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Edifier Exclaim PC speakers look good, sound better
SPEAKERS are getting slimmer. Unfortunately, they’re also sounding progressively worse.
Good speakers need a bit of room to do their stuff. The voice coil works by pushing and pulling the speaker cone which vibrates the air and creates a sound wave. If the cone doesn’t have room for manoeuvre the sound it produces will be thin and weedy.
Speakers also require different drivers – the biggest (called woofers) produce the low frequency notes and the smallest (tweeters) do the opposite. Midrange speakers fill in the gaps.
In a set of slimline speakers (as found in virtually every flat screen television and many PCs) there simply isn’t enough room to build in a decent woofer. So films and music lack oomph. This problem is particularly acute if you enjoy modern action movies or video games with their gut-rumbling low frequency channels.
One solution is to build slim tweeters and pair them with a chunky sub-woofer. This can work very well but usually results in more cables and boxes than some people would like.
Edifier has hit upon an innovative solution – pairing stick-like tweeter/midrange speakers with a chunky woofer that’s actually part of the speaker stand.
Each upper section of the stick houses a couple of 1.5-inch tweeter/midrange units and a 1.5-inch x 3-inch passive radiator (that's a hole to you and me). The bass section incorporates a 3-inch woofer and a second radiator. They may look small but Edifier reckons they kick out a combined 36-watts of music power. A digital sound processor helps clean up muddy MP3s and refresh complex soundtracks.
It all works rather well. Hooked up to a computer playing compressed music the Edifier speakers put in a surprisingly gutsy performance comprehensively outclassing the 2.1 system that I had been using.
Although the woofers fill out the bass very well what really surprised was the detail in the upper frequencies that the Exclaims managed to dig out. I could hear instruments that had been missing in the rather muddy sound produced by my PC’s speakers (which relied too heavily on the sub for assistance).
They go fairly loud before distortion sets in - enough to fill a modest living room and plenty good enough for a bedroom/spare room PC set up.
The drivers are magnetically shielded but the woofers still picked up stray paper clips on my desk, so you might want to keep them away from CRT monitors (although who has those nowadays?). The sound input is via a 3.5mm cord (included), so you can also use the Exclaims to pipe your MP3 player/smartphone tunes around the home or connect your television, and the on/off and volume buttons are on the side of the left hand stick. When the speakers are powered on a small white light shines just above the Edifier logo on the control stick.
It doesn’t matter whether you use these beauties with a laptop, a desktop or your spanking new flatscreen TV, the Exclaims will bring your music and movies to life in a way today’s anorexic built-in speakers simply can’t. Excellent value at less than £80.
* The Edifier Exclaims cost £79.99 from all good electronics stores.