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Edifier E1100 2.1 Speaker System Review

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Robscix

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Edifier E1100 2.1 Speaker System Review




Price: Approx. $53CDN
Availability: In stores Now
Manufacturers Part#: E1100
Manufacturer's Product Page: Edifier E1100 Multimedia Speaker
Warranty: 1 Year


The PC speaker system landscape is mainly controlled by very large companies like Creative and Logitech but there are a few lesser-known companies out there that fabricate what amounts to amazing PC speaker systems that are hard to compete with for any new comer to the audio scene. Nonetheless, there are a few "rogue" companies out there that fabricate what amounts to amazing PC speaker systems that haven't received much attention. These are the companies we try to focus on here at Hardware Canucks since thy are capable of producing some great products at attractive prices. Today we will be looking at a speaker system from one such company: Edifier

The Edifier audio company is a very well known and highly respected company overseas and it has slowly and methodically been pushing their way into the large North American market. They are based in Beijing but distribute their products in North America through their secondary headquarters in Vancouver. Here is what they have to say about their company and the products they produce:

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

Edifier, well-known multimedia speaker brand,is one of the finest acoustical product manufacturers with a rich and vivid international personality in the World. Edifier always insists on producing the best possible sound and product quality in a given price point. Using only the finest materials available, and real wood enclosures on many of it's systems-- Edifier creates the Art of Sound!

Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? But then again, you can't judge a product based on marketing quotes alone. Yet, their flagship product designs have been known to feature high quality components, crystal clear amplifiers and eardrum-punishing subwoofers on high-power systems.

Edifier has now released a line of well-received entry level systems into our markets for their ever widening dedicated fanbase. Today we have their new E1100 2.1 speaker system which is aimed at the more cost conscious consumer. It retails for about $55, has a simple one-year' warranty and promises to incorporate high quality sound into a stylish and compact design. The question on our minds for this review is will Edifiers commitment to quality audio and design excellence show through on their smaller, more modestly priced audio equipment? Let's open the box and find out...


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SKYMTL

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Packaging and Accessories

Packaging and Accessories

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The shipping box for this system was fairly hefty and the speaker system arrived in perfect condition after close inspection of each unit. The size of the box and the illustrations would likely catch your attention if shopping in your local PC store for a new PC speaker system. That being said, the box itself is quite compact considering it holds a whole 2.1 speaker system within. There is also an illustration of the classic Ridley Scott Alien in the lower corner of the box, more on that later.

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When the box is opened we are immediately greeted with a top-down view of the two satellite speakers which are encased in cardboard to stop them from bumping into one another during shipping. Each individual speaker unit was wrapped in plastic wrap and fitted into its own compartment to help prevent damage from rough shipping and handling. Some PC speaker companies seem to neglect this area of packaging and you get a system that is damaged or scratched. Luckily this Edifier system arrived to me in mint condition.

The subwoofer is below the upper tray and supported from the top and the bottom by yet more packaging material in order to keep it snuggly in place. It is sealed in plastic and taped tightly to prevent any dust contamination.

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The E1100 bundle includes the satellite speaker units, subwoofer, power supply, line input cable, instruction/connection manual, Edifier monogram polishing cloth and a sticker depicting the classic Alien for the science fiction fans in the crowd. I will also like to note that the included power supply has a Velcro tie wrap for the power cord and the plug itself has protective plastic shell for the AC prongs. It is these and other little details and extras that make the Edifier speaker systems stand out from the large crowd of audio companies currently competing for your hard earned audio dollars. On the other hand, the Alien logo is still pretty much lost on us...even though the subwoofer does look slightly Alienesque.
 
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SKYMTL

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Exterior Impressions

Exterior Impressions

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The E1100 speaker system features a very high gloss black paint finish and luckily Edifier included the monogram polishing cloth to buff and remove any finger prints or dust marks. The exterior styling is very modern with sleek lines and curves to keep the style symmetrical while tieing The paint and aluminum used for the frames and stands adds to the modern image the system has.

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The subwoofer housing looks very much like the head of the Alien creature in the famous Ridley Scott Sci-Fi movies. This was definately a deliberate design goal since there are stickers on the box itself alluding to the design's relationship with these movies. Nonetheless, this Edifier speaker setup really does look very futuristic and slick.

