority of our test, a Macbook or other second-room PC or screen for when the other half is watching the footie or Downton Abbey (delete as appropriate!).

The ability to adjust treble and bass is fairly crude, but it's an important feature that opens up the T9 to a wide variety of music.

Use as an iPod dock and results are really pleasing - this is a versatile piece of kit that would be well placed in an office or spare room.

Verdict

After Orbitsound's much larger T12, the smaller T9 doesn't look as though it will pack much punch. But appearances, as we've found and are so often told, are deceptive.

Not only does the T9 pack in the power, it's also an audible treat. Plenty of volume, a good spread of sound and decent separation between the frequencies will fill the room.

The slender sub also delivers plenty of whack: when watching movies those moody low bass notes further the atmosphere, while for music it ensures a powerful, yet proportional response.

The T9 is a great buy for £200. It might not look all too exciting from the outside, but it'll titillate your ears in all the right ways. Good show.