For the features they have, versatility they offer and neutral audio performance, these Edifiers are an impressive pair of active speakers
- Clear, balanced and detailed performance
- Connections open up use with other devices
- Stylish looks
- Hi-Res capable
- Treble sounds slightly dulled
- Heavy and big
- Review Price: £449
- Hi-Res Audio certified
- aptX-HD Bluetooth
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Weight 17.1kg
- Dimensions (WHD, mm) 198 x 276 x 342mm
The S2000MKIII are a pair of powered Bluetooth bookshelf speakers from US brand Edifier.
The phrase ‘go big or go home’ comes to mind with the Mk III version of Edifier’s S2000 powered speakers. For a pair of self-described bookshelf speakers they are huge, and whatever bookshelf you intend to place them on must be some bookshelf.
As such they’re somewhat uncompromising – even prising them from the box they come in feels like it could use the services of a winch. They’re speakers for audiophiles designed with home recording and mixing in mind, and they could also be used as an alternative to a soundbar for a TV or hooked up to a number of devices via its Bluetooth and optical connection.
Are the S2000MKIII everything they promise to be?
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Edifier S2000MKIII design — Quite big for a ‘bookshelf’ speaker
Once winched out of the box the Edifiers give a favourable impression. They’re a good-looking pair of speakers: stylish, well-built and hefty. The wood side panelled finish and accented cabinet gives them a hi-fi feel while also affirming these are speakers built to last, knock – quite literally – on wood. It also means their combined weight is a hefty 17.1kg.
The front of the speakers is covered by a grille, which with a little force can be taken off (they’re not magnetically attached). At the bottom of the right speaker is an OLED LED screen that displays info such as the source, volume levels and sound modes. It’s a little inconvenient to view if you’re sat close by as the grille slightly obscures the top of the display, but take the grille off and it becomes a non-issue.
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The gold rimmed feet should ensure there’s enough clearance so they don’t scuff any surfaces they’re placed on, though it’s worth taking into account the depth of these speakers for placement. They’re quite deep (342mm) and will need a bit of space to operate.
Around the rear of the right speaker are the physical connections and dials for tweaking the sound. There’s a Speaker Out connection that’s for connecting to the left-sided speaker via a cable that looks more like an umbilical cord. There’s a rear bass port on each speaker so for a better bass response it’s worth keeping them close to a wall.
The power cable is non-detachable so if it is damaged you’ll likely need to send the entire speaker back for repairs. The remote is stylish enough and fine to use, with its playback buttons and sound modes making it a cinch to operate the speaker.
Features — Hi-res audio aspirations and a degree of versatility (connection wise)
The Edifiers aim to live up to the audiophile aspirations with its feature set. Wireless connectivity is Bluetooth 5.0, but more importantly they support aptX-HD for Hi-Res music and can accept files up to 24-bit/192kHz. The S2000MKIII can also accept PCM signals (44.1, 48, 96 and 192kHz) in optical and coaxial mode. There’s no room for Wi-Fi or AirPlay 2.
Analogue and digital connections give the Edifier plenty of versatility in terms of what can be hooked up. There’s 2 x line input, optical and coaxial input to go with the aforementioned Bluetooth 5.0, opening the speakers up for connection to a TV, Blu-ray player, game console, CD player or set-top box etc.
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The sound is outputted via planar diaphragm tweeters and 5.5-inch woofers, with 15W of power delivered to the tweeters and 50W reserved for the woofers. Powering that sound is a Class-D digital amp, with the crossover for frequencies managed by a dual DSP digital processor that uses two chips to independently manage treble and the medium-bass channels.
EQ modes are available in four options: Monitor, Dynamic, Classic and Vocal. Monitor delivers a flat audio response with no colouration, Dynamic gives tunes more punch and dynamism, while Classic offers a more traditional hi-fi sound and Vocal provides more of an emphasis on, well, vocals. On the right speaker you can adjust treble, bass and volume independently by twisting a few dials.
Edifier S2000MKIII sound — A clean, detailed and neutral-sounding pair of active speakers
Right from the off you’re in good hands with the Edifier S2000MKIII’s performance. This speaker is a poised and articulate performer that’s revealing in terms of mid-range detail.
There’s a lack of energy or brutishness about it despite its size, something that feels like a deliberate choice given its audiophile make-up.
What Ever You Know from the Sense8 soundtrack on Spotify is given a spacious, balanced and rousing rendition. The Edifier shows immediate confidence in handling its sweeping and detailed sound, drawing you in with a pleasant showing in terms of dynamics, timing and clarity.
Bass could arguably have more depth – a Tidal Master play of Ludwig Göransson’s TENET exhibited tight and cleanly delivered bass, but it did feel reined in.
That neutrality perhaps robs it of some pizazz, but considering this is an active speaker with audiophile ambitions it’s happy to play in that area, and its neutrality means the Edifier S2000MKIII exhibits control over whatever track you fling at it, serving up a measured performance that is somewhat understated (and not the most energetic), but is very consistent and versatile in the number of genres it can tune itself to.
Treble out of the box does feel like it’s dulled, in-keeping with the overall approach. GoGo Penguin’s Raven feels like it lacks a bit of sparkle at the top-end, but there’s no argument to be made at how nuanced the track comes across in other areas. Vocals come across well and switching on Vocal mode pitches them forward a little more, though the effect can be subtle. And you can tweak bass and treble with the dials on the ‘master’ speaker, which gives further scope to play with the sound.
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Its neutrality serves it well as an alternative to a soundbar. There’s plenty of detail and balance: the soundstage is wider and fuller and the bass is better than what you’d get from a flatscreen TV with intelligible dialogue too. It gives a TV’s sound more weight and directs it into the room, but these are big speakers and they’d need a speaker stand if you’re going to sit them either side of a 50-inch+ TV.
Should you buy the Edifier S2000MKIII Active speakers?
The S2000MKIII are an impressive pair of speakers from Edifier, delivering a neutral approach that’s clear, detailed and spacious. The degree of versatility they offer is welcome, making them a decent alternative to a soundbar for a TV and the Hi-res audio support and stylish build quality makes them a pleasure to listen to and look at.
They are big and will need a degree of space to operate, and their neutral approach is not something that’ll appeal to those looking for a fun, energetic pair of speakers. But if you are looking at something more towards the audiophile scale, these are highly recommended.
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