“£20 for a pair of hi-fi speakers?” – That was my first thought when, browsing through the Richer Sounds website, I stumbled across the Tibo Edge Mini’s. Sure, I’ve owned cheap speakers before – though they were usually the afterthoughts supplied with some cheap boombox. However, I required some cheap speakers for a project – so decided to give these a try.
On paper, the Tibo speakers seem like remarkable value. Rather than the usual cheap plastic casing of their similarly priced rivals, these speakers come with thick, sturdy MDF cabinets and removable cloth-covered grilles with MDF frames, rather than the usual cheap flexible plastic.
The packaging is fairly decent. They come in a thick, strong box, well wrapped and supported. You also get little rubber feet to stick onto the bottom should you wish to sit these on a desk – a great first impression.
On the front, a 4" long-throw bass/midrange driver sits below a 1" soft-dome tweeter – a basic setup that has stood the test of time. On the back, you'll find a simple terminal block with 2 spring terminals (bi-wiring isn't supported); a bass port, and a screw hook should you wish to mount these on the wall.
They're rated for a maximum of 60W (40W long term), with an impedance of 4 to 8 ohms and a sensitivity of 88 DB. When testing with an ohm meter, the impedance was found to be right around the 4 ohm mark.
The cases are glued together – however, using a torx screwdriver, it's possible to remove the drivers. Removing the woofer, I was delighted to find spade connectors, rather than the usual soldered-on cables found in cheap speakers. A simple capacitor, mounted to the terminal block, serves to separate the frequencies being fed to each driver – this is, unfortunately, the only area where these speakers fall short. However, adding a better crossover is a relatively simple task, and one I might attempt.
There's a tiny piece of fibreglass dampening material – again, this is something that could be added and would probably result in better sound. The internal cabling is decent, unlike the cheap thin cables found in some speakers – even high end audiophile designs.
When hooking them up, I wasn't expecting much – however, I was pleasantly surprised. These speakers sound much, much better than they have any right to at this price. No, they're not going to compete with high-end audiophile speakers – even mid-range ones. They're rather like a cheap mini hi-fi speaker – only, in some areas, a lot better.
For my tests, I used a Cambridge Audio Azur 340A amp, fed by a stream magic 6. rated for 40W into 8 ohms and 50W in to 4 ohms, this amp was the perfect partner for these speakers. The sound produced was lively, with a fairly decent sound stage. Vocals were clear and crisp. However, you do find yourself drawn to the midrange and upper bass – which can sound a little boomy and boxy in comparison to rivals with better crossovers and better internal resonance control
Be careful with positioning – put them too close to a wall and the bass becomes boomy and overpowering. Too out in the open, and the treble takes over and can become too bright – this is probably due to the cone material used on the tweeter. It appears to be a thin plastic material, rather than the usual silk found on soft-dome tweeters. It's also in part due to the crossover – a better crossover would, I'm sure, help to even things out a little.
In summary – when I first removed these speakers from the packaging, I wasn't expecting much – however, for the most part, I'm pleasantly surprised. While they're not 'audiophile' speakers by any stretch of the imagination, you could certainly do a lot worse.
Would I recommend these for the music lover on a budget? – Probably not. The bright treble and overpowering midrange were, unfortunately, enough to have me reaching for the stop button after a rather short period of time. Plus, when you can have the rather excellent Wharfedale Diamond 9.0's for £40, I find it hard to recommend these.
However – if, like me, you're a DIY technology enthusiast looking for a run project, they're hard to beat. The cabinets are easily worth the £20 price tag on their own – and, with a few internal modifications, these speakers could be made to sound awesome.