Need mobile audio oomph for school or home? Hugh John opts for Edifier R2000DBs
Chinese audio company Edifier has an enviable standing in the hi-fi community for classy innovative technology at what can seem ridiculously low – back-of-a-lorry – prices.
Its latest tranche of speakers, headphones and soundbars, demonstrated at last Digital Winter technology event further enhanced that reputation. But one product attracted special attention. Say hello to the Edifier R2000DB bookshelf speakers.
Weighing in at 9kg and measuring 25 X 17 X 28cm, each active speaker can deliver 24 watts. The enclosures are made of MDF (medium density fibreboard) which gives them a surprising heft and, says Edifier, ‘minimises acoustic resonance.’
Visually they’re stunning. The speaker units are sheathed on each side with svelte high-gloss black, piano-finish panels. (Edifier thoughtfully includes a small microfiber cloth to keep the surfaces pristine and fingerprint free) and the upward canted look, while having no apparent sonic effect, gives them a modern, pleasing aesthetic. The front grilles can be popped off easily and offer a more basic, brutal look that some users may prefer.
Connectivity can be either wired, or wireless, which makes them highly suitable for a school environment where they could be quickly moved from studio to conference or demonstration room as and when required. And obviously, as active speakers, no further amplification is needed.
The basic wired setup is just two cables; a mains lead from speaker to wall and a speaker cable to connect the two boxes. Set this system up, connect to a bluetooth device (iPad, Android or Windows etc), click the bluetooth icon on the remote and... cue music. It really is that easy.
Should you want to go down the more traditional ‘wired’ route then hook up to your sound device with one of the two RCA cables supplied, or via the optical cable. And – a neat touch this – there’s a small pilot light on the front of one of the speakers that lets you know which connection is currently active: red for optical; green for line-in; blue for Bluetooth.
Impressive audio performance
The mini remote (left), as well as duplicating the usual audio controls available on the back panel of one of the speakers, also has a feature which should appeal to audiophile buffs. Press Classic to select a direct audio feed from the source; press Dynamic for configurable feed which can be modified with the bass and treble controls.
Given Edifier’s usual tremendous value for money and the speakers’ impressive performance, it seems, well, churlish to mention a couple of design features that could be improved. The volume, bass and treble control knobs might have been better positioned on the side of the speakers (as they have with the R1700BT active speakers) rather than at the back where access could be difficult, especially if they were to be mounted on wall brackets.
And the mini-remote? It’s a very useful device but a colour scheme that features grey lettering on dull black plastic is not the most visible, especially in low light.
Let’s end on a thoroughly positive note. Hats off to a company who in these penny-pinching times provides good quality accessories – microfiber cloth, gold plated RCA interconnects, sturdy and adequate length speaker cable – in the box. Everything you need to set up and start listening.
Not of itself a ‘deal breaker’ perhaps, but coupled with impressive sound quality, attractive design and terrific value for money, it's a package that’s sorely tempting.
Ratings (out of 5)
Fitness for purpose 5
Ease of Use 5
Value for money 5
Active bookshelf speakers, with wired connection via RCA and optical cables (supplied) and wireless connection via Bluetooth
Best price: Overclockers.co.uk £110, Amazon.UK £170