The M12 looks the part thanks to its glossy, piano-black finish. The MDF-constructed unit is acoustically sealed and the metal mesh on the front can be easily removed as it's held on with magnets. See all digital home reviews.
Provide an M12 with some power, pair the wireless subwoofer and connect an optical cable is all you need to do to get going. The M12 will sit nicely in front of a TV but is small enough to fit on a shelf instead. See all audio reviews.
Beyond optical, you get a 3.5mm jack and stereo phono inputs. This gives reasonable flexibility when it comes to attaching devices to the Orbitsound.
Orbitsound M12: mobile connectivity
Compared to the previous model, the M12 no longer has an iPhone dock. This has been replaced with a control panel. There are buttons for power, volume, Bluetooth and input source plus notification LEDs.
Bluetooth is a handy feature for a sound bar as you can wirelessly listen to music from devices such as smartphones and tablets. The M12 can cleverly 'grab' a previously paired, but not active, device and resume playback by pressing the Bluetooth button.
A particularly cunning feature is that if the M12 is switched off with the volume set high, it will return to a more moderate level the next time it's used.
The M12's downward-firing subwoofer has a 6.5in driver. Since it doesn't connect to the sound bar with a wire, you can place it anywhere in the room. It operates on a 2.4GHz frequency but if you happen to experience any interference you can change the channel with a button on the back of the sound bar.
The bar itself has four forward-facing, mid-range drivers and two tweeters. The latter are strangely located in the centre; we'd expect them to be placed as far apart as possible. However, the bar and subwoofer combine to produce a well-rounded sound.
Orbitsound M12: audio clarity
You'll notice excellent clarity in the mid-range while the subwoofer, as you would expect, delivers decent bass. We found the M12's top end to be slightly lacking and not very bright, though.
The trick, which we tantalisingly mentioned at the start, is two side-mounted drivers which provide 'spatial sound'. (That's not a feature unique to the M12, though.) The idea is that instead of simply pumping out stereo, the front-facing drivers are a mono array. The side speakers play an out-of-phase stereo signal which aims to eliminate the traditional stereo "sweet spot".
The result is very pleasing indeed. The M12 really does fill the room with a large and immersive soundscape. Even when sitting to the side of the soundbar, there's a real sense of stereo.
We found the stock settings sounded good but there's the option to adjust it to the content or your taste. A small dial on the back of the subwoofer allows you to increase or decrease the level by 8dB. The supplied remote is decent with comprehensive control and the ability to control playback of a paired Bluetooth device.