Edifier R1280DB vs. Polk Signature Elite ES20

Edifier R1280DB Powered Bookshelf Speakers Polk Audio Signature Elite ES20 Bookshelf Speakers
$150 $400
Dimensions (H × W × D)
9.50” × 5.75” × 7.00”
241mm × 146mm × 178mm
14.80” × 8.50” × 13.80”
376mm × 216mm × 351mm
Power Type
Powered Passive
Frequency Response
55-20,000 Hz 44-40,000 Hz

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the arena of bookshelf speakers, the Edifier R1280DB offers a harmonious blend of affordability with features like Bluetooth and built-in amplification, appealing to the minimalist or space-conscious listener. Polk Audio's Signature Elite ES20 steps into the fray with a muscular sound profile, tailored for audiophiles craving dynamic range and room-filling presence. The ES20 requires a separate amp, but rewards with more nuanced soundscapes. Both speakers cater to different desires: the R1280DB for the convenience-oriented user, the ES20 for the audio purist—a duet of budget versus performance within the symphony of home audio choices.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to bookshelf speakers, the market offers a diverse range of options, each with its unique set of features and sound signatures. Today, we're going to juxtapose two popular models that cater to the home audio enthusiast: the Edifier R1280DB Powered Bookshelf Speakers and the Polk Audio Signature Elite ES20 Bookshelf Speakers. While both are designed to offer superior sound quality in a compact form factor, they approach this goal from different angles, appealing to slightly different user bases.

Design and Build Quality

The Edifier R1280DB speakers exude a modern aesthetic with their clean lines and wood veneer finish, which can effortlessly blend into any contemporary living space. They are self-powered, meaning they have built-in amplification, which simplifies the setup process by eliminating the need for a separate amplifier. On the other hand, the Polk Audio Signature Elite ES20 speakers boast a more traditional look with their bulkier cabinet and curved edges. Though they require an external amplifier, they are designed to be part of a larger, potentially more powerful, audio system. Both are well-built, but the ES20's might edge out in terms of the robustness of design, suitable for the audiophile who values longevity and the ability to handle more vigorous audio dynamics.

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

Sound Quality

Sound quality is where these two contenders really show their colors. The Edifier R1280DB, with its active design, offers a convenient and balanced sound out of the box. The speakers feature a 4-inch bass driver and a calibrated, flared bass reflex port, contributing to a sound that is rich and pleasant, with a good low-end response for their size. On the flip side, Polk's ES20 units pack a serious punch with their proprietary Dynamic Balance Designed Acoustic Array and a 6.5-inch mid-woofer. This bigger driver, combined with Polk's Power Port technology, delivers a more expansive soundstage and tighter, more impactful bass that can fill larger rooms.

Connectivity and Features

The Edifier R1280DB comes out ahead in terms of connectivity options. These speakers support Bluetooth, allowing for easy wireless streaming from various devices. Additionally, they feature multiple input options, including optical, coaxial, and dual RCA inputs, making them highly versatile and user-friendly. In contrast, the Polk Audio ES20 sticks to the traditional wired approach, requiring a connection to an amplifier or receiver. While this might be seen as a limitation in terms of convenience, it does mean that the ES20 can benefit from the higher quality source components that are a staple in more dedicated audio setups.

When we delve into additional features, the Edifier's built-in amplifiers save users from the additional cost and space requirements of external hardware. This can be a significant advantage for those with limited space or budget. However, the Polk Audio ES20's ability to handle more power and their compatibility with high-resolution audio sources can be a game-changer for the discerning audiophile who demands the utmost audio fidelity and has the means to invest in the necessary equipment.

Value Proposition

Considering the price-to-performance ratio, the Edifier R1280DB speakers offer exceptional value. They are a solid choice for users looking for a plug-and-play solution that delivers very satisfactory performance without breaking the bank. The Polk Audio ES20, while more costly, justifies its price point with superior sound quality that could very well be worth the extra investment for those willing to invest in additional components like an amplifier. The ES20 also stands a chance to grow with the listener's system, accommodating upgrades and tweaks that can elevate the listening experience over time.

In summary, choosing between the Edifier R1280DB and the Polk Audio Signature Elite ES20 bookshelf speakers comes down to personal needs and preferences. If simplicity, ease of use, and a balance between quality and cost are your primary concerns, the Edifiers are a fantastic choice. For audiophiles looking for a richer, more full-bodied sound and who don't mind the extra investment in both money and space for external equipment, the Polk Audio ES20 speakers could be the better path. In either case, both are commendable in their right and stand as testaments to how far bookshelf speakers have come in delivering high-quality audio in compact forms.

Check Current Prices:

Edifier R1280DB Powered Bookshelf Speakers
Edifier R1280DB Powered Bookshelf Speakers
Polk Audio Signature Elite ES20 Bookshelf Speakers
Polk Audio Signature Elite ES20 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.