Hi everyone, thought I'd just publish a couple of "qSpins" today as I might be away for a little bit to attend to other duties in the next couple weeks.
In the last while, I've been looking at getting another pair of speakers on my computer workstation desktop. Here's basically what my desktop speaker system has looked like for years:
I. AudioEngine A2
What you see on the table above are my old AudioEngine A2 speakers, the predecessor of the AudioEngine A2+ that came out in 2013 with similar appearance, construction and speaker arrangement (3/4" silk dome tweeter, 2.75" Kevlar woofer, small front slit-shaped port below woofer). While I suspect there have been small sonic tweaks, the A2+ brought to the end user mainly new features: a USB port (no need for separate DAC), subwoofer outs, and wireless Bluetooth capability (aptX in the recent version). These are great features for modern desktop speakers. Due to their diminutive size, notice in the picture that I also have the AudioEngine DS1 plastic/silicone angled "stands"/risers to help direct them towards the seating position.
The A2 are powered speakers, said to be Class A/B, 15Wpc RMS. The left speaker is the "master" where analogue input is attached and contains the amplifier circuitry. When I got these something like 9 years ago, the cost was less than US$200 (A2+ these days go for ~US$270).
Using the "qSpin" CTA-2034A-inspired procedure as documented previously with the KEF LS50 measurements, here are the AudioEngine A2 curves:Stereophile found in 2007. John Atkinson also published a followup with the A2+ in 2015 and described it as sounding "identical". Also, check out NO Audiophile's teardown and measurements of the A2+.
If we look into the time domain and waterfall CSD plots with 25dB dynamic range over the first 3ms measured along the tweeter axis:
We see both the tweeter and woofer are hooked up in positive polarity, I detected a wee bit of ringing at around 9kHz as per the cursor on the CSD graph. Below 3kHz, there's more energy than we saw with the KEF LS50. Otherwise, it looks quite clean.
I was curious how it handled dynamic bursts; whether it was able to maintain a linear increase in amplitude for brief 200ms durations from 70 to 100dB SPL at 1m:
II. Edifier S2000 Mk III
After all the years with the AudioEngine A2 on my desk, I figure it was time to upgrade as I was starting to experience occasional dropouts of the right (slave) speaker - likely an issue with the amplifier.
I purchased the Edifier S2000 Mk III (US$400) online, a recently released (late 2019 - early 2020) active desktop speaker from a well-known computer audio brand. I saw good comments about this speaker on one of the Asian tech forums. Let's have a look (here's the ad page with specs and pics):
I've got to hand it to Edifier for the amazing TRIPLE-boxed almost 50lb package. Each speaker weighs something like 20lbs, the main right speaker slightly heavier than the left. Here they are unpacked on my couch:
Very nice workmanship; solid speakers with a satisfying dense dampened "thud" when you tap on the sides. The wood-grain veneer looks flawless. That long cable on the left connects the 2 speakers together and is thick. Golden Ear audiophiles who like their cables robust will be very pleased. It's also quite long so you can place the speakers up to 16' apart! On the right, you can see the power cable coming out of the "master" speaker, this power cord is only 5.5' so it seems a little short compared to the inter-speaker cable.
It comes with a remote control (quite nice, batteries included), and 3 cables - stereo RCA-RCA, phono-RCA, and a nice set of TosLink cables.
By the way, the amplifier inside is described as Class D, provides 12Wrms for the tweeters, and 50W for the mid/woofers each. They call this "tri-amped" so I'm not sure how the amps are arranged; maybe 2 bass amps and single amp for the tweeter?
I plugged the power into my Kill-A-Watt meter and it registered ~7W when playing music at a normal listening level (~20-30% volume) on the desktop so these appear to be very power efficient.
Here's the rear showing the large, flared, oblong port and front speakers with grille off:
Notice the S/PDIF TosLink and Coaxial digital inputs (no USB); the "Hi-Res Audio" logo refers to the fact that the internal DACs can handle up to 24/192 input. Bluetooth 5.0 wireless audio works well and accepts up to aptX HD (no LDAC). Bluetooth is based on the Qualcomm QCC3031. There are 2 analogue RCA line-ins. Volume control knob which digitally tells the speaker to increase/decrease volume (this is not an analogue pot with 0 and 100% limits). This knob can be pushed in to switch inputs as well. There's a physical power switch but no physical "sleep" switch - use the remote button to go to sleep (<1W power utilization). Under the volume control are bass and treble knobs for +/-6dB tuning.
To the right, we can see the speaker front with grilles off. We can see a phase plug and waveguide design to the presumably ~1" tweeter. Woofer is 5.5" aluminum. The grilles are made of a low-density fabric material wrapped around a light plastic frame:
There's a nice little OLED display which shows volume change, DSP setting change and which input is playing:
As far as I can tell there is no dimmer or way to turn the OLED off. It's not too bright to be distracting on the desktop. I know Edifier has suggested that these speakers can be used in the living room and for home theater applications. The little display might be a bit small if you're sitting at a distance and in a dark room, it would have been preferable to be able to turn off or provide a few levels of dimming.
One of the features the company has implemented into these newer Edifier speakers is their DSP. I didn't see any hi-res frequency response charts on what the settings looked like so I created my own ;-). Since I suspect most users would just leave the grilles on, here's what the settings do on-axis with treble & bass at neutral, measured at 1m: