Edifier R2000DB Review – Back in Black

Introduction –

Although they are the highest terms of numbering, the R2000DB still occupy the second highest performance bracket just below the S1000DB. With a considerably increased asking price, the R2000DB most notably bring vastly improved build quality and a much tighter low end over the R1700BT whilst retaining the strong high-end performance due to the presence of an upgraded eagle eye tweeter as seen on the R1700BT. Through the relocation of several key features and larger housings, the R200DB now have a much more dedicated role as a bookshelf computer, as opposed to the lower models which made for fantastic computer speakers as well. So is this new found focus a detriment to convenience and versatility? Or is it rather that extra ingredient that the R1700BT was missing? Let’s see what Edifier delivers.

 

Disclaimer –

I would like to thank Amber from Edifier very much for providing me with a loaner unit of the R2000DB. There is no monetary incentive for a positive review and I will be as objective as possible in my review.

 

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.

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Accessories –

The R2000DB has an almost identical unboxing experience to the R1700BT, simple and distinctive with a similar box design.

Both speakers also include essentially the same accessories, that is to say, a 3.5mm to RCA and RCA to RCA audio cable and now an optical cable for the additional input on the R2000DB.

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Edifier also include a more fully-featured remote and improved interconnect cable that’s thicker, longer and uses a beefier connector. The included mesh covers are of similar quality and attach via the same smooth metallic mounting system. Whilst there’s nothing inherently wrong with the included accessories, it’s still disappointing to see the return of the same cheap cabling that came with Edifier’s lower end model at this higher price point. Regardless, it does not affect performance and the cables are now gold plated which prevents crackle and pop.

 

Design –

Like the unboxing, the design is in the same vein as the R1700bt though the housings are larger and slightly more rounded off. Whilst I wasn’t sure about the R2000DB from online renders, in person, the imposing all-black colour scheme really contributes to an aura of quality and the R2000DB both look and feel like a premium speaker. Edifier’s speakers have never lacked in the looks department and the lower end R1700bt was already a very attractive speaker. That being said, the feel in the hand didn’t quite match those assertions.

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The R2000DB definitely portrays greater solidity, of course, they should given that they are considerably more expensive; the price jump between the R1700bt to the R2000DB is much larger than that from the R1280T to the R1700BT.

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The bulk of the housings are now a very solid leather textured plastic/MDF blend that subtly compliments the look of the speakers and adds just a little impact beyond the usual matte/gloss black finishes. The glossy sides are incredibly catching and look just as nice in person as the walnut housings of the R1700bt if not more so. The piano black finish also feels a lot better than the usual gloss plastic and the speakers aren’t overly prone to fingerprints but are easily cleaned if they become marked.

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Running over the physical features, the R2000DB is definitely more of a dedicated bookshelf speaker than Edifier’s lower models. This is most notably signified by the rear facing bass port, controls and much larger footprint when compared to conventional computer speakers.

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This does mean the speakers have a cleaner look with unbroken lines and a very sleek styling ethos but, as expected, changing settings via the rear controls does get cumbersome (though volume is easily changed via the remote).

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The mesh covers look a lot like those on the R1700BT’s; Edifier have retained the same sturdy metal prong system that allows for smooth attachment and looks a little more premium when the covers are removed. Again, I prefer the look and sound of the speakers without their covers, the high end just seems more open and extended and the exposed driver array is very well presenting with that semi-transparent eagle-eye tweeter peeking out from above the 5 inch full-range drivers. Metallic Edifier logos adorn the fronts, with a receiver/status LED on the bottom of the right speaker.

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As aforementioned, at 174×289×252mm, size is something to consider if you are space constrained; the speakers just barely fit on my desk. Otherwise, they carry the same 10-degree angling as the R1700BT ensuring that the drivers face your ears and deliver the strongest high-end performance possible. Rubber feet are attached to each corner to prevent vibrations and scratching. The design now makes the speakers much more suited towards bookshelf or TV usage which is in line with the similarly boosted RMS output.

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I have no issue with the design of the speakers other than the glossy finish (which is fine if you use them as a bookshelf or TV speaker where they’re out of reach). The speakers now feel much sturdier, heavier and more premium with a striking two-tone look on top. The speakers compliment my laptop setup brilliantly and look just as comfortable flanking my 64″ TV. But buyers more constrained for space and those that intend to use them as a computer speaker will likely have difficulties accommodating the sheer size of these speakers.

