It may not be one of the biggest names in audio equipment, but Edifier has a growing reputation for building great-looking speakers systems that don’t cost the earth. While the M3280BT hardly has the most catchy of names, it is a decent 2.1 audio system that’s at the very least, worth your consideration, if not your cash.
This 2.1 system is made up of two tall triangular speakers, and a mid-sized woofer unit. As with most Edifier products, it’s attractive. The silver circular base holding the speakers is simple, svelte and sturdy, matching the slim silver band which stretches across the belly of the subwoofer unit. If you happen to have a silver and black desktop PC or noteboook, these speakers will compliment it perfectly. And because the speakers are long and slim, they won’t take up much space beside your computer.
A huge plus for me is that the design isn’t ostentatious. You often find speaker systems designed to be striking, trying to make an impression. These subtly and inoffensively sit beside any computer, look good, but don’t distract.
What I like about the Edifier 2.1 system is its versatility. There are two pairs of Fono inputs on the back of the woofer for PC and Auxiliary audio inputs, but it also has Bluetooth built in. The choice of connection types is, shall we say, interesting. The power cable is non-removable, which sits alongside the on/off rocker switch. The right speaker — which hosts the physical volume buttons as well as a 3.5mm out and bass/treble controls — is connected using an old-school small DVI connector, while the left speaker uses a Fono connection.
Pairing with Bluetooth doesn’t require any special sequence of button presses, simply search for the speaker from an Android phone or other Bluetooth device, pair, connect and start playing. That means you could have the speakers hooked up to at least 2 audio sources at once, and aren’t restricted.
When it comes to sound, I was pretty impressed by the low-cost Edifier speakers. With the highs and mids covered by the speakers, and the bass levels filled in by the subwoofer, you get a very balanced, full sound. Granted, it’s not quite the cleanest audiophile-grade quality sound, and there is a little hiss, but it’s far better than what I was expecting for a £100 set of multimedia speakers.
For the tech spec fiends among you, the woofer features a 6.5-inch bass driver delivering 20 Watt RMS, while the the satellite speakers deliver 8 Watts each.
If I was being picky, I’d suggest that the bass woofer could do with a little more power, even with the bass whacked all the way up, it still isn’t quite as floor-vibrating as I’m accustomed to from more powerful units. I’m used feeling audio from subwoofers in my chest, but this unit was timid. At least it was when placed on the floor under my desk. Place it alongside the speakers at head height, and their impact is much more apparent.
You can snag the M3280BT in the UK for £65, and in Europe for €107. Although they don’t sell the M3280BT in the States, they do have an alternative. The M3200 is a slightly more premium setup with a more attractive design, and currently costs just $59.45.