I initially contacted Edifier International when on the hunt for some reasonably priced active speakers to recommend along with some budget-priced turntables that wouldn’t break the bank. My experience with Edifier’s products has been excellent so far, both the traditional R2000DB and the slightly odd-looking Luna E25s receiving recommendations for their surprising quality and commendable performance per pound. I was recently offered some further Edifier units to test and asked for the R2730DB, the top stereo setup in their current hi-fi range.
These substantial active speakers sport a three-way driver arrangement, sizeable MDF enclosures and class D amplification complete with the company’s DSP-based dynamic range control. A range of inputs include two analogue RCA, digital optical, coaxial and Bluetooth, and there’s even a subwoofer output should you need it.
The driver complement includes a 6½ inch (178 mm) bass unit, a 4” (116 mm) mid driver and a 19 mm silk dome tweeter. Power output is 68W RMS per speaker (40W bass, 14W mid and 14W high) at 10% THD. In practice 10% THD would be quite audible, but no ratings are given at more acceptable distortion figures. Signal to noise is rated at 85dBA, and in practice 2730s produce little audible idle noise and certainly nothing of concern. Frequency response is 45Hz-20kHz flat to within 6dB – a significant margin which in practice means the 2730s really aren’t flat at all, more on that later.
Input sensitivity for the two analogue inputs is rated at 700 and 500MV ± 50MV for inputs one and two respectively. The speakers don’t respond well to a slight overload, the tape output of my Marantz PM-11S3 managing to send them into excessive distortion. Some of the analogue devices on hand, including a Technics SL-P350 had the same effect, though feeding a lower signal into either input restored correct performance. The analogue inputs will be fine for use with a phono stage for connecting up a turntable, or for the output of most consoles, disc players and TVs.
In the box the R2730DBs are supplied with RCA to RCA, RCA to 3.5 jack and optical cables, though a coaxial audio cable is not included. A figure of eight power cable specific to your country is included, as is a small documentation pack and the remote control with pre-installed coin-cell battery.
Physically the R2730s resemble large standmount speakers, with boxy enclosures finished in a black veneer. The veneer work isn’t perfect with some rough edging and a lack of finishing particularly on the rear corners. The enclosures are otherwise nicely made however and are finished off nicely by a black cloth grill and subtle edifier branding. The speakers are front ported for easy placement and have little feet on the bottom of each cabinet, though for the best performance a set of proper stands is highly desirable.
One speaker contains the amplification circuitry, the other speaker being entirely passive and linked via a lengthy 4-Pin XLR cable. Though its connector is of high quality, the adjoining cable is permanently attached to the active speaker meaning that it is not easily replaced should it become damaged. This is a disappointing oversight on Edifier’s part. Side-mounted controls on the active speaker allow for input selection, volume and bass/treble adjustment (+/-6). Volume is of course digitally controlled, and the bass and treble controls appear digital as there is a slight delay between a quick turn of either control and its effect on the sound.
The back of the active speaker hosts the input jacks. Two pairs of analogue RCA jacks are joined by coaxial and optical inputs, a power switch and a figure of eight power cable. There’s also a sub woofer output unusually in the form of a 3.5MM jack. Quite why this isn’t an RCA connector as is common for such a connection is unclear.
The included remote is similar to that supplied with the R2000s and other Edifier models. It takes a coin-cel battery in a tray on its rear and is a slim credit-card style unit. Its buttons are spongy and the hole thing feels cheap and nasty. It’s also not using standard IR codes, though I do believe Edifier will provide the codes if asked. A remote of better quality should be provided with speakers at this price. The remote does however give you a selection for each individual input as well as controls for standby, mute and volume.
The speakers were fed by the coaxial output of my Cambridge Audio 851N streamer, and music was streamed via Bluetooth using an iPhone 8 running iOS 11.0.3, the latest as of the time of this writing.
My immediate impression of the R2730s was that these are neither flat nor accurate. With the tone controls at their neutral setting the speakers appear bass-heavy at low volumes; which I’m sure is partly a product of the dynamic range control (DRC) running in the DSP. The 6dB deviation figure quoted above suggests that these are not speakers for those who require neutrality, and this would indeed appear to be the case with the bass being quite overpowering at times. I allowed them sufficient run-in time with the controls set to their neutral positions, but did back the bass control off during normal listening, adjusting the controls to achieve a sound that I felt was more balanced and faithful to the source. If anything, the bass output that has been achieved from these cabinets is quite astonishing, enough to send you back into your seat and cause furniture and fittings ot resonate excitedly in time with the music.
Sadly that bass does hamper performance. Top end detail is compromised, as is the mid range. The sound is best described as muddy. Backing the bass off helps things massively, allowing the mids to shine and restoring some of the top end shine present on other Edifier designs. Imaging is reasonable and three-dimensional, in depth if not in height. They’ll go loud too, though the top end suffers at the highest volumes with audible distortion.
If you like hugely over-emphasised bass and little else, these are the speakers for you. They can produce ground-shaking quantities of low end unusual for speakers of this size. Dance and hiphop fans delight. For the rest of us who favour neutrality or musicality, these are not contenders; especially at the price. I can’t help feeling that had Edifier optimised these speakers to offer a ‘flat’ sound, they would have truly lived up to their ‘hi-fi’ name. As it is if a hi-fi speaker is what you’re after, the R2730s are outshined by other models in the Edifier range and many other models besides.