Edifier have been around for about 15 years and have recently expanded hugely across the globe, with a range of audio products for a variety of solutions. As this is the first of their products that we're reviewing here at OC3D, we'll let them explain a little about themselves, courtesy of their website :
Edifier® International specializes in the design and manufacturing of high-end consumer audio electronics for both the lifestyle and multimedia markets, providing a wide selection to suit each individuals taste. Edifier® International is renowned for its development and use of acoustic technology, superior manufacturing standards and uncompromised quality in design and production of audio electronics. Edifier® is committed to excellence in all audio markets in which it operates, which include PC audio, multimedia audio, docking audio, IT lifestyle audio and home lifestyle audio. Edifier® is committed to excel and extend the audio experience into further evolving both the global brand and product recognition, with a passion for sound.
So contrary to a few companies who make speakers, Edifier only make audio products, so hopefully this means a high focus level on the sound quality.
The Aurora we have on test today has won a design award for its looks, which we'll see on the next page. Design awards always make us slightly wary as sometimes the artistic 'form' that wins those kind of awards comes at the expense of some 'function'.
As you can see from the speaker sizes this is designed mainly as a sleek pair for a laptop or perhaps something to plug your MP3 player into, rather than a huge wall of sound affair.
Model Number: MP300 Plus
Total power output: RMS 3.5W x 2 + 15W x 1
THD + N (testing level): 10%
Signal to noise ratio: ≥85dBA
Frequency response: Satellites: 230Hz - 20KHz | Subwoofer: 45Hz - 200Hz
Input sensitivity: Intelligent Sensitivity Adjustment (I.D.C)
Audio Input Type: 3.5mm Stereo line-in
Adjustment: Master volume control
Subwoofer / bass unit: 2 inch, Magnetically shielded, 4Ω
Midrange / high unit: 1½ inch, Magnetically shielded, 4Ω
Colour option: Asphalt grey / Electric blue / Liquid silver / Luminous yellow / Midnight blue / Original red / Passion pink / Spicy red / Stormy black / Tangy orange
Dimension: Satellite: 59mm x 67mm x 59mm | Subwoofer: 280mm x 87mm x 59mm (W x H x D)
Weight: 1.00Kg (Net) | 1.30Kg (Gross)
As befits a product with the focus upon sleek design, the box is very clean and crisply designed and around the same size as a graphics card package. Lifting the lid and we find the Aurora itself neatly housed with it's piano black satellites happily reflecting your amiable reviewer.
The quality of the satellites is very high indeed. Aluminium shrouding and very heavy duty grills ensure that, despite their small size, they could withstand more than the odd knock with no ill-effects. The right hand satellite also has the volume controls mounted on top. From the top down it reminds me of the robots that used to advertise Smash.
The bass tube provides the amplification and lower frequencies. Very sleek and aesthetically pleasing with just a small LED on the front to indicate the power status. Round the back are the speaker inputs (both satellites being wired together) and the line in for your audio device.
Whilst piano black is a complete pig to photograph, it's worth it because the tube certainly looks fabulous from all angles. This is definitely a product that looks much better in the flesh than in pictures.
Testing and Conclusion
Once again we grab a variety of sources to test the Edifier Aurora, from a wide array of music, through games and a selection of films.
If you read our review earlier in the week of the Corsair SP2200 you'll remember how the sub woofer dominated proceedings and that the bass adjustments struggled to enable us to find a sweet spot. The Edifier Aurora has this same issue but with even more unfortunate consequences as there is no way to adjust the level of the bass whatsoever.
Once again it's that design award thing rearing its head. To win a design award these days the priority seems to be on a smooth surface almost entirely free of controls that would break the aesthetic lines. It's the reason why nearly every display from TVs to phones now have capacitive power buttons rather than the genuine 'clicky' type. This minimalism is definitely in place with the Aurora as the only buttons that exist at all are the volume control ones on the top of the satellite. So the bass tube is pretty much running at full tilt all the time, unless you can make some manual adjustments on to the EQ on your device.
So the louder you have it, the bassier it becomes until the rest of the frequencies from your media are almost erased entirely. It's not that I have a dislike for bass, far from it, but it shouldn't be at the expense of the midrange nor highs. Sadly those little satellite speakers really struggle to cut through and the whole thing ends up sounding a bit muddy.
Now for the price, a low £40, and the multitude of colours available it almost begs to be used as a better-than-default laptop pair or portable MP3 type. Indeed like this we'd be able to be more understanding of the scant controls and single-focus sound reproduction. However the Aurora is solely driven from a power supply, with no battery options. So the small "stick it in your backpack" nature is moot because you need a plug handy which means that more often than not you'll be using it in the home, and the tiny size and mediocre sound are compromises far harder to swallow in that environment.
Our next review to complete this mini series is of another Edifier product that shines a much brighter light upon them. But for now, and the Aurora, it's definitely a case of design trumping usability. It looks great and is built well, but it's tough to overlook that rather woolly sound.
Thanks to Edifier for supplying the Aurora for review. Discuss in our forums.