Edifier R1900T II

review


When you want to buy some speakers for your PC, you have a lot of 2.1 or 5.1 speaker sets to choose from. They have subwoofer, so they are suitable for everyone who likes to have a lot of bass. 2.0 sets are not so popular, many people think that due to not having a subwoofer, they will not produce any bass. Of course, there's nothing wrong about 2.1 or 5.1 systems when they are well designed, but in most cases they just aren't. Subwoofer are tuned too high to produce as much output as possible, not playing deep or clear enough, and satellite speakers usually don't perform well in higher bass or lower mid. And often also high tones are not that great because there's no tweeter to produce them. But that's not the topic for now.
If we use the speakers mainly to listen to music, x.1 does not have that much of a sense, it's better to invest that money to 2.0 speaker set. We may not get so much bass, but the rest of the frequency range will be much better, and in most of music genres this is what matters most. The problem is that there's not much to choose from. You have cheap systems from Genius, which are not known for being most reliable, you have Creative speakers which are a bit pricey for what they offer (100 for speakers that will not go below 80Hz in real life? Come on...). The only suitable choice would be to go for multimedia monitor speakers. One of them are these - Edifier R1900 TII.


Manufacturer claimed parameters:
Power: 2x22W RMS @ 10% THD
Signal to noise ratio: ≥95dB
Frequency range: 60Hz-20kHz
Distortion: ≤0.1%
Input sensitivity: 850mV ± 50mV
Input impedance: 30kOhm
Input type: Stereo RCA ports (Cinch)
Adjustments: Volume (sensitivity), Bass, Power
Midwoofer: 5 inch (131mm), magnetically shielded, 6Ohm
Tweeter: 1 palec (25mm), magnetically shielded, 6Ohm
Dimensions: 168 x 290 x 214 (W x H x D)
Weight: cca. 10kg (gross)
Voltage: 120-220V

Absolutely believable and realistic parameters, input voltage depends on country, for Europe it's 220-240V.

Packaging

Box that arrived was a bit smaller than I expected, but the space inside is used in a very effective way. Box itself is simple, no funky graphics on the outside. Speakers are well protected to not get damaged on their way to you. With the speakers you get a signal cable (jack - RCA) and speaker cable where the wires are distinguished by the material they are made of, one is aluminium and one is copper. And there's also a manual.



Outside view

The finish has an imitation of wood texture, in my case in black. On the front there's a removable cloth grill, when you remove it, you can see the drivers. There is a 1" silk dome tweeter cooled by ferrofluid and 5" midbass driver with paper-wool diaphragm. Suspension is of course made of rubber.
On top of the rear wall there is a plastic bass-reflex port. The only other thing on the rear of the left speaker is a spring-loaded terminal, which is not the most high-end thing, but it's acceptable in this price range. The amplifier is located in the right speaker, so the back wall on this one is a bit more interesting. On the top there are adjustment knobs for input sensitivity and bass and two pairs of RCA inputs marked with A and B. A input has treble-shift function, so you'll use it when you will listen to the speakers out of their axis (speakers not pointing at you). Bass adjustment is useful mainly to accomodate the speakers to the position in room. You will need to set the bass lower when the speakers are in the corner and higher when they are in the middle of the room. Input sensitivity adjustment can be used to set the volume level, however it's position is a bit impractical, it will be better to set the volume in the operating system or on your external soundcard if you use one.
Next thing on the rear is a radiator which cools down the amplifier and on the bottom there's a power cord and power switch. Input power is 60W, which will be quite enough for the output power manufacturer claims (real total output power is always smaller than the input power).
Overall these speakers have decent design, with grilles removed you can see they are above-average in what's usually used with PC. Bass-reflex port on the rear can be a bit inconvenient, you'll have to have some space between the speakers and the wall behind them.



