Ed Selley swaps out his soundbar for an active 2.1-channel TV/music system from audio marque Edifier. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones help out with the audition…Read our EDIFIER S350DB Review.
PRODUCT: Active 2.1 speaker system
Joins soundbars, wireless speakers and PC audio kit in Edifier’s stable
PEERS: Acoustic Energy Aego3; Q Acoustics M7
Edifier S350DB 2.1. Speaker Review – An absolute best-buy
BILLED AS OFFERING ‘old school style with a modern sound’, Edifier’s S350DB consists of an active subwoofer partnered with two satellite speakers. What makes this fairly unusual is that the system is completely self-contained. As well as carrying the power for the subwoofer, the amplification for the satellites is built into the bass-maker too, as well as source inputs. Quite a few inputs actually – the Edifier comes with optical and coaxial digital audio ports, AptX Bluetooth and a pair of analogue line inputs. There’s no HDMI provision though.
See also TOP 10 Subwoofers
In order to get power and signal to the satellite speakers, the S350DB connects via umbilical cables, which are supplied. These cables are different for each speaker, as the right-hand satellite has bass, treble and balance controls located on its side, so you don’t need to reach down the back of the subwoofer to fiddle about. The cables are long enough to allow for fairly free positioning of the satellites but are quite hefty things and will be very visible unless hidden behind furniture.
Otherwise though, this 2.1 array is an impressive looking piece of kit for the money. The dark ‘wood’ finish to the satellites and 8in subwoofer is a little retro but looks smart enough and everything feels impressively solid. There are some good incidental details too, such as the matching metal-finish dust caps on the satellites and the sub, and the pleasant circular remote control which is a little too easy to hold backwards but looks very smart. Compared to most equivalently priced soundbars (which the S350DB presents itself as an alternative too), it feels like a lot of product for the money.
Here come the Men in Black
No less importantly, this system manages to sound wholly convincing. Nostalgically revisiting the end sequence around the Saturn V in Men in Black III (Blu-ray), the Edifier’s array does a more than reasonable job of ensuring that dialogue, Foley effects and score are easy to discern from one another, but also woven into a satisfying performance as a whole.
The right-hand speaker houses EQ/balance controls
When the rocket finally starts its engines, the subwoofer handles the low-end energy on offer without tipping over into the sort of uncontrolled booming that can bedevil some affordable bass boxes.
The handover to the satellites is via a fixed point crossover (manual adjustment would have been nice). It’s at a high enough frequency to ensure the best performance is gained by keeping the subwoofer on axis with the speaker.
Do this, though, and the performance is impressively cohesive. The spectacular noises of drones in sci-fi flick Oblivion (Blu-ray) are divided between the sub and the satellites, but from my listening position it feels very much like a well sorted stereo image. And across a wider selection of film and TV material, this is something the Edifier does consistently well.
There isn’t any form of pseudo surround processing offered, but the image is wide enough that this doesn’t really matter.
As a final welcome addition, the basic layout of the S350DB means that as all-in-one systems go, it’s a solid choice for music.
Listening to the massive, sweeping and very slightly bonkers Fists of Fury by Kamasi Washington, via AptX Bluetooth from Tidal, the result is a tonally rich and vivid performance that benefits from the smooth handover between the sub and sats.
The bass notes start and stop with commendable speed and accuracy; the whole performance is engaging.
The S350DB is bulkier than rival soundbars, the looks are something of a matter of taste, and the cables are hardly discreet. Yet the performance here is rewarding considering the price tag.
VERDICT – EDIFIER S350DB Review
Separate speakers give a more tangible stereo effect than most soundbars, and overall this somewhat retro setup sounds good.
Best EDIFIER S350DB prices in the US ?
Best EDIFIER S350DB prices in the UK ?
See also TOP 10 Subwoofers
SPECIFICATIONS – EDIFIER S350DB Review
DRIVERS: 2 x titanium dome tweeters; 2 x mid-range drivers AMPLIFICATION (CLAIMED): 150W (speakers plus sub) CONNECTIONS: Optical digital audio input; coaxial digital audio input; 2 x stereo phono inputs DOLBY ATMOS/DTS:X: No/No SEPARATE SUB: Yes, 8in REMOTE CONTROL: Yes DIMENSIONS: 312(h) x 266(w) x 298(d) mm (subwoofer); 222(h) x 127(w) x 156(d) mm (speaker) WEIGHT: 19.1kg (total)
FEATURES: AptX Bluetooth; Bass, Treble and Balance controls; speaker cabling supplied; front-firing ported subwoofer