Edifier makes a wide range of speakers and tends to excel at making small, high-quality speakers that are affordable. The two we will review here, R1280DB and R1700BT, are bookshelf speakers that would fit well into any space where you do not have room for the big ones.
This means that both models are appropriate for standard-sized living rooms, apartments, offices, and larger computer desks. Each speaker model can connect to wireless devices and is a great choice for easy listening and for providing audio during movie viewing.
Both the R1280DB and R1700BT are Bluetooth-enabled and made with genuine wood side panel accents. We would just like to say that we love Edifier for choosing to incorporate real wood in their speakers at all price point levels; it’s a nice touch.
|1. Edifier R1280DB
|2. Edifier R1700BT
This design choice makes each of these speakers more of a piece of nice furniture rather than a small electronic device, although they both function quite well and are not just all looks. Sound quality for each system is rather good for small speakers, but the question remains as to which one is the better choice.
Breaking It Down
Before we jump into the details, each of the following reviews will focus on build quality and design, overall utility, provide accessories, and the most important aspect, sound quality. We will attempt to dissect sound quality in terms of general tone, bass, mid, and treble range responsiveness.
The classic appearance of the R1280DB speakers is very appealing and looks great in any living room setting, imparting a warm, retro look to the room. The more modern-looking black stain will also go great in modern living rooms, offices, and chic apartments.
The Bluetooth communication system of the R1280DB makes device pairing easy and can even remember recently used devices. So, the next time you hook up your smartphone playlist, the R1280DB will welcome it, establish a connection, and start belting out the tunes.
The medium gray cloth front panel sports a fess in the middle and the word Edifier at the bottom in a dull silver metal, which are nice, understated accents that do not glare and detract from the appeal of the wood sides. The R1280DB has two speakers, a woofer with bass relief and a silk dome tweeter, all facing front for good sound presentation.
The appearance of the R1280DB speakers is very nice and combined with their interfacing features, they are a nice addition to any room. You can purchase these speakers for about $120-130 or less if you find them on sale.
Dimensions: 5.7×9.5×7 inches; wood (come in either maple or black stain) and metal
Drivers (each speaker): Woofer (4.57-inch), dome tweeter (0.51-inch)
Amplifier power: 42 W RMS (root mean square)
Frequency response: 55 Hz to 20 kHz
Signal-to-noise ratio: 85 dBA
Input sensitivity: 550 mV
Ports: All front
Wired connections: Optical TOSLINK (1), digital coaxial (1), RCA (2), spring clip pair I/O (2)
Wireless connections: Bluetooth, remote control
The wood side panels come with maple or black stain on genuine wood that has the grain appearance of oak (there are reports that the wood is MDF (medium-density fiberboard), but it’s still wood. The wood of the speakers gives a warm appearance to the surrounding décor and look like much more expensive speakers.
On the face of the right speaker is an IR window for the remote control. The woofer and tweeter are arranged with the woofer centered at the bottom and the tweeter up top and slightly to the right next to the IR sensor.
At the top left is the bass relief port, which uses the case volume as an acoustic amplifier. The left side panel of the right speaker has a recessed panel with knobs for volume, bass, and treble.
They are positioned there because the power supply and amplifier are in the right speaker; the left speaker is slaved to the right by a speaker connection cable. The control knobs have weight to them and the action is smooth and precise, which allows for a fine adjustment that will stay in place.
Accessories provided with the R1280DB are a speaker connection cable to link the two speakers (8.2 feet long), a 5.5-foot RCA-RCA cable, a standard RCA audio cable (5.5 feet long), and a fiber optic cable (5 feet long) for smart televisions and stereo systems that use them. The remote control provided
The cabling is very basic quality, though, so we recommend you upgrade them if you purchase the speakers.
Regarding utility, the R1280DB really excels in the connectivity department. These speakers have every modern port connection for audio devices that you can imagine.
Bluetooth connections are effortless and permit connection to any Bluetooth-enabled device, including smartphones, laptops, tablets, and anything else. The wireless streaming option does not require strict line-of-sight, but the transmitting device does need to be in the same room with the speakers since walls tend to dampen the signal and connections can be lost.
Device pairing is easy, particularly after the first time connecting since the R1280DB electronics remember recently-connected devices. If you turn on your Bluetooth device, the speakers will recognize it and await activation if you switch over to a Bluetooth audio source with the remote control.
Other electronic features include an internal DAC (digital-analog converter) that can translate optical input from the fiber optic port as well. This is useful with some stereo audio sources and smart televisions for movie viewing.
Apart from these features, the R1280DB also has a pair of regular RCA ports and a coaxial input port. All these input sources can be switched at will using the remote control and, as a bonus, the remote can also control Bluetooth devices with respect to play/stop and forward/reverse program.
