Postscript to the Linkwitz Lab "Orion" Review
- 30 Jul 2005 16:46
Listening every day to the unique Orion loudspeakers (see the review posted February 6, 2005) I have a recurrent chilling thought. I think of a moneyed audiophile in a high-end audio salon reaching for his checkbook, about to shell out a five-figure or perhaps even six-figure sum for one of the astronomically priced loudspeaker systems from Wilson Audio or Von Schweikert or Burmester or Sonus Faber or some other iconic brand. And I want to cry out, “No, you fool, don’t do it—it won’t sound as good!” The trouble is, there’s no way an audiophile can listen to the Orions because they aren’t set up in any store, high-end or not. It’s extremely frustrating.
It’s a fact that, in most cases, the sonic superiority of one audio component to another is subtle. You have to listen intently and for more than just a few minutes before you are able to decide which one sounds better. Not so with the Orions. Their superiority to conventional loudspeakers regardless of price is as obvious as the nose on your face. Maybe I didn’t make that quite clear enough in the review. You don’t have to listen for more than 15 seconds to realize that the soundstage is deeper, more layered, more detailed, more palpably lifelike than you’ve ever heard out of any pair of speakers. The effect isn’t subtle; it’s overwhelming. But who will believe me sight unseen, sound unheard?
There is a limited number of audiophiles who will take my word on audio issues at face value. They haven’t been disappointed in the past. For the vast majority of audiophiles there is no solution here. You are most unlikely to hear the Orions until you own them yourself. Maybe one of the very few current owners will invite you for a listening session. Siegfried Linkwitz in his Northern California vacation home is one of them (see http://www.linkwitzlab.com/orion_searanch.htm). I certainly won’t invite you; I’ve stopped bringing audiophiles home to play with me in my electronic sandbox ;-).