Edifier R1850DB Review

by crackler01

After some time I decided to test another bookshelf speaker in a new Edifier R1850DB Review.

Edifier R1850DB Review – Intro

Edifiers can make quite good computer speakers, but their versatility often goes beyond just such narrow applications. Many people buy them for active audio systems in conjunction with some portable player, pair them via BT with phones or connect to various devices via a digital interface. Until now, the R1600T and R1700BT models were very popular. Today, they have continued with the R1850DB, a new variant with an identical design, but not entirely identical as a whole.

Edifier R1850DB Review

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Edifier R1850DB Specifications

  • Subwoofer: 4″ (116mm) 6ohm
  • Total power output: RMS 16Wx2 + 19Wx2
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: ⩾85dBA
  • THD + N: 0.5%
  • Input sensitivity: PC:700±50mV, AUX: 550±50mV
  • Tweeter unit: Φ19mm silk dome, 6ohm
  • Input type: AUX, RCA, Bluetooth, optical, coaxial

You can download the manual here->Edifier R1850DB Manual

Build Quality and Design

I will run quickly through this paragraph because there is not much to describe here due to the practically identical dimensions and appearance of the R1600 and R1700 but with a few differences.

Visually, the speakers were prepared in a black and elegant color scheme. Black front panels, black covers and the veneer imitating wood has been replaced with a black piano lacquer finish. In the set, we even get a cloth to wipe them off, as if anticipating that all fingerprints will be visible on them.

This time the controls were placed not to the side, but to the rear. We have comfortable and large knobs for bass and treble (scale -6 to +6) and a digital volume knob with the possibility of pressing and thus selecting the source. While this is a very cool and discreet change because the speakers resemble passive small monitors, it makes it difficult for us to use the speakers without a remote control.

Edifier R1850DB Revew - Rear Control Panel

Also, the arrangement of the knobs on the back could be done better. The volume knob will be the one we use the most, so it should be at the top, not the bottom. We will be reaching controls from the top of the speaker, not from the bottom.

Edifier R1850DB Review - Remote Controller

Edifier R1850DB Remote Controller with double volume control buttons.

Thus, it is better to use the remote control included in the set (interestingly – with duplicate volume buttons, as we will use them most often and we will probably use them the fastest) and all the necessary cables, except for the coaxial one: 1.5 m optical cable and 1.7 m RCA-RCA and RCA-jack cables. These are not cables of particularly sophisticated quality, but for the first time, it probably won’t matter, at least in terms of the analog ones (more on this later in the text).

The rear panel also has input connectors: two RCA analog input packages, optical input, and coaxial input. The only output is the signal to the active subwoofer in the mini-jack standard. There is also a power switch and – unfortunately – a permanently integrated power cable.

As you can easily guess from the marking of the connector cable socket, the left satellite is primary and the right satellite is secondary. They are connected with a 4-pin DIN cable with a length of up to 5 m. It gives very large possibilities of spacing, e.g. around a wide chest of drawers or a large TV set, as well as enables great possibilities of cable management if the equipment will be used in an aesthetically organized PC stand and with a minimum number of visible cables.

What must be said, the quality of the speakers is very good – there are no quality defects, glue residues, nicks, or problems with fitting. Nothing is shaking, nothing is falling apart. Edifier seems to me that really puts emphasis on the quality of its higher-priced products.

Edifier R1850DB SPeakers With Remote Controller

In its own way, the reviewer must be a critical person and I consider this to be the correct attitude because while you can easily turn a blind eye to some small details if a piece of given equipment makes up for it with price/possibilities, every manufacturer should universally try to release the best equipment on the market within a given budget so that we as consumers are ultimately satisfied. If only, of course, the person does not exaggerate with his criticism.

Thus, at this price, I did not find any quality defects here that would force me to write 2x such a voluminous review and treat only half of the shortcomings of quality. Maybe it’s even a pity, but on the other hand, it is not the only review of Edifier on the web, so I will be happy to spend this time on further publications.

In the end, I can also praise the broadly understood work culture. The loudspeakers do not get too hot during operation and the warmest level was somewhere around 97 degrees. They do not click when turned on or off, they do not cause any problems in use, and self-noise occurs in them at rest only when we put the ear in the tweeter and we register this fact. At a usable distance, i.e. approx. 1 m from each column in the near field, I can not hear anything except my computer. So I think a lot of people will be pleased with this fact.

Edifier R1850DB Sound Test

 

Preparations for Sound Test

The loudspeakers were used about a month before the critical auditions in order to be able to detect all their nuances and potential weaknesses or technical problems. In terms of the latter, everything was absolutely fine.

