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Edifier’s Flagship S3000pro 2.0 active wireless speakers

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adhingra

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Nov 20, 2018
Messages
72
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Location
Mumbai, Prabhadevi
Worthy successor to my $10,000 stereo setup?

Background

I have been dipping my toes in the audiophile world for last 15 years, starting with a rudimentary Creative 2.1 computer speaker setup, followed by an Onkyo AVR and Polk Rti floorstanders based 5.1 setup and my last setup (past 5 years) includes $10,000 Stereo component setup -

Display: Samsung PDP 51 plasma
Server : Intel i5 NUC Win 10 64bit + JRiver MC 24
USB to SPDIF : WireWorld UV USB cable to Audiphilleo 2 with Pure Power
DAC : NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC and preamp
IC : Supra Balanced XLR
Amplifier : Emotiva XPA 200
Speakers : Goldenear Triton 2

Problem Statement

I moved to a new place in January, with a tiny living room. Also wanted to declutter my digital life and planned to move to a powered monitors based speakers system to make the setup family friendly, but something that is can beat obsolescence for atleast another 5 years.

Shortlist included

  1. Edifier S2000pro $500 - rated 4.5 on Amazon
  2. Sonos Play 5 $500- Rated 4 on Amazon
  3. Klipsch R-51PM Powered Bluetooth Speaker $500 - rated 4.5 on Amazon
  4. KEF LSX Wireless $1100 - Rated 4.5 on Amazon

After trawling through many online reviews and even YouTube videos, i auditioned the Sonos, but it didnt make the mark since many reviews talk about its network patchiness issues. Also I am deeply suspicions about any speaker company that doesnt even publish technical specs of its products. I didnt have an opportunity to audition the Klipsch as the Edifier S2000pro looked better in terms of connections and better value. I did audition the KEF LSX at a Best Buy Magnolia in NYC, but was underwhelmed by the low end that is rated at 49hz. Although an unfair comparison, but my Triton 2 are rated at 15hz and put out oodles of chest thumping bass that doesn't overwhelm the rest of the frequency range. So smack in the middle of this exercise I saw the Edifier website surreptitiously introduce its flagship S3000pro, without any fanfare. I could only see a hilarious video on Youtube from the CES 2019 where an animate gentlemen, after a brief listen, is loudly proclaiming to his wife on camera that he has to get these! - not very reassuring - but surprisingly there were no third party reviews or videos apart from some scarce company provided details. Since I couldn't audition these or refer to any third party validation, just decided to take a leap of faith based on the glowing reviews of the younger sibling S2000pro. I seem to have a soft spot for the 'underdog" and have own other chifi brands like Magaosi IEMs which are the best bang for the buck audio item own; but we digress.

Plan was if they didnt perform, they would be relegated to the aural pleasure of the house guests!

Unboxing and initial impressions

The package arrived in pristine condition and delivery was super fast - as always. The packaging itself could have been better, as I have seen bomb-proof boxes that many other interned direct firms like Emotiva use; but maybe I am just nitpicking. The speakers were tightly packed in 2 layers (plastic and fabric) inside a snug thromocole enclosure. I was plaesantly surprised to see a wide array of connecting cables to match the connections on these speakers 3 types of RCA cables, 1 Optical Toslink, 1 USB cable and a pair of speaker cables apart from the remote and manual. Overall very positive first impression.

Setup
Was a breeze and took a grand total of 90 seconds to plug them in the wall socket, set the input to bluetooth and pair it with my iphone to get the ball rolling for about 100 hrs of breaking-in period. The left speaker is wireless and uses a proprietary network link to connect to the right one, so minimal cable snaking around.

