September 15, 2018
Edifier S350DB - Review
Edifier are back again, with an all new speaker system, but is this 2.1 set up, enough to out do the more common soundbar?
The one main aspect that sets Edifier apart from other speak systems on the market, is that they rarely build in metal casings, which is the same here, both the two bookcase speakers and the subwoofer are built with timber cases and the moment you take it out of the box, you get the feeling that this is a premium product. Apart from the generous amount of foam packaging around the speakers, there is not much inside the box, the two book shelf speakers, the sub and the assorted cables. The only downside is that the cables are mix and its confusing, connecting the left speaker to the sub, requires the use of a microphone cable, but the right speaker uses a VGA cable, the kind you would have used a decade ago on your computer monitor, while it all works, it is just odd and confusing.
Thankfully, the one aspect that is not, is the quality of the sound that they put out, during my time I threw at them action movies, quite movies, a range of games, music and everything else I could think it. I enjoyed watching the entire Jack Ryan series from Amazon and the speakers proved themselves capable of delivering the action, explosions and more that the series delivered, but they also held their own in the quitter moments, something that not all speakers are able to do without issues. I also started watching Iron Fist season 2, something which has a lot more person to person fights, which also came through very well on the speakers, so even if the show is not right, the sound is still good.
Of course, gaming is where I really tested them out, from simple games like Mini Metro on Switch, to Spider-Man on PlayStation 4 and everything else I could think of, the games all sounded great. While it is only a 2.1 system, the range that the speakers could cover, helped portray an effect similar to surround sound and while it did a decent job, it still was not the same as a proper system would. The subwoofer provided a lot of bass, even at low levels, though cranking it up resulted in the plastic ring around the air hole popping out. Playing Forza Horizon 3 with the bass up, was a real treat, the road of the engines came through clear on the speakers, but the vibrations of the engine from the sub were incredible. Taking a quieter approach, Mini Metro is a very basic game in its presentation, but the quality of the music and tones were clear and easy to listen too, even at lower volume levels.
Another feature that the S350DB offers is that you can pair your mobile to it, via Bluetooth and listen to your music, a welcome addition that not all speaker systems offer. Listening to Maroon 5, Lady Gaga, AC/DC and various other artists delivered clean and crisp audio, no matter the volume level and songs like Gangnam Style, used the subwoofer to its fullest. Pairing my phone was simple and once paired, selecting the Bluetooth input would result in an almost instant connection. Playing music can be done via your phone, or other device as always, but the speaker system comes with an included remote, which offers playback controls, in addition to volume. I have used some remotes on speaker systems before, which more often than not, has a delay between your selection and the action being carried out, there was no delay here, however there are some issues with it.
For one, the remote uses an IR sensor and while the distance that you can view it in, is quite large, the angle is not so much, so you need to keep your remote pointed in the right direction, something that we had been moving away from for the last few years and more. The other problem is that the remote is round, which is not only weird as heck, it is awkward to hold onto, think holding onto a hockey puck and you are on your way. The round shape looks nice, but its functional use is limited, because of the shape, in the dark, while trying to lower or increase the volume, I would usually stop the music, or the worst, turn off the system.
On the right speaker are manual controls, two are for Treble and Bass respectively, the final is volume and input selection in one, yes, the multi-use dial makes a return. Pressing in the volume dial cycles through your inputs and turning changes the volume, while it works really well, there is not a single indicator of what input you have selected and yes, while there are only a few of them, you kind of need to just hope for the best when use this method. The main power switch is located on the back of the Sub, which makes sense, but there are no controls on that, outside of power, which is odd, especially given how the speakers are style in such a way that they can be placed away, so adding the volume controls to the sub, would have made more sense.
The Edifier S350DB speaker system is an incredible unit, for not only price, but the quality of the sound it provides, while more frustrating design choices appear here, like in their other systems, for the price you pay, it is easy enough to overlook them.