Edifier R1280T Review

If you’re after some new speakers for your PC and you don’t like newer style offerings, the Edifier R1280T might be just what you’re after.

In the box

With the R1280T you get

  • Two front speaker grilles
  • A remote control
  • A 3.5mm to RCA cable
  • Dual RCA to RCA
  • Speaker cable
  • User manual

in-the-box-1280t

This is pretty much all you need to get you started and connected to either a PC, CD player, Vinyl player or even your TV. The remote controller is pretty basic but it allows you to mute the speakers as well as adjust the volume. This is pretty handy so that you don’t have to manually adjust them via the controls on the speakers.

remote-1280t

Design and Build

Specifications

  • Removable front grilles
  • Front firing bass port
  • Side controls
  • Dimensions: 146 x 234 x 196mm
  • Weight: 4.9kg

The R1280T are unashamedly old school and there is nothing wrong with that at all. They nay not blend well overly well in an ultra clean modern setup, but if you have more traditional surroundings they’ll look right at home. I do however wish that they come in another colour like Black Ash as that would make them easier to mesh with more minimal setups. Don’t get me wrong I really like the wood veneer finish they’ve selected, but another more neutral option would have been a nice addition for those that aren’t keen on this style.

The front section features removable Grey grilles, these have some Edifier branding at the bottom as well as a small accent strip across the centre. Removing the grilles reveals The silk dome tweeter, bass port and main 4” (101.6mm) bass driver. The bass driver cone is constructed from paper, but don’t let you put you off as paper drivers are known for their precision and natural tonal quality. There is also some more Edifier branding on the front facia too. The backing around the drivers is a flat Grey and I wish they would have made these match the veneer as it would have created a much cleaner look. The Grey also spills around onto the top of the speakers and again this causes a bit of incohesion in the design. This is just a personal preference and you may like the colour combination.

Onto the side of the main speaker and you get the in-built controls. Here you can adjust the bass, treble and volume. The controls are nicely integrated and work really well. The bass and treble give you a range of +6dB to -6dB which is perfect to make some fine adjustments to the sound. My one criticism is the volume control. Like the others it’s really smooth and feels good, it’s just that it’s an infinite scroll. This means there is no stopping point when you reach max volume, so the only way you know that they are full is to turn down your source and keep turning the volume dial until the volume doesn’t increase anymore. By no means a deal breaker it is a bit of an inconvenience.

controls-1280t

Round the back of the main speaker are all the main ports. Here you get twin RCA inputs, the speaker terminals which are used to connect the left and right speaker together and finally the main power switch. The other speaker just houses the terminals to allow them to be connected in stereo.

The build of the speakers is solid, they’re made from wood and feel well put together. The old knock test didn’t reveal any hollow sounds that some other speakers of this style do. The dials are plastic and feel good, the scroll is smooth and they aren’t wobbly. The RCA connections are reinforced with metal and should last a long time and the main speaker cable terminal is plastic, but it’s again good quality.

design-overall-2-1280t

Overall the design is nice if a little old school for my taste, the build quality is very impressive and they have given me no reason to fault them at all.

design-overall-3-1280t

Connectivity

This is a in a way good and a way bad. The good point is the dual RCA. Like previously mentioned this means that you can have two sources connected to the speakers at the same time. Now you can’t run two at the same time, but it does allow you to connect say your PC and CD player at the same time without the need of having to unplug one source.

connections-2-1280t

The bad point is the lack of Bluetooth, this would have been the icing on the cake of connectivity and opened up a whole new realm of possibilities. If you really want these speakers and the lack of Bluetooth is a deal breaker, then check out the Edifier R1280DB. These offer the same features as these but with Bluetooth, coax and optical inputs. You will have to pay a slight premium for these as they cost £119.99 compared to the R120Ts £89.99. But that could be worth it for the extra features and Black colour option.

