why spheres?

Apart from the aesthetic appeal of curved forms that break away from box-shaped hegemony, there are distinct sonic benefits to non-rectilinear shaped enclosures. As a speaker projects sound waves outward it also does so inward into its enclosure. The waves bounce back again onto the driver, impairing its performance. Where in a box, these "standing waves" continue to bounce back and forth between parallel walls, the elimination of parallel surfaces in a sphere greatly reduces the way in which they vigorously build up. Dissipating the waves in this way, helps the speaker—unencumbered by standing waves inside the enclosure—to perform its best, thus allowing us to hear how it sounds and not how the box sounds.

The advantages of a curved shaped enclosure have long been understood, yet the dominant form for loudspeakers remained the box shape due in part to its ease of construction and cost-effectiveness. There were exceedingly few exceptions up until the last decade when designs in other materials enabled curved forms to come to the fore. The dominance of wood or MDF, typically precluded cost-effective construction in any other form than a rectilinear shape. Notable exceptions were the aluminum spheres from Grundig and Telefunken in the 1970s or the Panapet radios of the 1960s. The earliest significant research in this field, however, was done by Bell Laboratories in the 1940s and patents existed for designs back in the 1920s for what were then nearly impossible to construct loudspeakers.

why ceramic?

Ideally, an enclosure should be as rigid as possible, permitting the vibrating membrane of the speaker to show its true character. Ceramic is an inherently rigid and inert material. Full-sized speakers in ceramic would retain all the benefits of its rigidity, but in practice they would of course be extraordinarily leaden objects. Satellite speakers then prove and ideal candidate for the material, avoiding the size and mass complications. Orb Akustik uses a ceramic body composition that is optimally suited to the application. While our first concern is sound quality, ceramic can be environmentally low-impact, a material comprised of quartz, kaolin, silica, kalonite, and alumina. Treat them as you would most other objects in this material, artistic or functional.

Orb Akustik ceramic speakers are handcrafted in small numbers, each one bearing traces of the process. With exception of the high gloss klavier black, all colors are through and through in the body, not finishes. The surface remains unglazed, natural, honest.

concentric driver design

By nature of its form, two-way designs within a sphere call for concentrically mounted drivers. Alignment of the drivers in this way yields significant sonic benefits in terms of the projected aural soundscape. Orb Akustik utilizes audiophile drivers with a detail-rich yet smooth silk dome tweeter mounted at the base of the woofer cone. All sound therefore emanates from the same point source, and to appreciate the difference one must experience it. It is normally taken for granted that in conventional 2-way designs, the tweeter and woofer exist above and below each other, the highs detectable from one area, the mids from another. In this design, the point source of sound becomes fragmented. Integrated concentric driver design, however, is seamless and sounds convincingly more natural. The projected sound better maintains its consistency no matter where the listener is. The speakers produce a wide and even soundscape that takes stereo and surround sound realism further than other more conventional designs can.