Music
Youtube offers a decent collection of audiophile test music that is good enough on a BT connection. But for serious listening, I used the onboard DAC that is certiefied hi-res and can process 24/192. The dynamics on Rachmanioff Concerto No. 2 were as soul moving, except for some low end extension that was missing, but i never felt the serious shortcomings of listening to this recording on a typical bookshelf. Adele's Live at Wembley as well as some other acoustical recordings that i tried were an absolute joy and Run (both the Snow Patrol & Leona Lewis versions) were unbelievably visceral, and so was the melancholy and sense of ennui that you can feel when Lana Del Ray sings (Born to Die). But where these babies shine is if you take them for a spin with some fun music like Zyan's From Dusk til Dawn and Sia's Titanium. Overall the real strength seems to be on classical (where i suspect they have been deliberately tuned, especially on the top end) and acoustical and percussion settings. No they are not going to the gust room as i didnt feel they lacked on the bass, which is adjsutable and i never turned felt the need to turn the dial all the way to 5 o clock (max) position, but even at that level there was no serious portchuffing at the back.

Movies are fantastic as well, with great separation, imaging and depth of field like what you get with the music; but the biggest (pleasant) surprise is the low end rumble that comes from these bookshelves when a car revs or a war scene or the spatial imaging that you can experience in the Hero Blue Room scene that every home theatre dealer will demo to show the prowess of their surround sound system.

I am currently listening to these with my NAD M51 Digital DAC and preamp as the onboard DAC does have some elements of digital shrillness and i like my music slightly 'laid back'.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  1. Fantastic build quality - hands down unbeatable
  2. Surprisingly good frequency response with oodles of tight and fast bass
  3. Very resolving top end, thanks to the planar diaphragm tweeters
  4. Wide array of inputs and connections with 24/192 processing

Cons
  1. Mid range little underwhelming
  2. Onboard DAC has elements of digital shrillness
  3. Digital direct sales channel so no way of real auditioning. Limited global availability for folks like me in India.
  4. Tiny display (2 mm high characters) that shows source selected

PS: I wish the speaker stands (sold separately $150) came along with a bundled & discounted price. Currently sitting on $10 Ikea stools - embarrassing! Will be buying these on my next trip over to the US.

Conclusion
I am surprised how far $1000 can take you today in the world of hifi audio, but equally surprised how a vast majority still thinks $1000 is 'high-end' for their audio equipment that can last them 10 years easy, but dont think twice to spend that money on a smartphone that last 3 years max.

Its unfair to compare powered bookshelves that cost under this psychological threshold budget to a full fledged stereo system that costs 10x; but the Edifiers stand their own ground. They maynot be able to match the full frequency prowess of the floorstanders but are no slouches. In fact at this price-point I am recurrently surprised on the overall value.

If you are consciously entering the Orwellian world of Sonos multirooom system (You can check out any time you like. But you can never leave!) or any other variant of smart speaker setup with playback from Spotify/Tidal equivalent then these are not for you. But if you are serious about your music and have tons of hires files locally on a NAS/ PC transport, but want the flexibility to stream once in a family friendly setup that will be a future-proof for atleast 5 years and scoff at the idea of having a smart speaker as your main rig, then go for it!

Specs

Power output: R/L (Treble): 8W+8W RMS. R/L (mid-range and bass): 120W+120W RMS.
Frequency response: 38Hz-40KHz
THD + N (testing level): 0.3%
Signal to noise ratio: 85dBa
Input sensitivity: Line in – 600 ± 50 mV, Balance – 1000 ± 50 mV, OPT/COAX – 400 ± 50mFFs, Bluetooth – 450 ± 50mFFs, USB – 400 ± 50mFFs
Certified HiRes
107 x 107mm Planar silk diaphragm tweeters
Bass drivers: 6.5” (179mm) aluminum alloy diaphragm bass unit
XMOS xCore200 interface supports USB audio bitrate up to 192KHz
Bluetooth V5.0 with Qualcomm®aptX HD decoding
High-efficiency Class D digital power amplification
XLR Balanced input and RCA line-in jack
Electronic crossovers and dynamic control based on DSP
 

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