Edifier R1280DB vs. MartinLogan Motion 4i

Edifier R1280DB Powered Bookshelf Speakers MartinLogan Motion 4i Bookshelf Speakers
$150 $250
Dimensions (H × W × D)
9.50” × 5.75” × 7.00”
241mm × 146mm × 178mm
12.60” × 5.60” × 5.70”
320mm × 142mm × 145mm
Power Type
Powered Passive
Frequency Response
55-20,000 Hz 70-23,000 Hz
ASR Score
n/a 1.5
ASR Score w/Subwoofer
n/a 5.1

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the realm of bookshelf speakers, the Edifier R1280DB offers a blend of versatility with its Bluetooth connectivity, optical input, and remote control, appealing to those seeking a straightforward, feature-rich, budget-friendly setup. Conversely, the MartinLogan Motion 4i flaunts audiophile pedigree with its signature folded motion tweeters, delivering a nuanced and precise soundstage that caters to the purist's ear. Choosing between the warm, user-friendly Edifier and the detailed, refined MartinLogan ultimately hinges on one's audio priorities: convenience and features, or sonic sophistication and high-fidelity performance.

Speaker Comparison

When we talk about the realm of bookshelf speakers, we are often navigating a sea of options that can easily overwhelm an aspiring audiophile or a seasoned listener looking for a new acoustic mate. Two prominent players in this space are the Edifier R1280DB and the MartinLogan Motion 4i. Both sets of speakers are distinctive, alluring in their own right, and aim to punch above their weight class in performance. However, their approaches and the resulting sound signatures are unique, which makes a side-by-side comparison both fascinating and essential for potential buyers.

Design Philosophy and Build Quality

Edifier's R1280DB is a model of how form can follow function without sacrificing aesthetic appeal. These powered bookshelf speakers are a study in practical elegance, with a classic box design that's enhanced by a modern touch of sleek black or wood grain vinyl. The build quality is solid for the price point, with a sturdy MDF construction that feels ready to handle the rigors of everyday use. In contrast, the MartinLogan Motion 4i speakers take a decidedly more avant-garde approach to design. Their slender, curved profile is not only visually striking but also serves an acoustic purpose, helping to minimize diffraction and resonance. The build is impeccable, featuring high-quality materials and a luxurious finish that you would expect from a premium brand like MartinLogan.

Edifier R1280DB Powered Bookshelf Speakers
Edifier R1280DB arrow (at Amazon.com)

Sound Quality and Performance

Sound is, of course, where the rubber meets the road. The Edifier R1280DB offers a lively and engaging sound that belies its compact size and relatively modest price tag. The bass response is surprisingly robust for speakers of this stature, and the highs are crisp without being piercing. The midrange, however, is where they may fall a bit short compared to more refined speakers, sometimes lacking the last word in clarity. In contrast, the MartinLogan Motion 4i is a revelation in transparency and detail retrieval. The famed Folded Motion tweeter provides a sparkling high-end that extends without any hint of harshness, and the innovative driver design ensures mids are articulated with precision and grace. Bass is tight and well-defined but may require a subwoofer to satisfy those who crave a deeper low-end rumble.

Connectivity and Versatility

The Edifier R1280DB is nothing if not versatile. As powered speakers, they come with built-in amplification, making them an all-in-one solution for a variety of audio setups. They feature multiple inputs including Bluetooth, coaxial, optical, and dual RCA, allowing for a plethora of devices to be connected. The included remote adds convenience to operation, making these speakers not only a good fit for traditional hi-fi systems but also an excellent companion for TVs and computers. The MartinLogan Motion 4i speakers, being passive, require an external amplifier or receiver to sing. This can be seen as a benefit or a drawback, depending on one's perspective. It allows for more customization of the sound through component choice, but it also means additional expense and space considerations. Connectivity is straightforward with high-quality binding posts that ensure a secure connection with speaker wires.

MartinLogan Motion 4i Bookshelf Speakers
MartinLogan Motion 4i arrow (at Amazon.com)

Price is often the ultimate determinant for many buyers, and here the gap between the Edifier and MartinLogan offerings becomes quite pronounced. The R1280DBs are priced comfortably in the entry-level bracket, making them accessible to a broad audience. This is part of their charm; they offer a taste of high-fidelity sound without demanding a premium investment. The MartinLogan Motion 4i, however, resides in a higher tier of the market, where the expectation and delivery of acoustic refinement are commensurate with their price point. They are an investment for the serious enthusiast, promising performance that justifies their cost.

In conclusion, choosing between the Edifier R1280DB and the MartinLogan Motion 4i bookshelf speakers comes down to a matter of priorities and preferences. The Edifier is the pragmatic choice, offering a well-rounded package of sound, functionality, and affordability. The MartinLogan, on the other hand, is the audiophile's choice, where the expenditure is rewarded with a more sophisticated and detailed sound. In the end, both sets of speakers stand testament to the innovation and diversity present in the world of audio, each with its own set of virtues to entice a listener's ears and heart.

Check Current Prices:

Edifier R1280DB Powered Bookshelf Speakers
Edifier R1280DB Powered Bookshelf Speakers
MartinLogan Motion 4i Bookshelf Speakers
MartinLogan Motion 4i Bookshelf Speakers

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Disclaimer: the speaker data listed on this website are correct to the best of our knowledge, but we do not guarantee the accuracy of the data. Please double-check any measurements with the manufacturer before making a final purchasing decision.