The powered bookshelf speakers from Edifier, the R1280T, strike a lovely mix between price and sound quality. In fact, we were taken aback by how rich and substantial the sound quality was when we took these out of the box and connected them to a smartphone and aux cord. But more than only the music of them struck a chord with us, so did the design. The bookshelf in your main living room will look great with the mild wood tone and distinctive light-gray grille. Although they have certain drawbacks, such as limited EQ control and connectivity options, the Edifier R1280T impressed us overall.
These speakers feel solid when in use. It has a high-end vibe thanks to the wood paneling on the sides, and the plastic casings are substantial and heavy. The speakers are weighty, which is a bit of a double-edged sword even though it gives users confidence in their endurance. We advise against placing them on delicate corner bookshelves, only on strong shelves.
Even the normal speaker-wire clamps and all of the knobs, buttons, and inputs have a far higher level of quality than we would anticipate for the price. Although we can’t speak for how the speakers will hold up over time, the physical integrity, sound quality, and controls were all just as good at the end of the week as they were at the beginning.
Speakers are typically not made to draw attention from a design standpoint. The majority of low-cost solutions are essentially just black rectangles that sit next to your TV. And while that style has its place, we were pleasantly surprised by the R1280superb T’s looks when we took them out of the packaging. High-end manufacturers like Sonos and Bose have become well-known for their stylish, compact speakers. It was a pleasant unpacking experience to receive such a great response from a mid-level brand like Edifier.
The R1280T speakers have wood veneer paneling on the sides and a matte metallic finish on top. They measure 9.2 by 5.7 by 7.7 inches (HWD) each. The replaceable gray cloth grilles include the Edifier logo at the bottom. Each speaker has a 4-inch woofer, a 13mm silk dome tweeter, and a vent to flow air and improve the efficiency of the drivers under the grille. Only the right speaker is powered, and a detachable wire connects it to the left speaker to supply power to it (included). An IR sensor for a basic remote control with only three buttons—Mute, Volume Up, and Volume Down—is also built inside the right speaker.
It’s a good thing that the bass and treble knobs are less obvious than many EQ adjustments. Additionally, the drivers’ neutral default setting provides a very flat response, so many listeners will probably choose to add additional bass. Most of the mixes we tried don’t become significantly out of balance even when the bass knob is fully turned up. You can easily increase the bass volume greatly while only slightly increasing the treble and still feel like the two are in balance.
The drums feel quite natural when played via the R1280T; adding more bass doesn’t really make them sound like serious thunder either. A lovely low-mid presence is matched by sharp, clear high mids and highs in Callahan’s deep baritone vocals. A distinct brightness also enhances the guitar strums.
The lower register instrumentation of orchestral tracks is given with a little heightened low frequency presence, but nothing over the top. The upper register brass, strings, and vocals are quite bright and never in danger of being overpowered, even when the bass is boosted.
At about $100, the Edifier R1280T provides outstanding value. They are incredibly adaptable for PC audio, TV speakers, and vinyl players because to their small size and active speaker technology. Additionally offering audio freedom are the tone controls. The R1280T offers some extremely upfront bass, and at most volume settings, the mids and highs are distinct and lively.