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Edifier R1280T Powered Speaker Review

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf (computer) Speakers. I purchased a few weeks ago at a cost of US $99 for a pair including Prime shipping. Yes, a pair of powered speakers for just $99. Incredible value if the performance is there.

I must say I expected a larger speaker than what I saw in person:
Edifier R1280T Powered PC Desktop Computer Speaker Review.jpg


The retro look makes one think the speaker is multiple times the size it is. That said, I definitely appreciate the form factor as it is the largest I like to have for computer desktop use. I find the grill very attractive but to be a purist, I measured the R1280 without it and listened to it the same.

Back side shows what you expect in this price range and type of speaker:

Edifier R1280T Powered PC Desktop Computer Speaker Back Panel RCA Input Review.jpg


The pair of binding posts carry the speaker level signal to the other channel. This of course mandates a passive crossover. Company advertises 20 watts of amplification.

Surprisingly you get a remote and tone/level control on the side:
Edifier R1280T Powered PC Desktop Computer Volume Bass Treble Controls Speaker Review.jpg


This eliminates the need for a pre-amp for volume control which is great.

Fit and finish is good although I had to remove some glue "strings" here and there.

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.

I used over 800 measurement point which was enough to compute the sound field of the speaker within 1% error.

Temperature was 76 degrees. Measurement location is at sea level so you compute the pressure.

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.

For reference point, I used the tweeter axis.

Spinorama Audio 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:

Edifier R1280T Powered PC Desktop Computer Speaker Spinorama CTA-2034 Frequency Response Measu...png


Well, any hope we had of this being a "studio monitor" with flat response is thrown out the window. We clearly have response variations with two resonances where the green arrows are. If we look at the individual driver response (more or less), we see the causes of those:

Edifier R1280T Powered PC Desktop Computer Speaker Woofer Port Tweeter Frequency Response  Mea...png


The woofer seems to be resonating around 5 kHz and the tweeter has peaking near 10 kHz. Hopefully we can correct these with EQ.

Our early window reflection graph is made more for far field response than near-field:

Edifier R1280T Powered PC Desktop Computer Speaker Spinorama CTA-2034 Early Window Frequency R...png


If you are like me, you have many feet behind you so the "front wall" reflection is not going to be as material as normal far field listening. Going with what we have, we more or less have the same issues as on-axis so EQ correction should be rather effective.

Putting the two together we see the same:

Edifier R1280T Powered PC Desktop Computer Speaker Spinorama CTA-2034 Predicted In-room Freque...png


Let's look at our standard distortion measurements:
Edifier R1280T Powered PC Desktop Computer Speaker Relative Distortion THD Measurements.png


Sweep sounded OK in the measurement room at 86 dBSPL but not at 96. At the higher level speaker did not break up but tonality of the sweep changed altogether.

Edifier R1280T Powered PC Desktop Computer Speaker Distortion THD Measurements.png


The jagged frequency response translates into jagged directivity:

Edifier R1280T Powered PC Desktop Computer Speaker horizontal Beamwidth Measurements.png


Edifier R1280T Powered PC Desktop Computer Speaker horizontal directivity Measurements.png


Vertically you don't have much margin of error so I suggest pointing the speaker up at you as I did during my listening tests:

Edifier R1280T Powered PC Desktop Computer Speaker Vertical directivity Measurements.png


Last and least, CSD/waterfall graph:
Edifier R1280T Powered PC Desktop Computer Speaker CSD Waterfall Measurements.png


Subjective Speaker Listening Tests
First impression of the speaker was, "not bad!" A bit bass heavy and after a track or two, somewhat bright. The flaws though were subjectively much less than what you intuit from the measurements. I have found that a lift around 1 kHz is more beneficial than a dip there and that is what we have. I went after pulling that down and the first resonance. The sound was still bright so I put in a quick hack to roll of the highs:

Edifier R1280T Powered PC Desktop Computer Speaker Roon EQ.png


Once there, this was a delightful little speaker! I smashed through my "speaker killer" tracks without falling apart. It has excellent bass that doesn't fall apart even at elevated levels with a single speaker playing. Track after track sounded good no matter what the genre. I have had much more expensive speaker with flatter on-axis response that fail such tests because they run out of power and bottom out/distort heavily. Not the Edifier R1280. That little woofer seems to have good power handling plus proper low frequency tuning.

Conclusions
I went into the listening tests prebiased with good looks and poor measurements of the speaker. What I found was that with a bit of EQ, this becomes a very nice speaker to enjoy on the desktop. It leaves far behind any plastic toy computer speaker. It certainly did justify to any track I threw at it, leaving me wanting to sit there and keep listening to it!

I don't often make dispensation for price but here, it is remarkable how good of a sound one can get from well packages speaker and with some correction per above. Even without EQ, if one turns down the treble control it will likely be quite listenable.

I am happy to put the Edifier R1280T on my recommended list even though I know I am going to get grief on the lack of objective perfection. :)

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

After five years of fruiting very little and what was there, eaten by some varmint, our grape trees all of a sudden started to produce well. With just the two of us in the house, we can't eat them all so this morning's project was getting some in the dehydrator to make rasins:
Grape dehydrating making raisins.jpg


This was after canning a ton of tomatoes last night with more left as you can see in the back.