The tests were performed in three connection scenarios:

  • S/PDIF (90%) via Asus Essence STX + Viablue H-Flex and AF Connector CX
  • RCA (8%) via Pathos Converto MK2 + AF Signature One
  • Bluetooth (2%) via Asus BT400

I was most interested in the scenario with the use of the built-in DAC chip and at the same time, I would recommend such a connection – next to Bluetooth – with the R1850DB. Why – about it later in the text.

Edifier R1850DB Sound Quality

The R1850DB leaves quite a good impression at the start, but when I start our evaluation and comparing with the weaker/cheaper models, especially the R1700BT, it seems that the scale of similarities, or rather positive changes compared to the lower model, is not that stunning. And yet I do not remember that the R1700BT sounded so natural to me in the midrange and treble, nor do I associate such bass with it.

Bass

Interestingly, with a few settings, only with those that actually enhanced the bass, coming from the room acoustics itself, it was possible to “discover” the bass abilities of the 1850s. And this is the ingratitude of the audio subject, this time not in the intra-channel version, as I usually complain about, but in the loudspeaker version. I am able to flatten the sound of any loudspeakers that fall into my hands because I have several bass-free zones in my room, as well as those with amplified bass. The trick is to find something in the middle.

And suddenly it may turn out that with a good setting, the tiny R1850DB gives us a nice and even, and above all quite strong and indecent for their dimensions, bass. This may not be a Solo29 level out of the box, but I’m amazed at what bass can be pulled out of such tiny units.

What’s also worth mentioning, I tested the speakers absolutely zeroed in on the EQ knobs. This means that the bass was not artificially added here during the tests for personal preference and obtaining the above effect. And there is also an output for a separate sub, so if someone somehow does not have enough bass, or simply has ungrateful acoustics that completely eliminates the low tones, Edifiers leave him quite a lot of room for expansion and will become an option for future-proof. This is a big plus that is worth noting here.

Edifier R1850DB With and Without Grilles

Midrange

This is where, however, some confusion of concept will begin between Mackie and Edifier. The former focus on a close and lively midrange that is supposed to return as much information as possible. The latter says “Okay, we’ll do it well, but we won’t exaggerate.” And this is how I perceive the R1850DB. This is the style of the midrange from the R1700BT, so focused on showing it at the optimal point, not too far, not too close so that you can hear the distance and at the same time not have the impression that the bass or treble are cruelly kicking it and dominating it overall. Only preferences can decide whether you will feel unsatisfied with the remedy, or whether everything will be just right.

I saw that some users notice a lack of filling, but then they should choose other speakers if they feel better with closer vocals, or decide at all (if they are to be multimedia speakers, so to speak) for some simple system with a central speaker. Yes, it will cost more, but then you have a dedicated center channel for speech. An alternative is to choose loudspeakers focused on the reproduction of the midrange, maybe even studio monitors, such as the already mentioned Mackie CR-3X, but it will come at the expense of sacrifices and functionality.

The R1850DB is therefore more complete in this respect. But it’s also noted that the Edifiers lack vocals. As I wrote, it is at the optimal point, and during the tests, I played a lot of materials that were very responsive to vocals. Edifiers did a good job of recreating this content, even though I prefer closer and more tangible vocals. However, it is impossible to please everyone, and if the manufacturer was forced to select a specific midrange position so that it would be the most universal for the largest possible group of users, in my opinion, he chose it right.

Treble

As a rule in speaker placement, it is so with Edifier that the producer makes his products to play placed in a triangle with the listener. However, I have the impression that – at least in relation to the R1700BT – the treble is somewhat smoothed. Perhaps this is due to the bass and its slightly greater dominance, and with the setting, by all means, correct, even more than a bit, but based solely on memory, I would swear that the R1700s were brighter and at the same time more tonally flattened, i.e. the transition between the successive stages of the tonal chart took place in a biased coherence.

In the case of the R1850, I have the impression that the speakers put less emphasis on the connection between the midrange and the treble, and therefore they are not live in this area, but at the same time, they do not maintain this clearly illuminated atmosphere, nor are they hot on the treble. The R1850 is half on the side of musicality in the lower treble parts and on the side of the brightness of the cheaper model in the upper sections. Edifier R1850DB are natural after all, they are easier to charm on different materials.

Sound Stage

In my opinion, the manufacturer decided to leave the upper treble with an emphasis order to maintain the good stage performance of these speakers. It cannot be said that the R1850s sounded like a small stage, but I remember that the R1700s sounded more elliptical – stronger in width, less in depth. The comparison here will be very conventional and please do not take it literally, because it is not this type of device and not this level, but the differences are similar by ear, as between the LCD-i3 and the iSine 20.

