Edifier Spinnaker e30 speaker system review
The Spinnaker e30 speaker system is a novel pair of horn shaped speakers that we suspect will sharply divide opinion. Not so much for how they perform or fairly premium price but for their looks, which like Marmite, you'll either love or hate. It's something of a gamble for makers Edifier to choose such an unusual design, which extends to the remote control, which a colleague actually mistook for an egg-timer.
Standing 15 inches/42cm tall and available in black and an even more eye-catching burgundy, the speakers are ideally suited for desktop use, sitting rather impressively on either side of your monitor screen. If you’re liable to park your laptop regularly in the same spot they also make decent, if not very portable, speakers, with a manageable footprint despite the size. We were also pleased to see the Spinnaker speakers are sturdy despite their unusual, sloping design and saw no signs of toppling over during some frequent attempts at annoying the neighbours, turning the volume up high.
Hooking up the Spinnaker is fairly painless, although out the box you’re greeted with an array of cables for various configurations, including a lengthy, but could be lengthier, speaker-to-speaker cable. Optical, auxiliary and perhaps most appealingly Bluetooth connections are all catered for with the option to play music wirelessly from any compatible device - A2DP and AVRCA Bluetooth profile support within a distance of 10m radius - including smartphones and tablets.
Edifier claims the unusual shape of the speakers helps project sound towards the listener with a 19mm silk domed, front facing tweeter, a 2¾ inch mid-range driver, reinforced with a downward firing 4 inch subwoofer in each satellite. If this all sounds impressive, it is, offering a very reasonable sound across a range of musical genres and styles. Turned up the Spinnaker copes well enough and was able to fill a modest living room with ease, an achievement not always possible with desktop style speakers. It's only let down a little during complex passages when the speakers appear to struggle to focus on detail and sound a touch unfocused and even at times muddy.
That disappointment is further emphasised by the sonic limitations of current Bluetooth technology. Edifier were keen to point out that devices such as Nokia phones, with low SBC audio codec settings, don't perform as well as those with high SBC settings, such as Apple devices and BlackBerry phones. More generally you can read about the pros and cons of Bluetooth audio online but it's probably fair to say the better the audio source the better the playback quality. Audio quality here really is down to the individual and many may find the dip in quality when using Bluetooth negligible, except when broadcasting audio from a TV when we noticed a slight but annoying delay.
The quirky remote comes with its own credit card sized instructions, which are probably worth keeping somewhere safe, as the supplied instruction booklet uses a type so small you'll need a magnifying glass just to read it. Despite some reservations about the lack of weight and same quality build as the speakers, the remote is intuitive and easy to use with one button tap and volume dial. Edifier notes a speaker-output port allows an external subwoofer/speaker to be added to the set-up.
The Spinnaker e30 speaker system from Edifier is certainly worth considering if you can get your head beyond the unusual design. The speakers performed perfectly well in our tests, adequately coping, with one or two exceptions, with a range of music and compatible devices, even handling the less than audiophile limitations set by Bluetooth well.