- Soundbar and subwoofer in one
- Bluetooth support
- High gloss wood finish
- "Airsound" technology
- Price as Reviewed: £299
Orbitsound SB60 airSOUND Base Review
We all love flat screen TVs. Not only do they look great in our sitting rooms, they now offer the kind of image quality we could only have dreamed of a decade ago. But there is one major problem with them - their sound quality.
It's simple physics. As TV screens get ever thinner - especially as we enter the era of OLED - there is simply no space available in which to create decent sound. To create sound you need volume, one thing TV manufacturers just don't provide.
While many are happy to put up with the tinny sound from their 55in screen, the more discerning viewer will look to boost the sound credentials of their living room by purchasing a separate sound system.
These come in all shapes and sizes from full-on 7.1 surround sound systems to simple stereo speakers placed either side of the TV screen. Orbitsound has now produced a completely new category completely with the SB60 airSOUND Base which looks to combine a soundbar and sub-woofer in one product.
Orbitsound is a UK company with a rich heritage in audio equipment. Founder Ted Fletcher created bespoke recording studio equipment before inventing a way of stereo recording using two microphones placed next to one another, rather than using two microphones set apart as is traditionally done.
Fletcher, and subsequently his son Daniel, have taken this "spatial stereo" technology and used it to create the Orbitsound range of soundbars which promise to fill a room with sound and don't require you to sit in a particular position to get the ideal sound.
With the launch of the SB60 the company have renamed "spatial stereo" technology as Airsound, but it promises the same result.
As with other Orbitsound products, the SB60 is a sleek looking product finished in high-glass "piano black" wood, with superb build quality and a solid feel.
The unit measures 600 x 300 x 80mm meaning it's not exactly going to slip into a typical sitting room unnoticed, but Orbtisound has cleverly kept the front panel free of any dials or LED displays, meaning it fit in nicely with the rest of my living room set up.
Like the M12 soundbar, the front grille is replaceable, with black and silver grilles coming in the box. These are attached using magnets and come off and fit on easily.
The SB60 is designed to sit underneath your TV, with Orbitsound saying the SB60 is ideal for use with TVs from 28in up to 42in - but it's capable of being used with TVs up to 55in in size. As your TV will be sitting on top of the SB60, I would advise those with TVs above 44in to definitely check the size and length of their stands just in case.
The overall build quality is superb - except for the remote. Like Orbitsound's M12 soundbar the remote is plasticky and lightweight. The buttons don't feel solid and the remote seems at odds with the premium finish of the SB60 unit.
Set-up and operation
Set-up is one of the SB60's strongest selling points. Plus the box into the mains, connect to your TV using the supplied optical cable and .....that's it. You do of course have to make sure your TV is set to use external speakers, but the process is so simple and quick anyone will be able to manage it.
As well as optical input, on the rear you will find, a 3.5mm jack and stereo phono inputs in case your TV doesn't have an optical digital output. These ports can also be used of course to connect up other devices, such as a Blu-ray player or Xbox 360.
A blue LEd under the front grille indicates the SB60 is on, which blinks on each completed input such as turning the volume up or boosting the treble.
Looking at the sound performance, the main sound is provided from two centrally-mounted 2in speakers that are "proximity mounted" to optimise dialogue clarity. The wide soundstage is delivered by 2 x 2in side-firing airSound speakers.
Bass is catered for with a 5in down-firing subwoofer that has a specially designed and optimised bass enclosure.
Orbitsounds promise is: "The 5 driver system works in perfect harmony to give a complete listening experience from a single super low profile box. "
And for the most part, it delivers.
You may struggle to notice the difference and the claimed 200W of power when watching the Great British Bake-Off or Eastenders, but stick on Game of Thrones or the latest Star Trek movie and the SB60 proves its worth immediately.
With no separate subwoofer sitting in the corner of your living room, you could be forgiven for thinking that the SB60 would be unable to deliver significant bass, but you'd be wrong. From Benedict Cumberbatch's growling tones to the rumble and crunch of intergalactic warfare, the SB60 delivered much more than I was expecting.
Dialogue was also nice and clear and mid-range performance was excellent. There were some issues at the top end being a little harsh but not to such an extent as to make this unusable.
At £300 the Orbitsound SB60 airSound Base is not cheap. There are a number of alternatives out there for half the price, but these mean you have a separate soundbar and sub.
For those looking to save space in their living room, while maintain excellent, room-filling sound quality without breaking the bank, then the SB60 could be just what they are looking for.
- Sound Quality: 9/10
- Design: 9/10
- Features: 8/10
- Value: 8/10
- Overall: 9/10
- Room-filling sound
- Simple set-up
- Superb deisng integrating sub and soundbar into one unit.
- Terrible remote
- No HDMI