Several days ago, I decided that I needed to rearrange my entire office space in order to set it up for better videoconferencing–maybe even a podcast. As such, having a giant window immediately behind me as I sat at my desk was hardly ideal, since it turned every videocam shot of me into a backlit silhouette. While this sort of picture has its uses–particularly when portraying informants against the drug cartels–it didn’t make for a particularly photogenic teleconference image.
In the process of knocking about all the desks, office equipment, and electronics in my office, I unfortunately managed to send my venerable M-Audio AV40 speakers crashing to the ground, rendering them forevermore silent. My meager skills with a soldering iron could not resurrect my old friends, so I had to consign them to the trash heap.
After doing my usual rounds of internet searching on the current state of semi-affordable audio speakers for my computer, I was about to sink $499 into some decently reviewed AudioEngine A5+ speakers, when at the last minute, I decided to give the PC Editors Choice Edifier 1280Ts a shot. “What the heck” I thought–they’re only $99.99, so if they wind up being terrible, I can pass them on to [one of the less audio-obsessive members of the household] and go buy the AudioEngines…” Yes, I’m that awful.
As it turned out, Amazon came through even in the midst of a worldwide Coronavirus shutdown and dropped off a package with the new speakers less than a day after I’d ordered them. A couple of minutes later, I had them plugged in and sitting on the stands to either side of my computer, and fired up Pandora.
Nothing. Dead silence.
“Oh yeah” I remembered, and actually turned them on by pressing the power button in the back of the left speaker.
…and they were amazing.
After taking off the cheap-looking and sound-coloring speaker grilles, these little speakers really shone. There’s simply no way you can reasonably expect to get this sort of sound from speakers in this price range. I haven’t gotten out any audio analysis tools yet, but to my ear, they deliver a beautifully flat sound, uncolored by either the fake bass boosts of most smaller speakers, or the tinniness that tends to color cheaper speakers of this class. Better yet, they deliver a beautifully detailed stereo image that manages to crisply reproduce percussion and guitar while keeping a full warmth throughout the midrange and into the very (but not extremely low) bass.
The only real limits that are apparent after an hour of listening are for extremely low–even sub-sonic bass (think: 80hz and below). There are, after all, some physical limits to what speakers of this dimension can do. That said, while these wouldn’t be either my movie soundtrack or industrial dance club speakers of choice, they’re performing brilliantly throughout the range of actual music. In all, they perform much more like a high-end set of bookshelf recording studio monitors than the “better than your average computer speaker” M-Audios they replaced. I couldn’t be happier.
And I still can’t get over the idea that they only cost $99.95.
Clearly I have to destroy my tech gear more regularly…