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Old 9th September 2009, 11:06 PM   #1
Aratama_Bashi Thread Starter
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Thumbs up Edifier S330 Review - for those who want it.

for the longest time, i had used my trusty tdk nx-03cd 2.1 setup with my pc / notebook. however, i then moved and that got put in the lounge. after a number of months with only a laptop and some semi-crap logitech headphones, i finally got myself a desk (fyi, watch out for a modding thread coming soon re my mighty desk! ). then, after months with a desk, laptop, and headphones, i got my new desktop machine. then, after a few months with a laptop, a desktop, a desk, and semi-crap logitech headphones, i FINALLY got my act together and started the hunt for some external sound-emitting devices.



SPEAKER PURPOSE?


60% music, 20% gaming, 20% DVD.



PRICE RANGE?

i was looking at spending <$150.



WHAT IS DRIVING THEM?

analogue SB live 5.1 - definitely nothing special.



WHERE ARE THE SPEAKERS?

in my bedroom. roughly 3.5m by 4.5m (sorry, dont have tape measure handy, thats the best guess); concrete walls, carpeted. sitting in my MIGHTY DESK (ref pics). satellites are on the desktop (NO NOT ON THE SCREEN LOL) and the sub is down below.


mighty desk with sats up top, sub underneath. cable management to be completed!



i settled on 2.1 for the following reasons:

* 2.0 doesn't give you enough guts, no matter what. if you move up to a higher price bracket and get some good bookshelf (or dare i say it, monitor speakers), then fine, but otherwise, in the lower end of the market, with no amp, it's 2.1 ftw.

* 5.1 was definitely overkill for my setup.



S330 SPECS

- Power output: RMS 2 x 18W + 36W (THD=10%)

- Signal to noise ratio (amplifier): >=85dBA

- Input sensitivity: L/R: 400mV +/- 30mV SW: 180mV +/- 30mV AUX: 270mV +/- 30mV

- Frequency response: L/R: 160Hz ~ 20kHz SW: 20Hz ~ 160Hz



FEATURES

- 2.1 speaker system with 6.5 inch subwoofer

- Wooden MDF housing for all speakers

- 2-Way satellites piano finished wooden housing

- Magnetically shielded drivers for all speakers

- Headphone output on wired remote controller

- Master volume controls both speaker output and headphone output

- AUX input on wired remote controller with higher sensitivity, fitting for low output audio source

- Coaxial and optical inputs available on digital version (ie. S330D - but i didnt need any digital action in my case.)





PACKAGING AND UNBOXING THE CONTENTS


i am not huge on crap like 'unboxing' in reviews. seriously, do i need a massive commentary on every little thing that comes in a box? "OMG WOW YOU ALSO GET A CABLE TIE... THEY'RE FOR CABLES. AND ALSO THERE IS CARDBOARD TOO".... useful? no.

all i need to say is that the speakers were packaged very very well.



the main components are:

* Sub

* 2 x satellites

* wired remote

* decent amount of speaker cable



the build quality is fantastic on all of the components. the sub passed my first test: i picked it up and shook it gently; nothing could be heard rattling or moving inside. the finish is matte, the design is subtle and unobtrusive. the MDF feels thick and very solid.

the satellites have that piano black finish, which has been popularised recently by companies like samsung making piano black monitors, and various notebooks having the same finish. they look pretty decent with or without the speaker grilles attached (ref pic).


sat without grille

the wired remote is great. nice, heavy base, and rubbery bottom make sure it stays put on your desk. blue halo lights up when you have it switched on (ref pic) and looks pretty cool.


baby i can see your halo! halo!!!

the volume knob itself is good; it has a circluar machined finish on top, just like awesome expensive amps of days gone by. it also powers on the unit.

on the front of the remote is a 3.5 headphone jack, and a 3.5 input. So, I can plug in my ipod and run it straight through there. Cool!



the speaker cable included is of a decent enough quality and gauge that i didnt immediately feel like going out and getting better/thicker stuff.