The first ones gave more magic, there was more depth and holography as such, but at the cost of the width of the scene. The other is the other way around: more width, but closer vocals and fewer three-dimensional effects. Both pairs were great to listen to, just as I would not complain about the stage in any of these sets. Of course, I am ignoring the fact of having full-size loudspeakers with stage abilities resulting from each other and a track that is many times beyond the capabilities of tiny computer speakers for not that much money. However, adjusting my expectations to such cheap systems is surprisingly easy for me, and it is also easy for Edifiers to meet them at their price.

Edifier S1850DB vs Edifier S1700BT

If I summarize very briefly the way the R1850 sounds, it cannot be done without reference to the previous iterations of these speakers, i.e. the R1700BT model, already mentioned several times here. Edifier R1850 is better in these areas:

  • more bass
  • greater depth of the stage,
  • greater musicality and naturalness,
  • a little smaller stage in width
  • a bit darker contact between the midrange and the treble
  • slightly more distant vocals

In terms of quality – again based on memory – in such a quite elementary dimension of purity and tonality, I would estimate the R1700 as sounding about 80% of how the R1850 could sound. With an assumption that the listening room has changed along the way and the reflected waves were different in both evaluation situations. Nevertheless, I am still very convinced of what I heard.

In any case, I have to admit that I enjoyed using these speakers and I had no special desire to switch to my old system. Mainly for economic reasons, because tiny Edifiers absolutely do not consume as much electricity as an 8-tube amplifier and large loudspeakers, and they do not need a separate DAC to work. Being aware of the price, Edifiers is most acceptable in this regard. I liked them very much after the optics, which I pulled comfortably from the Essence STX, and only because the only coaxial cable I had at the moment, i.e. my Connector CX, was only 3 m long and it simply would not reach these speakers. A reasonable option is also to listen via BT.

Edifier R1850DB

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

S/PDIF Sound Quality

Investing in the RCA circuit, in my opinion, is not necessary and required here, and I will say more: deeply optional. These connectors will be useful to us mainly when we do not have any digital outputs at hand, and listening to music via Bluetooth is not an option and is not worthy of the people of our format. I depreciate the analog inputs not from my own eyes, but because of the consequences of Edifier’s decisions when designing these speakers.

During tests and comparing the sound via bit-perfect, e.g. through an optical cable and my best RCA cables from the Signature series, as long as I felt a change in tonality (warmer) and a bit also in the scene (even greater depth and less deflection to the sides), this is how much the gain in elementary sound quality was no longer so obvious, not to say that sometimes it was hard to hear any difference in terms of overall quality. And this with a DAC for $1500 and cables that cost as much as the speakers themselves.

Edifier R1850DB S/PDIF Quality

My impressions oscillated in terms of both tonality and quality. As the speakers themselves were already musical enough, in my opinion, I had the impression of a better subjective feeling when the source was Essence STX via the optics and also bit-perfect in the mentioned mode, i.e. in DD communication (only digital signal) and with DA conversion as the last stage signal transport. Here, however, I had the feeling that the speakers do not fully use the quality of the signal they receive.

This confirms the impressions published by one of the users on Amazon about the unnecessary AD + DA conversion in the R1850DB. As a rule, I am very cautious about any opinions published anonymously on such portals, but in this case, my observations turned out to be quite convergent, and, contrary to my original skeptical attitude, they coincided. What’s the problem? Well, the speakers most likely use Texas Instruments TAS5707 circuits, which operate on a digital signal. There would be nothing wrong with that if it wasn’t for the fact that they operate only on digital signals and were not designed to work with an analog signal, so they need an additional converter. Therefore, if we introduce the audio signal via RCA sockets, i.e. analog, we generate an unnecessary stage of signal conversion from analog to digital, so that it is converted to analog again and redirected to converters. That is why I emphasized at the beginning of my discussions that the RCA circuit is only optional here.

The author of the opinion wrote that it does not matter what card or DAC we use for the analog signal because we will get practically the same or similar sound, but I will not agree with this statement. It goes too far and in my opinion, it should be worded like this: special investment in the analog circuits for these speakers does not make sense.

The difference will be audible but too small to justify the expense and not give us the fundamental thing, which is to improve the sound quality. If in my case a decent audio track with decent cables was used for more than 10 times the price of the speakers and I finally achieved such effects, it means that the investment limit had to be reached much earlier. It also means that the manufacturer decided to put the greatest emphasis on digital and BT inputs on these speakers, and not on analog ones. These will work, so that we have no doubts, and the speakers themselves will play without any problems, but their potential will not be fully used in this way.

