Whichever digital media you consume most, be it film, TV or video games -- you’re gonna want them sounding great. Although, we as gamers more often than not like to use our fancy headphones for our gaming needs, we also like to go wild on the speakers every now and then.
While most gamers are not expert audiophiles, we are also a bit more demanding than your average consumer. Not only do we need speakers that are aesthetically pleasing to beautify our gaming setups, but we also appreciate immersive, rich sounds that will let us sink further into any gaming experience we partake in.
Well, we found an excellent company named Edifier that seemingly offers to satisfy all our needs. Based in China, Edifier was established all the way back in 1996. and has by now grown into a juggernaut manufacturer of consumer electronics focused on sound systems. Taking a look at their products, you can find a wide range of speakers so we took a stab in the dark and decided to test out one of the more interesting ones -- the S350DB. Seemingly a perfect middle ground of price and specifications, we decided to put it to the test and see if it will blow our minds as well as our ears.
Design-wise, the S350DB is a really striking looking set of speakers. They expertly blend an old-school aesthetic with modern, high-tech details both big and small. The first thing to notice is definitely the cherry colored wood veneer on both the bookshelf speakers and the subwoofer which give it a classy, retro look. On the other hand, the front panel and some details on the speakers come in matte black which gives the speakers a more serious, modern appearance. Ultimately, they both blend really well to create a sound system that will easily fit into many different TV or PC setups.
The distinct design philosophy continues with the complete absence of grilles on the speaker drivers. While it might offer a bit less protection, it makes the entire thing look very premium, completely blending the drivers with the smooth design of the panels. With that being said, another thing that will immediately tell you that you are dealing with a serious set of speakers is their weight. The bookshelf speakers come in at 5,7lbs/2,6kg each and the sub comes in at 25lbs/11,3kg. They are relatively large as well, especially the subwoofer so that will definitely somewhat play into where you ultimately place them.
The subwoofer is the main hub of the system and it’s back panel houses all the relevant connections. You have your figure 8 power plug and the main power switch just above that. There’s also the two sets of RCA inputs which you can use with the in-package 3,5mm-to-RCA cables to connect them to any number of devices. Next thing you have is the optical input which comes in handy if you want to connect the speakers to a newer smart TV which usually lack any other connection options.
There’s also the coaxial digital input that you can use to connect the speakers via an HDMI connector. The last two inputs are there to connect the two bookshelf speakers to the sub. The right one uses a somewhat older plug in the form of the DB15 connector and the left one uses the 5-pin connector. As all of this wasn’t enough, you also have the option to wirelessly connect any and all Bluetooth devices to the speakers which makes the S350DB a truly versatile system.
When talking about the bookshelf speakers, the right one acts as your main control unit since it houses the physical control panel and the sensor for wireless control. The physical controls are not only appreciated from a functional perspective, but also from the design one. All three knobs are metal, with the lowest, digital one being used for volume control and also as a button to power the speakers on or off.
Then there are the bass and treble knobs which are analog, meaning that turning them is very smooth and feels absolutely great. The wireless sensor is housed behind a small LED screen on the front panel of the speaker and you control it with a small circular remote control. While I absolutely love the inclusion of this screen and the remote, they do come with a few small problems.
The screen itself displays a couple of icons depending on the connection mode currently engaged. The problem is that these icons are very small which can be a bit annoying if you have the speakers placed at a distance, next to your TV for example. The remote houses the power and media controls along with buttons to control which input the speaker uses. While I really liked the design of the remote, its circular shape and the symmetrical placement of the buttons means that you won’t intuitively know which buttons control which function without looking at the thing. Additionally, you’ll still have to get up to the right speaker if you want to control the amount of bass and treble since those options are missing from the remote.
While these things can somewhat be dismissed as a small inconvenience, the cable management, on the other hand, is a bit more problematic. Depending on the purpose to which you want to use the speakers, the cables could severely limit their placement or downright stop you from using them until you shuffle things around a bit. The right bookshelf speaker has a hardwired cable which is only 1,5 meter long, and the left one has a detachable cable that’s 3 meters long. Additionally, the optical cable used to connect the system to the TV is also very short which can become problematic if you have the sub sitting on the floor. Which you most likely will due to its size and weight.
When it comes to the performance, the S350DB, for its price point, is in a league of its own. First up, they are insanely easy to use with plenty of connection options. No matter the connection of your choice, however, they sound absolutely incredible. I mainly used them on the PC through the RCA connection and the TV through the optical cable. I also connected them to a couple of Bluetooth devices to get a really good feel of how they perform.
Right off the bat, these speakers can get really, really loud -- even when using them in a fairly large room. This is thanks to the speakers outputting a 15w treble along with a 25w mid-range on the bookshelves, plus the 70w output on the subwoofer. Even though this is a 2.1 sound system, it often sounds as immersive as larger ones, no matter the media you prefer to consume.
Using them on the TV, for example, will bring you a totally new level of enjoyment, especially if you are used to built-in TV speakers or the regular old soundbar experience. Movies sound incredibly immersive with high action packing a thundering punch while the more subtle sounds like music and dialogue never sound drowned and remain crystal clear.
The system is also incredibly well balanced, and you’ll get excellent clarity on all levels of volume thanks to the digital signal processing. While the smaller speakers are great, much of the thundering punch comes down to the impressive bass power. The subwoofer sounds incredibly punchy while remaining clear -- kicking in at all the right moments to accentuate the powerful lows.
Nothing beats a dedicated subwoofer and it’s especially so when it comes to gaming. Testing them across multiple games was incredible and the sounds of explosions and a simple act of firing a gun will never be the same again. Be you a PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox or any other gamer, you’ll never go back to playing games with a regular old set of speakers after experiencing what the S350DB has to offer.
I also can’t stress enough how great it is that Edifier included the Bluetooth connection to this system -- and not just as a throwaway gimmick. This is due to the system using the aptX Bluetooth codec which is a far cry from the SBC codec many other Bluetooth speakers use. This basically means that there is no sound delay to speak of, and the sound is crisp and detailed, almost as if you were using a wired connection. The sheer versatility of having an excellent Bluetooth connection means you could be playing a game on your PlayStation 4 one second and almost seamlessly switch to listening to some music from your smartphone the next one.