If you're in the market for hand-made artisan speakers with unimpeachable fidelity, the Blumenstein line is an ideal starting--and finishing--point.
Out of the box, the Orcas are elegance and simplicity defined. I own a caramelized pair, which look like sexy bamboo shoeboxes wearing nothing but drivers, brass bolts, and a Blumenstein stamp.
But you want to hear about the sound. I've been listening to mine for just a few weeks, and the mid and bass ranges have just begun to blossom. Conventional wisdom says it takes 400 hours to break in a pair of speakers, but the Orcas dominated my room from the moment I plugged them into my stereo.
The projection, body, and definition of the sound are impeccable. I make no claims to being a diehard audiophile, but the ability of these speakers to fill a room can't be beat. Whether you're taking a hard listen to a favorite album or chatting with friends under the umbrella of some mood-setting tunes, the Orcas deliver a rich, full listening experience regardless of the volume.
My regret--and one I plan to rectify--is not purchasing the Orcas along with their companion subwoofer. The Orcas' bass capacity is quite impressive, but the subwoofer is nevertheless an important part of the package if you're serious about giving your speakers a commanding presence in your listening space.
I can say with certainty that once you've spent a few hours un-learning your favorite albums over the Orcas, you'll feel the urge to see what more Blumenstein can do for you.
Turns out that's a lot.
-Harrison B., Boise, ID
I'm the proud owner of a pair of Blumenstein Audio's Orca speakers and matching subwoofers. Since getting bit by the "audio bug" nearly 20 years ago, I've owned many different high-end speakers employing radically different design approaches, including electrostats, sealed box designs and others. Some of these have been substantially more expensive than the Orcas. But for me nothing has compared to the sound of these Orcas. They have the uncanny ability to sound fast, warm and detailed all at the same time, even at low to moderate listening levels. I could go on and on about the sound, but there is no substitute for simply auditioning them for yourself. The Orcas sound great without the subwoofer(s), too, if space and/or budget are an issue.
A huge bonus is the appearance -- especially important if, like me, you use the speakers in a living room or similar space. They are properly viewed as an artisan product, enjoying an attention to detail paid to few other speakers (and, indeed, few other pieces of furniture). Put simply, you'll be happy to place them anywhere in your house.
It's also worth mentioning that Clark B. and his staff are terrific people, too, so this is a company you can feel good about supporting.
I'm using the speakers with a low-powered tube amplifier (this combination is particularly sublime), but I've also heard them sound excellent with solid state amplifiers. -Blake M-D., Seattle WA
Color me impressed. The Orcas are detailed and display a pleasant/natural tone. No harshness to the top-end of these speakers. Going to play around with different tube configurations as well. I'm very happy with this purchase even this early in the break-in process. The Orcas have my full endorsement as a Taboo owner. My original intention was to get the Taboo for headphones but I'm loving it as a speaker amp as well.
[...] Those of you out there that enjoy headphones will have no problem adjusting to these speakers. Toe-in configuration and sitting in front of the speakers several feet away gives you a great headphone-like experience with the speakers providing a larger sound stage and better imaging. For me, these speakers provide enough of what I want for low-level listening. For those of you who like higher volumes I'm sure the Orcas won't disappoint in filling the room. -John, Seattle
[The Orcas are] the highlight of my day! Coming home to enjoy the clarity and depth these gorgeous statement pieces bring to my music, movies, hell even the news, is just phenomenal! First and foremost they are STUNNING, the craftsmanship is second to none, and will peak the interest of non audio fans alike, their awesome finish and attention to detail is bested only by their performance, which in turn is bested only by the extraordinary level of service and warm regard extended by Blumenstein Audio.
I have on order pretty much everything they make, and should they extend their range, I will order those too!!! Simply dealing with them via email is a breath of fresh air and sheer pleasure. Their work is second to none, the perfect embellishment to your Eames era console or shaggy rug, and pair effortlessly with any DAC and amp you can throw at them, with a special sweet spot when driven by tube.
