Sound technology with a difference

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Orbitsound is a new star of the audio market. Anna Ryland met John Cameron, the company’s chief operating officer, to find out why the independent sector should get interested in Orbitsound products.

Ted Fletcher, a former musician and audio electronics designer, is the engineering genius behind Orbitsound’s unique spatial stereo technology. Having worked with legendary producer Joe Meek in the 1960s, he invented the renowned Joe Meek compressor in the 1990s. Former investment bankers Harvinder Hungin and John Cameron, who supported the development of the technology from early 2006, became executive directors of Orbitsound shortly after the company was established in 2006.  At CES 2008, Orbitsound’s products were highlighted on BBC and CNN news, and won a prestigious place in Disney’s Best of CES show. At this year’s CES Unveiled, Orbitsound was showcased by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) as one of the top two innovative UK technology companies with potential for international success.

All Orbitsound products, including the T12 soundbar and the T3 portable speaker, feature Ted Fletcher’s invention – spatial stereo technology. It addresses the inherent flaws in traditional ‘stereo’ sound; unless the listener is standing at the right distance from each speaker (‘the sweet spot’), the accuracy of the stereo image and the level of sound quality are impaired. Orbitsound products produce true stereo ‘spatial’ sound with depth and clarity wherever the system is positioned.

Orbitsound technology is particularly suitable for ultra thin LCD and plasma TVs, where sound quality often does not match up to that of the picture. Orbitsound’s soundbars bring cinema-quality sound to flatscreen TVs without the need for multiple speakers and regardless of the shape of the room. The technology is potentially a game changer in the audio market.

“At present the majority of people play music through iPods, iPhones and speaker docks and, as all these products are much smaller they, don’t reproduce stereo sound properly. Our products aim to reproduce good quality sound for the mass market, not the niche audiophile market. The products are easy to set up and are wireless. Importantly, soundbars are future-proof products as they can be plugged into any latest audio visual devices,” explains John Cameron.

According to GfK, the soundbar market has increased by 55% year on year from March 2010 to February 2011. Orbitsound has proved to be a major player in the field with an 8.8% share of sales volume in the UK for the year to February 2011 (reaching 14.7% of UK sales volume in January 2011).

In June 2011, specialist technology distributor Widget UK, monitoring the growth of the soundbar market and seeing the sales performance of the company’s products, agreed to become the sole UK distributor of Orbitsound’s soundbar range.

The company has just launched the T12v2 soundbar, an updated version of T12 that features additional digital inputs, an improved sub-feeder cable and a new remote control that covers a greater range. The third version of T12 is planned for September.

The company’s products are mostly distributed through John Lewis and a handful of independents but John Cameron considers the independent sector “absolutely critical for T12 sales as consumers buying televisions need to be educated as to why they need soundbars.

“We are offering win-win solutions for both consumers and retailers. They enhance the sound of television and audio products and the retailers get products on which they can make decent margins. So if they lose on a TV panel they can gain on an attachment soundbar sale. T12 is a premium product for an average price.”

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