14 September 2015

REVIEW: Edifier R1700 BT Bookshelf Speaker

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We've looked at many weird and wonderful Edifier speakers in the past; some wired, some Bluetooth, some that were beautiful, and one that looked like a giant alien egg. Edifier usually have something interesting and bizarre on the go, so when we were approached to review yet another set of speakers from the company, we were expecting something bat-shit crazy. What we got was... well, normal. We review the very sensible looking Edifier R1700 BT Bookshelf Speaker.

Look at them. They look like the kind of speakers your dad would consider buying, or indeed probably owns already. As the name suggests these are speakers designed to fit on a bookshelf and have books pressed up against them on either sides. So they are blocky and cuboid and... speaker-looking.

This is actually refreshing. Enter 'speaker' into the search bar of this website and you'll be shown a collection of weird-shaped objects that we have previously reviewed – many of them from Edifier. So to get something that just sits there without you having to wall mount it, perch it on a stand, or worry about he cat breathing and knocking it over, is a nice change.

But although the looks are classic, the technology inside the speakers is anything but. First off, these are in fact Bluetooth enabled (hence the 'BT' in the name) so they will easily and wirelessly connect to your phone, tablet, and laptop. There's also a little remote to help you switch it on, so you don't even have to get out of your comfy chair, you lounge lizard. Of course there is also a wired connection option to attach it up to things like an iPod dock. Or, you know, like your vinyl record player. Dad.

Joking aside, the Edifier R1700 BT Bookshelf Speaker is actually extremely practical. The boxy shape makes them easy to place almost anywhere, and the removable grill covers help to make their presence discreet and subtle. What is not subtle is the noise these babies can churn out, ans the R1700 is definitely a bass-lover's speaker. The depth and clarity of the bass produced seems to be up there with speakers that tend to weigh in at more than twice the cost. We had them hooked up to our TV while watching a few old episodes of Star Trek: TNG and you really could feel the low hum of the Enterprise's engines throughout the show.

Yet despite that clear engineering focus on the bass, a decidedly non-bassy spoken-word podcast also sounded extremely clear. In fact all genres of music sounded great – simple as that – and because the speaker comes as a pair, allowing you place them apart, the feeling of immersion is immense and enjoyable.

Conventional-looking it might be, but when fired up and pumping out the tunes the Edifier RT1700 BT Bookshelf Speaker is surprisingly ear-catching. “Ear-catching”? Yes, we just coined that.

Around £90

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