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Wonky Gibbon Ramblings

Orbitsound – T4 Review 0

Posted on May 31, 2011 by danny

The marketing bumph for this is mostly keen to tell you about the incredible sound technology built in to the T4, how it’s spacial technology provides a stereo sweet spot wider than an outsize sombrero and all in a package the size of a pint of milk.

Well I’m here to tell you that the sound isn’t that great. It’s okay, sure. But it’s not great. The bass lacks punch and the mid is overbearing. Well what did you expect? As Scotty will say (come the 23rd century) “you cannae defy the laws of physics” and I put it to you that for this listener this remains true. It is very hard to get decent bass out of small speakers – the mid will tend to dominate.

Which begs the question? “Why do I love the Orbitsound – T4?” becaue I have to tell you, I do – I really do. In fact, I think it’s a fabulous piece of kit.

The size of a couple of pints of milk – you get all this:
– DAB and DAB+ radio
– FM Radio
– Internet Radio (inlcuding Podcasts such as from the BBC)
– Support for UPnP Media Playing
– iPod suport
– Aux in
– EQ
all for about 70 english pounds.

But it gets better. For a device this size, the UI is REALLY good. This if for two reasons. First the display can manage 6 lines of about 25 characters so the developers had plenty of space to work with. Second, the UI is quite rich. A display this size, allows a nicely nested menu system. Selecting a podcast from the BBC is not the keyhole surgery of the two line display of the Revo Mondo say (that I’ve known and loved for the last few years) – it’s actually pleasurable. For someone who listens to a lot of talk radio / podcasts (Radio 4 darling!) it’s a boon.

The switch on / boot time is practically instantaneous and the time to find and connect WiFi to the router if using Internet Radio or UPnP is very quick compared to other devices.

The controls are arranged around the top surface and there’s no remote control which does make the T4 only really suitable for smaller spaces in the home such as a Kitchen or as a bedside radio. As you return to a function previously used it automatically retunes to the last station selected, or in the case of an iPod, unpauses it (when you move from the iPod to something else, it pauses it again – nice touch).

In fact given the size and style of the device, you could actually use it as a device to drive an external HiFi in a similar role to something like a Revo Mondo and it wouldn’t look at all out of place and the sound quality would be well, HiFi. And given that the thing you really want on a remote is a volume control, the lack of a remote then isn’t a big deal.

My only other gripe is that the floppy wire aerial is a bit position sensitive when listening to DAB – but that’s a small detail.

All in all – I’m impressed. The developer who coded up the firmware gave a damn and it shows. There are just lots of nice little touches as though the engineers had actually used their own product (heaven forbid!) This is a good piece of kit at a great price. Well done Orbitsound! Can’t say I understand your marketing though.

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