The $200 Edifier E25`s are a dual driver Bluetooth computer speaker designed by Edifier that combine a striking design with high quality audio, all at an attainable price to the average consumer. Each speaker features a 19mm silk-dome tweeter and a 4″ midrange/bass driver complimented by two opposing passive radiators which produce an impressive 74W RMS output. In this price range, Edifier have harsh competition from the 2.1 speaker sets sold by Klipsch and Logitech, both of which can be had for the same or less than the E25`s with the addition of being more readily available. Bearing no subwoofer, the speakers have a decent frequency response stretching from 50Hz to 20kHz, but the distinct lack of a sub-woofer creates a sound that is warm, detailed and cohesive but never extends down into sub-bass territory. Of course specifications only tell part of the story about any speaker`s audio and everyday performance, and especially at the $80 AUD price I bought my set for, the Edifier E25`s represent spectacular value, with more features and audio finesse than any other 2.1 set in their price range.
Of note, Edifier have released a new model called the E25 HD, there are no differences between this model and the previous one, except that the HD model has Bluetooth 4.0 whilst the regular E25 has Bluetooth 2.0.
About Me – Some background, Gear of choice, Preferences and Biases
I generally prefer a slight v-shape to my sound, but still closer to neutral. I like a lot of detail and clarity, but can appreciate a smooth, laid back sound such as that on the X10`s. I prefer a more neutral midrange within a relatively tight tolerance, but I`m probably more forgiving of brightness over darkness. I`m not particularly treble sensitive and can tolerate large amounts without fatigue, though too much ruins the enjoyment. If I use a different eartip/pad/cover during the review I will note that and describe the sound changes.
The speakers arrived in a large box adorned with the ever more prevalent images of high contrast product renders shrouded in matte black aether.
The speakers themselves unfortunately did not come in a fabric bag as some reviewers received, but were well secured nonetheless.
Edifier includes a high quality 1.75m aux cable that is thick, supple and well shielded, producing no static, hum or pop with gold plated connectors and I`m really pleased with this small yet not inconsequential consideration.
The speakers, though Bluetooth enabled, are still wired to each other through a proprietary cable which will limit stereo separation on larger applications. The included power adapter is relatively compact and has a red LED to denote status.
A small controller powered by a single button cell battery can be used to remotely power on/off the speakers and control the volume. It is strangely low quality when compared to the speakers but gets the job done.
I noticed the remote has a pretty good range for those who intend to use the speakers for parties or TV. The box also includes manuals and a micro fibre cloth to retain that eye catching glossy lustre.
This section is going to be longer than usual as design seems to be an enduring focus for Edifier with the E25`s perhaps embodying this ideology the greatest. Presenting a highly refined aesthetic, the E25`s will compliment any desk scape, following the minimalistic design language adopted by Edifier in their growing array of visually pleasing products. Mine came with the signature red colour scheme which contrasts nicely to my wooden desk and mundane drone of gloss black peripherals, but they also come in black and white.
The speakers have a distinct shape, as prefaced by their Luna Eclipse moniker, with a voluptuous two-piece design that`s quite striking in person. Around the back are two opposing bass radiators that enhance low frequency performance, with a handsome brushed aluminium support that confidently compliments the speaker`s image.
A single LED on the right speaker indicates function when red and that the speakers are operating over Bluetooth when blue, nice and simple. Three capacitative buttons adorn the left side of the right speaker, very minimalistic but also very difficult to use. It simply doesn`t make sense to have the buttons on that side of the speaker unless you`re left handed, in which case, they should really be on the left speaker. Luckily, the controller offers identical functionality with large and easily discernible buttons. Of note, holding all three capacitative buttons simultaneously will manually disconnect Bluetooth and the speaker will recieve an aux input signal.
The face of the speakers are finished in a nice rubberised black, I love the texture, scratch resistance and high quality feel, but unfortunately they attract dust like an old book. I feel that Edifier overdid the design a bit with the tweeter protectors, they follow the design language but still manage to look a bit odd. Furthermore, they don`t even provide any semblance of protection for the exposed tweeters, the speakers would undoubtedly look better without them with minimal functional consequence.
In addition, the speakers produce a loud notification sound when connecting/disconnecting from Bluetooth that is linked to the speaker`s volume (not source volume) which can be quite aggravating at night. The sound cannot be disabled, however it can be made tolerable by turning down the volume of the speakers and increasing the volume of the source, though the speakers sound better at a higher internal volume as the amp delivers more current.
On a more positive note, the speakers are quite hefty for their size at nearly 2Kg a piece, which is hopefully conducive of high-quality amp and driver units. They are well planted on ovular rubber feet that run the circumference of the base and as such, they are remain stable even during full volume playback. They`re also not overly top heavy and won`t topple over too easily. They face upwards at a slight angle which omits the need for speaker stands and is well suited for their intended desktop applications.
At the end of the day, the E25`s are undoubtedly a well designed, well thought out product and I can see how the maintaining the theme of the design would warrant the functional impediments. My complaints are mostly minor quibbles, which whilst notable, consequently surmount to a quality product. Moreover, most speakers don`t even offer functions such as capacitative buttons and Bluetooth so these issues can be easily forgiven.
