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Edifier MR4 Review (Budget Monitor)

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 17 7.5%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 79 34.8%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 110 48.5%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 21 9.3%

  • Total voters
    227

Haint

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Lets imagine, you have not much money, and like easy decent sound on you PC. What would you say?

There are a few objectively very good (and notably better) passive speakers in this price ballpark if you camp sales or buy used, as well as stereo desktop amps available for next to nothing. That said, the MR4's most unique selling point is probably their size and out of the box simplicity.
 

Willem

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If one already has a modest amplifier, the Wharfedale Diamond 220s that I recently bought for a friend are really rather good (I paid 130 euros for two). Amir tested them and liked them too.
 
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rajas

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Wow, thanks amirm! This was one of my requests on the "What budget speakers you like to see reviewed?" thread.

Surprisingly decent for this price! It was on sale recently too.
 

Ra1zel

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Can the people that voted "Not terrible" and "Poor" point the rest of us towards a better pair of active micro monitors with balanced inputs for $130?
I can't but I'm not going to delude myself to think that this speaker is good, or even fine, when I vote I do in absolute terms not related to the price point, otherwise the whole idea becomes pointless as obviously second hand speakers that I bought in local dollar shop are much better according to this logic since I paid 5 bucks for them and that's 26 times cheaper so how they measure doesn't matter
 

AnalogSteph

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On the quest for the perfect office PC loudspeakers, these seem a better contender than the dispersion trainwreck that is the JBL 104s, and the crossover performs better than Edifier's own 1280T's (breakup modes galore). I'm still in no way over the moon though, the response remains in need of a fair bit of EQ. If Presonus could be arsed to make their Eris E4.5s with something resembling a decent crossover like they apparently used to, those could be a decent candidate. Mind you, the 104s have pretty much the very same problem.

You'd think that there should be at least one pair of powered multimedia speakers that's at least somewhat good, with the savings from having the electronics in just one speaker being put to good use. I have yet to see any. Usually even promising concepts are ruined by overzealous cost-cutting.

Speaking of second-hand, today I came by the set of Cambridge Soundworks PC Works (ca. 1999/2000) again that I got for a colleague for 20€. If you know how to set these up best (woofer on desk, port plugged, woofer level set correctly), they sound really grown up, somewhat hot treble on-axis from the 2.5" satellites aside. The volume pot commonly requires some TLC and yellowing in an issue but that's about it. I don't even want to know how many multimedia speakers this modest 20-year-old plastic-fantastic system still smokes today... it's depressing. For kicks, I may have to look for my old one in my parents' basement and drag it into the office for comparison to the 104s.
 

JRG123

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Emphasis on "can be found". My JBL306 monitors were $180 shipped for the pair. They were new, but open box.
Sounds like a great deal. Where I live, best case I can get a 305 for that price. A unit.
 

Yevhen

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Yeah, I thought it was larger. Here’s a photo from their site:
2021101511174116342678619456.jpg


I’m guessing it’s Photoshoped in.
CutPaste_2021-12-16_23-23-29-121.jpg
 

ROOSKIE

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I voted great.
I factor in price and intended market.
Not to do so makes no sense to me, to each their own of course.
I think for $130usd these are fantastic, small sized conviently packaged speakers.
So much better than many other options.
Price wise they are within reach of folks who have no disposable income, live check to check or don't have the fortune of living in wealthy country. I realize $130 is typical lunch or dinner out for some however for a great many worldwide $130 is a serious expense. It might be a months rent in Guatemala or even more.
Not to mention the non audio nut person who is chosing not to spend much on Amazon and yet ends up with a very decent set of speakers for casual listening that is easy to set-up.
Remeber even the JBL 3 series is physicall much bigger and requires extra chord purchases and two outlets, ect - Meaning less convience for what I perceive as the intended buyer.
Anyone know how the Monoprice DT-4BT performs? Seema like. Possible condender here.
 

