Putting R1850DB through the paces
By: Michael Drainer, Drainer Technolgies
When I was asked by the AVNATION team to give my thoughts on these speakers I can’t say that I was terribly excited. I thought “they are just another small format speaker in a sea of hundreds of commodity consumer products.” That’s not necessarily a false statement. There are literally hundreds of options out there for two-way, bookshelf format speakers. I’m not a consumer audio guy guru so I don’t expect to know all the manufacturers in this space, but if these are worth my time shouldn’t I have at least heard of them?
Edifier did not exist in my vocabulary prior to experiencing this product. Upon reading the marketing literature I was convinced this was not going to be a pleasant experience. I mean, how good can a $200 pair of speakers really sound? Not to mention the obvious disconnect between the marketing message on their website and the performance features of the speakers, but I digress.
After unboxing everything and taking inventory I hit my first moment of satisfaction, wood construction! Okay… I thought “Edifier is just trying to make up for poor audio.” I peeled off the protective plastic to reveal a very nice glossy finish, giving the cabinet a high-end look. Alright, Edifier, it looks and feels decent but how does it sound?
I placed the speakers atop my standing desk, flanking either side of my monitor and fired up some tunes. Hmmm, not bad at low volume. The high end was crisp with full balanced mids and fairly decent low-end response. Okay, at low volume it’s not hard to make a small format speaker sound decent. Surely they’ll fall apart at higher volume. I got out my SPL meter and placed it on axis, 3’ from the cabinets. Fired up Thunderstruck by AC/DC and slowly brought up the volume. I kept waiting for noticeable distortion but did not find it till I hit about 94dB SPL A-weighted. I pushed them up to 96dB before I hit the max. These things definitely get loud enough. The bottom end started to taper off when I hit approximately 60% of max volume. This is expected though, how much can a 4” woofer really do? The system does have a subwoofer output so you can augment the bottom end (definitely recommended if you will be listening at high volume).
In all, the system is a great value. With a $199 price tag, the price to performance ratio is excellent. It looks, feels and sounds great. The abundance of connectivity options, including Bluetooth (which by the way as very easy to pair), optical, and analog, along with the expandability and output capabilities allow for use in a multitude of applications. If you need decent performance at a value the R1850DB from Edifier just may be the answer.