Edifier are a Chinese maker of speakers and other audio equipment, founded in Beijing in 1996. The company claims to employ 3,000 workers worldwide and ship 8 million units per year, but they’re not yet a household name in the UK. Today, we’re looking at their R1000TCN bookshelf speakers, which were recently added to gaming merchant Overclockers UK. Let’s get right into the review!
- Active bookshelf speaker system with 16W total power output
- 100% MDF wooden enclosures
- 4-inch bass driver and ¾-inch silk diaphragm tweeter driver
- Dual stereo line-in ports, treble upgrade on port A
|Total power output||RMS 8W×2|
|Signal to noise ratio||≥85 dBA|
|Input sensitivity||420mV ± 50mV|
|Amplifer freq. response||20Hz ~ 20KHz|
|Bass unit||106 mm|
|Treble unit||13 mm|
|Gross weight||6.5 kg|
Note: the manual that comes with these speakers includes some alternate specifications, namely an RMS value of 11W x2 and a frequency response of 75Hz ~ 20KHz. It’s unclear which is the correct value, but for the moment I’ll trust what’s written online.
Edifier’s speakers are quite classical in appearance, with a simple boxy design wrought in black from MDF. A single Edifier workmark sits at the bottom of the soft fabric grille; there are no other significant features or elements of ornamentation on the front or sides.
On the back, we have another ordinary sight: two pairs of RCA ports, plastic bass and volume knobs, a hard-wired power input, an on/off switch and, right at the bottom, the apertures for the speaker wire that connects the two units.
Of course, in the box you get a single RCA to RCA cable, a 3.5mm to RCA adapter and a single bundle of speaker wire with nicely twisted and soldered ends that ensure easy installation.
Setting up the speakers is pretty straightforward — just plug in all the cables. It’s worth knowing that the right speaker is the one that has the power and audio inputs, so you’ll want to put that on the right.
Weirdly, this left-right information doesn’t seem to be mentioned anywhere; I had to figure it out by plugging everything in, playing some music and then swapping the position of the two speakers when it became clear that the right-channel speaker was sitting to my left.
With installation out the way, let’s move onto testing!
In order to test the speakers, we used them for a two week period, for gaming, listening to music, watching television and surfing YouTube.
We compared the Edifier R1000TCN against our usual desktop speakers, the 50W £300 Audioengine A5+. (These Audioengine speakers are about 50% larger — and five times the price — so they aren’t an ideal point of comparison, but we have to use what’s available!)
When listening to the R1000TCN for the first few times, I was impressed. The speakers produce quite a good amount of clarity and richness for their size, with detailed mids and decent highs evident in the song Craft Draft Brewski Bois by Ian Ewing off Chillhop Essentials Summer 2017.
Switching back and forth between the Audioengine and Edifier speakers, it was difficult to hear more than subtle differences in audio reproduction — not bad, given the price and size differential!
When it comes to bass, the speakers aren’t the most impressive performers — there is certainly some bass evident, but it’s overshadowed by the mids and highs, even if you crank the bass knob all the way.
By comparison, the Audioengine speakers performed much better here, even without the benefit of a dedicated subwoofer. Songs like …Ready For It? by Taylor Swift off Reputation and Giorgio by Moroder from Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories felt a little weak and unattached.
The bass performance wasn’t so bad that it was distracting in lighter genres of music, but for bassier stuff you are going to be missing out on a lot of the action. I found similar issues when playing games like Company of Heroes 2 or watching movies; audio from scenes with explosions, large-calibre weapon fire and giant stompy robots generally felt underwhelming.
The R1000TCN can also get pretty darn loud; at 100% volume on the speakers, in Windows and in my music player app it was frankly uncomfortable to be close to the speakers for too long. You could easily use these for a party and get in trouble with your neighbours, although the constrained bass probably ensures that you’ll be safe.
These speakers aren’t the most convenient to use as desktop speakers, as they lack any controls on the front of the speaker. That means you’ll need to reach around to twiddle with the volume or bass, so you’re best off setting the volume fairly high and then controlling the output through whatever device you’ve connected it to. However, once set up the speakers probably don’t need re-adjusting, so this is a relatively minor issue.
The R1000TCN are reasonable bookshelf speakers that produce decent volume for their size without unduly compromising quality. Bass is a little less evident than I’d hoped, but mids and highs were reproduced better than I expected, so we’ll call it a draw.
The rear-facing controls make them a little less suited for use with a PC, as we tested them, but this can be worked around. The appearance of the speakers is also unlikely to cause strong emotions one way or the other; the neutral black colour and wooden construction are about as standard as you can find.
Ultimately, these Edifier speakers justify their price but don’t go further than that. If you want some affordable speakers for your bookshelf or PC, then the R1000TCN are a perfectly adequate solution.