I spend a lot of time on my computer. Too much time to be honest but hey, we all have our vices right? When I’m at my desk there’s always something playing, whether it be music, video or games. A lot of the time I use headphones but for lighter listening, when I want to let my ears breathe or am getting in and out of the chair often I like to use desktop speakers. Enter the Edifier R1700BT. These are compact, very nice to look at and have Bluetooth 4.0. Is it enough for them to claim a spot on your desk? Let’s take a look (and a listen).
In 1996 Beijing, China Edifier was created by “a small group of enterprising music lovers”. Since then they have become a well known name in the industry and currently have distributors in over 70 countries around the world.
This product was sent to me for the purpose of an honest review. All opinions and observations here are my own, based on my experience with the product.
Total power output: RMS 15W × 2 (treble) + 18W × 2(bass) (DRC ON)
Signal to noise ratio: 85dBA
Frequency response: 60Hz ~ 20KHz (@+/-6db)
Input sensitivity: PC: 700 mV ± 50 mV
AUX: 550 mV ± 50 mV
Input type: PC/AUX/Bluetooth
Treble driver: ȡ19 mm silk dome tweeter
Bass driver: 4 inch (116 mm)
Packaging and accessories
The R1700BT come in a smart looking box with an image of the speakers on the front. On the rear is another image as well as a list of specifications and features. Inside the box we find:
- R1700BT speakers
- 4-pin interconnect cable
- RCA to RCA cable
- RCA to 3.5 mm cable
- Remote control
- User manual & warranty card
The remote is very small and thin with mushy buttons. I think considering the price of the speakers any kind of remote is a bonus and this one works well. My only complaint with it is that the button labels can be quite difficult to see in low light but it’s easy enough for me to remember where the volume up and down buttons are.
Although these speakers look like they’re made of wood, it’s actually just MDF with hand-picked walnut vinyl covering but I really don’t care about that. I mean – just look at these things! Beautiful is an understatement, these are absolutely gorgeous.
Classical yet modern, the rich brown colour of the sides coupled with the matte black front and top are a match made in heaven. But wait there’s more. Take off the front covers and cue the “bedroom music” because they look even better, revealing the eagle eye tweeter sitting above the 4-inch bass driver with the forward facing bass port at the bottom.
Because the bass port is at the front of the speakers there’s no need to worry about proximity to the wall and you can place them pretty much anywhere.
The drivers are angled upwards at !0 degrees in order to direct the sound directly towards the listener for clearer midrange and treble. On the right side of the right speaker, there are (from top to bottom) treble, bass and volume controls and a LED light in a countersunk panel.
The LED glows green when the line in is selected and blue for Bluetooth mode. The dials are made of aluminium and have a nice feel to them, much better than the plastic knobs on many similar products and they’re also weighted nicely to give a silky smooth rotation when adjusting.
Moving around to the back of the right speaker we find the dual RCA inputs, the left speaker out and power switch while the left speaker just has the single interconnect jack.
Bluetooth and pairing
Pairing the R1700BT with my FiiO X1ii and Galaxy Note 5 was very easy and worked flawlessly. Simply select Bluetooth mode with the remote or by pressing the volume knob then all you need to do is enable Bluetooth from your source device and select the speakers from the list of available connections. One interesting thing to note is that as long as the speakers are turned on pairing mode is enabled, even when line-in is selected.
The overall presentation of the R1700BT is what I would call bright, clear and energetic. The speakers employ Digital Signal Processing (DSP) and Dynamic Range Control (DRC) to limit distortion and this works well for the most part. These have enough power to comfortably fill a small to medium sized room but don’t expect them to shake the neighbours windows. When the speakers and listener are positioned properly ie: at the desk or in front of the TV soundstage and imaging are quite impressive making them great for movies and gaming.
*Note that for testing I kept the treble and bass dials at the default half-way point. The fact you can fine tune the sound to your preference with these is another of their strong points making them very versatile.
The treble from the 19 mm Eagle Eye tweeter is crisp and gives some airiness to the sound without being sibilant. Taking the front covers off makes things even clearer and at the same time reveals that sexy fascia (drool) but I actually prefer the little bit of extra smoothness the covers provide.
Midrange is very clear with excellent layering and separation. The tonality these offer is really impressive for such a small speaker. In The Plains of Ashford from the Guild Wars 2 soundtrack, the horns and strings are lively and emotive with good resolution and detail. Vocals are equally as impressive sounding rich and natural. In Sia’s Reaper vocals are surprisingly legible when she’s lulling along through the verse and the R1700BTs hold it together well when she’s belting it out through the chorus though they can sometimes edge towards harsh.
Onto the bass. What a pity I can’t leave this section out – If that were possible these bookshelf speakers would be headed for a near perfect score but alas this is where their weakness is revealed. Mid-bass has a good measure of quantity but the quality is not nearly as good. It’s loose and boomy and there’s significant bleed into the mids. I could actually live with the bass but for me, the biggest drawback is the massive sub-bass roll-off.
The result is that in certain songs there are parts that are barely audible or missing completely. For tracks that rely heavily on the sub-bass rumble such as So Many Rappers in Love by Westside Connection, I was left feeling rather dissatisfied. This is an issue I’ve come across before when dealing with DSP.
The Edifier R1700BT are beautiful, at least in my opinion. If they were a full-size speaker I would be happy to make them the centrepiece of my living room but since they’re only a rather diminutive 25 cm high I’m perfectly fine to have them grace my desktop. With the added convenience of Bluetooth and a very reasonable price of around $149.99, they’re near perfect.
If you’re in need of some desktop speakers for your movies, games and casual listening these should be on your radar. They’re a step up from most other offerings in the same price range and if you’re still not convinced just take another glance because they are downright stunning to look at.