Page 3 - Subjective Audio Analysis
Yep, those are the Edifier R1010BT on top of the Audioengine HD6. Note: We are not directly comparing the two products in the evaluation below as they are made for very different markets.
Reviewing audio devices require extensively trained ears and lots of experience. Even for audiophiles, it may prove challenging at times to obtain an accurate evaluation of a product without a thoroughly familiar product to use as a simultaneous reference. While I am not going to even try to claim that I am the only trustworthy or best reviewer for sound, it is fact that most computer review sites have editors who are insufficiently trained in reviewing audio equipment. Give them practically anything and all you will read about goes along the line of "good bass, nice midrange, awesome treble, really clear sound, 10/10". While there are many knowledgeable audio reviewers at various respected online media outlets, they are by far the minority.
As I have mentioned in my past audio reviews, there are really no true objective measurements for speaker sound quality. As the reviewer, however, I will put it through a series of subjective tests to try to come up with the most objective rating possible (Yes, it is quite a paradox haha). On the wired, analog side, tests were conducted primarily on an iPhone 6 and an NVIDIA Shield K1. For Bluetooth wireless tests, I also used the two aforementioned devices over Bluetooth 4.0. After over 100 hours of break-in time -- well above typically required period -- we put the Edifier R1010BT to the tests. All tone controls on the speakers were set to neutral. All tracks on our devices are uncompressed CDs, FLAC, or LAME encoded MP3s at 192kbps or higher.
Starting with the "big three", let me first clarify on some facts. Even though the Edifier R1010BT can move air with its four inch woofers, the Edifier R1010BT is not a subwoofer. If you want to completely fill the low end, you will need big drivers to move lots of air. There is no way around physics. That said, I did a frequency sweep on these speakers and there is almost flat response down to 70Hz -- exactly what its specifications suggest. It dropped off quickly past this point, but I was able to still hear things reasonably clearly down to 40Hz. At the lowest end, the bass, there really is no way we can get around the physical limitations of Edifier R1010BT. However, I am glad Edifier did not do anything to try to work harder than it can at these lower frequencies. For what we do have, the bass was not bad, but it missed out on the roundness we normally like. Midbass to upper bass also sounded boomy at times. If you really are looking for a deep kick in the low end, you will have to look elsewhere. The missing subwoofer output does not help in this regard either.
Moving to the midrange and treble, the Edifier R1010BT produced a brighter sound. The midrange was lacking overall still. In the lower regions of this middle frequency, there were similar characteristics to the bass, lacking the oomph and travel expected from music as found in bass guitar lines. Otherwise, the midrange sounded relatively natural, with decent wooden resonance heard in instruments like the piano. It did have a bit of dryness in this region, which is heard in male voices as well. The upper midrange was where we started hearing the brighter nature of the R1010BT, with a seemingly boosted sound. This continued into the treble region, where the higher frequencies were boosted compared to normal. There was dryness heard throughout, and it felt clashy at the highest parts. Even so, the treble boost definitely was one of the highlights of the sound, even if this did not retain the original balance of the music as intended.
When it came to imaging and soundstaging, overall I was quite happy with what the Edifier R1010BT could to do. They reproduced music with decent depth and width for the size of the speaker. While it was not the best we have heard, it would be unfair to expect it to be the best. However, with the space and price limitations, the R1010BT produced pretty good picture with its sound. When it came to layering and frequency separation, there was good detail and you could hear everything without one overpowering another. Transitions between frequencies could have been smoother. Overall though, there were some issues with the cleanness of the output. All three ranges suffered from a messy reproduction, and it was more apparent with more layers of instruments. Overall, the bright sound with a recessed middle range translated into a V-shaped sound, minus the back-end bass.
As a whole then, the Edifier R1010BT speakers were not too bad, as they delivered on sound in its price category. The bright characteristic made for a fun sounding pair of bookshelf speakers and more complicated music did not necessarily overwhelm these speakers. Of course, there are places where Edifier can make improvements. This includes improving the cleanness and some tweaking to characteristics in each region. Even so, I was still satisfied with what we had today.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Subjective Audio Analysis