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Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers Review

First Impressions and Setup

When I decided to downsize from my older, larger floor speakers connected to an amplifier, I embarked on a search for a more compact, yet high-quality audio option. During my search, the Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers caught my attention. As someone who uses an Audio-Technica LP 120 turntable, I hoped these speakers would offer an all-in-one solution, combining both the amplifier and speakers in an elegantly compact package.

The Edifier R1280T speakers arrived promptly, thanks to my Amazon Prime membership. Upon unboxing, my first impressions were extremely positive. The speakers were securely packed, and their build quality exceeded my expectations. They sported a premium wood finish that not only looked great but also felt sturdy and well-built. At that moment, I was already impressed before even hearing a single note of music.

Easy Setup and User-Friendly Controls

The setup process was refreshingly simple, taking just about five minutes. The speaker system includes an active speaker, which houses the power cord along with treble, bass, and volume knobs, and a passive speaker. The design of the knobs being tucked away on the side was a thoughtful touch, as it kept the aesthetic clean. There is a remote control, which, although basic, serves its purpose well with volume up, down, and mute functions. The main power switch is also conveniently located on one of the speakers.

One minor hiccup I encountered was connecting the wires to the back of the speakers. Initially, I didn’t pay close attention to the color-coded polarity, resulting in some confusion. However, once I referred to the small instruction manual and corrected the polarity, everything fell into place. It was a small oversight on my part, but a learning experience worth sharing.

Sound Quality and Performance

Now, onto the most crucial part—the sound. As soon as I played my first record, I could feel the smile spread across my face. The Edifier R1280T speakers delivered a clean, well-balanced sound with decent treble and bass. Adjusting the treble and bass to my liking was straightforward, and the speakers handled high volumes without distortion, something I wasn’t expecting from a $100 pair. They proved to be more than capable of filling my room with rich, clear sound.

Over time, I have come to appreciate how well these speakers perform across various music genres. Whether it’s metal bands like My Dying Bride, vocal trance from Alan Walker, or jazz classics from Nina Simone, the Edifier R1280T speakers delivered beautifully. Even at night, with the volume turned low, these speakers managed to capture the intricate details of the music, ensuring a pleasant listening experience without disturbing anyone else in the house.

Comparative Analysis: Rivals and Market Position

Before settling on the Edifier R1280T, I considered several other options in the $100 price range, including the Yamaha NX-50 and Bose Companion 2. Each of these speakers comes from reputable brands with a strong pedigree in the audio industry. However, after extensive research and reading numerous reviews, I chose the Edifier R1280T due to their excellent balance of features, sound quality, and price.

The Edifier R1280T speakers hold their own against these well-regarded competitors. While the Yamaha and Bose models are also high-quality options, the Edifier speakers stood out to me with their clear mids and highs and the right amount of bass, which is essential for close-up, near-field listening. If black was an available color option, it would have matched my gaming rig perfectly, but that is a minor aesthetic preference.

Edifier R1280T Bookshelf Speakers

Build Quality and Design

The build quality of the Edifier R1280T speakers is superb, especially considering the price. The wood finish gives them a premium look, and the cabinets, made of dense MDF, minimize any resonance. The tweeter, a silk mylar type, offers exceptional articulation and detail, far beyond what you’d expect from speakers in this price range. Even the woofer, with its rubber santoprene surround and treated paper cone, performs admirably.

However, the connecting wires between the active and passive speakers seemed a bit flimsy to me. They work well enough for now, but I don’t expect them to have a long life. The one design aspect I found a bit inconvenient was the freely rotating volume knob on the active speaker. Since there’s no indicator, it took some trial and error to set the volume correctly the first time.

Technical Insights and Modifications

For those interested in the technical aspects, the Edifier R1280T’s amplifier section utilizes a Texas Instruments Class D amplifier chip, which is implemented very efficiently. While the speakers use a simple 3.3uf bipolar electrolytic capacitor for the tweeter crossover, replacing it with a 3.3uf 250v PMPC Dayton Audio polypropylene capacitor can offer a noticeable improvement in high-end detail. This minor modification is worth considering for enthusiasts looking to get the best performance from these speakers.