Many of Edifiers new designs feature very streamlined satellites and subwoofers so if you're into the new modern styling you will be very pleased withthe E1100. The satellites themselves seem to blend in very nicely next to a new 22" windscreen LCD or a Laptop display. The fact also remains that many people do not want or have space for a large system with monstrous woofers and huge satellites and this system can be placed on almost any desk without looking out of place. Hopefully this will cause people to get rid of the standard white cubes that get stuck with when buying a ready-made PC.

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Since the master volume control is located at the top of the sub, I would think the sub itself is meant to sit on a desk where the level control is within easy reach. If you want this unit on the floor, I hope you don't expect to change the volume too much. There is a small plastic halo around the master volume dial which glows blue when the system is turned on. The subwoofer is also outfitted with anti-slip rubber on the bottom of the cabinet to keep the it from moving around.

There is a dedicated bass level control on the rear of the subwoofer to help dial in the bass response precisely to the user’s demands. The high tech satellites and subwoofer are magnetically shielded for use near a CRT monitor, TV or other sensitive electronics.

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The subwoofer features a down firing long throw 12 Watt driver which is designed to reflect bass sound from the floor or desk upwards to the user. This is a interesting design but your perceived bass response will depend greatly on the material your subwoofer is sitting on. Hard surfaces such as a computer desk would be more efficient at deflecting and dispersing bass energy then a carpeted floor for example. This design consideration would allow the smaller subwoofer of the E1100 produce some pretty good bass response. In fact every part of the "Alien head" subwoofer seems to be designed to produce noticably more bass energy then other subwoofers of the same size. The little alien really roars pretty good.
 
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SKYMTL

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Specifications / Build Quality

Specifications

Power Output: 4.5W X2 +12W (THD=10%)

Signal to Noise Rate (Amp): >=85dBA

Input Impedance: 10K Ohm

Input Sensitivity: 450mv

Frequency Response: 50Hz-20Khz

Bass Driver Unit: 4.5” Long throw design with heat treated paper voice coil, magnetically shielded, 6 Ohm

Full Range Driver: 2” with Heat Treated Paper voice coil, magnetically shielded


Dimensions:

Subwoofer---162 x 167 x 267mm ( WxHxD )
Satellites---68 x 105 x 103mm ( WxHxD )

Gross Weight: Approx. 3.5 kg

Power Requirements: 100V-120V~, 50/60Hz

The system has a very wide frequency response from 50 Hz to 20 KHz which allows for great bass response and extended high range. Usually such a small system wouldn't be able to reach that low into the bass spectrum but the volume (internal size) of the subwoofer allows it to produce some very nice bass tones. I have to say, things are looking pretty good for this compact system from Edifier.


Build Quality

When I disassembled the E1100 for internal circuitry inspection I noticed that this speaker system was very well put together. There were over 16 Screws just to hold the top and the bottom housings together and the plastic used for the housings is thick and doesn’t feel cheap to the touch. The internal circuitry was very well built and there were no noticeable defects in soldering or wiring upon inspection. Edifier also used solid aluminum for the frames on the subwoofer and the satellites which is a very nice touch as a lesser company might go with much cheaper materials. The power switch and volume controls are all well integrated and the volume knob itself is very smooth to operate.
 

SKYMTL

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Electronics Overview / Modding Options

Electronics Overview

Opamp ST 4558C

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These opamps are very common in the audio design community as they have a high bandwidth and fast slew rate of 2.2 V/uSec and THD - 0.008%. These opamps are featured in many audio devices and on many soundcards, such as the Creative X-fi X-Music and others. They are considered medium grade audio devices and on a brief examination of the circuit theses amps are for initial amplification and signal conditioning for the power stage. These amps are a great choice as they help keep the sound quality reasonably high and considering the price of this system, lesser amps could have been used for this circuit position.

ST 4558 Spec Sheet


Opamp TDA 7379

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The TDA7379 IC is used in this circuit as a power amplifier section for all the drivers. The amplifier is in a multi-watt package and is mechanically connected to an internal heat-sink to help keep the internal amplifier temperatures down. This amplifier unit is a Class AB amplifier that can run in bridged mode and drive two speakers or run in quad mode. In this circuit the amplifier unit is set for quad mode and is driving the two satellites and the subwoofer.

TDA 7379 Spec Sheet


Modding Options

The best modding candidates for this system are the amplification stages and possibly the filtering stage. You can install a DIP8 socket and this would allow you to try out different opamps such as the Burr-Brown OPA2134’s, OPA2227, OPA2107’s or the highly recommended LM4562 to see which sound the best to you. You could also replace some of the filtering caps with better quality Black Gates or others. Modding should only be performed by experienced users as you can easily damage your speaker system and will certainly VOID your warranty.
 

SKYMTL

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Listening Tests

Listening Tests


Music

Without a doubt, this Edifier system has a wide and deep soundstage. The sound output has a very smooth and the bass level is balanced very nicely. I was very surprised at the sound produced by this system for its price point. The sound produced was very warm and dynamic but unfortunately the bass would distort if the bass level was set 80% and over. The E1100 can crank up its volume pretty nicely for someone using a PC or using this speaker system for an Mp3 Player output. I found the sound could be improved quite a bit by using a graphics equilizer in order to tailor the output to someone's particular taste.


Movies

This system is passable for personal movie viewing but don’t expect large envelopment and big bass sound. On the other hand, placing the sub on my desk helped with the bass output because of the down firing subwoofer. The virtual center produced was quite accurate for scene dialog and center based action scenes.

Once again, the bass would bottom out in many action scenes if it was set to high. The system did seem to have a high crossover and low-mid frequencies seemed to come from the subwoofer also. I found sub placement was crucial for getting accurate sound from movies.

Movies tested:

Saving Private Ryan: Omaha Sequence
Spiderman3
The Matrix


Gaming

Like with movies, for gaming I personally prefer a 5.1 system but I have used stereo configurations in the past. The fact that this speaker system has a wide and deep soundstage helped with producing an accurate front stage for gaming. Dialog seemed clear and concise while bass response was reasonable and clear. When playing FPS games, I could easily pin-point targets within the front sound stage and all the sounds were reproduced clearly with no muddying for the image sometimes found on smaller 2.1’s.

I found it best to extend the satellites out to the ends of my desk to help widen the front image. After I did this, I could easily locate sounds between the two speakers in the sound field. There was ample volume for gaming if someone requires extra loud an system for FPS gaming but the clarity of this system helped more then pure volume.

Games Tested:

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Medal of Honor: Airborn
Call of Duty 2
Bloodrayne 2
 

SKYMTL

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Conclusion

Conclusion

It seems as though Edifier's pedigree in high-end sound is paying off for them as they continue to produce some surprisingly good budget PC speaker systems. The E1100 2.1 system has decent quality sound output for its asking price but it is not the kind of sound that will fill a large room. The system is meant for personal listening on a PC or possibly a MP3 player and not hard-core gaming or movie watching. Edifier gears this system towards people looking for a good match for their laptop or small computer station where extremely loud volume is not needed but good sound is required. If your looking for a system to rumble your eyeballs out of your head, this system is NOT for you, since it simply does not have the power. Edifier's systems are known to produce nice clean sound with ample bass and they always seem much louder then their specifications outline, and the E1100 is no different. I was actually quite impressed with these speakers.

The clean lines, “futuristic” styling and the high gloss finish of the satellites and subwoofer match very well with modern LCD monitors and laptop computers and blend in nicely to any modern environment. Add to this high-end looking design the quality sound produced by the E1100 and you have a solid product for the price. Unfortunately, there are a few things holding these speakers back from being a GREAT product. First of all there is the distinct lack of higher-volume bass and sometimes it seems like the bass is struggling to keep up with the rest of the audio. It would have also been nice to have seen a headphone jack on one of the speakers.

That being said, if you’re looking for a smaller 2.1 system to possibly take on the go or a 2.1 system for your desk, then this is the system for you. In the new year I will definitely be watching the new products coming out of the Edifier audio company. For the modern styling, quality sound produced and solid build quality I give this system 4 out of 5 and a Dam Good Value Award.


PROS

- Futuristic styling and clean lines
- Good sound Quality
- Aluminum Frames
- Great price


CONS

- No wired Remote
- Muddied bass at higher volumes
- No headphone jack


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