Edifier R1280T bookshelf speakers review — Smooth operator
+ Classic aesthetics
+ Frontal bass reflex port allows for more flexible placement of the speakers
+ Control dials on the sides are convenient to reach
+ Included infrared remote control is really useful for controlling the volume...remotely
+ Smooth sound profile with excellent mids
- Glossy remote is a fingerprint remote; plastic shell prone to scratches
- Extreme frequencies on both ends are rolled off
- Speaker grilles dampen the already rolled off highs, necessitating their removal
I don’t usually use speakers, as I consider a pair of headphones to suffice for my media consumption. However since I reviewed the Edifier R1000T4, I have been addicted to the fact that I can get good sound without putting my head between two cans. With that out of the way, let’s listen to the Edifier R1280T that Edifier Malaysia just sent us.
The speakers come in a standard cardboard box with color images on white around the top, front and back. The sides are done in maroon, which gives it a nice premium look. The front has an image of the speaker set, while the back sports a list of features and specifications.
Opening the box reveals flaps which show a list of package contents and also a basic diagram of the connections necessary when setting up the Edifier R1280T. Nice use of space. The contents are well protected by molded pulp trays, which hold them in place to protect them from damage during shipping.
In addition to the molded pulp trays, the speakers themselves are wrapped in foam and plastic, providing extra protection. The rest of the contents also come in their own plastic wrappers.
Here’s all the contents of the package. You get an RCA-RCA cable, AUX-RCA cable, speaker interconnect wires, infrared remote controller and of course, the usual documentation and the Edifier R1280T speakers.
The walnut-colored wood on the sides of the speakers sandwich the grey laminated MDF running down the center of the speakers. Depending on your preferences, you can take the mesh off or keep it on. I prefer it off as I find looking of the drivers, tweeters and reflex ports more interesting than the smooth gray fabric of the mesh covers. Edifier did try to spice things up a little with silver accents running through the center of the grilles though. Even with the grille off, the Edifier R1280T loses out in terms of aesthetics when compared to the Edifier R1000T4, with the latter sporting a golden woofer. The grey panel in the middle and the wood panels on the sides are not flush for some reason, with the sides being taller than the middle section.
You will find the inputs and spring loaded speaker terminals at the rear end of the speakers. There are two pairs of RCA inputs, differing in their sensitivity. The PC input is less sensitive than the AUX input. The right speaker is the active one here, but you aren’t actually forced to place it on the left, as simply inverting the RCA inputs will allow it to function as the left speaker.
I am really happy that Edifier placed the controls here on the side of the right speaker here, as it is a lot more convenient to adjust the dials here. You have dials to control the treble, bass and volume, as well as a little status LED that lights up in green when active, and blinks when the speakers are muted.
They also provided a nifty little remote to control the volume and also to mute the speakers. The remote isn’t made of much, just a slab of plastic with three buttons on it. The glossy finishing is a great fingerprint collector, and the plastic shell is prone to scratches. You get the option to mute the speakers with the remote, which is a good call by Edifier, in case you receive a call while listening to music with these speakers and want it temporarily muted while you talk to the obnoxious being disrupting your enjoyment of music.
|Power output:||RMS 21W x 2 (DRC ON)|
|Signal to noise ratio:||≥ 85 dbA|
|Frequency response:||75 Hz – 18 KHz (+/- 9dB)|
|Input Sensitivity:||PC: 750 mV ± 50 mV
AUX: 550 mV ± 50 mV
|Input type:||RCA stereo input (2 sets)|
|Dimensions:||146 x 234 x 196 mm|
|Weight:||Approx: 4.9 kg|
Setting up the speakers was a pretty straightforward process, with the only issue I encountered was the speaker interconnect wires having too similar a color for me to differentiate them. They are actually silver and copper colored respectively, but I guess I was too excited to try these speakers and missed the difference. With that out of the way, let’s set it up to have a listen.
I set it up here at my “studio” to give it a go, as my desk had issues with resonance with the Edifier R1000T4. It sounded pretty good, but the highs were decidedly veiled here at this stage. I am glad to report that moving them over to my desk didn’t cause the table to vibrate, possibly due to the frontal placement of the reflex port pushing air forward instead of out of the back. This should mean that the Edifier R1280T will offer more flexibility in terms of placement.
So I did mention that the highs were not up to my expectations, right? Well after communicating with Edifier Malaysia, I was advised to allow the speakers to burn in for at least 100 hours for better sound. I have had my fair share of audio equipment that actually sound better after burning in, so I did let the speakers go through the burn in process with the burn in tracks available on YouTube as well as just casually listening to songs and watching movies with them.
After about 2 weeks, I started to judge them. I keep the treble dial turned up by around 25%, and the bass dial untouched. Going through my usual playlist of music including some classical music, pop, K-pop and EDM, I find the speakers really satisfying to listen to. It does exceptionally well in movies, classical and acoustic music, with good performance in genres with a greater emphasis on bass. It has a somewhat warm sound signature which I find more comfortable to listen to over longer periods. Having the speaker grille on it dampens the highs, so I use the speakers without the grilles throughout my usage.
The highs are still somewhat less sparkly than what I had come to expect after listening to the Edifier R1000T4. Don’t get me wrong though, the Edifier R1280T does not sound veiled at all. The highs are clear but the upper frequencies are rolled off, resulting in a less piercing, or if I may, a smoother sound. For a slight boost in clarity, I turned the treble dial up. Mids are great, giving you clear vocals and great reproduction of acoustic instruments. From the video of Boyce Avenue performing Say Something, the guitar sounds and vocals are very well defined, which I enjoyed very much. With these speakers, I spent a lot of time listening to Boyce Avenue, Tyler Ward and the soundtracks to Kimi No Nawa.
Bass is also pretty nicely represented here. It doesn’t have much to show in the sub-bass department, but the amount of bass should keep almost everyone happy. Even when listening to EDM or K-pop, I found that the Edifier R1280T is still plenty capable of delivering an enjoyable experience. Listening to Speakerbox from the amazing scene showcasing The Rock and Jason Statham in Fate of the Furious 8 was good. The bass thumps were decent but the missing sub bass frequencies are sorely needed here. The bass dial adjusts the mid-bass, turning it up will give it a boomy sound. I do not recommend adjusting it from its factory settings. Overall, the Edifier R1280T is well balanced with a very smooth sound. I would say these speakers are pretty good for almost every genre of music, as long as you do not expect the bass to hit hard like a truck.
Next up, the remote control. Despite being based on infrared technology, it is virtually impossible to have it fail. Yes, I tried controlling the volume with it under my desk, about 3 meters away beside the speakers, and it worked. Basically as long as there is a way for the infrared signal to reach the receiver, either directly or reflected off a surface perpendicular to the speakers, it will work. Really awesome stuff here.
The Edifier R1280T is a good pair of speakers. They offer a good, smooth sound profile, with the extreme frequencies slightly rolled off. They make for a great pair of speakers for listening to music non-stop, as over-analytical sound profiles tend to be fatiguing to listen over extended periods. Build quality is also good, while I would have preferred a more woody-looking finish. Overall, these make for great listening, irregardless if you use these as PC speakers or to amp up the sound from your TV set. If I were to ask for more, it would be support for Bluetooth. For RM279 (SRP RM285) I believe the Edifier R1280T represents good value for the sound it offers, and I award it our Silver Pokdeward.