TESTING

after plugging everything in, the first challenge with any speaker system like this is to get your master levels right. ask 10 people and you might get 10 different answers. but here is how i go about it:

1. all volume set to max on the computer

2. bass on sub set to min

3. turn off any effects that the soundcard software might be doing

4. ensure sound setup is correct in vista (ie set to 2.1)

5. turn on unit, ~15% volume, play a sound on the computer to test if everything is working. i usually just play "ding.wav".

6. success.



right, all is operational, so what next?



MUSIC

as stated, i guessed that 60% of my use of these speakers would be for music. so it makes sense to give you an idea of the range of music that i listen to.

so now i get to make this part a bit like some lame personal ad on the internet under the "Music" heading... here goes... "LOL OMG I LOVE MUSIC I COULDNT LIVE WITHOUT IT! AND MY TASTE IS SO ECLECTIC THAT I EVEN AMAZE MYSELF! MY IPOD IS THE EPITOME OF VARIATION IN MUSICAL STYLES, YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT WILL BE ON NEXT!!!!! FROM KINGS OF LEON TO PINK TO KINGS OF LEON, EVEN OLDIES LIKE THE BEATLES, AND EVEN SOME POP LOL MY TASTES ARE PRETTY UNDERGROUND AND MANY WONT LIKE IT BUT I LOVE IT!!!" .....ok i'll stop right there but yes, i listen to some quite different stuff, and in testing the musical goodness, i used the following:

* Jamiroquai (mainly because his music is so tightly produced, i think it's a good test to hear how 'clean' the sound is)

* Rammstein / SoaD for slightly heavier stuff

* Aphex Twin, just to scare the shit out of the speakers

* Tchaikovsky's "Festival". i personally believe that classical is one of the best overall tests for speakers, due to the very wide range of sounds, frequencies, volumes and variations of all those you can get in the one piece.

* Dean Martin, for awesomeness

* a few others that i'll cover as we go along.



so i played bits and pieces of these as i set my EQ up. i have to admit, i was (pleasantly) surprised at the results. here is a screen grab of my EQ that i settled on:

note that there was no real response at 16k, and changing 14k didnt make much difference.



note that the master bass on the back of the sub was set to about 40% (my best guess, visually). i'll go into more detail about the response at each level later on.



note also that i vote to choose one EQ and generally stick with it. i might make small adjustments here and there as needed - mainly if i am listening to mp3s that need some compensation done. but i am a firm believer in adjusting the sound to suit the speakers, rather than eq'ing for different music types (there is no need to change eq when going from rock to pop to classical to spoken to anything - thats why audio gets mastered before the public get their hands on it!).



anywho, onward. generally speaking first:



LOW END

when purchasing 2.1 speaker sets, particularly in the lower price brackets, there are a few things that consumers are (or should be) worried about. one of them is the quality of the sub you're getting. anybody that has ever listened three quarters of logitech's range know that they are awful for music, great for gaming, as the subs are often overkill compared to the mid and high frequencies.

so i was happy to find that the low end was very very well done with the S330. kick drums sounded punchy, without being distorted; deep bass in rnb/rap was well-represented without just being a 'sound'.



MID RANGE

the other thing that people buying 2.1 systems are concerned about is mid. ok, so you have a big sub, great. and you have two little satellites to go with it?! not so great. often, those satellites are treble-city, and mid range gets forgotten about. once again, not too bad for gaming, but not too good for music. happily, these satellites were very good with the mids! in fact, vocals (which typically sit in the mid range) sounded extremely clean and clear; almost a little bit too much so. so it was good to know i could knock a bit of it out with eq. guitars were very ‘present’ without being over-bearing. all round, a really good result here.



HIGH END

as you might have guessed, the high end was no dramas here, like most satellite speakers. importantly, the higher frequencies didnt sound too sharp, bright, or metallic.




