I had this great idea. I was loaned a set of Edifier speakers to test out and review. They looked perfect for the room I was setting up for the three spawnlings. I fully intended to setup a shared bedroom space with a bunch of personal geeky touches to make it easy to live in. The kids were super-excited. I was super-excited. The speakers arrived and… we all came down with the flu, including the youngest—four-year-old Zaltu, who is still recovering and thus still needs a bit more parent-attention at night. Thus, the Big Move is not moving for another month… But, what to do with my sexy Edifier speakers?
Well, clearly I am still testing them out—and I am still writing this review for you because they ARE sexy speakers, and they ARE very nice to have in our family home. They are simply fitting into a new plan for filling our home with music.
And to be totally honest, I think this is a better review after all.
What are they? A twin-set of bookshelf speakers with Bluetooth connectivity. Or as the kids put it, “we can set up music on Mum’s phone to play through the speakers.” Either way, it seems like a buzzword and, I will be the first to admit, I was hesitant to understand exactly what a “bookshelf speaker” is.
Bookshelf speakers are designed to sit on a bookshelf. That seems simple enough. They are compact and minimalistic in appearance. The original intent was to have them on top of a bookcase in the spawnlings’ room, without all the cumbersome extras of docking stations or cd players (still a thing, right?). Space is a premium in their room, so the more compact the speakers, the better.
These are not your top-end, Dolby Surround Sound, full sensory experience speakers—they are compact bookshelf speakers, with a smaller design (yet still with substantial performance) to suit a small to medium space. In that sense alone, you can understand why they are suited to pre-teen/teenagers bedroom or office space and NOT the main entertainment room.
These speakers were sent out on loan to me purely for the purpose of review. TL;DR—they are fantastic for the family as a whole but I will not buy them for my original purpose in the kids’ bedroom; at least not until the youngest is a bit older.
Why I Want Them for the Family
Thanks to the flu patients, we are yet to organize the kids’ Big Move into the main bedroom. Instead, we decided to set-up the speakers in the common area for all of the family to enjoy.
Aesthetically, the speakers were perfectly at home on our bookcase, which is exactly what they are designed for. We received the black set (they also come in a more natural looking wood finish) and the black looks smart and sexy. Sitting at 6in x 9.5in x 7in, they are really quite subtle no matter where you place them.
The speakers need to be connected to each other and to a power outlet with physical cords. Now, I am a complete noob when it comes to hardware set-up, yet I was able to do this without electrocuting myself or trashing the lounge room. The cords themselves provide a generous 8ft cord between speakers, giving you plenty of flexibility in how to arrange them.
This leads to my favorite selling point: you can pair two Bluetooth devices to the speakers, allowing you to play music directly from your phone. This perfect for our family “music wars” between EG Dad and myself! This connection also means you control the volume directly from your phone! I love this feature!!! You can also connect directly to your phone using cords provided, but why would you do that when you have Bluetooth connectivity?! Connecting is simplicity itself—turn on your phone’s Bluetooth and search for Edifier R1010BT in your settings, select, and you’re ready to go.
Sound-wise, I rely heavily on my favorite artist for these exact situations: Lenny Kravitz. Hold your judgy McJudge pants; I love Lenny and will always use his music for reviewing speakers and headphones and all that stuff. Lenny has a love for the bass guitar without letting it overpower the melody of his music. Most of his songs are ideal for testing out the balance between the bass and the highs.
The Edifier R1010BT speakers were pretty darn good; there were no squeaks from the dome tweeters, and certainly no unnecessary humming from the ceramic-paper cone drivers (yes, I actually know what these things are). One common problem with Bluetooth is the lag or “skipping” whilst sharing between devices. After testing for three weeks, I did note a couple of moments with skipping, but they were exactly that—a couple. The moments I noted were during YouTube music videos, or more accurately during the YouTube ads, so the skipping didn’t bother me too much. Well trained speakers, if you ask me.
Why I Won’t Buy Them for the Kids’ Room
It is such a shame these speakers are not suitable for our younger spawnlings. They would have worked for 11-year-old Sinister but definitely not for the younger two, who are just not spatially aware enough to trust with the fiddly nature of the speakers. Give us a few years and we will revisit because I really do think these speakers are fantastic, generally speaking.
Unfortunately, these simply are not for the kids in our home. *sad panda* The biggest drawback for the speakers is the location of the power switch, the volume, and the click-button used for turning the Bluetooth on. To keep the sleek-and-sexy look, all the controls are at the back of the speakers. There are two problems with this:
- If you are using this in a bookcase, as suggested in the description “Bookshelf Speakers,” then you need to provide access at the back of your shelving for the cords. Some bookcases already allow for this, which is great. It’s something you need to be aware of.
- If you are using this in a young kids room, they are going to struggle to access the controls. It’s not like you can control EVERYTHING from your phone. You still need to turn the speakers on (switch is at the back) and click the button for Bluetooth (also at the back). It’s not even like the switches are easy to access with a quick “reach-around.” The power switch is located under the two dials (being volume and balance), making it really fiddly for even adult hands to reach. I can already imagine the disaster zone of a young child knocking the speaker down while they try to turn them on. The Bluetooth button is no better: you “click” the volume dial/button and you have to do this every time you turn them on. I really don’t understand why they didn’t make Bluetooth the default setting. The problem for the kids will be when they fumble around to find the button, located right next to a matching dial/button for balance. Neither of these will be problems for adults using the speakers, but for kids, it is a situation requiring foresight from the parents.
Will I Revisit the Edifier R1010BT Speakers When the Kids Are Older?
Absolutely! I love the simplicity of the design, and I can work with the controls at the back. To be honest, I have already come to terms with this aspect. It is the younger kids I worry about, so in a year or two, I will be more than happy to revisit these speakers. Part of me wishes the spawnlings were a little older now so I can hold on to the speakers. But my reviews are always honest, so alas these are being returned with a heavy heart. If you have kids aged 10-years-or-older, these speakers will suit you a lot better than they suit me. Well, actually, they suit ME just fine. It’s the four-year-old holding me back…
Right now, you can buy the Edifier R1010BT speakers for USD$99.99 from Amazon. You can buy them in either black or natural-wood/brown color. And you’ll have to provide your own Lenny Kravitz.