Edifier R1280DB bookshelf speaker review
+ Low profile design blends in well with any decor
+ Wide variety of inputs including Bluetooth
+ Easy to reach controls; no need for the remote control to switch inputs
+ Punchy bass and clear mids and highs
+ Good detail reproduction yet forgiving on poorer audio samples
+ Easy-to-use Bluetooth connection
+ Value for money!
- Design can look a bit drab
- Glossy remote picks up smudges and scratches prodigously
- No AptX support
The Edifier R1280T was a likeable pair of bookshelf speakers which had some limitations where it doesn’t really have sub-bass or great treble extension. It also accepts any inputs as long as it’s RCA, which isn’t really flexible at all. Today we have here the Edifier R1280DB which touts better internal amps and drivers. We also get more inputs including optical and Bluetooth! Sounds good? Let’s listen to what it has.
Since the Edifier R1280DB is a rather old model from Edifier, the packaging is in Edifier’s classic white and maroon color scheme. We get a nice look at the speakers in the box on the front and some infographics which are repeated on every face of the package. Looking at the back we see the specifications as well as some highlighted areas of the Edifier R1280DB. The left panel touts a SPL vs Freq graph as well as what happens to the response as you tweak the bass and treble dials.
Opening the box reveals the speakers held in place by molded pulp trays, before being wrapped in foam and a plastic wrapper.
Here are all the contents of the box. Aside from the usual RCA-RCA and RCA-3.5mm cables, we also get a TOSLINK optical audio cable. Then there’s the smattering of documentation, speakers and speaker interconnecting wires.
These speakers are exact twins with the Edifier R1280T. We are talking the same finishing and positioning of the drivers on the Edifier R1280DB, even the protective mesh is the exact same one I got with the Edifier R1280T. Not to say it looks bad, as the smooth curves of the wood panels on the sides and the grey centerline come together for a look that’s elegant enough to fit in with any furniture. As I had commented with the Edifier R1280T, it would have been preferable to have a more “wooden” finishing across the entire speakers.
The back is where you will naturally find the inputs, and Edifier definitely did not hold any punches here. Despite actually being ranked lower than the Edifier R1700BT in the Edifier’s bookshelf speaker hierarchy, you get 2 RCA inputs, optical, coaxial and even Bluetooth 4.0.
Generally, the Edifier R1280DB look quite tame, without the use of premium veneer finishings to boost its appeal. For those who want speakers that will not draw attention to itself can definitely consider the Edifier R1280DB. I do wish Edifier paid a little more attention to its aethetics though.
|Power output:||RMS 21W x 2 (42W total)|
|Signal to noise ratio:||≥ 85 dbA|
|Frequency response:||55 Hz – 20 KHz (+/- 6dB)|
|Input Sensitivity:||Line in 1: 450 mV ± 50 mV|
Line in 2: 550 mV ± 50 mV
OPT/COA: 550 ± 50 mFFS
Bluetooth: 700 ± 50 mFFS
|Input type:||RCA stereo input (2 sets), Optical, Coaxial, Bluetooth V4.0|
|Dimensions:||146 x 234 x 196 mm (per speaker)|
Setting up the speaker was simple, and with the myriad of input options offered by the Edifier R1280DB, there really isn’t an issue of having an output that won’t be able to work with the speaker. As usual, I will be using the Zorloo ZuperDAC as the source, fed to the Line in 1 input jacks.
The controls are placed in a cutout on the right panel of the right speaker. We get the treble, bass and volume dials here. The volume dial doubles as a input switch. Also due to its multiple input options, there is a well-placed status LED to indicate which input is active. This LED may be slightly harder to spot depending on how you place your speakers, but you only need to see it once since you most probably won’t be switching between them that often. At least it isn’t glaring into your eyes like the Edifier R1010BT.
Another option to switch inputs is with the infrared remote control. The remote control here is even more advanced than the Edifier R1700BT’s, with the ability to control the Bluetooth source’s playback, aside from being able to toggle between more inputs. You can even switch between the two Line in inputs, something which the higher end model failed to offer. Once again, we are surprised to see it having an advantage over what is supposed to be a higher end model. I didn’t really like the remote for its glossy finishing but this is a standard design for most of Edifier’s remote controls in the lower end.
The Edifier R1280DB comes with a 13mm silk-dome tweeter and 4″ bass driver. So how do these sound? This isn’t the “Eagle Eye” tweeter found in the Edifier B1 Soundbar and the Edifier R1700BT nor the bass driver made of fancy materials, but I would say they sound really good. The clarity and bass are improved over the Edifier R1280T. While the Edifier R1280T rather noticeably rolls off the sub-bass and lacks a bit of resolution in the highs, the Edifier R1280DB performed well in these areas. In fact so well, that I thought my new DAC was the reason of this improved sound quality. But nope, even after switching to my older source, the Edifier R1280DB is definitely the better speaker, with punchy bass that reaches sufficient far down and good detail reproduction in the mids and highs as well. Vocals are clear even on busier tracks with heavy bass notes pounding in the background. The smoother upper mids from the Edifier R1280DB are also a bit easier to listen to than the Edifier R1700BT that had a tendency to sound harsh with poorer quality music files. The RMS 42W output also ensures that it is plenty loud for most usage scenarios for a pair of bookshelf speakers, but it pales in comparison with the RMS 66W output the Edifier R1700BT is capable of.
Bluetooth connectivity is very seamless, just switch the input by pressing the Bluetooth button on the remote and pair your smart device and you are set to go. The audio quality is good by Bluetooth standards but there is a slight audio delay when watching videos or gaming. It lacks AptX support, which could deliver better audio quality over Bluetooth when paired with supported devices.
The Edifier R1280DB is priced at just RM359 on Lazada, quite a sum more than the Edifier R1280T. Considering the array of inputs it offers and the much improved sound, I would be more than happy to pay the difference. It even compares favorably against the Edifier R1700BT, with it being more forgiving of poorer audio samples while offering more input options than the latter. It seems like I have a new recommended speaker in this price range. If the person in question doesn’t mind the basic design, that is.