Anti-Climacus

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Can the people that voted "Not terrible" and "Poor" point the rest of us towards a better pair of active micro monitors with balanced inputs for $130?
The truth is these are not active, they have a stereo amplifier with passive crossovers in the speakers so they lose the benefit of an active design like the "proper" monitors one finds in the market. I think there are way more decent options in the used market: perhaps the (very often indeed mentioned) JBL 305 used can be found for a little more, like 150-170 bucks? But those are considerably larger, so if size is a consideration they are not ideal.

And that distortion figures even at 90 db SPL are atrocious. Remember that even for desktop speakers meant to be listened to in the nearfield, for a playback level of 80 + db you need enough headroom for clean reproduction of peaks of even 20 db. Power handling and SPL capability are the weak points of small speakers in general, I think, and this includes even acclaimed monitors with superb FR and performance on and off axis like the Neumann KH80, Genelec 8020 or to a lesser degree the aforementioned JBL. I personally have a pair of Adam T5V with a Topping EX5 as a desktop setup and with the gain on the backplate set at 0 db, very often feel the need to crank it up to almost full volume in the dac if I want to listen really loud. And that is at a listening distance of 1.2 meters. If I distance myself to 2 and 3 meters I find them almost unusable and would certainly not recommend them to anyone for big spaces and LD of more than 1.5-2 meters.
 
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beagleman

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I can't but I'm not going to delude myself to think that this speaker is good, or even fine, when I vote I do in absolute terms not related to the price point, otherwise the whole idea becomes pointless as obviously second hand speakers that I bought in local dollar shop are much better according to this logic since I paid 5 bucks for them and that's 26 times cheaper so how they measure doesn't matter

When we say judge them by price, we mean the price they were new.

Of course something you find or are given is a better value, but one is not buying them. Same with your 5 dollar example.
Realistically comparing things that can be bought by anyone on the forum at a typical new price.


A one hundred dollar speaker should not directly be compared to a one thousand dollar speaker with the same rating scale, as the much higher priced one SHOULD perform much better.
 

Eggs Ackley

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Yeah, whats in them?
From their website.
The MR4 adopts TI high quality ADC (analog-to-digital converter) chipset, SNR up to 99dB, with TI digital power amplifier TAS5713, and the use of its built-in DSP to complete sound adjustment, to ensure excellent performance under dual mode.
 

richard12511

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Normalized treats the on-axis as flat, so it lets you see the imaging performance (how similar the off-axis curves are), soundstage width (SPL decrease off-axis), and directivity control (change in slope at the crossover region; check the upcoming speaker review for a speaker with poor directivity matching), and the vertical shows how finicky they are for near-field usage (how wide and severe the crossover dips are). As well as gives a glimpse at how performance would be if EQ'd to be flat.

Hadn't thought of it like that, but I completely agree. The normalized plots do correlate strongly with imaging, at least from what I've seen and heard.
 

ROOSKIE

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Wow, a score of 5 after EQ is pretty good!
Yes and being a small speaker the score with sub gets bumped to 8.0
Extremely good.
Now obviously that is only the Harman score, and there are other factors and in no way do I feel that all speakers with the same score are equal.
That said the speaker system performs extremely well for the extremely reachable price point and the extremely convenient package.
A tweaker can add a sub and some PEQ and really have a nice desktop system or a low volume system for an apartment, studio, workshop, store or whatever.
 

wwenze

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On Taobao it's RMB¥500

Well I wouldn't expect USD$200 level of performance. And I know a lot of people who are unwilling to spend $200 on speakers. Tho if you're a professional who would need TRS connections please spend the money.

This seems to fall right at R1280 in terms of price and performance tho. Which felt better?
 

Mickeyice3

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Edifier MR4 powered "studio" monitor (speaker). It was sent to me by the company and costs US $130.
View attachment 172727

This is a very small speaker. It looks larger in the marketing material. You can easily carry it with one hand. I was impressed by the use of waveguide and help from Klippel Germany on the measurement side. Unlike typical "multimedia/PC" speakers, you have balanced inputs:
View attachment 172728
That should help reduce possibility of ground loops/hum. Connection to the other speaker is through one pair of wires which means the crossover is passive and there is one amplifier per channel.