 

Usage –

Despite an absence of the BT moniker in the speaker’s title, the R2000DB do still support Bluetooth. And like all of Edifier’s speakers, the Bluetooth system works perfectly on a first come first served basis, pairing to the first available device rather than favouring the one that was last paired. It will still automatically connect for convenience, but I find multi-source usage is more streamlined with Edifier’s speakers than most others. Range was good, about 2 rooms with double brick walls, pretty similar to the R1700BT and Spinnaker and really enough for any household. Reliability was also great, I didn’t experience any dropouts or interference during my month of testing. I still wish Edifier would more widely support apt-x though they have reserved this feature only for their highest model, the S1000DB. The R2000DB instead only supports BT4.0 and has moderate latency as a result, making wireless movies and videos usable but far from ideal. Music is fine however, and quality loss is evident but minimal compared to using a wired connection.

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Source switching between the two line-in, optical and wireless inputs is easily achieved through four dedicated buttons on the remote. The status LED on the front, right next to the receiver illuminates to denote the source and flashes when the speakers are muted. The LED shines blue for Bluetooth, red for optical and green for line-in. The included remote now has even more features but retains the plasticky build and feel of Edifier’s lower speakers. Understandably, this is not ideal, the buttons are still mushy and the glossy plastic picks up smudges like anything, but it does still work reliably and battery life is great. I appreciate how the speakers remain connected to the source Bluetooth device when switched into Line-in mode allowing for easy toggling between the two. Range from the remote is also pretty good as long as you are within the line of sight of the right speaker where the IR receiver is located. In addition to the ability to remotely power on/off the speakers, change volume/mute and change sources, Edifier provide two subtle eQs, classic and dynamic. They are quite subtle with dynamic providing more fullness to the low end and classic being more balanced.

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I’m guessing Edifier built these eQs into the remote since the bass and treble controls are now located on the back of the speakers, making for a simple adjustment should you want to switch between movie and music usage, or simply want to add a little more punch to your songs; It’s a convenient feature to have. In terms of sources the R2000DB have more inputs than Edifier’s lower models. In addition to the two line-in inputs and Bluetooth, Edifier have added an optical input which will appeal to those who want to use the speakers for TV usage.

All in all, the speakers are easy to operate, as they should be, despite the relocation of several key controls to a less available area.

 

Sound –

So with the price jump between the R1700BT and R2000DB many problems have been remedied and likewise, a few strengths have been refined. But perhaps the biggest upgrade comes with the sound quality.

The R2000DB’s have a new driver setup comprising of a 5” 36W full range driver complimented by a 24W 25mm eagle-eye tweeter, all producing a mighty 120W of output power, a little less than twice that of the R1700BT. But that doesn’t just affect maximum volume, everything from bass extension to treble resolution has been improved. The frequency response has also been improved to cover from 55Hz to 20KHz, a pretty typical but also a conservative estimate on Edifier’s behalf; bass will actually reach deeper than 55Hz and comes on strongly around 50Hz unlike some other speakers that just barely reach their manufacturer specified FR.

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The internal amplifier carries the same >85dB signal to noise ratio as Edifier’s other speakers. Whilst the full range driver makes no discernible noise, there is a constant hiss from the tweeter. And like the R1700BT, this hiss increases in volume as the treble dial is increased. It does sound slightly less prevalent than the R1700bt from memory, but it’s still noticeable in quiet environments.

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Sound-stanging and imaging are as good as always due to the 10 degree elevation that angles the drivers right to your ears and Edifier’s DSP which adds a little extra space and separation.

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I find that Edifier’s bookshelf speakers, and to a lesser extent, speakers in general, all pursue a similar sound. This isn’t a bad thing at all, but if you don’t like a particular model in their line-up, you probably won’t find their other speakers to your liking either. Luckily, I doubt many, if any, would really dislike the Edifier sound, it’s an incredibly well considered and balanced tune that’s just subtly adjusted to give each speaker its own flare. The R2000DB exemplifies this premise, it’s relatively similar to the R1700BT in terms of tonality but has a lot more technical quality. The R2000DB provide a grander, more powerful sound than the R1700BT but also a sound that is more refined and textured.

