I spend a lot of time working at my desk — designed so that I have to stand, not sit, during the course of the day. While I’m not one of those that plays music all day — I do listen to audio coming off a web browsers, along with some music now and then off iTunes. The computer’s built0in speaker is junk, and the speakerphone arrangement I’ve got for my cell phone isn’t to be disturbed. Nor do I have a lot of room for some bulky PC-designed speakers. But I don’t mind trying out the Edifier: Prisma E3350BT 2.1 Bluetooth Audio System. Not just because its compact shape has a cool design, but also as it’s got enough power to make using it worthwhile.
First to that “look.” The system consists of two speakers, a subwoofer and a control knob for volume. Your choice of whether they’re all silver, black or white. Besides being physically wired together, they all have a “pyramid” like shape — even the control knob — that can be designated as kind of “euro” for those who keep track of such things. I do know that sleek vertical lines always conveys more power than horizontal.
As to inputs and controls, you have to move around the components to get to them all: the speakers don’t have any so you can forget about them. But I should mention that the 2-3/4-inch midrange and 19mm PV dome tweeter in each speaker is magnetically shielded (as is the sub).
Now the subwoofer, which can go on the floor easy enough, is much bulkier than the speakers, thanks to its downward firing 5-inch woofer. Makes for a poor-mans foot massage if you rub up against it when at high volumes. But if you use it on the floor, don’t count on the auxiliary input that’s been mounted there — last thing you want is to stick your Zune on the floor next to it and end up stepping on it (or is that something you want to do?). Assuming your back can handle it, the bass can be adjusted at any time with the knurled knob connected to the sub. The subwoofer gets its power from the AC socket and distributes it to the other components.
The control knob has an auxiliary input also — you’ll probably end up using this for the most part. A headphone mini-jack output is also here for private listening. By the way, you get a nice glow around the knob and on top of the subwoofer when the power is working. Surprisingly it isn’t distracting — more on this in a bit.
Why haven’t I noted an audio input to be taken from the computer’s sound card or a mobile device like a smartphone, etc.? Because there isn’t one — the Edifier: Prisma E3350BT 2.1 Bluetooth Audio System uses — duh — Bluetooth to connect to the audio source. The procedure for going about this is similar to what you’d do with other Bluetooth devices that can stream audio: Once you press the top of the subwoofer — turning the Edifier: Prisma E3350BT 2.1 Bluetooth Audio System on — both the touch button and the control knob will emit a red glow. At the same time, the Bluetooth tech inside will begin searching for a connection. You then go to your audio streaming device (example: an iPhone) and select it from the BT choices presented. No fuss, no muss. How do you know you’re connected? Because the red glow is now replaced by blue (line input only is always red).
I do know that the Bluetooth range is pretty reasonable — I was coming out of the elevator on the way down the hall to my apartment when the audio on my iPhone cut off. Entering my place, I heard the music that was being played coming out of the Edifier: Prisma E3350BT 2.1 Bluetooth Audio System — it had “grabbed” the signal from a good 30+ feet through drywalls and activated itself.
As to how it all sounds — well it’s pretty good. The bass is as expected so nothing to say there, but the vocals and midrange coming from the speakers has a reasonable “heft” to it. 48 watts of audio power is not often found on systems this small, and is appreciated. Edifier points out that they’re using anti-resonant materials in the satellite speakers. I can point out that it seems to be working as you can get a fairly loud response (thank the 30 watts of the sub and the 9 watts per speaker for that) before any hiss or interference from vibrations seem to be starts pushing to the front.
In general, I found that high-resolution audio tracked the best through the Edifier: Prisma E3350BT 2.1 Bluetooth Audio System. Playing low-rez MP3 didn’t do it any favors, but to be fair any system would suffer. Just plan on adjusting the subwoofer regularly if using it with a computer — since audio coming off the web is woefully lacking in bass (your iTunes library, etc. shouldn’t suffer from this).
Bottom line: $129 retail buys you a 2.1 audio system — the Edifier: Prisma E3350BT 2.1 Bluetooth Audio System to be specific — that makes for a good use of your computer. Should you be more inclined to stream audio to it from a mobile device instead, go ahead. It’s not like the design will hurt your eyes to look at. And the quality of the sound won’t bother you one bit.
- Unusual, striking shapes
- Illuminated control knob
- Auxiliary input on subwoofer minimally useful
Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and journalist specializing in technology, consumer electronics and pop culture.