Edifier R1280T vs Edifier R1280DB: Which One is Best?

The R1280T and R1280DB speaker systems by Edifier are bookshelf speakers that work great in an office, dorm room, living room, or apartment. They are intended to be stylish and functional, but not obtrusive and sit neatly on your shelves.

Regarding the target market for these speakers, they work for just about anyone who wants affordable room-filling sound but where space is at a premium. Each of these models has a very small footprint (5.7 inches across the front, 7 inches deep, and only 9.5 inches high) and despite the small facing, their depth provides plenty of bass tones beyond their small size.

Comparison Table

PRODUCT FEATURES LATEST PRICE
1. Edifier R1280DB
  • Beautiful design
  • Compact
  • A variety of input options
  • Full control remote
  • Rich and natural-sounding midrange tone
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2. Edifier R1280T
  • Beautiful design
  • Compact
  • Basic RCA input
  • Simple remote (if you like simple)
  • Mid-range tones are rich and full
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They look identical, so you may ask what is the difference between them and which one is the better deal? Here, we will break down the facets of each speaker and provide our recommendations for the best pick.

Breaking It Down

We are going to review several specific aspects of each model speaker as sold: Design, accessories, utility, and most importantly, sound quality. We will consider several facets of sound quality (tonality, bass tones, mid-range tones, and trebles) and give you our overall opinions on each speaker, plus our final recommendation.

Edifier R1280T

The Edifier R1280T is a set of small bookshelf speakers (about the size of a bread loaf) with a classic appearance that has proved popular with audiophiles. The side panels are a maple-stained wood that appears to be oak and which imparts warmth and weight to the speakers.

The front panel cover is grey cloth over a mesh screen with the word Edifier at the bottom and a mid-transverse fess of dull silvered metal. The speakers (woofer, tweeter, and bass vent) all face front and there is a recessed control module on the side for bass, treble, and volume.

Their appearance is very tasteful and would fit anywhere in a classically-furnished or modern-looking living room.

Specifications:
Dimensions: 5.7×9.5×7 inches; wood (maple stain) and metal
Amplifier power: 42 W RMS (root mean square)
Case: Bass-reflex
Drivers (each speaker): Woofer (4.17-inch), dome tweeter (0.51-inch)
Frequency response: 75 Hz to 18 kHz
Ports: All front
Wired connections: RCA (2), spring clip pair I/O (2)
Signal-to-noise ratio: 85 dBA
Input sensitivity: 750 mV
Wireless connections: wireless remote
On-board: Adjustments for bass, treble, and volume

Design
The design of the R1280T is nearly identical to the new model, R1280DB (see below). Both speakers use the same case, wood and metal components (except the R1280DB is also available in a black wood stain for that modern look).

The wood side panels come with a maple stain on genuine wood that is likely oak. The speakers have a rich warm quality to their appearance due to the wood side panels and look like a piece of furniture.

Apart from the IR remote control, the left side panel has a recessed box with knobs for bass, treble, and volume for direct control. The control knobs are not cheaply made, but operate smoothly and have some weight to them, allowing for fine adjustments to settings.

At the rear of the speakers is a power switch and spring I/O connectors intended to slave the left speaker to the right main. The front fabric clips to the speaker’s face to cover the woofer, tweeter, and bass port mostly for aesthetic purposes and the speakers can be operated without this cover (some users claim that there is a subtle improvement in sound quality without them).

Accessories
The R1280T comes with a speaker connection cable (8.2 feet), an RCA-RCA cable (5.5 feet), an RCA audio cable (5.5 feet), a remote control, and a user manual.

Utility
The R1280T has standard RCA jack L/R inputs for two different sources of sound, one labeled PC and the other Aux (auxiliary). Control of the speakers is simple and direct by adjustment of the side knobs, or they can be controlled by the provide IR remote. The remote for the R1280T is very basic and has three buttons: volume up, volume down, and mute.

Sound Quality
Tonality: General sound quality is warm on the frequency low-end and the treble is a bit crisp. These combined effects can fill a normal-sized living room despite furniture, books, and other sound-absorbing materials.

The proper placement is, however, important to get the most out of these speakers since they are small.

Bass: If arranged towards the audience at or slightly above the listening level, the bass is deep and voluminous, especially in the mid-range of the bass, and blends well into the mid-tone sound region. These tonal highlights are most appropriate for background music during parties and for movie viewing.

Mid: You will not feel any bass kick or thump from these speakers, but the mid-range tonal richness will give you the perception of tonal depth and makes listening quite enjoyable.

