Most people are content using standard TV speakers and they wouldn’t think twice about investing in something like the Edifier S350DB speakers to enhance their audio-visual experiences. But ask an audiophile why having a separate sound source away from your TV is important and you’ll likely find yourself in a scenario where the famous image from Spongebob Squarepants crops up saying “Three Hours Later” and they’d still be chatting away. I used to be one of those normal people but the S350DB soon changed my mind and now I’m looking to get myself a permanent set after Edifier was kind enough to loan us a set to review. So what was it that won us over?
BUILD QUALITY & DESIGN – 4.5/5
Heavy, sturdy and beautiful may not be three words you see together too often but that’s precisely the impressions I got as I lifted the Edifier S350DB speakers from their box. Claiming to mix “Old School Style” with “Modern Sound” these speakers really do catch the eye with their dark brown wood casing (which perfectly matched my floor), smooth black front covers and their titanium dome tweeters on the front. The two bookshelf speakers, one of which is fitted with side controls for volume, treble and bass combined with the larger subwoofer just oozed elegance, and where you think they may be overbearing at first, they actually blend in well and aren’t as overpowering as it may first appear.
The speakers themselves are easy enough to set up, and there are a number of ways to connect your devices to them, showing that when the designs were being put together, Edifier was clearly trying to build a speaker set that was suitable for every occasion. The only real negative is the small display located on one of the bookshelf speakers where it indicates the method you’re using to connect the audio, because it is small, and you’ll struggle to see it after taking a couple of steps away from the speakers. I can understand they probably didn’t want it to interfere with the appearance of the speakers too much, but it doesn’t have to be much bigger than it is to at least be readable from a short distance.
The speakers also come with a cool looking circular remote which allow you to control the volume, change source and play/pause/skip tracks from afar. The remote does lack bass and treble controls though, and although there is a digital amplifier in-built into the speakers, it’d be nice to be able to switch amplifier settings yourself through some preset settings that are tuned for different settings.
AUDIO QUALITY – 4.7/5
For the most part, the S350DB are an excellent set of speakers offering a quality 2.1 system for your home, whether they are used in the living room, conservatory or as part of a gaming set up in your man (or woman) cave. What I particularly liked though was the deep low rumbling noises given off by the 8-inch sub that comes as part of the set. It really helps set the atmosphere on horror films and makes you feel as if you’re in the crowd when watching the football. And when it comes to music, it really adds an oomph that got everyone talking who I had round. I’m surprised my neighbours didn’t complain actually as I could feel it rumbling through the floors at times.
I don’t care what Meghan Trainor says though, it’s not all about the bass, because you can have as much bass as you want but if the rest of the product falls flat, you’re going to be disappointed. Fortunately, thanks to the quality components that make the S350DB work including two 3/4″ titanium tweeters on each of the bookshelf speakers and a built-in amplifier, you’ll receive a great range with clear highs and those deep rumbling lows as already mentioned. It even made me enjoy certain adverts more as I became obsessed with how well the speakers produced a whoosh noise.
There were times though that I thought the built-in amplifier may have adapted to the songs I picked a little better, and although there was no distortion as such, I felt it could benefit from maybe preset settings you could choose to suit what you were listening to. It was a rare occurrence though when this happened so I wasn’t too fussed about it. And you can always buy an external amplifier anyway.
FUNCTIONALITY – 5/5
What can I say, Edifier thought of pretty much everything when building these speakers. Connect your devices up wirelessly via Bluetooth or using RCA, optical, coaxial or AUX with all the cables you could need provided with the S350DB. If that wasn’t enough, the need for an external amplifier has been eradicated with a built-in amplifier that processes digital signals and offers dynamic range control. No need for satellite speakers dotted around the room either as the 3/4″ tweeters are more than enough and help deliver a magical audio experience.
VALUE FOR MONEY – 4/5
I won’t lie, they’re not cheap speakers and will set you back around £249.99 but compared to similar style speakers from different manufacturers they’re not actually that badly priced. And they do say you get what you pay for and with the S350DB speakers, that is great quality at a very reasonable price. It doesn’t harm the value for money factor either that they come with a wireless remote and have a whole host of different ways to connect your devices to the speakers, for which you get a whole bunch of cables for you to use so you won’t necessarily have to go out and buy extras unless you need the additional length due to your wired set up.
OVERALL – 4.6/5
At the end of the day, the S350DB are an excellent set of speakers and ideal for most home setups. They not only look fantastic, they perform well too in all kind of environments whether you want to watch movies, chill to music with friends or immerse yourself in the middle of a gaming universe. There are some minor design flaws with the digital display being so small and the remote not having some bass/treble controls but in the grand scheme of things it’s like throwing a pebble in the ocean, the negatives are just lost amongst the positives. I can’t wait to get my hands on a permanent pair of these.
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