The sound quality for a small set of speakers is excellent. The overall tone is warm and smooth on the low end and crisp in the treble range.
They can easily fill the space of a standard room and are strongest in the mid-range and mid- to upper-bass regions. The bass is voluminous, but there is no sub-bass kick due to their small size. Bass in the middle range is focused and warm without distortion.
It blends well with the mid-range tones and adds richness to the general listening frequency range for audible perception. Mid-range sound is an area in which Edifier excels and is the sound zone where most listeners focus their attention.
The low-end of mid-range is elevated to provide fuller volume, however, the center is rather flat and instrumental sounds tend to step in front of vocal tracks here. Regardless, the sound in this range is smooth and has good timbre.
On the treble end, Edifier has chosen to use a silk dome tweeter to overcome shortfalls usually seen in small speakers where there are no crisp high tones. This tweeter is responsive and agile and provides clear tones without too much brightness.
- Tasteful design
- Can fit in small spaces
- All the input options possible
- Remote control that includes Bluetooth program controls
- Natural-sounding and rich midrange tone
- The end-to-end extension is unimpressive
- Cabling is not high grade
The case is made with metal and has genuine wood side panels in a walnut stain that imparts a warm, rich appearance and will definitely spruce up any room. The R1700BT is also Bluetooth-enabled but has a simpler control set on the remote control as it has fewer input ports than the R1280DB.
The remote is a six-button and features an on-off switch, volume up, volume down, mute, LINE-IN, and Bluetooth buttons. Bluetooth program changes must be performed on the hosting device.
The R1700BT had on-board digital signal processing (DSP) and dynamic range control (DRC) to prevent input distortion for excellent sound quality. Although the R1700BT has a smaller woofer (4-inch) than the R1280DB, the larger case design provides more acoustic volume for bass sounds and these speakers also have a larger 19 mm “Eagle Eye” dome tweeter that presents with crisp, focused highs without stepping away from the overall blend of the rest of the tones.
The charcoal grey cloth front panel is flat with a slight bevel at the bottom with the Edifier name in silvered metal. A recessed control panel with knobs identical to the R1280DB is on the side of the right speaker; as with the other model, the left speaker is slaved to the right speaker where the power supply and amplifiers are located.
Dimensions: 6×9.75×8 inches; wood (walnut stain) and metal
Drivers (each speaker): Woofer (4-inch), silk dome tweeter (0.75-inch)
Amplifier power: 66 W RMS (root mean square)
Frequency response: 60 Hz to 20 kHz
Signal-to-noise ratio: 85 dBA
Input sensitivity: 700 mV
Ports: All front
Wireless connections: Bluetooth, remote control
Wired connections: RCA (2), spring clip pair I/O (2)
The case has walnut-stained real wood panels and is set with a 10-degree slope, which allows the speakers to be placed below ear level. The woofer is set in the face and centered with the tweeter positioned above it.
The bass relief is centered below the woofer and on the right speaker, the IR sensor is nestled in next to the woofer and tweeter. The tweeter is a large 19 mm domed tweeter and provides good high-end performance for such small speakers.
Rear ports include the speaker connection I/O DIN port and a pair of RCA L/R inputs.
Provided are a 4-pin DIN speaker connection cable (8 foot), a standard RCA cable (6 foot), an RCA-RCA cable (6 foot), and wireless remote control.
The R1700BT speakers can be connected to any regular audio device by standard RCA ports. Bluetooth also allows for wireless devices such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, and other Bluetooth devices to serve as hosts to the speakers.
Sound richness as far as tonality is similar to the R1280DB speakers. There are a great mid-range tonal richness and high range clarity.
Each driver has very little sound overlap, so the full presentation is balanced and full, with a crispness in the bass but no bass kick. The case is not a sub-woofer case.
High tones are lacking in sparkle and crystalline ping, but are clear without being too bright or sharp. Acoustic instrumental music really comes through nicely with these speakers.
Vocals are clear, prominent, and have great detail mixed in with the airy openness of the mid-range and some warmth. Vocals tend to take a step back from instrumentals in the mid-range, however, which does not lend itself well to movie viewing in our opinion.
- Beautiful finish and appearance
- Strong mid-range performance
- Great for easy listening or movie viewing
- Compact and can fit anywhere
- Needs better cabling
- Could use more controls for Bluetooth
Winner – R1280DB
We like both speakers, really, and they are both quality products that are not at all disappointing. However, if we have to pick one and noting the similarity in sound quality and performance, we went with the R1280DB speakers because of all the connection options available with that product.
Add in the ability to remote control a Bluetooth device and change up songs on your playlist and that is a bonus that outshines the R1700BT.