People have speakers for all sorts nowadays. Waterproof ones for the shower, monitor speakers for studios, even Smart Speakers like Alexa that you can talk to. Each type is designed for a specific purpose, and one of the most popular types are Surround Sound speakers, as they help to create an immersive experience by literally surrounding you with sound. And we’ve been lucky enough to test out some with the Edifier e255 5.1 Surround Sound speakers.
As you’ll know, we’re quite the fan of Edifier speakers. We’ve been fortunate enough to test a few different products from them, and each time they release something new, things seem to get better and better, often surprising us with the quality they possess. But how will the e255 fair when I put them to the test? Check out our quick video overview below and our fully detailed written review further down the page.
Build Quality & Design – 4.5/5
If you check out any of the other speakers we’ve reviewed from Edifier recently, you’ll notice a theme. Wood Veneer. Pretty much every set we’ve had has them as side panels or the back cover, like with the S50DB soundbar. However, the design for the e255 is very different. It lends its style from the Edifier luna range, which is much more modern and sleek looking. Each speaker has the same glossy black plastic outer shell (also available in red), but not the cheap kind you find on gaming headsets from random Chinese manufacturers, feeling a lot more robust and solidly built.
In terms of the design of individual components, the central speaker is a horizontal oblong shape, with two tweeters and an OLED display on the front, and touch-sensitive controls on top. On the reverse side, you’ll find all the input/outputs for setting up your system, as well as the obvious power supply port. Besides the central speaker, you have four smaller satellite speakers, front left and front right that plug into the central, and a surround left and surround right which pairs wirelessly. Then last but not least is the beast, the huge subwoofer that is quite literally 3x the size of my head, and gave me a headache trying to plan where I was going to put it. This is wireless too though so it can be moved around if it doesn’t fit on or in your shelving unit.
In terms of build quality, each of the speakers has a decent weight to them and they feel solidly built, as mentioned above. They did have a couple of scratches to them, but since these have been loaned out to other sites in the past for review, signs of wear and tear are usual, and it didn’t affect the performance at all. The only downside was the almost awkward shape of the sub. If it had been square it would probably have slotted in nicely in my storage wholes in the shelving unit below my TV. Instead, being round in shape, it wouldn’t squeeze into the hole, catching on top and at the sides, just. So, now sits on top taking up an awful lot of space and has the other half commenting how it takes up too much room.
Audio Quality – 4.8/5
As usual, Edifier get the audio near spot-on when it comes to the e255. Taking a step up from some of their other speakers, this surround sound set has been crafted with the highest quality in mind, and as such the central speaker houses a Dolby and DTS Decoder offering as the manufacturer puts it, “pure sound quality“. What this decoder does is essentially looks at the audio coming through to the speakers and it picks out unecessary noise, making for more clear sound and a better immersive experience.
However, the audio doesn’t automatically make use of the decoder and you do have to hit the Dolby logo on the remote control to activate. Which is quite good in my opinion, because you can genuinely hear the change in audio quality at the press of a button. And I’m not talking about a simple equaliser change that prioritises vocals over instruments, it literally improves all the sound coming out and it was pretty good to begin with anyway so it was crazy how much you noticed the change.
To test it out we played a little Borderlands 2, and it’s safe to say the e255 loves to use the sub to vibrate the whole house as you pile bullets into your enemies, watching them explode as they come into contact with your rockets and grenades. But so as to give them a good all-round test we used them for a variety of events such as watching the Women’s World Cup, African Cup of Nations and Copa America, as well as heading to YouTube to play some music and, use some 5.1 surround sound test videos that make use of all the speakers. Be careful though, as some don’t work all that well and just repeat sounds through the same speakers rather than passing from one to the next as they’re meant to.
One other nice little test to use as well when using surround sound os the alternate version of Deaf Havana’s I’m a Bore, Mostly. The song is recorded whilst walking around the microphone and so no matter what you use to listen to it if you close your eyes it really does sound like James Veck-Gilodi is walking around serenading you. And this experience is only improved upon being played over the e255. You can check it out below:
Functionality – 4/5
Usually, Edifier allows you to connect your speakers to practically everything. On every speaker of theirs, I have tested they have so many inputs on the back as well as Bluetooth. However, that changes with the e255. You have three optical inputs and auxiliary input, and that’s it. No ability to stream music from your phone or connect something like your Alexa or Google Home up to it. In a way, I can see why there are fewer connections because stereotypically speaking a system like this is used for gaming, movies and sports, so you have enough optical inputs for your TV and consoles etc. and you may have a HiFi system for music. In today’s world though people want everything in one package.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the be-all and end-all because I can’t connect my phone to my speakers, I can access the likes of Spotify and Amazon Music from my TV or Fire Stick anyway. It’s just nice to have the option. Luckily, that’s the only major drawback of the speakers.
In terms of controlling the speakers, this can be done using the touch-controls at the top of the central speaker mentioned earlier, you’re able to switch the speakers on and off from here, as well as change source and adjust the volume. You also use these controls to enter pairing mode to pair the two surround satellites and the sub, however, this wasn’t necessary as it all paired automatically for us. Thanks to whoever set them up before us for that.
If like me you’re lazy and don’t like getting up, then, fortunately, a remote is included to do all the above and more, such as activating the Dolby and DTS decoder to enhance sound quality. You may want to keep this close by as well because the speaker’s default volume is 40 and that is pretty loud, so we often have to turn them down a touch as we like to think we’re considerate neighbours.
Value for Money – 3.7/5
In terms of value for money, at £599.99 they’re not the biggest bargain we’ve seen from Edifier but they aren’t bad either. They come somewhere in the mid-high region in terms of price against their competitors, but you can get similar systems for cheaper. Having tried a budget one though that was priced around £120 for an old site I wrote for, I can safely say that you do get what you pay for with these which are definitely better than the only other surround sound set I have owned.
However, like I say you can get other models for less and whilst they may not have the same Dolby accreditation, other models that come under the price of the e255 do have THX Certifications and stuff so the quality may not differ too much in some senses. It all depends on why you’re buying them to be fair. If you’re looking for something to just play music from, then you won’t really benefit too much, but you’ll notice the difference definitely if watching movies or playing video games. In which case, these speakers are more of an investment than a mere purchase of a set of speakers.
I think if Edifier could drop the price of these by £100 and still be making a healthy profit on them, you’d be looking at a much higher score here. But for now, this is the only area where I think they take a hit.
Overall – 4.25/5
I have to say, Edifier is extremely consistent when it comes to quality. Very rarely do you find a fault with their equipment and if you do, it is likely to be that, just a genuine fault, and faults can always be rectified. The e255 as with every other piece we’ve reviewed from the manufacturer is solidly built, albeit with a more modern look that we’re used to, and the audio quality continues to blow us away. There was a slight flaw for us in the design as we feel may be the Sub could’ve been a bit more compact, but then again with the punch it packs, maybe not, but it takes up a fair whack of room and so some may struggle to place it comfortably. I’d have also liked to see some wireless input with Bluetooth or WiFi being an option too, although it doesn’t take away from what a great bit of kit this is without it. For now, it’s back to the grind on Borderlands 2 until the third releases this September.
Check out more of our reviews by clicking HERE.