Look inside

I was a bit surprised when I looked inside the left speaker and saw the wires that connects the terminal and the crossover, two very thin wires typical for the cheapiest speakers in 15 price range. WTF, I don't get this, in every other place Edifier used the same cable as the one you get to connect the speakers. You won't even save money by doing this... But apart from this, it's pretty good, there's a wool damping on the side and on the bottom there are MDF plates to reduce the internal volume to match the right speaker and to increase stability. Crossover is very simple with 6dB/octave - one coil for midbass and foil capacitor (this is a rare thing, in almost every other speaker set a cheaper bipolar electrolythic capacitors are used - these are not good at higher frequencies, they practically act only like a resistor) with resistor (to match the sensitivity) for tweeter. Crossover is screwed to a small MDF plate which is then glued to the side wall. Midbass driver has a rather big magnet (but not unusually big) with a shielding, tweeter uses neodymium magnet which is inside the magnetic system and doesn't need to be shielded. There's also a small heatsink to improve the cooling of the coil, I'm not really sure it's necessary for this amount of input power.
More interesting is a peek inside the right speaker. The whole electronics inside is driver by a surprisingly large EI transformer (EI is not as good as toroidal) with symmetrical 15V 2A output. You don't need to be a mathematician to be able to calculate that this equals to 60VA (15V x 2A x 2 outputs) of power. For example Microlab Solo2C is powered by 51VA transformer and Microlab declares higher output power - quite hard to believe). But I'm not really happy to see the input voltage of the transformer - 220VAC - a bit less than what we should have in our wall sockets (there should be 230VAC, but here in Slovakia we usually have more than that, typically 240VAC). This may lead (and leads) to higher heating and higher noise of the transformer. On the wires leading to the transformer there is a fuse and some other component, probably a termistor. Power input continues from the transformer to the PCB, where it's rectified by a diode bridge and stabilised by two 6800uF/35V capacitors. Again, nice value for this power. Microlab Solo2C uses the same capacity. I do miss some smaller capacitors to filter the switching delay of the diodes in the bridge, this may cause some noise on the output. On the same board there are amplifier ICs - TDA2050. That's a cheap and simple amplifier IC, quite bad when fakes are used, not that bad when it's directly from ST microelectronics. However LM1875 sounds a bit better and is fully compatible - a small tip for modders. This is an AB class amplifier, therefore its typical power efficiency is somewhere around 75% (the output power will be 75% of the input power, so to produce 44W on the output it will consume somewhere around 59W). According to datasheet, TDA2050 is able to produce 20W output power into 8Ohm with 0,5% THD and 35W into 4Ohm. So for 6Ohm the output power will be somewhere in the middle. Amplifier does NOT have a delayed switching of the output, which leads to popping when it's powered on. A great thing is that there are no electrolytic capacitors used in the signal way, which again improves (or doesn't degrade) the output quality. PCB of the amplifier is connected to the passive input board, one pair of the shielded cables leads the signal from the input sensitivity adjustment to the each of the TDAs, the other connects the bass adjustment. If we take these as the monitors, the simplicity is a plus, there's not much to have a negative impact on the signal, but if we want them to be multimedia speakers, there are a few drawbacks... However the design is pretty decent.



Sound

This might be the most interesting and most important. The first thing - you need to do some burn-in, don't expect some super-great quality out of the box. And the other, most important thing - placing in the room and the listening environment itself. With correct placing in a good listening space, you'll get a very nice sound - very well balanced and detailed. Bass response is not fantastic, it doesn't go that deep, but at least it's not as muddy as in most of the other systems. However the best thing is mid and high range, better than in almost every other speaker set in this price range.
They are best for listening to music with not much deep bass content (like hip-hop), but they are also good for gaming and movies - they will not produce that much rumbling during explosions, but you'll get a very nice stereo image and very natural sound.


Conclusion

This speaker set is a great choice for people who listen to or work with music, but can be also used for all the usual gaming and movie watching. However for the ordinary multimedia use, they may be a bit impractical, the only way to adjust the volume is to use the knob on the rear and there's really nothing else to adjust. Of course no remote control. But thanks to that simplicity, they are more focused on the quality of the output, which is where they'll outperform almost anything below 160 price.

+ balanced and detailed sound
+ stereo image
+ power supply with enough power


- volume adjustment on the rear
- weak, but audible hum from the transformer
- not very deep bass



Direct competitor will be Microlab with their Solo range, however those are more of a multimedia speakers, so you'll get a remote control and funky things, however the power supplies Microlab uses are not powerful enough to produce the output power manufacturer claims. There are also electrolytic capacitors used, which will never be as good as foil capacitors.
Other competitor, even though only price-wise is Creative. Their T40s would be a better choice only when you really don't have enough space for serious speakers. The quality of their output is far below R1900 and so is the output power and frequency range.
2.1 systems may produce deeper bass, but will not perform that well in the remaining frequency range. May be better for movies, but will not be better for music.