Edifier R501 Speakers

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Product(s): Edifier R501
Provided By: Edifier Canada

Price: ~$110 USD (Edifier Online Store)

Introduction: 

Edifier might be a name that you haven't heard of before, however they are very quickly gaining a reputation of making high-quality speakers. Edifier was originally established in Beijing China in 1996, and quickly expanded overseas and now has moved its head offices to Vancouver, Canada, they currently have over 2,500 employees, and produce their speakers from R&D, all the way to manufacturing. The fine folks at Edifier were kind enough to send us a nice set of 5.1 speakers (R501).

Here is Edifier's mission statement, taken from their website:

"All originates from the unrelenting pursuit of high sound quality"

Edifier has always insisted on producing the best possible sound and product quality in a given price point. The design ideas of Edifier and customer's needs and requirements have combined to produce products that are not only visually striking, but also embody sonic excellence. Using only the finest materials available, and real wood enclosures on many of it's systems, has enabled Edifier to occupy a leading position in the field of multi-media speakers and home audio products. The Company will be making great strides in the future with technological advances and breakthroughs in all its designs, and has already become one of the finest acoustical product manufacturers, with a rich and vivid international personality in the World.

Well, let's see if these speakers live up to the company motto, on to the testing!

 

What's in the Box:

  • 5 x Satellite Speakers
  • 1 x Sub/Amp Box
  • 5 x Speaker Cables (Various Lengths)
  • 1 x Instruction Manual
  • 1 x IR Remote Control
  • 3 x Stereo (RCA) to 1/8" Jack
  • 3 x 1/8" to 1/8" Cable

Test System:

  • AMD Athlon 64 - 3200+
  • Asus A8V Deluxe
  • 2gig Kingston 3200 Memory
  • 2 x 120gig Western Digital Hard Drives in Raid 0
  • Creative Audigy X-FI FATAL1TY Edition

 

First Impressions

When I picked up this box, I immediately noticed it was heavy, and you'd have to be a body-builder to not notice. The box weighs approximately 16 kg. Everything is packaged very nicely, and allows for safe shipping, as you can see from the pictures below.

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Front of Box
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Side of Box
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Inside of Box

After pulling out the speakers, I immediately noticed that these speakers look very nice, they do not have a "cheap" look to them like some other companies. All the speakers have a mounting hole so that you can hang them on the wall easily. The front grill on all the speakers is removable. The center speaker is exactly the same as all the other speakers, except it comes with a different grill so that it can be laid on its side.

Satellite Speaker
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Satellite Speaker W/O Grill
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Rear of Satellite Speaker

The Sub/Amp unit of this set is pretty big, and features an 8' Down-Firing Sub woofer. It has a ported hole on the left side of the box, and features a LED display on the front so that you can tell how loud the unit is set at. There are no buttons on the unit, except for a power switch on the rear of the unit.

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Front of Sub
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Left Side of Sub
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Right Side of Sub
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Bottom of Sub
 
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Back of Sub, Connection Area

This set of speakers also features a remote control for volume control. As I mentioned earlier, there is no other buttons on the unit itself, so you're going to want to make sure you don't lose this remote, otherwise, well, you're screwed.

 

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Remote

 

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Complete Set of Speakers and Sub

 

Edifier R501 Specifications:

Features:

  • All MDF wood enclosures, even for the satellites. 
  • Magnetically shielded drivers, no need to worry about the screen nearby.
  • 8 inch long-throw super woofer with high power output amplifier.
  • 3.5 inch full range satellite speaker.
  • Micro-Computer controlled digital volume IC.
  • LED digital display indicates the volume setting value and other status.
  • Volume fade-in and fade-out when power on/off is operated.
  • Infrared remote controller, adjusting main volume, rear, center, subwoofer and mute.
  • Flash memory to save the adjusting value.
  • 5.1 channels inputs, Dolby Digital (AC-3) ready, DTS ready.


Specifications:

  • Power Output: 
          Satellite Speaker: RMS 6Wx4(@ fo=1kHz, 10% THD, 5 channels loaded )
          Center Speaker: RMS 8W(@ fo=1kHz, 10% THD, 5 channels loaded )
          Woofer: RMS 30W (@ fo=60Hz, 10% THD, single channel loaded )   
  • THD+N (Amplifier): <=0.5% (satellite, @ PO=3W )
  • Signal-to-Noise Rate (Amplifier):   >=85dB(A Weighted)
  • Input Impedance: 20K Ohms
  • Input Sensitive: 450mv
  • Frequency Response: 35-20k Hz
  • Input Port: 5.1 channels RCA Line-in
  • Controller: Infrared remote controller, main volume, rear, center, subwoofer, mute and power.
  • Woofer unit Impedance: 8 Ohms
  • Woofer driver unit: 8 inch(D210mm), magnetically shielded
  • Satellite Speaker unit Impedance: 4 Ohms
  • Satellite driver unit: 3.5 inch (D78mm) full-range paper cone, magnetically shielded
  • Dimensions: Subwoofer: 292(W) x 295(H) x 410(D)mm
                             Satellite Speaker: 90(W) x 134(H) x 104(D)mm
  • Gross Weight: about 16Kg
  • Power Requirement: 
               220V-240V ~ , 50/60Hz (for Model European/China/Korea/South America, etc.)
               100V-120V ~, 50/60Hz (for Model USA/Canada/Japan )
               Max Power Consumption: 90W


Edifier R501 Testing and Installation:

 

Testing of these speakers was very easy, installation is very straight-forward, they worked like a charm right out of the box.