What is that? You are sick of my gardening stories and you didn't come here to read stuff like this? Well, donate some money for heaven's sake so I can't have to tell you these things to get inside your pockets!!! Here is the link: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

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MZKM

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#2
Preference Rating
SCORE: 1.9
SCORE w/ sub: 4.5

Frequency response: +/-5.1dB 75Hz-18kHz : +/-6.5dB 80Hz-20kHz
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Screen Shot 2020-09-21 at 10.59.06 AM.png
Screen Shot 2020-09-21 at 10.59.12 AM.png
Screen Shot 2020-09-21 at 10.59.16 AM.png
Screen Shot 2020-09-21 at 10.59.20 AM.png
chart (97).png


Can someone load the EQ Amir applied or a full on one and spit of the SPL change or new on-axis? This speaker is very bright, which causes the PIR to be very flat and thus overly harms the score, I could just do a pseudo 30° horizontal offset (to emulate no toe-in).
 
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MZKM

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#3
If you are like me, you have many feet behind you so the "front wall" reflection is not going to be as material as normal far field listening.
Wouldn‘t rear-wall be the wall behind the listener and the front-wall be the wall behind the speaker?

Also, did you listen with it without toe-in?

Are you also able to get the far-field distance? Pretty important for speakers like these.


Frequency response: +/-5.1dB 75Hz-18kHz
I would like to point out that the specs are +/-9dB 75Hz-18kHz, and we are at almost half that. I wonder if some miscommunication happened lost and some engineer stated a 9dB window of deviation and whoever recorded that put it down as +/-9dB and not +/-4.5dB. Or, whatever measurement setup they have is seriously flawed.

Interesting fact, the game we call “telephone” is called “Chinese Whispers” in the UK, poking fun that the language sounds inconceivable to English speakers; they also call “The wave” stadium crowd activity “The Mexican wave” (because many first saw it during a World Cup).
 
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tecnogadget

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#4
Wow I kind dis not expect this. I used to joke with some friends about Edifier, as if they were a crppy kind of Bose. But then the boss puts it at the bench, measures bad but likes the sound...

This brand has some kind of Mystic behind since it matches other peoples opinions liking them.
 

bigjacko

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#5
Thanks for the review Amir! Nice to see Edifiers getting reviewed, they are quite popular on amazon. This speaker's directivity is one of the best in budget speaker, fix some frequency response issue it can be pretty good speaker.
 

CDMC

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#7
Overall not great measurements, but for $100 with a built in amp, amazing.
 

Matias

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#8
Measurements are quite bad, only the low price saves them in my opinion.
 
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Trouble Maker

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#10
Wouldn‘t rear-wall be the wall behind the listener and the front-wall be the wall behind the speaker?
That all depends on your point of view. ;)

Note: I honestly don't know what the convention here is, but there should be and probably is one. I just thought the idea of someone's point of view being themselves or the speaker was interesting here. I think it is even more problematic when we start to talk about speakers in various locations around the room e.g. Front vs sides vs backs, not to even mention height or top layers.
 
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restorer-john

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#12
@amirm I'm still interested to know if there are audible differences between the powered and the passive speakers in such pairs (internal volume differences, resonances etc). Also, the power supply may sag significantly when running both speakers as opposed to just a single one. This may seriously affect dynamics and distortion, particularly in the bass.

A quick listen as a stereo pair with comments could be useful for this type of product.
 

MediumRare

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#13
Given the clear chasm between the rating driven by the current metric protocol and your listening experience if this DUT, what are your current thoughts about the value of the metrics and the next phase of its evolution?
 

MZKM

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#14
Given the clear chasm between the rating driven by the current metric protocol and your listening experience if this DUT, what are your current thoughts about the value of the metrics and the next phase of its evolution?
Note that the current rating is for far-field conditions. I would assume near-field usage would place a heavier weight on the on-axis and the listening window, especially vertically.

In terms of improving the far-field, I'd wager the aspect of how heavily slope plays into the equation is the main thing to tackle. I don't have the time now, but we have the digitized Spins of the original 13 bookshelves used by Olive and their respective human rated scores, so one can play around with what parameters are used as well as weighting and try to get a similar ranking for the 13 using parameters that don't factor in slope (one can normalize the PIR graphs, which I already do, and try running NDB & AAD on that, including messing with frequency ranges used).
 

MediumRare

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#16
Note that the current rating is for far-field conditions. I would assume near-field usage would place a heavier weight on the on-axis and the listening window, especially vertically.

In terms of improving the far-field, I'd wager the aspect of how heavily slope plays into the equation is the main thing to tackle. I don't have the time now, but we have the digitized Spins of the original 13 bookshelves used by Olive and their respective human rated scores, so one can play around with what parameters are used as well as weighting and try to get a similar ranking for the 13 using parameters that don't factor in slope (one can normalize the PIR graphs, which I already do, and try running NDB & AAD on that, including messing with frequency ranges used).
Possibly there could be different metrics for near-field and far-field (just as headphones and loudspeakers are very different from each other) but doesn't this speaker measure miserably in near-field as well?
 

