Rockport Orion

If you are an audiophile looking for a reason to visit Omaha NE you now have a very compelling one.  Sure, you can attend the College World Series or tour the world-class Henry Doorly Zoo, but the real draw for music lovers is to be found at the Sound Environment (SE), home to the only pair of the new Rockport Orions in North America. 

My friend and I had the good fortune to attend the Orion's US premiere last night hosted by the SE now in its 52nd year of operation. Rockport owner and co-designer (with Andy Payor, of course) Josh Clark and associate Jon Zimmer made two 90 min. presentations during which they discussed the research/design behind the Orion and then played several tracks of the finest sounding music most of us had ever heard!  Although the Orions were the stars of the show, you have to give some credit to their "back-up band": Gryphon Mephisto mono blocks (the Apex is on back order) with the Gryphon Commander pre-amp; Aurender W20-SE feeding a full DCS digital stack; Transparent Magnum Opus cables/cords and three Transparent Reference power conditioners; HRS stands, damping and isolation; and since the SE has been around for a log time, all room acoustics were RPG products.  The Tech-Das Airforce 2 turntable had the night off.

There were about ten attendees (all men, as usual) per session and most were "regulars" as SE has hosted several of these events in the past.  All agreed that the sound was amazing.  There was so much air and space between instruments.  Voices were pure and clear and the soundstage was gigantic given the small footprint of these speakers.  My friend is retired Phd. music professor and concert pianist.  At the conclusion of Bruckner's 5th he turned to the room and exclaimed, "I have never heard anything like that before.  I did not think it was possible.  I did not think a stereo system in a small room could give me the thrill of being in a concert hall".  To add even more perspective:  In order to get the Orions into the listening room the "old speakers" had to be removed.  These were none other than the $325k ginormous Wilson Chronosonics.  Almost every person in that room had heard the same set up when Peter McGrath demoed the Wilsons earlier this year and every person I talked to preferred the smaller, $133k Rockports by a large margin.  

I'm not sure when other dealers will get a pair of Orions, so for now you will need to come to Omaha to listen and I encourage you to do so.  SE is very listener friendly.  They do not require an appointment and you are made to feel welcome.  Just sayin...



I have heard them, it has been a number of years. Thought they were way over dampened. Carbon fiber is a wonderful cabinet material, but they seem to be missing the point about its best attributes. Light weight = high frequency resonance which is pretty easy to control. 

Check out a company who has been improving on this technology for fifteen years or so. Wilson Beseech. dig a little into their website.

@sounds_real_audio how could you have heard them several years ago?  The are a recent release.  Unless you’re referring to a speaker other than the Orion.

I used Wilson Benesch Chimeras for a decade before purchasing Rockport Cygnus from The Sound Environment. Ironically the Chimeras which are awesome I found to have overly damped bass. Rockports have a much richer sound. I still have a pair of Chimeras in the basement. The design philosophy of WB using only 7 inch drivers creates great accuracy and cohesion but sacrifices air movement. I’ll listen to the Orions in a couple of weeks and let you know what I think. 

Ok i listened for 71/2 hours to the Orions in the same room that had the XVX’s and now also has the Alexia V. The Orions are the most lifelike speaker I have ever heard in my 63 years. That includes the XVX. I was very skeptical that a 3 driver 3 way could be worth it but damn! I ordered a pair. Please read Robert Harley’s new review in TAS. Really think about what he is saying and read the technical sidebar for the explanation as to why they are so good. For those of you are truly curious please go listen to them and decide for yourself. There is no such thing as “best “ in speakers because we all have our own built in preferred frequency response curve and we all enjoy different things in life. I will say though that these speakers fool you more into believing that you are at a live event with real musicians than any other I’ve heard and that’s what I go for. I was “there”. I’m not bashing anyone else or even saying you will agree with me after you’ve heard them but I am telling you my truth as honestly as I can. These are GREAT speakers. Bravo

@sounds_real_audio Too bad wilson benesch speakers look like huge dildos. That is not an insult its just the truth.