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The tonality is still quite balanced, gently u-shaped overall, but bass and treble can be altered to bring out more midrange presence or vice versa. Bass is a lot tighter than the R1700bt, perhaps due to the rear facing port. This does make them a lot more placement sensitive though they still have plenty of low-end presence when not against a solid surface. Treble sounds very similar to the R1700bt through the implementation of a similar eagle eye tweeter. It’s now a 25mm driver as opposed to the 19mm one on the R1700BT; there may also be subtle differences due to the shape and material of the housings. That being said, it’s a very good driver, high notes are extended, resolving and crystal clear. The tweeter does bring out a lot of detail but, as with the R1700BT, can still sound slightly thin at times. I’ve left the midrange until last, because this is usually Edifier’s strongest asset. The Edifier midrange is smooth, detailed, clear and balanced. The R2000DB tell a similar story, lower mids are slightly more full bodied than neutral whilst upper mids are just slightly more delicate. This allows the speakers to sound very separated and dynamic without coming off as overly thick or thin. That being said, the midrange on the R2000DB is more sculpted than most of Edifier’s other speakers and this unevenness does give upper midrange notes a raspy character at times.

Rocket Man (Elton John)Lithium (Nirvana)Dreams (Fleetwood Mac)

I have attached some audio samples above (recorded through my Blue Snowball mic). Whilst they are not the most accurate portrayal of the sound quality of the speakers it can give you a general taste of the tonality one could expect. The recordings sounded slightly more hollow and boomy than reality, which is also something to consider.

 

Bass –

The low end is still not as snappy as the more expensive home theatre speakers I’ve heard, but is thankfully, largely improved upon the R1700BT and one of the better speakers I’ve heard around this price. Bass is more extended over the R1700BT, tighter and especially, much more textured. Each note hits with weight and impact without sounding loose of muddy even with the bass dial turned up to its highest setting. Sub-bass is well present but still doesn’t quite match the extension of 2.1 systems. Still, you would be hard pressed to find more extension from any other 2.0 system. Lower bass and mid-bass are both punchy and linear without that hump that affects some more sculpted speakers. Upper-bass is slightly elevated creating a slightly warmer midrange, but there is very minimal spill and the sound is far from thick. Whilst quantity can be adjusted via the rear dial, it’s great to know that the overall quality of that bass is impressive at any volume. Notably, the R2000DB’s are very textured with a lot of bass definition. The stock tonality is quite linear but for larger rooms, the bass dial can add considerably more body to the sub and lower bass regions in particular whilst mid-bass and upper bass remain unclouded and punchy. This is a well considered feature, since those notes tend to diffuse with distance, retaining a full sound even when several metres away (perfect for TV usage).

 

Mids –

Edifier have always excelled with midrange tuning and the R2000DB is similarly a strong, if not outstanding performer. Vocals have perfect presence in the sound for my preferences, well separated from the powerful low end and sparkly highs. Lower mids, in particular, are very impressive with male vocals sounding full-bodied yet clear with great intelligibility. Upper mids do sit slightly behind the lower midrange, I have found female vocals to sound slightly recessed in songs which already have a darker tonal tilt. There’s a little dip in the middle of the midrange that makes female vocals sound slightly ethereal but not quite thin. Sibilance never creeps into the sound for the most part and clarity is very good as a result of this dip and a subsequent rise in emphasis. Detail retrieval is also up there and brought to the fore through those hyper resolving eagle-eye tweeters. The speakers worked perfectly well for videos and movies due to the clear presentation and strong imaging. Movies in particular, benefit from the separated sound and full-bodied low end that flatter cinematic effects and orchestral tracks. The high end also had enough resolution to depict the more subtle, quieter moments in film without having to turn up the volume.