Sound quality

Specifications

  • Power output (W): 21 x 2
  • SNR: ≥85dBA
  • Input sensitivity: 750mV ± 50mV
  • Tweeter unit: 13mm silk dome 4Ω
  • Bass driver: 4” (101mm) Paper cone 6Ω

For testing I used these plugged into my PC with the RCA to 3.5mm cable that came included in the box. I also used the included speaker cable to connect the left and right side. I left the treble and bass set to 0. The dials are great though, they give you a real wide scope of adjustment and you can really spend the time to balance the sound and fine tune it to your preference.

The overall sound is superb, they get loud enough to fill a good sized room and they don’t heavily distort when pushed. Not only do they sound great for music but also for gaming and movies. Gaming of course is a tricky subject and headphones will give you a better experience. But if you’re just playing a casual game like Batman Arkham Knight, Tomb Raider or games of these styles then the experience is good. It’s the same for movies too, the experience is far superior to those of any monitor and also superior to speakers like the Bose Companion.

Bass is extremely good, it’s crisp, clean and punchy. The drop is well handled and deep. For example I’ve tested 2.1 setups in the past that have had great bass. The Edifier don’t quite match the sub level bass that those offer, but with the Edifier I don’t miss the sub at all as in my setup the bass response is fantastic.

The bass is detailed and is not muddy at all. That is thanks to the driver style that Edifier have gone for in conjunction with the front firing nature of the bass reflex port. Why is this important? Well, rear firing speakers need a lot more space to breathe and also they fire the bass towards the wall behind them. This can make the bass overwhelming if not positioned correctly, also I’ve found that rear firing don’t offer the same directness as front firing do. The Edifier don’t suffer from that at all and because of the configuration this makes placement a lot easier. You still need to give them a bit of space to breathe (all around) but they are far less picky. This pretty much means that if you don’t have much space to play with, the bass won’t be heavily impacted by where you put them. Of course if you cram them in a tight space with no room then this will impact the bass causing heaviness, but on a open desk setup, they’re absolutely fine.

Mids are again extremely clean, packed full of detail and have great tone. They’re nicely balanced and don’t sway too heavily towards bright nor cool. Soundstage is great, it’s open, wide and the speakers breathe really nicely. In sound separation is great and you can easily pick different elements out and be impressed by the representation of them. The mids also have great body and are full, this means that they don’t sound thin and lacking in anything. Stereo imaging as you’d expect is great, I have these spaced at either side of a 27” monitor and that is surprisingly all you need. To get the same effect some speakers need at least a four or five feet between them. The edifier manage to achieve a similar experience in around 2.5ft.

Vocals are again impressive. The tonal quality is so natural and carries expression very well. Again they don’t venture too far into warm spectrum nor the cool and they remain reasonably neutral. Okay occasionally the do slip towards the bright side but it’s never harsh. The vocals also have plenty of power and aren’t lacking at all. They can do some justice to the big hitters like Adele and Rag N Bone man whilst remaining composed. The vocals do have a bit of depth to them meaning they seem to favour male vocals even though Adele did sound brilliant.

Highs are nice as well, they aren’t brash nor are they harsh and they sound smooth and clean. So as a whole I have to say that I am impressed with these. The sound is natural, clean and it’s not lacking anything. They’re a real joy to sit back and listen to.

Here are a few sound tests I recorded, just keep in mind that these sound so much better in person.

Summary

So to wrap up this review, are the Edifier R1280T good? Yes. Should you buy some? Probably. By probably I mean that these aren’t for everyone. The old school design may put off some, the lack of Bluetooth and other newer connections also could be a turn off. But. If you don’t mind the older styling and you don’t need Bluetooth, these are a pretty impressive set of speakers. They offer great build quality, enough connections to connect two sources at the same time and most importantly they sound brilliant. If you do however need the newer connections and want the same experience you get from these, then check out the newer Edifier R1280DB.

But as a whole I have enjoyed using these daily and if you have the space and the cash to spend, you won’t be disappointed by these at all.

Score 9/10

Pick a pair up via Amazon UK

Edifier R1280T Wired Active 

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