We’re becoming more and more connected, it’s unusual to find a device in our lives that has a single purpose only so why would speakers have only one connection? That’s one of the reasons that the R1700BT speakers from Edifier caught my attention, they have dual wired inputs (PC and RCA) as well as Bluetooth connection. The other is the fact that — like many homes — space is at a premium for me, so being able to connect my PC, laptop and tablet to the same speakers for higher quality sound really excites me
What are they?
Obviously they’re speakers and marketed as a bookshelf speaker option. They’re not just bookshelf speakers, PC speakers or Bluetooth speakers but a combination of all three. They’re about the size you would expect from bookshelf speakers and frankly, very well presented. They’ve got a removable front cloth facia which provides a couple of advantages starting with removing some of the temptations — a horror I’ve experienced on other, rather expensive speakers in the past — for little fingers to poke the tweeters. The second is to ever so slightly soften some of the sound coming from the speaker if you’re sitting right in front of them in a desktop scenario.
They’re reasonably hefty, so not something I would choose to lug around with me. The footprint and connectivity also lend them to the potential of being — while they’re clearly intended to be PC desktop speakers with extra options — a very capable set of speakers for your TV.
They have come with a remote control that has power, volume controls including single click mute and source controls for either line-in or Bluetooth. On the side of the right channel speaker are bass, treble and volume rollers for easy touch controls for your preferred audio setup.
For a set of speakers that only cost RRP$179.95 they’re very capable. There’s plenty of power here with RMS15W x 2 + 18W x 2 for the tweeter and bass units. The random numbers don’t actually give a good indication of the actual sound and experience though.
There are speakers of similar spec and cost where the sound can be shrill in the high range or flat in the low range, not the case with the R1700BT. The sound produced by these speakers is clean and dynamic, capable of delivering such broad sound. It sounds very cliche, but it’s also true to say that the lows were low and the highs were high. Vocal ranges were exceptionally good and all of the sound delivery was so crisp and clean.
My personal experience with the R1700BT was very good, but not perfect. They’ve got the capability to fill a room with full sound, without taking over unless you want them to. There’s a full, rich and tuneable sound quality that can present a full and immersive experience. Whether it was movies, music or games I found with a minor tweak to the rollers that the sound quality and depth of sound are appropriate to the content I’m consuming. Without these little tweaks, I found the lows somewhat overpowering in movies and the high range sound a touch flat.
What are they good at?
These speakers are so broadly capable, it’s hard to isolate an area that they excel. That capacity, connectivity and sound delivery makes them a really good investment. Adding in their really pleasing presentation (our review pair are the wood finish option) and makes them not just good speakers, but a really comprehensive package.
What are they not so good at?
That wood finish does present me with some mild concern over the longevity of the speaker’s presentation. They’re constructed of MDF — perfectly normal — with a veneer finish over them which looks great, but something just doesn’t feel quite “finished” here and I wonder how long the veneer will last before it begins to show its age.
It’s being a bit picky, but I’d like to keep my tablet, or phone paired to the speakers via Bluetooth for music playback while I’m playing games on my PC. Unfortunately, the source selected is an either/or option, you can’t have both running simultaneously.
The other area that I felt was a little unpredictable was the need to rebalance the sound for different media playback. It’s a double-edged sword wanting an automatic sound balance because it doesn’t always deliver good quality and clean sound. The other side of that is needing some manual adjustment to maintain a really good quality of sound.
Edifier makes a broad range of great sound hardware from low cost headphones, home theatre audio, PC speakers and bookshelf speakers valued at more than $1,000.00 which shows their pedigree.
The experience is excellent, but not perfect with the R1700BT speakers from Edifier. Despite those little areas of query or want for improvement, $179.95 is a mighty good price for speakers so capable. They’re reasonably hefty (MDF construction) with a really nice wood finish veneer on top and certainly pack a good punch, particularly for the dollars.
The sound capability of them is really good for a broad range of media from music streaming, to movies and streaming entertainment like Kayo or Netflix. The power gives them an ability to fill a room with sound or sit humbly in the background just providing some ambiance to a quiet chat.
In the early stages I found myself resisting the use of the remote, but after a couple of weeks it’s now second nature. Turn them on with the remote, select your source and turn it up!
I really loved the multiple source option: PC, RCA or Bluetooth means they’re pretty versatile and capable of fitting into a multitude of playback scenarios. The review unit has been hooked up to my PC on my desk for day to day use, but streams music for extended periods from my laptop or tablet through the day.
TLDR: These speakers sound good, look good and for $179.99 represent pretty good value for money in what they offer. If you’re keen to pick up a pair, you can on the Edifier Australia site, Amazon or a range of other retailers around Australia including Harvey Norman, Dick Smith and Kogan.
Due to shipping constraints it is not cost effective to return the review unit to the overseas warehouse.