Important Specs Overview
Speaker type: powered, 2 way, back ported
Continuous power handling: 44 W (total, per unit)
Frequency response range: 55 – 20K Hz (+/- 1 dB)
Woofer size: 3.75 in
Unit weight: ~8 lbs (approximated, not specified by manufacturer)
Cabinet dimensions: 5.5 x 6.5 x 9 in (width x depth x height)
Wireless: Bluetooth 4.1, included remote
Warranty: 2 years
*When nominal/RMS power isn’t specified by manufacturer, we use an approximation of ~30% of the specified peak/dynamic power for comparison purposes.
Review And Discussion
Edifier produces a wide variety of powered bookshelf speakers with varying features, and the S880DB is one of their newer, higher end such products. It’s distinguished by its claimed ability to play Hi-Res audio files, which very generally are larger and better quality.
The S880DB has a cumulative (tweeter + woofer) continuous power handling of 44 W, which is definitely on the higher end for powered bookshelf speakers. They’ll get plenty loud, but might fall short in a full sized home theater setting, as is the case with many powered bookshelf speakers. Like most of Edifier’s popular speakers, the S880DB is pretty clearly intended to be a nearfield desktop speaker.
The response range floor is decent, but not amazing, but 2-way speakers generally have limited bass in this regard – it’s hard for a single woofer to play the roll of mid range and bass reproduction. Of particular notice is the incredibly tight response range variance of a mere 1 dB, but this sounds a bit far fetched – the sheer variance of a single response curve test remaining so close to a theoretically perfect curve is nigh impossible and unheard of. Maybe you could get close over the course of tens or hundreds of repeated tests, but without transparent data who’s to know. We’ll give Edifier the benefit of the doubt and assume the variance is nice and low across the range, but less than 1 dB is pretty unlikely.
One disadvantage of powered speakers is that there’s often no easy way to add a subwoofer, while doing so is easy and fairly standard with a traditional receiver with passive speakers. Edifier does make a nice powered speaker with an subwoofer input though, the only such speaker we’ve seen, the R1850 DB reviewed (here).
If you’re merely planning to use these for ambient music, basic streaming, or whatever, and you’re not a stickler for full bass reproduction, these will be fine, but for others it might leave something lacking.
The drivers are made out of metallic materials, which are generally more stiff and durable but not quite as performant as paper/cloth drivers, especially at close range with lower volume. The latter is more prone to wear and tear though. Preference usually boils down to a user listening test.
The S880DB is Bluetooth compatible, comes with a small little remote alternatively, and also has all the standard connections: RCA, optical, coaxial, and USB – easy to hook up to just about any device. Also neat is two EQ knobs on the back giving the option to balance the drivers. All necessary connection cables come included which is a nice bonus, making out-of-the-box set up as easy as it gets.
The design is… interesting. The cabinet looks like a sauna or shower stall kind of, mainly because of the arbitrary grooves in the side panels. The speakers are comparatively compact and light – one advantage of smaller metallic drivers, though we wonder if a sealed cabinet might make more sense with such a speaker. They also lack the nice upward angle that most of their other bookshelf speakers have. Edifier offers a 2 year warranty on all its powered speakers which is decent, but not top of the line coverage.
Our Overall Take, As Compared To The Competition
We don’t know what the deal with the jarring design is, and don’t see how these could aesthetically blend with pretty much any central device. If you don’t care then whatever. They’re otherwise good speakers, especially if the response curve really is close to the 1 dB differential that they promise.
But are they worth the cost? They’re a little expensive, probably in part for still being quite new, especially for presumed near-field speakers that might just not need so much power. Edifier makes other powered bookshelf speakers, some of which are among our favorites, for a fraction of the price. Check the links at the end for some such recommendations.
If your looking for a true full sized system we’d say the money is better spent on some nice passive speakers and a subwoofer – you’ll get much more performance for your dollar that way, though the price floor might be higher if you don’t already have a receiver.