ARTISTS


Jamiroquai

JKay sounded pretty good with almost every song played here. his stuff often has a lot of strings in it, and they came out strong, along with his vocals. "cosmic girl", played at 80% volume, sounded absolutely you-beaut; clean, distortion free, and clear. one of the worst performers was "feels just like it should", which was sad-in-pants for me as it's one of my favourite jamiroquai tracks. i think that partly to do with how that one was mastered in first place.



Rammstein / SoaD

i found these two to be an interesting comparison. i absolutely heart rammstein, but a lot of their tracks got a bit lost after about 65% volume. tracks like mein teil, fuer frei, and others of theirs that are very 'wall of sound'-ish became very noisy after that ~65% point. there just wasnt enough clarity / definition to go around. tracks that did manage to sound better though included moskau (awesome), te queiro puta (esp. the trumpets), stripped, and wo bist du probably sounded the best.

conversely, most SoaD sounded fantastic. when you have a song that has the kick drum going at 3082475348753758bpm, you'd wanna make sure it doesnt sound crap. and it didnt vocals were always clean, and guitars were always defined well. a couple of tracks got a bit too noisy at higher volume, but i think that's too be expected (things like BYOB, deer dance, and pogo stick)



Aphex Twin

why? cos i could sounded quite good. there are quite a few nutty aphex twin tracks, but i decided to just use windowlicker as it's more common. that deep, slow bass at the start sounded great, and most of the way through the song, everything was hunky dorey. this was one of the few tracks where i had to make a bit of adjustment to the high end on the eq, but that's because richard likes our ears to bleed



Tchaikovsky's Festivale

one of my favourite CDs, i reckon festivale is a great test for speakers galore. in particular, the fantasy overture (ie romeo and juliet). this is a pretty intense piece, and really stretches any speakers, particularly at volume. it sounded, overall, fantastic, which i was very satisfied with. the festival overture (1812), was less impressive, but that was due to the recording itself, rather than the speakers. in fact, the speakers were illustrating the shortfalls of the audio recording, so in a way, that's a good point in itself for the edifiers.



Dean Martin


Stunning. Even his stuff that was recorded in 2 track sounded good. though I might be slightly biased J



Other artists

ice cube, mos def, biggie, and the like all sounded great as far as i was concerned. this is where i get a bit more subjective than usual though, because i like my bass to be realistic, rather than over the top. i still like to hear that chest-cavity-shattering type bass, but just 'extreme'; not 'extreme to the maxxx'! this comes down to a personal preference.

i played a bit of lily allen too, that was mostly ok.... chemical bros, groove armada, basement jaxx and the like came up well. artists fairing not as well included limp bizkit (lol), audioslave ( ), beck.



special mentions for you am i and nick cave for sounding awesome-o too.



GAMING


2 games that i used to test here included:

RtCW: Enemy Territory

i have to admit, i still have this game because of that awesome intro music!!! especially when you have it cranked. but generally speaking the in-game sounds were pretty good. rifle shots were very loud and sharp - which can be a good or bad thing depending on your opinion i guess. deep sounds like explosions and the like didnt sound as good, with a bit of noise present (and even some distortion)

STALKER

very ambient and creepy game. the environmental effects were great, and made the game feel a lot more open and 'outside' when you were outside.


DVD

something about my machine makes dvds play at a slightly lower level of volume than you would expect - in either media centre or other programs. anyway, i watched a few different movies and nothing seemed out of whack. i found the amount of volume was just right for filling my room with sound, during action movies.




CONCLUSIONS

i would have to say i am glad i opted for these over logi's. i like the fact that they are clean-sounding, with great mid response (for satellites), and tight, realistic, solid bass. i ended up getting these for $129 from pccasegear (which is still the cheapest on staticice), and i think it was money damn well spent. i knew for a room the size of my bedroom, i shouldn't burn money with overkill setups, and the edifier s330 have really done well for speakers in this price range.

if you are looking at this price range and are uming and ah-ing, i'd say if anything in this review is similar for you, just go for them. i doubt very much you will regret it!