Limitations and Final Thoughts

Despite the numerous positives, it’s essential to acknowledge some limitations. First, these speakers are not Bluetooth or WiFi-ready, which could be a dealbreaker for those seeking wireless functionalities. However, this was not a criterion for my purchase, as I specifically wanted dedicated speakers for my turntable setup. Secondly, the aforementioned flimsy connecting wires and the lack of a volume indicator on the knob are minor drawbacks but worth mentioning.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros:
  • Affordable price point
  • Elegant wood finish and solid build quality
  • Easy setup and user-friendly controls
  • Clear, balanced sound with good treble and bass
  • Suitable for various music genres
  • Exceptional near-field performance
  • Cons:
  • Lack of Bluetooth and WiFi capabilities
  • Flimsy connecting wires
  • Freely rotating volume knob with no indicator

Final Verdict

In conclusion, my review of the Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers reveals that they offer fantastic value for their price. Combining a compact, stylish design with user-friendly controls and impressive sound quality, these speakers exceed expectations in many ways. Although they come with some minor drawbacks like the lack of wireless features and flimsy wires, these aspects do not detract significantly from their overall performance.

Considering their price range, the Edifier R1280T speakers compete admirably against more expensive models, making them an excellent choice for anyone seeking quality bookshelf speakers. Whether you’re using them with a turntable, PC, or any other audio source, these speakers are poised to deliver a satisfying and enjoyable listening experience.

The uniqueness of the Edifier R1280T speakers lies in their ability to combine affordability with remarkable sound quality and build. In a market flooded with high-cost options, these speakers offer a breath of fresh air for consumers looking for excellent performance without breaking the bank. Their aesthetic appeal, coupled with their sonic capabilities, sets them apart as a top contender in the bookshelf speaker category.

Bass Response
The bass response is decent, especially considering the size and price of these speakers. While not overly powerful, the bass is clean and well-controlled. They're near-field monitors, so expecting room-filling bass isn't realistic, but up close, they deliver adequately.
Treble Detail
The treble on the R1280T is impressively detailed for this price range. The silk dome tweeter does an excellent job of providing clear and articulated high frequencies. It might not have the ultimate finesse of high-end speakers, but for $100, it's quite exceptional.
Midrange Clarity
Midrange clarity is another strong suit of the Edifier R1280T. Vocals and instruments come through distinctly, with a pleasing presence that's enjoyable over long listening periods. The mids are accurate, with even the upper midrange maintaining a nice level of detail.
Design-wise, the R1280T looks and feels premium. The wood finish is aesthetically pleasing and gives the speakers a warm, high-quality look. The placement of the control knobs on the side is user-friendly, keeping them out of sight while being easy to access.
Sound Quality
Overall sound quality is really good for the price. The sound is well-balanced with clear highs, present mids, and adequate bass. However, they might not deliver the same depth and richness as higher-end speakers. They're particularly well-suited for close-up listening, like at a desk.
Value for Money
The Edifier R1280T offers fantastic value for money. They might be compact and reasonably priced at around $100, but the build quality, aesthetic, and sound performance far exceed the price point. They could easily be mistaken for speakers that cost much more. You get solid construction, decent sound, and a nice design without breaking the bank.
Total Score
Rating Summary
The Edifier R1280T speakers offer an impressive package that gets a lot of things right, especially considering the price. In terms of value for money, they are hard to beat. The bass is clean though not overpowering, which might be a drawback for those who crave deep, room-filling lows. Treble detail stands out as a highlight, giving you clear and crisp high frequencies. The midrange is also commendable, providing clear and accurate sound that's enjoyable over time. Taking everything into account, these speakers offer a very good overall sound quality for most users. Design-wise, they look much more expensive than they are, with a stylish wood finish and smartly hidden controls. They might not be perfect for users who need booming bass or absolute sound clarity at high volumes, but for near-field use like a computer setup or small studio, the R1280T punches well above its weight. These are some of the best budget speakers you can get without sacrificing too much on performance or aesthetics.