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Orbitsound A70 AirSOUND review

Richard Easton
24 Sep 2015
Orbitsound airSOUND A70
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
500
inc VAT

The OrbitsoundA70 airSOUND has a nice and wide soundstage but its sound quality is a little disappointing for the money

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Specifications

Speakers: 2, RMS power output: 130W, Dimensions: 750x65x74mm, Weight: 2kg, Dock connector: None, Networking: Bluetooth (SBC, aptX)

Speakers generally have a lot of inherent directionality, creating a distinct cone-shaped area of sound where audio quality is best. This principle applies to most soundbars, too, meaning anyone sat to the side of the sofa won’t be getting the best listening experience.

Orbitsound already knows a lot about trying to make sound fill as much of the room as possible. The company has taken some of the knowledge gained from the Spaced360 Bluetooth speaker and transferred it to the A70 airSOUND soundbar. The aim is to banish these ‘sweet spots’ for home cinema audio, as well as improving on what is more than likely lacklustre sound quality coming out of your television's existing built-in speakers.

Orbitsound airSOUND A70 touch controls

The A70 airSOUND packs in five speakers; there are two 2in front-facing drivers and a high-definition tweeter, supported by a pair of side-firing speakers that widen the soundstage. The A70 comes with a wireless 6.25in subwoofer, too, which means you're able to hide it out of sight provided it's still within reach of a power outlet.

The A70 isn't the largest soundbar out there, and while it looked attractive paired with a 40in television, it might look less impressive underneath anything larger. There's also the option to wall mount and screws are included. The general design is quite understated, with a glossy black front interrupted in the centre and each end by speaker grilles. It attracts a lot of fingerprints, so be prepared to wipe it down often if you use the subtle touch sensitive controls. The subwoofer is an inconspicuous rectangular box, but considering it is likely going to be hidden away, its physical look isn’t too much of a concern.

Orbitsound airSOUND A70 status

The status LEDs on the right of the soundbar dim when in use, letting you know which input source you're using or the volume, bass and treble levels without being distracting. Where other soundbars have used LED light combinations that can be difficult to decipher, this display is nice and straight forward.

Connections are a little limited with just optical and a 3.5mm input - there's no HDMI ARC. You do at least get Bluetooth with support for the less-lossy aptX codec, so you won't be sacrificing sound quality when connecting a wireless device. There's NFC quick pairing as well if your device supports it.

Being able to control music playback from a Bluetooth connected smartphone using the simple remote’s dedicated media keys is a very welcome addition. The A70 supports IR learning as well, so you can have it learn the IR commands from your television's remote so you can use that to control volume instead, cutting down on clutter.

Orbitsound airSOUND A70 remote

Sound quality when listening to music was respectable, with punchy bass from the subwoofer and well-represented mids and trebles. Things were a little more disappointing when watching films, however, with explosions and big screen effects often sounding tinny and lacking impact. This was evident when watching Interstellar, which admittedly has difficult sound mixing, but there wasn’t much presence in Avatar’s action scenes either. Voice clarity was good, however, so if you’re looking for clearer dialogue the A70 does this well.

The A70 can reach decent volume levels, although this is unsurprising considering there’s a combined 300W of power between the soundbar and the subwoofer. You can make adjustments to the sound but, annoyingly, adjustments you make to bass and treble transfer between sources. It would have been preferable if these were separated between the three inputs, as the audio production you want will differ depending on what you’re listening to. You won’t want the same adjustments when listening to music through Bluetooth as you will with movie audio coming through the optical port, for example.

As to the performance of AirSOUND, there was certainly less of a drop-off in sound quality and presence as you reached the periphery compared to traditional soundbars. This means that viewers sat to the sides of the television will no longer have the worst seats in the house, at least when it comes to sound. The airSOUND effect isn’t massive, though, acting more as a reduction of the diminishment of sound the further you are from the centre. It does help to give the soundbar less of a claustrophobic sound by widening the soundstage, however.

Overall the Orbitsound A70 airSOUND is a respectable-sounding soundbar and subwoofer but it comes at a high price. For this sort of money we would have expected crisper audio and better connectivity. For slightly less money the Samsung HW-H750 provides superior audio production and many of the same features, alongside greater connectivity and makes for a better choice.

Hardware
Speakers2
RMS power output130W
Subwoofer option170W (included)
Rear speaker optionNone
Dimensions750x65x74mm
Weight2kg
Ports
Audio inputs3.5mm stereo, optical TOSlink
Audio outputsNone
Video inputsNone
Video outputsNone
Dock connectorNone
USB portUSB (charging)
NetworkingBluetooth (SBC, aptX)
NFCYes
Features
Video playback formatsNone
Image viewing formatsNone
Audio playback formatsNone
Smart TV appsNone
Buying information
Price including VAT£500
WarrantyOne year RTB
Detailswww.orbitsound.com
Part codeA70 airSOUND

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