RATINGS



Aesthetics:

Construction/Quality:

Acoustics Overall:

Value For Money:

Price: $129pp - pccasegear.com



LIKES:

· Overall build and sound quality

· Minimalist design

· Great price



GRIPES:

· The blue halo on the remote. It’s verrrry bright. Would LOVE an option to turn off that light, especially handy for when you're watching dvds in a dark room. It’s too bright and distracting. I could easily put say, an aerosol lid over the top, but I shouldn’t have to



Overall I would have to give these an 8.5 out of 10 i'd say. probably even a 9. well worth it

hope you found this review helpful, and sorry about the shitty phone photos.
but here is one more

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Old 9th September 2009, 11:40 PM   #2
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Nice review mate. I like Edifiers. Severely under-rated in a world of Logitechs and Creative speakers.

It might be about time for me to pick up a nice 2.1 speaker system as it's hard to share something i.e. youtube with friends with just headphones (Sennheiser HD570). I did away with speakers a long time ago but I'm wanting to get a webcam soon so not wanting to look like a dill will mean I'll need some sort of speakers.

It certainly sounds like a well-balanced system for a room that size.

Now, imagine S730s in your room. I can. My brother has them in a room that's about the same dimensions as yours. Plaster walls too!
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Old 16th September 2009, 12:41 PM   #3
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Its a shame these are a pain in the arse to find locally. delivery charge kills it.
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Old 19th September 2009, 3:13 AM   #4
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How much was postage from pccg?
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Old 19th September 2009, 8:50 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew_88 View Post
How much was postage from pccg?
You can calculate postage from their shopping cart...
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Old 19th September 2009, 8:28 PM   #6
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How does the sub compare to a cheapy logitech X230 ?
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Old 20th September 2009, 1:28 AM   #7
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far far better

i have the X530s which have the same sub and it is terrible. if you want to hear just how bad it is unplug one of the speakers and fade the volume all the way to that one so just the sub is running. You even get vocals coming through the thing. the satellites on the X230 have no midrange so the sub comes all the way up to compensate - the result is a whole lot of mud. edifier sub doesn't have to extend as high because the satellites do better midrange. The sub is much larger too so it does the job of bass much better as well
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Old 20th September 2009, 3:31 AM   #8
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Thanks for a detailed review. I am considering getting one of these soon.
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Old 20th September 2009, 11:34 AM   #9
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thanks for writing up the review, it was interesting to read, i used to have a edifier S530 set.

i'm not griping here but speaker reviews are always so subjective. i mean the section covering sound quality always reads like "well i upgraded to Y from X and the sound is soo clear and i rate it 9/10 etc".

my main gripe with the s530 was the lack of midrange. at first i was blown away by the sound quality, but after a while i started noticing it a lot. given the drivers in the s330 are even smaller, i would bet they suffer from missing midrange as well.

(has since upgraded to monitors and is now thinking "hmm bass is a bit light on.. a sub would be nice".. lol it never ends..)

anyway at the end of the day we are talking <$150 and i give to edifier, the s330 and s530 are by far the best speakers in their price range i know of...
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Old 20th September 2009, 12:22 PM   #10
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nice review, didnt expect them to fair so well for the price
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Old 20th September 2009, 1:21 PM   #11
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great review - i have a S330D and i totally agree with the blue halo light being waaay too bright. but i never thought of putting an aerosol can lid on it so thanks for that

and i also completely agree with your review, in that price range you probably won't find any better.

logitech gear seems to be very over hyped considering how cheap and nasty they sound
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Old 20th September 2009, 3:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
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logitech gear seems to be very over hyped considering how cheap and nasty they sound
You get 2.1's for $50... What do you expect?
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Old 21st September 2009, 3:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
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The blue halo on the remote.
What about putting one of these on the base of the dial?
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Old 21st September 2009, 3:39 PM   #14
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What about putting one of these on the base of the dial?
guess i could try to put an O-ring on it.... but too loose, and it wont block out the blue... too tight, and the vol knob might not turn

heheh i'll give it a shot though
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Old 21st September 2009, 8:19 PM   #15
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Absolutely top review. LOL'd at you 'personal advert'!
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