The sound produced by these speakers, is on a whole, very pleasing. They have a slight V-shaped signature and produce strong amounts of volume for their size, enough to fill a medium-large sized room when wired but Bluetooth volume is lower. Edifier have implemented their own DSP which dynamically alters the sound to decrease distortion. It never negatively alters the sound at reasonable volumes, and things sound very natural until volume gets to around 80% where the DSP start cutting off bass and treble to give cleaner output. The sound over Bluetooth is still quite good, it`s a little bassier, but less controlled and higher frequencies are also more veiled. Bass extension is worse, but not significantly so and everything remains in balance. Volume is similar, but there is a slight hiss that isn`t there when using an AUX connection. I couldn`t hear any other distortions or otherwise and wireless range is quite good, stretching around 3 rooms with double brick walls before sound began to cut out. Bluetooth audio quality is still good enough for videos or parties, but I would plug them in for home listening. They project a good sense of space even when placed close together but at their furthest width they can sound very grand. Edifier should have implemented stronger volume compensation like the Denon Envaya Mini as the speakers sound much richer as volume increases. They would benefit from some eq-ing at low volumes, sound great at medium volumes and don`t get too muddy at high volumes.
Playing a quick bass sweep, bass rolls off around 30Hz and comes on strongly at 50Hz. Bass increases until the 100-200Hz zone where it starts decreasing again. This gives a nice warm bass presentation that flatters jazz, rock and pop music but is perhaps not well suited for classical as some orchestral instruments can sound a bit empty due to the lack of sub-bass. It`s a very well integrated bass response that is clean and free of distortion. It actually extends to the lowest frequencies of audible bass, for example you can hear the bass drums in rock songs, you can hear the resounding chellos in classical, and often with impeccable detail, but you never feel it. As such, there isn`t a ton of bass impact or power like the Logitech z623`s, but it`s still north of neutral. Bass notes are round and decay times are quick due to the implementation of passive radiators resulting in a very punchy sounding bass response that reminds me of the Shure se535`s, more like armature bass than dynamic driver bass. This gives them an uncanny talent for portraying fast bass lines and a low piano notes resonate nicely without becoming muddied, losing fine detail or emotion. Bass still reaches plenty deep for 90% of songs, providing a confident audio portrayal that is superior to the majority of consumer speakers which never live up to their proposed frequency responses. I found this bass presentation is actually better suited to music playback than that offered by most 2.1 systems, providing greater detail retrieval and a less fatiguing listen. The bass balances well with the rest of the audio spectrum and it`s very impressive for a PC speaker, especially under $200.
Due to the lifted bass response the mids are slightly warm, though the bass response never encroaches upon the midrange and vocals, piano and guitars sound clean, clear and present. The midrange is neutral to bright with more of an emphasis on female than male vocals; bestowing them with impressive clarity devoid of rasp or sibilance but they do have a kind of scooped sound. The mids are relatively smooth and portray a nice sense of space and separation. The V-shaped sound signature is again, slight, the mids are not overly recessed but rather sculpted which makes the speakers more fun sounding than studio monitors. They`re definitely not neutral, but it`s not overdone, they remind me of the midrange on my Bose QC25`s, warm and sculpted but still balanced (quality is another story). On a whole, engaging and well considered, it`s the smooth, detailed midrange performance of the E25`s that puts them ahead of 2.1 sets which utilize smaller, cheaper satellite speakers, making music much more enjoyable and coherent.
Treble has good extension, a slight emphasis, but less than the bass response, and a nice airy sound that compliments the spacious midrange presentation. Once again, it`s specifically tuned but not overdone, favouring a sense of engagement over absolute accuracy. The emphasis makes details more apparent, but can sound thin at times with cymbals sounding a touch splashy. It feels in line with the rest of the frequency response and avoids the peaky sound that often affects audio gear with a treble emphasis and such a sculpted sound.
Edifier have produced a strong contender within the sub $200 price range, both in design and sound. They aren`t perfect, but produce a very pleasing musical performance with oodles of volume and style. A few small niggles with the design and a lack of sub-bass may limit widespread appeal and a perfect rating, but these speakers are undoubtedly the choice for musical enjoyment within this price range.
The sound is not completely accurate, but bass is incredibly punchy and the midrange and highs resolve plenty of detail. The speakers top this off with a nice spacious presentation which increases the versatility of their use, creating a nice image during gaming or movies, but again the lack of sub-bass means that 2.1 speakers are still usually the better choice for these applications. Vocals come through clean and clear making the speakers better suited for TV shows and the occasional Youtube. Overall the E25`s will appeal to lovers of the typical BA sound, very clean and articulate but still in nice balance.
Design and Accessories – 9/10, Design looks stunning and is quite practical apart from button location. Comes with good quality accessories. Still wish there was an option to turn off the Bluetooth connect sound.
Bass – 8.25/10, Decently extended, but what is there is of great quality, has plenty of quantity for everything but movies and games, but responds well to EQ for these purposes.
Mids – 8.25/10, Resolving with nice clarity and separation, the midrange is great on a whole and presents a coherent sound that only full range drivers can achieve as opposed to smaller satellite speakers or sound bars.
Highs – 7.5/10, Slight emphasis can be fatiguing to some, but never becomes sibilant or overly thin, nice and airy with good extension.
Overall – 8/10, A great offering by Edifier, nice design augmented by great sound, some design issues, but nothing serious. With superior musical performance and an abundance of features, any consumer should strongly consider the E25`s when looking for PC speakers in this price range.