There are notches for LF and HF shelving. I set the in their detent which on the HF side, was to the left of center. I made the NFS measurements below using that, and "monitor mode." If you click the power button twice, you get into music mode. I made a few measurements to quantify the difference:

View attachment 172729

I expected the Music mode to have much more exaggerated lows and highs but instead, it seems to have a more even on-axis response. Getting to the same place with the HF control requires boosting it to the 2 dB marker.

Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than an anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

Measurements are compliant with latest speaker research into what can predict the speaker preference and is standardized in CEA/CTA-2034 ANSI specifications. Likewise listening tests are performed per research that shows mono listening is much more revealing of differences between speakers than stereo or multichannel.

Reference axis was the center of the tweeter (aligned by eye). It is getting colder with the measurement room temp at 14 degrees C. Accuracy is better than 1% for almost entire audio spectrum indicating a well designed speaker.

Edifier MR4 EVO Measurements
Acoustic measurements can be grouped in a way that can be perceptually analyzed to determine how good a speaker is and how it can be used in a room. This so called spinorama shows us just about everything we need to know about the speaker with respect to tonality and some flaws:
View attachment 172730

As you could tell from the (in-room) preview in the intro, there is a dip in the lower treble frequencies. And we have some resonances/peaking centered around 600 Hz. Outside of this though, directivity control is good due to use of that waveguide. More on this later.

Near-field response shows uneven treble response so maybe this is why we are deficient close to the crossover frequency:

View attachment 172731

Unfortunately the early window reflections exaggerate this:

View attachment 172732

Resulting in a shelved predicted in-room response:


View attachment 172733

I am impressed by the amount of bass this little speaker is producing. It is flat down to 70 Hz! The broad deviations are very audible but rather easy to correct with EQ as you see later.

At 86 dBSPL playback level distortion was good but at 96 dB, speaker fell apart making all kinds of squealing sounds. I played with volume vs input level and got some improvements but still horrid at 96. So I reduced level to 90 dBSPL where I could still hear odd noises:

View attachment 172734

View attachment 172735

The waveguide pays dividends in directivity and beamwidth in the horizontal axis. It is unusually good for speakers in this price range and even higher:

View attachment 172736

View attachment 172737

And the wide width means that you can move left and right at your workstation without much change in tonality.

Vertically is not as good and this is typical of 2-way, non-coaxial designs:

View attachment 172738

For fans of timing tests, here is the waterfall:

View attachment 172739

Impulse response:

View attachment 172740

And for the first time, step response:

View attachment 172741

Edifier MR4 Listening Tests and Equalization
First impression defies the look of the measurements: the sound is warm and reasonably nice sounding. That extended bass response really helps here. I took out the EQ tool and made some quick adjustements:

View attachment 172742

Taking down the resonances around 615 Hz took out some of the stuffiness of the upper bass and provided more clarity. The filter next to it is there to truncate its response as there is a dip on the right that is not on the left. I then boosted the deficient region around 4000 Hz. I went easy there as I don't like bright sounding speakers.

Note that you can get part of the way there by using the rear HF control and boosting a few dB (per listening tests and measurements). Once there, you do have good sound without having to deploy EQ.

There is a cost to the extended bass: you can't get too loud. Try to do so and at first there is clicking/static is barely noticeable. Turn up the volume more and it gets quite a bit worse. I say you can only get to medium level with one speaker playing. With two speakers it should be better (I did not test). This is with content that has normal amount of lower bass. With techno/drum loop content such as Peace of Mind track you see in the EQ panel, it could get quite a bit louder with no audible distortion.

Conclusions
You are paying so little for a speaker that attempts to follow the path of much more expensive monitors with proper waveguide and balanced inputs. It takes over them with inclusion of volume control, RCA inputs, etc. Bass response is flat and impressive for such a small/light speaker. I wish it did not have the dip in lower treble though. Not sure why that is there if they did measure the speaker.

If you need an ultra cheap, active speaker and can use a bit of EQ, the Edifier MR4 makes a decent option. Just keep your expectations low as far as playback level.
What are the physical dimensions of the speakers?
 
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