EDIFIER S880DB: Versatile speakers for work and play

The Edifier S880DBs are speakers provide an immersive experience in enjoying or editing audio.

Image: Ant Pruitt

As you continue your growth in the world of content creation, you will begin to take note of nuance items in the craft that go beyond the fundamentals. With regards to video, you'll pay more attention to the details of your audio to make the viewing experience more enjoyable. Being able to properly edit audio for your content requires an awesome set of headphones or desktop monitors (speakers). High-quality devices to monitor your audio makes the editing process much easier and helps produce great sound for the viewer.

I've reviewed a set of speakers from Edifier (the S880DB model), which offers great sound for work and play.

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The tech stuff

The Edifier S880DBs are speakers designed for your bookshelf or desktop offering an immersive experience in enjoying or editing audio. The dimensions are not imposing at 7x5x9.5-inches, but these monitors have some serious heft to it--each speaker weighs approximately eight pounds. They're built with craftsmanship to not only look great, but sound great. Crank these up to high volumes, and you don't get any vibration or distortion on playback. Just crisp high-res audio.

Edifier boasts that the S880DBs are its first high-res speakers built for our enjoyment. This means that the audio passing through is going to output without the samples being compressed to a lower quality. These are capable of playing back at a sample signal rate of 192kHz. The inputs include RCA, Bluetooth, optical, coax, and USB.

If you're using a USB connection on Windows, it's recommended by Edifier that you install its XMOS USB driver for optimal performance. There are a 3.75-inch bass and mid-range speaker on the bottom portion and a 19mm tweeter at the top portion for higher frequencies. These also come with an IR remote to help control volume, input source, and the integrated equalizer. If you don't want to use the remote, you can also manage the inputs and volume on the back of one of the speakers.

What I enjoyed

First off, the look of the speakers. These are rather classy looking with it's white and wood grain finish. They look good on a bookshelf or at a workstation. However, we know aesthetics isn't the most important item when it comes to speakers--sound is.

The mid-range and bass speakers are not boomy. They're noticeable, but you shouldn't expect the bass frequencies to rock-out the way a subwoofer would perform. Nor does the bass sounds like it's "faked" the way less-expensive speakers, and headphones attempt to sound "bassy." These have a pretty flat frequency profile, which is a good thing. This will allow you to monitor audio as it truly is, which in turn, allows you as an audio editor to properly make any adjustments to create a better listening experience.

As far as enjoying these speakers for "play," they sound really good. Again, the flat profile doesn't allow your ears to be faked out by some simulated bass or high-hats that sound more like bacon sizzling in a frying pan. The audio quality is rich and fills the room. You can enjoy music directly connected to your computer or via a Bluetooth connection to your mobile device. With regards to Bluetooth audio, I think these sound better than the popular smart speakers that connect to your mobile devices such as the HomePod or Home Max. These have great balance. No, you don't get quite the same fidelity as a wired connection, but it's still a nice, quality sound wirelessly.

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What I would improve

First, I'd like to change the remote. The cute, round size seems like a novelty in comparison to the speaker's design. It uses an LR44 battery, which I'm OK with, but the IR is a little finicky. I wish the remote were more of the traditional rectangular shape. I think that would fit better aesthetically. The round shape had me accidentally tapping the "source" button while trying to change the volume a few too many times. That annoyed me, but that's just a design flaw.

Secondly, the equalizer options weren't that great. You have four profiles to choose from.

  • Monitor - This is a flat profile ideal for audio editing and getting the "raw" version of audio.
  • Classic - This is used to simulate a concert hall as only a concert hall can acoustically provide.
  • Vocal - This is used to enhance the vocals and higher frequencies of the audio.
  • Dynamic - This is aimed to provide a true delineation between the low and high frequencies of the audio, providing a rich and full sound.

In my experience, the Classic and Vocal profiles didn't sound any different from the obvious Monitor profile. The Monitor profile sounds really good and spot-on from a frequency standpoint. The Dynamic profile is definitely--dynamic. You clearly hear the range between the frequencies, and the sound seems to envelop the room at higher volumes. This is great for beautifully mixed classical or smooth jazz. Sadly, the other two profiles, Classic and Vocal, do nothing for my ears.

Bottom line

These speakers are pretty awesome. I really enjoy the footprint, look, and sound. I've owned Edifier Bluetooth speakers and headphones in the past, and I've always found the brand to provide great value in quality and sound. Pricing has always been reasonable and competitive with other quality speaker manufacturers.

You can purchase the S880DBs for an investment of $299. You'll get a great set of speakers to use for your creative works as well as for your downtime relaxing to some of your favorite tunes. A win, win.

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