 

Treble –

Special attention has been given to the tweeter in particular, the driver is now of a Ru-Fe-B silk dome variety, which is a Nano-sized amorphous alloy. All very impressive on paper, I couldn’t tell you whether this material or the tuning of the driver is to blame, but the high-frequency response is very impressive regardless. Turning the treble dial about 25% above the stock value yielded the best performance to me, though it is convenient having the ability to alter the quantity based on various factors such as room size, distance from speakers, placements, etc. Treble performance is mostly similar to the R1700BT as the R2000DB is using similar drivers. This is fine since the R1700BT already had a very detailed, resolving sound and those impressions extend to the R2000DB. Whilst the lower end has been tightened up, sub-bass improved and the mids slightly tweaked, the strong high end remains to bring clarity and engagement to the sound. Due to the larger driver, treble does have slightly more body and lower treble resolves slightly more detail; there are some micro-details on the R2000DB that I couldn’t hear on Edifier’s lower models. Extension remains impressive, the highest notes come through clear with plenty of air and texture. The speakers especially excelled with one of my favourite treble test tunes, Elton John’s “Rocket Man”, the high hats and cymbals clashing with plenty of air and texture. Nirvana’s “Lithium” was similarly resolving, textured and well-bodied without coming off as splashy. This is without a doubt one of the best treble responses I’ve heard from a $400 speaker and I have no real complaints. If I hat to nitpick, perhaps that last little bit of detail is missing and on occasion, some treble notes can come off as thin, but otherwise, the high end really rounds off the sound and contributes to a strong overall presentation.

 

Verdict – 

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In the grand scheme of things, the R2000DB is a very nice sounding speaker with plenty of maximum volume and bass that can be altered from super tight and punchy to room filling and expansive as per the user’s adjustments. The speakers retain Edifier’s strong midrange tuning in addition to a very extended, textured and resolving high end on account of that new tweeter driver. The addition of two basic eQ’s controllable via the remote enables quick and easy alteration to the sound whilst reliable and practical Bluetooth integration retains a strong audio presentation without wires. They are as attractive as one would expect from Edifier and will best suit a more contemporary computer or TV setup. Whilst the large size and rear facing features do not flatter computer usage, they are nonetheless, a very versatile speaker through their various digital controls and wireless integration.

Accessories – 7/10, Still kind of cheap feeling, especially the RCA cables and remote. The new interconnect cable is much thicker and of very high quality. All cables are now gold plated which works wonders in daily use. Would be nice to include thicker gauge line-in cables such as those included with the Image lineup of speakers.

Design – 9/10, Very solid, premium feeling housings that also look spectacular. Nice textured MDF in addition to piano black sides. On the larger side, will take up a lot of space on the desk, more of a dedicated bookshelf speaker. Improved inputs, rear-facing controls are not practical but are of high quality.

Bass – 9.25/10, Very extended, but still does not quite match 2.1 systems. Much more textured than the R1700BT and even the Spinnaker, fantastic definition, very full. Rear bass port does make them somewhat placement sensitive, they will have more bass quantity when placed in front of a wall.

Mids – 8.75/10, Full bodied lower mids, upper mids are slightly raspy but with pleasing clarity. Great for videos, movies and games as well. Very detailed and generally linear. Still not quite as tonally pleasing and detailed as the Spinnakers.

Highs – 8.75/10, Very extended, no roll off like some of Edifier’s other speakers. Extremely resolving with great texture and body. No real complaints, quantity can be adjusted via the treble dial, very occasionally sounds slightly thin.

Overall – 9/10, So to sum up my impressions, the R2000DB is a very appreciable improvement over the R1700BT and a strong performer in its price range. Whilst the price is considerably increased, Edifier definitely make the jump feel and sound worthwhile. The raw power, the feel of the housings and to a lesser extent, the feature set and inputs have all been remarkably improved. Versatility is also broadened to compliment similar improvements to the sound; now both more resolving and far more impactful. The R2000DB are definitely a speaker to watch in the $400 AUD price range.
The R2000DB is currently available from Amazon for $249 USD, please see the link below for the most updated pricing and availability:
Edifier R2000DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers – Near-Field Studio Monitors – Optical Input – 5 inch Subwoofer – 120 Watts RMS

5 Comments Add yours

  1. shini44 says:

    very nice review! i found you through your cable review on Head-fi. added your blog to my bookmark. looking forward for more reviews.

    Like

  2. shini44 says:

    also your reviews are so detailed. because you mention everything about Bass/Mids/Treble unlike some other overrated reviews with less details and more “sell off” to them…

    Like

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