Bluetooth speakers are literally everywhere. It’s become the mainstream item to advertise, purchase and compare with various shapes and sizes for every occasion. They can fit in your pocket or be the size of an old HiFi setup for truly room filling sound. Although I love portable Bluetooth speakers for the fact you can just pick them up and place them in any room you wish to hear your favourite tunes, I also have a strong desire for power! Speakers that will not just fill a room with sound, but also stimulate your ear drums with joy.
The Edifier R1280DB speakers aim to be the larger brother to these more portable siblings, while also featuring a number of audio options that will allow connection wirelessly and wired for various playback and connected device scenarios.
Looking the part
The Edifier R1280DB Speakers come in a variety of colours and the unit I received to review is the white option. To be honest white, although extremely clean looking to begin with can lose its impressive lustre in the wrong environment and yet of all the rooms I could have selected to feature them in was… The kitchen.
Having the speakers for a couple of months, they look as good as the day they arrived and certainly look like proper speakers. By this I mean from the front, they just sit there proudly with permanently fixed speaker grills and no visible controls. In fact, you would be led to believe the controls are hidden away in a separate unit, however instead they are situated to the side of one of the speakers for controlling which audio input to use, the tone and of course the volume.
Visually they are pretty striking in simplicity and for resembling what they are, speakers. Not some weird button overloaded front panel, instead a pair of objects that would look superb in any environment with no need to hide them away.
The build quality is equally impressive, with a wooden casing for each individual speaker and a reassuring weight. They can be easily moved to another room if this is your desire, but really they are best placed permanently either on a desk, worktop, shelf or on top of furniture.
A remote control is also included and although it’s not to write home about with a very basic form for operation, it does the job if the controls to the side of the speaker are not convenient to interact with so you can change inputs, adjust volume and basic playback as well the all important power on and off.
It’s good to connect
Although wireless Bluetooth connectivity is the convenient option for streaming audio from a phone or tablet, the Edifier R1280DB Speakers also feature traditional wired options too. This is actually, at least for me, the real benefit of this set of speakers.
Firstly of course you have the traditional RCA analogue audio inputs for two separate devices opening up a huge wide range of compatibility with analogue connected devices. Here you could wire in one of your CD players or phone, tablet, laptop, computer, heck even your TV.
The option that really caught me by surprise, and in a good way, is the optical digital audio connection, although amazingly there is also a coaxial digital connection too which totally blows my mind. Sadly this option is very rare on speakers with the clamour to go wireless, yet here it is in all its glory. So yes your PC may have digital audio out, if you have an older standalone CD player this will possibly have this too. For my situation though, although sadly discontinued by Google (how often do we say that about a Google product!), I have a ‘Chromecast Audio’, which supports digital audio out. This is by far the better wireless option as it doesn’t rely on any Bluetooth compression of any kind, providing a rich musical presentation and indeed if you plug in a compatible PC directly it will sound equally as impressive. Using either analogue or digital, the Edifier R1280DB Speakers will shine.
For Bluetooth though, that more modern tech thing, the options are disappointingly basic in comparison. Supporting only the Bluetooth SBC standard and nothing more richer in audio detail such as AAC, I find myself extremely baffled and saddened. Although in truth even this sounds pretty darn good through these speakers, it does prevent this otherwise impressive set of sound rumblers from knocking my socks off completely. If only it supported more wireless variety such as built-in Apple AirPlay or Chromecast casting, but sadly not.
So now we get onto the most important aspect, do they sound as good as they look. Thankfully, yes they do. First of all having separate left and right speakers that you can spread out across an area is wonderful rather than other designs that might cram both channels into one single unit – just hearing the stereo separation is a delight. The bass certainly makes itself known where appropriate, with a steady and controlled boom and bounce, while the upper range clear and distinct with a responsive middle for good measure.
They aren’t shy either, knocking out a room filling volume without distortion until you push to more extreme levels and no matter what genre of music I pushed in its direction, it smiled, giggled and threw everything back at me with glee. These would be super in a bedroom, kitchen, office and even dare I say living room as your main musical hub of entertainment as long as respect their fairly compact size.
If they become a little too strong in tone for you, or bass isn’t your thing – well this can be easily adjusted using the dials on one of the speakers to suit your personal taste.
|Total power output||R/L: 21W+21W RMS|
|Signal-to-noise ratio||≥85dBA (A)|
|Noise level||≤25dB (A)|
|Input sensitivity||LINE IN1: R/L:450±50mV|
LINE IN2: R/L:550±50mV
|Bass unit||4 inch (116mm)|
|Tweeter unit||Φ13mm silk dome tweeter|
The Edifier R1280DB are an impressive set of speakers that match their visual presentation with an equally impressive sound presence. Supporting a variety of input options, both wired and wireless catered for, it’s hard to pick fault with this impressively built model. Where it does fall down slightly is its Bluetooth audio support for higher quality options, that sits in a rather boring extremely limited codec support that although compatible with any Bluetooth wireless device, really hold the speakers back from being perfect.
For various indoor environments, the Edifier R1280DB Speakers are a lovely musical companion ready to sit proudly in any room while offering a delicious distinct sound that doesn’t hold back for the price.
Hardware kindly provided for this review.