Therefore, if we want to get the best results with the R1850DB, instead of investing in an RCA circuit, it is better to invest in a good S/PDIF circuit and buy anything that can be used as a digital transmitter, and invest in a more sensible cables. If for some reason, as I wrote, there is no desire to use BT mode, even a simple sound card, with optical, mini-Toslink, or coaxial output, will do the job for us. And it doesn’t have to be the old Xonar as in my case. In my opinion, this does not preclude the use or command of these speakers. Interestingly, even the author of the short review quoted above from Amazon gave the speakers 5/5 stars and described it as perfect for the price.

However, in some situations, it can be a limitation for people who do not have any digital output and do not want to use Bluetooth. However, I deeply doubt that these people would be interested in the R1850DB, and not, for example, in the older and cheaper R1600T or other simpler designs, to save money on an unnecessary digital section. Unless it is a spare purchase, even if we use a Bluetooth connection, it also gives the possibility to control playback via remote control, which we will not use in S/PDIF mode.

As far as I am concerned, I spent most of my time on them after the optics in the bit-perfect 24-bit/44.1 kHz mode, served directly by the native ASIO drivers from the mentioned Essence STX. It did not cause problems with the fact that I only have one S/PDIF combined socket and the Converto MK2 is also connected via this interface because Pathos has its own drivers to work with ASIO via USB. Thus, when working with the new prototype braided cables for the LCD-i3, I had two separate ASIO drivers and two separate listening systems at my disposal, which I could control at will.

Edifier R1850DB Video Review

Final Verdict

Ultimately, it was nice to work with the Edifiers, both in terms of use and listening. There was, surprisingly, no problem with the bass. The loudspeakers did not cause any problems, nothing fired, and the sound was not lost. Although one could always expect less, if you look at it as a whole, these speakers do not seem to be badly priced. Especially that for the same price you can still find the R1700BT.

The Build Quality

I can not find any defects, shortcomings, folding, or failure during work.

Optional Equipment and Features

Built-in S/PDIF DAC, active subwoofer output, two pairs of RCA inputs, digital volume control, remote control, bass, and treble control knobs, as well as the necessary wiring – all this is included and we do not miss anything, and the speakers themselves we will hook up to many different devices. Practically nothing limits us here … maybe except, as usual, a permanently attached power cable and a completely unnecessary conversion when using analog inputs.

The Sound Quality

The speakers do not spoil what they inherited from the R1700BT, but they try to model it in a new fashion, more natural and musical, less illuminated, but more colorful, with a greater depth of the stage and, above all, enhanced bottom-up qualities. If someone was a bit too bright and a bit too thin on the R1700, he should feel satisfied with the R1850. Although it comes at a price in the form of the aforementioned slight warmth at the interface between the midrange and treble, and a generally musical tuning compared to its predecessors, as well as a smaller stage in width. The differences are not big, but they are. The only limitation, as I wrote, is the neglect of RCA inputs and a little artificial reduction of the potential sound quality flowing through these connectors.

To Buy or Not?

One can also pay attention to the broadly understood work culture. There are no clicks, no excessive noise, nothing clicks when turned on and off … so if all the speakers had that, most consumers would be very pleased, I think. During operation, the loudspeakers heat up, but only the main one and do not exceed the temperature of approx. 97 degrees.

So I think that the R1850DB can serve as a completely worthy successor to the R1700BT, which is a more polished, more pleasant to listen variant than its predecessor. Finally, maybe a pity for the wooden look, because they were very nice and emphasized the appearance of the R1700, but “piano black” fits in with the modern trends and adds elegance to them as a whole. It’s really hard for me to find any unambiguous flaws that would reject me from these speakers or in any way affect the pleasures of using them. In short – Edifier R1850DB are great speakers.

Edifier R1850DB Pro & Cons

Pros

  • Solid structure and good workmanship
  • Preserved small dimensions give them great versatility
  • Elegant piano black finish
  • Built-in bass and treble correction
  • Built-in S/PDIF DAC and Bluetooth transmitter
  • An active subwoofer output is a useful addition
  • Remote control with duplicate volume buttons for longer life
  • A set of cables is included in the set (except for coaxial)
  • Extra long connecting cable between the speakers(5 m)
  • Sound on the “musical V” set on the R1700BT foundation
  • A more natural, deeper, and fatigue-free tuning than the R1700
  • A pretty good scene in different directions
  • The good sound quality of the built-in DAC
  • No noticeable heating or crackling noise when turned on, off, and in use
  • Only minimal noise at rest (and this after inserting your ear into the loudspeaker)

Cons

  • Neglected RCA connectors with unnecessary signal conversion along the way
  • The arrangement of the knobs on the back could be reversed (volume knob on top instead of bottom)
  • Easily fingered, glossy side panels
  • Permanently attached power cable
  • No aptX support
Edifier R1850DB is a worthy successor to the R1700BT. There are no noticeable flaws - these are great speakers.
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