Audio Quality – Games and Movies

Sound Quality – Games

In games the Orbit’s sound quality was very good thanks to speaker’s affinity for the high-range. Bullet shell casing hitting the ground, and Batman’s fists landing on Arkham Asylum inmates all sounded painful and vivid. However, explosions, and the rumbling of a car engine needed a little more “oomph” to be truly immersive.

Altec Lansing Orbit - Mobile Speakers Redesigned - Mobile 11

Games tested: Batman Arkham Asylum, DiRT2,  Mass Effect 2, Defense Grid

The Orbit is a single speaker device that outputs both left and right channels simultaneously. This means that you do not get any of the spatial differentiation between left and right channels are you would two independent speakers. For most 3D games, this is an issue since discerning the source of the sound (left, right, behind) helps players react appropriately.

For serious gamers, you’re probably better off with a decent pair of headphones than the Orbit. But if you’re an occasional player and not concerned much about the audio, then the Orbit is worth considering if you need your speakers portable.

Sound Quality – Movies

To test the sound quality in movies, I sampled Pixar’s Up, Star Trek (2009), Fight Club, Moulin Rouge, and Juno. Watching movies using the Orbit is surprisingly good considering the unlikely source of the sound.

Dialog in movies came across very clear, but action sequences were a bit flat. With the lack of bass, fist fights and explosions sound more cartoony than something serious. Movies with a lot of music (like Juno and Moulin Rouge) played well with clear lyrics, but the accompaniment lacks some depth.

Don’t get me wrong, the Orbit performs well in movies and it gave me an experience I wouldn’t have had on just the laptop speakers alone – just don’t go in expecting big home theatre style sound.

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