I did have one issue, when I first hooked all the speakers up I was getting crackling in the speakers, which I thought was weird. So I consulted the handy manual and it suggested turning the computer volume down and using the speaker volume control to increase the volume. I did this, and it fixed the issue. According to the manual if the volume is too high, or too low on the computer end, you might experience crackling or popping, due to the lack or overabundance of signal strength.

I tested this set of speakers with Music, Movies and Games.  I picked a variety of different types of music and movies, and picked BF2 for the games testing. I tested these speakers with my Creative X-FI FATAL1TY sound card.

Music - Music sounds great. They have some good volume even though they are only rated at 6 watts @ 8 ohms. If you crank them up excessively loud they start to distort a bit, but that's expected. After a little easy adjusting with the remote you can get a very nice surround sound, not just on music, but on all the types of media I tried. For the normal person who listens to music at a decent level, or even turns it up a bit, these speakers work just fine, if you like your music cranked to 11, then chances are you've already got a much more expensive set of speakers to satisfy your hunger for ear-piercing volume.

Movies - Same result as music, they sound very nice, and with a nice sound card provide a very nice surround sound experience.

Games - With games I came to pretty much the same conclusion as with music and movies, the overall experience was very good. After testing movies and music already, I was pretty sure the end result would be pretty much the same, and I was right.

 

Comparison:

At the moment the only other set of 5.1 speakers I have at my disposal are my set of Logitech Z-5300e speakers. These speakers retail for almost double ($199 USD) what the Edifier speakers do. I was very interested to see how a set of less expensive speakers would be able to match up to the Z-5300's.

The Logitech speakers are 35.25 watts @ 8 ohms (Center is 39 watts @ 8 ohms), and the sub is 100 watts @ 8 ohms, so obviously they are going to be able to go louder than the Edifiers. I thought this would be a bigger deal, but then I started to think about how often I really crank my speakers, and that would be hardly ever, I'd much rather have a great sounding set of speakers at a normal level, so that definitely evened the playing field between these two sets.

The Logitech speakers do have more power, and definitely provide more bass when cranked up, but in the end, the sound quality between the two sets was very similar at normal to moderately loud settings. For my normal everyday music listening and occasional movie watching and gaming, the Edifiers would do just fine. The Logitech speakers have a few more features (THX certified, Matrix mode), which is nice, but at twice the price you would expect it. The biggest feature that the Logitech Z-5000e's have that I like is the Matrix mode, where you can put in a stereo or 4.1 input, and it will convert the audio to 5.1 (simulate 5.1).

At the end of the day, the Edifiers keep up with the more expensive Logitech's a lot better than I was originally expecting. If you have a 5.1 sound card in your computer, and don't want to spend a bunch on speakers, the Edifiers will definitely be a set of speakers to check out and strongly consider.


Edifier R501 Final Thoughts:

I had never seen or heard a set of Edifier speakers before CES 2007, when we were walking by and decided to stop by. Their demo at CES definitely peaked our interest, and we were very excited to get a set of our own to test out.

This set of speakers that I have taken a look at aren't supposed to be you top-end speakers, but are more aimed at the value consumer who wants a decent set of 5.1 speakers that doesn't sound like a set of tin cans. In the end, they definitely lived up to that promise. These speakers aren't meant to knock the pictures off your walls with booming bass and ear-shattering volume, but are meant to sound good at reasonable levels without costing you an arm and a leg. With a down-firing sub, you'll still be able to easily annoy the seemingly nice lady downstairs in your apartment building.

One of the things I really liked about these speakers was the fact that all the speakers were wooden, and therefore provide a much richer sound than cheaper plastic housed speakers can. The look of all the speakers is very nice, and not cheap like some other inexpensive speakers. All the satellites have the woofer and a tweeter, which other "value" speakers do not.

Another nice feature is the IR remote, most 5.1 sets of speakers under 300 dollars do not even feature a remote, most other sets have a corded control, so a wireless remote is definitely a nice feature, especially for music and movie watching. With that being said, the remote controls EVERYTHING on this unit, so you're going to want to make sure you don't lose or break that remote, because without it, it's going to be tough to use these speakers.

The speaker wires going to all the satellites could be longer, but on a nice note, it's just normal speaker wire and if you need to run a speaker to a far back corner, or already have your room wired for sound, then you're in luck and can easily hook up these speakers.

In the end, I was very happy with this set of speakers. They provide great sound for the price, and definitely beat other ~$100 dollar sets of speakers that I've had or seen. If you're looking for a great set of speakers that won't break the bank, you're going to want to check these out. I have no problem giving these speakers our Top Pick award.

 

Pros:

  • Very Affordable Price (Great Performance to Price Ratio)
  • All Speakers feature Wooden Boxes
  • Great Sound for Consumers on a Budget

Cons:

  • No Alternate Volume/Sound Controls (IR Remote Controls Everything!)

 

 

BCCHardware.com Rating
Quality:
9/10
Performance:
9/10
Software Pack:
N/A
Stability:
N/A
Features:
9/10
Value:
10/10
Total Score 9.25

 

I'd like to thank Edifier Canda for allowing us to review this set of speakers. If you have any questions, comments, or general feedback, please leave it at the "Comments" link below.