February 25, 2011

Review: Linkwitz Orion open baffle speakers

For sale: The speaker reviewed here is currently up for sale on the StereoNet Classifieds >

In the world of speaker design, if you haven't heard of Linkwitz, you haven't heard of anyone.

Not too many designers can boast that they have a crossover named after them - arguably the most popular crossover is the Linkwitz-Riley 12 or 24 db/octave. After a long and distinguished career, Linkwitz has created a speaker which combines everything he has learnt. It is named the Orion.

Recently I had the chance to hear the Orion with all current upgrades included.

What is the Orion?

The Orion will be familiar to DIY enthusiasts. It is a 3 way dynamic driver open baffle speaker. It includes a rear firing tweeter so that dipole radiation is maintained full range.

Listening Impressions

Very refined, very high resolution, great clarity. The sound stage is very wide and deep and the sound is very immsersive and there is considerable envelopment. I can see how many have called this speaker their last. And one very strong point for those who will place them in a living room, they excel in a normal untreated room.

They come with a large multi channel power amp recommended by Linkwitz and an analogue active crossover, which is a very elaborate crossover, one of the most sophisticated you will ever see. The box is well built with solid hardwood and the system has been upgraded numerous times to keep pace with successively improvements discovered by Linkwitz.

How does it compare to other high end speakers?

There are two very distinct differences. The first is the sound stage, the second is the bass. Both are very different to conventional box speakers. The sound stage is larger than just about any speaker you are likely to hear. Even in a small room this can be achieved. The sweet spot is also larger. The bass seems to be less room sensitive and so high quality bass can be achieved in a normal room without treatment. One of the main advantages of a speaker such as this is that it can be placed in a room without any treatment.

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