Don't buy anything else dummy, life's too short for regret and mass produced plastic and veneer. Get the surprisingly affordable-best, and make some new friends while you're at it. -Adrian, Australia
Wow . . . these speakers are really amazing, even new out of the box. The sound stage is astonishing. My listening space is not ideal acoustically by any means. Even so, I found myself nearly giggling at times (I'm generally not prone to giggling : ) ) Set up in a quasi-near-field arrangement, the speakers completely disappear. There is just this beautiful image in front of me . . . seemingly 180 degrees wide on some pieces. Artists like Neko Case with a lot of physical space in their recordings sound huge even in my modest little space. Live performances feel intimate. Hell, everything I tried sounded great or made it clear that the recording itself was substandard. -Bryan J., Portland OR
My brand new Orcas arrived today, and I just heard them sing for the first time. No problem driving them with my Fi 421A 4wpc SET amp. They have very natural tone and sound very musical. Listening to a capella Renaissance polyphony, I feel they don't need a subwoofer at all!
After almost an hour, they are beginning to sound just as beautiful as they look. You make a wonderful product! Thank you!!! -Arthur
I first found Clark when I was looking for some higher efficiency speakers to pair with a low-powered tube amplifier. From my first inquiry through every purchase since, they have been nothing short of wonderful. Admittedly, I can be a difficult customer...I ask a million questions and my standards for the finished product couldn't be any higher. I own a pair of Orca loudspeakers, a pair of Dungeness subwoofers, Blumenstein speaker cable, desktop stands, and amplifier bases for my Bottlehead electronics. The quality of all of these items has been first-rate. I can attach all the usual superlatives to the sound of these speakers, but for me the real story is the amazing customer service and attention to every detail. When I received my latest amplifier base it appeared that they decided to move to slightly different isolation feet. They not only included the proper number of feet for the base they just shipped, but they sent me enough feet for the two other bases they had made me over the past months. It is hard to find this kind of commitment to an excellent purchase experience! -John R., Indiana
It's difficult finding the right words to express just how great it is to deal with Blumenstein Audio. I'm not exaggerating, or leaning too heavily on hyperbole, when I say that this might be the best consumer experience I've ever had. I've come away from the experience feeling like I got the better end of the deal—like they deserve more than what I've paid. First, the speakers . . . I've owned two pair of Orcas and a Dungeness, and these little speakers can and will blow your mind (assuming your ears are connected to your brain correctly). I encourage you to search the internet for the number of glowing reviews and reactions to the speakers; not much can be said here that hasn't been said before. I would eagerly give a 5-star review based on the product alone, but when you buy from Blumenstein Audio you are getting more than the product. As I mentioned earlier, it just doesn't make sense how much value they provide through their customer service. These folks really love what they do, and it shows— in spades. If you have room in your home for some Orcas, then you owe it to yourself to do it . . . now . . . period. -James C., North Carolina on Yelp
[The Orcas] are clean, clear, with amazing images, deeper sound stage than my Triangles (and they are really good at sound stage), impressive high frequencies . . .
They only have about 100 hours on them. Unless they are going to extend down to 25 Hz with more break in I don't know what else they can do.
I was hearing good high frequency response with Bluegrass, so just to be sure, we put on Kind of Blue. The cymbals were amazing! They had sizzle! The piano, saxophone, and of course trumpet sounded very real. I'm really amazed at the highs. The cymbals were as they should be [. . .] the images were solid; the best I have ever heard the piano on this album. Walking back and forth behind the listening chair I could see that the center image only moves about a foot off center in my room at the extreme right and left. What I mean is that to get it to do that I stood a foot or more to the right of the right speaker, etc. There is a really wide sweet spot. More than I have experienced before.
I could go on and on, but it would just be repetitive. Clark, you have really done something magic here. -Grainger M., Tennessee