Xyrium

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#18
Horrible on-axis response, horrible polar responses both horizontally and vertically, horrific distortion level. So what's not to like?
Sounds like a good tube amplifier! ;)

These are terrible. They just threw speakers in a box, attached a crappy amp, and crossed their fingers.

Disappointing actually, because I've always had a penchant for Thiel models, and Edifier makes one like it, though I doubt they were aiming for time alignment: https://www.edifier.com/us/en/speakers/s1000mkii
 
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ROOSKIE

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#19
Sounds like a good tube amplifier! ;)

These are terrible. They just threw speakers in a box, attached a crappy amp, and crossed their fingers.

Disappointing actually, because I've always had a penchant for Thiel models, and Edifier makes one like it, though I doubt they were aiming for time alignment: https://www.edifier.com/us/en/speakers/s1000mkii
I used to have those speakers. They were very decent sounding subjectively. I was impressed actually.
I believe the angle is for desktop use as that is one of the main targets.
There is zero need to angle the baffle for time alignment when you are using DSP - as that speaker does use.

FYI here is a review of a similar model, different tweeter but you get the idea that perhaps Edifier makes some decent stuff in their line.
https://www.audioholics.com/computer-speaker-reviews/edifier-s2000-bluetooth-powered-speaker
 

Shadow12347

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#20
These were the first "real" speakers I bought, and I've owned them for quite some time now. I used them for my computer desk at home, but ended up replacing them with some KRK Rokit 5 G3's years later. These ended up going to my desk at work.

Honestly, to me, I really hated these at first... Like a lot. My ears are quite sensitive to treble and distortion, both of which these speakers have in spades... Even though the treble is peaky, I always felt like things were muffled, or like certain frequencies just never made it through... It's not the kind of "airy" treble that you get from something like Beyers... Beyers are nice because they do have a lot of treble peaking yes, but the way they do it is beneficial to the "detail" of the sound in my opinion. It may hurt a bit... But it's helpful, and you can appreciate it when you're in the right mood... With these speakers, I felt like the treble peaks were more painful than Beyers, yet had zero benefit to the "detail" or "air" of the music. They just straight up hurt, yet still sounded muffled... Looking at FR, I would think that may be due to the relative dip in low mids and 2-3k region in comparison to the rest. I tried playing around with EQ some time ago, but could never really get it to a point where I was satisfied with the sound. I'm definitely looking forward to trying some more EQ's now that I can see what the problem frequencies are, and hopefully it ends up making me appreciate them more for most genres.

I bought them because I wanted to see what the speaker world was all about, as I'm a massive headphone junkie, but I ended up hardly ever using them until recently when I brought them to work. They don't allow headphones, but said speakers are fine as long as it doesn't disrupt anyone. My office is far away from other offices, which allows me to be able to crank em up. At work I mostly play a Progressive Psytrance radio. It's fast paced with a relatively consistent tempo, and not too many vocals, so it helps me get things done without being distracting. I never really appreciated these speakers until I started using them like this... The bass response, funny enough, was never something that I thought was a strong point of these speakers. Given that I'm sensitive to treble, and not sensitive to bass, I felt like all I heard were massive treble peaks with most genres, and even on the more bass centric genres, I felt it was lacking there. At work, however, I didn't have space on my desk, but there's a small shelf that reaches a bit above the monitors on my desk that I had room on. So while before, I had them pointing UP at me from my desk, I reversed my foam pads so they're currently pointing DOWN at me from this shelf (not really sure if this might have any effect). They're also a bit more separated from each other than they were on my desk at home (with a good toe in), as my home desk is relatively small. I also added a low shelf of a few db's at 100hz because I felt it could use a little more there. With it setup like this, I realized that I actually kinda liked how the speakers sounded... At least on darker bass heavy genres... On brighter genres, I still feel it's got way too much going on up top, but now maybe with some EQ using these measurements as reference, I may be able to get them to the point where they'll sound good on most all (to me anyways).

In comparison to the KRK Rokit 5 G3's, it is night and day to me. I think the KRK's sound just about as right as I could ever hope a speaker to sound without any EQ (for nearfield listening anyways). The bass is definitely more present, yet is clean, tight, and doesn't interfere with the rest of the FR at all to me. Vocals, are lush and clear. Acoustic guitar and piano are particularly satisfying. I feel like they are the perfect speaker for my preferences. I'm listening to Chopin - Nocturnes as I write this, and it is quite a treat using a D90 for a DAC and A90 as a pre-amp with XLR out to the speakers. I feel like every frequency the piano can reproduce has as much power and authority as all the others. They evoke emotion to me, and that's what I love to experience most when listening to music. With the Edifiers, I don't get that. I feel like I'm forced into focusing on what's wrong with the FR, or how painful they are. They do work surprisingly well for my use case at work with very specific genres, and for that I couldn't justify replacing them. I'll comment after playing with EQ more to see if maybe that could change my opinion of them. For reference, I'm currently using a Khadas Toneboard to the Edifiers at work.
 
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