Edifier E30 Spinnaker speakers look fierce, sound fiercer [Review]

If you’d asked me about Edifier audio equipment two months back, I would have looked at you with a puzzled face. I hadn’t even heard of them. And yet, having reviewed a couple of their products already, they’ve become one of my favorite brands. Even more so now, after using the Spinnaker stereo speakers for the past couple of weeks.

Starting with the startling design: hard to ignore. These speakers look like giant black claws.In fact, I’ve often caught myself looking for the third, or checking my desk for a huge predator of some kind. When I say they look fierce, I’m deadly serious. But that’s awesome. The name of the system suggests a reference to a particular kind of boat/sail – and from the side – I get it. But, I’m happier with the notion that the manufacturer hunted a giant panther and hollowed out its claws to make the perfect set of desktop speakers. The Spinnaker feels very solid too thanks to its rounded aluminum base.

Oddly, it was the base I was most impressed with. There are cutouts/grooves to grip on to any and all the cables you could possibly need to feed in to the selection of ports at the bottom of the right speaker. Not only does this show fantastic attention to detail on Edifier’s part, it also ensures that your wires don’t get needlessly tangle up or caught underneath the speakers. It does make moving them a little frustrating. After two weeks, I still don’t have them placed perfectly. That’s just my own personal fussy side coming through. Actually inserting the cables is a tiny bit tricky, but once they’re in place they’re as snug as anything.

Peel back the skin, and you’ll be even more impressed. Each unit has a total of three speakers. As noted on the company’s website: “Spinnaker boasts a total of 6 separate amplifiers driving two silk domed tweeters, two 2 3/4” mid-range and two downward firing 4” bass drivers.”  How they all fit in to these units, I don’t know, but they combine to provide an incredibly deep and varied sound, unlike any speaker system I’ve had the pleasure of using before. Bass notes really kick through, without overpowering the middle and treble frequencies. I’m left stunned. You certainly get more than what you’d expect for $349. I pumped all kinds of music through the Spinnaker system, and not once did I think it could do with a little more anything. Acoustic slow tracks a clean and clear, bass-driven rock is loud, even dance music sounds like it belongs. Edifier may have just created the most versatile set of speakers around. Its 90W of power is enough to fill any room in the house with consummate ease. One slight irritation I had was that I have no real control over EQ – except the controls on iTunes on my Mac. With a system of this quality, it would be nice to have more control. There’s no WiFi connection, so no AirPlay support, but it has an optical and 3.5mm AUX jack inputs as well as stereo Bluetooth.

The system ships with a really neat little control dome, spin it left or right to crank up or tone down the volume. The best thing about that is that it runs off a rechargeable battery, making it wire-free unless you need to charge it using a MicroUSB cable. Even better: it has a pulsing red light underneath it. One frustration I had regularly however, was that the grippy rubber base of the control wasn’t quite grippy enough to turn one-handed every time. I’d alternate between holding it steady with my left hand, or pressing it down in the middle with my index finger and turning the control with my thumb.

Overall, I have no serious complaints. I love the design, but I can imagine that it won’t float every person’s boat (pun intended – don’t get? Search Google Images for “Spinnaker”). It’s also worth considering whether or not it fits in to your home setup well.  You can be sure of one thing though: it will catch your guests’ attentions by its design and performance alike.

To check our the speaker in more detail, and/or buy it: http://www.edifier.us.com/SHOPEDIFIER®/tabid/88/ProductID/64/language/en-US/Default.aspx

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