Treble: Timbre in vocal ranges is good, but fall out a bit in the middle of the voice range. Most small speakers fail in the high-tone category, but the R1280T and R1280DB use a 0.51-inch silk dome tweeter that provides sharp and clear high tones that are crisp and undistorted, but not too bright.

PROS

  • Beautiful design
  • Compact
  • Basic RCA input
  • Simple remote (if you like simple)
  • Mid-range tones are rich and full

CONS

  • The end-to-end extension is not great
  • Accessory cables are basic quality (you should upgrade these)

Edifier R1280DB

At first glance, the R1280DB looks just like the R1280T speakers (in maple) and in most respects, they are the same speakers. Performance for each model is nearly the same, they share the same cabinet and most of the same electronics.

That latter point is where the two models diverge, however. The R1280DB is essentially an electronically-upgraded R1280T and has far more input and remote-control features to play with. It is of the same quality of build and provides nearly identical sound quality, but has been made more amenable to modern sound systems and smart electronics.

The R1280DB has Bluetooth communication and optical and coaxial inputs, plus a remote that will allow you to control all these from across the room. It is also available in a modern-looking black stain for the wood side panels that would fit well in a modern-styled living room.

Specifications:
Dimensions: 5.7×9.5×7 inches; wood (choice of maple or black stain) and metal
Amplifier power: 42 W RMS (root mean square)
Case: Bass-reflex
Drivers (each speaker): Woofer (4.57-inch), dome tweeter (0.51-inch)
Frequency response: 55 Hz to 20 kHz
Ports: All front
Wired connections: Optical TOSLINK (1), digital coaxial (1), RCA (2), spring clip pair I/O (2)
Signal-to-noise ratio: 85 dBA
Input sensitivity: 550 mV
Wireless connections: Bluetooth, remote control

Design
The wood side panels are come in either a black or maple stain and have a beautiful appearance, certain to compliment any bookshelf. Overall, these speakers, like their predecessors above, have a decidedly classic, almost retro, stereo hi-fi feel.

Accessories
The R1280DB comes with a speaker connection cable (8.2 feet), an RCA-RCA cable (5.5 feet), an RCA audio cable (5.5 feet), a fiber optic cable (5 feet), a remote control, and a user manual. The quality of these cables is very basic but does highlight the breadth of inputs these speakers can accommodate.

We do, however, recommend you replace the cabling with higher quality products at your first opportunity.

Utility
Here is where the R1280DB is distinctly different from the R1280T and that is in terms of connectivity. Essentially, the R1280DB is an up-ported R1280T that has Bluetooth connectivity that permits wireless streaming from a laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Speaker electronics have a pairing mode that remembers recently-used devices, so later Bluetooth link-up is really easy after the first time. In addition, these speakers have an internal DAC which accepts optical input and can pair up with smart TVs to serve as a sound system for movie and music video viewing.

The R1280DB has standard RCA jack L/R inputs for two different sources of sound, one labeled Line 1 and the other Line 2. Just like the R1280T, the left speaker is slaved to the right main speaker through speaker connection cables.

There are two additional inputs: one for optical cabling and a coaxial connector. Control of the speakers is simple and direct by adjustment of the side knobs, or they can be controlled by the provide IR remote.

The remote for the R1280DB is more complicated than the R1280T and has 12 buttons for volume control and switching between various inputs: power, volume up, volume down, mute, Line 1, Line 2, Opt (optical), Cox (coaxial). In addition to these controls, there is a Bluetooth on/connect/pairing button and program forward, back, and play/stop buttons to remotely control a paired Bluetooth device such as a cell phone or MP3/4 player.

Sound Quality
The sound quality in all aspects is essentially identical to the R1280T discussed above. Both speaker systems share the same cabinet design and are identically-sized.

There is some small difference between the two models in that the woofer of the R1280DB is slightly larger (0.4 inches). This is enough to provide a bit deeper bass, but still not a kick or thump.

PROS

  • Beautiful design
  • Compact
  • A variety of input options
  • Full control remote
  • Rich and natural-sounding midrange tone

CONS

  • The end-to-end extension is so-so/li>
  • Accessories provided are basic stuff that should be upgraded on purchase

Winner – Edifier R1280DB

Although both speakers are fine, well-crafted pieces of audio electronics, there really is no contest when it comes to comparison. Since the price point difference between the two models is so close and the electronic options you get with the R1280DB are so numerous, it is simply a no-brainer to choose the DB model.

David M
 

David M Foster is an award-winning sound engineer with over 13 years in the sound industry. He now works as a freelance sound engineer. He uses his insider knowledge and vast experience of the industry to shed more light on sound systems. He is a family man and the head content at Speakerchampion. Learn more about us.

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