Edifier R1280DBs vs. MartinLogan Motion 20i

Edifier R1280DBs Powered Bookshelf Speakers MartinLogan Motion 20i Tower Speaker
$160 $2000
Dimensions (H × W × D)
9.50” × 5.75” × 7.00”
241mm × 146mm × 178mm
36.60” × 6.80” × 11.70”
930mm × 173mm × 297mm
Power Type
Powered Passive
Frequency Response
51-20,000 Hz 46-25,000 Hz

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the realm of home audio, the Edifier R1280DBs speakers are known for their compact design and wireless convenience, offering a respectable soundstage with a built-in amplifier ideal for tight spaces or budget setups. Contrastingly, the MartinLogan Motion 20i tower speakers stand tall in performance and aesthetics, delivering audiophile-grade detail and expansive sound through their iconic Air Motion Transformer tweeters and elegantly crafted cabinets. While the Edifiers excel in value and versatility, the MartinLogans cater to discerning ears with their precision engineering for a more immersive and sophisticated listening experience.

Speaker Comparison

When entering the realm of high-fidelity audio, enthusiasts often face a pivotal question: should they opt for the compact convenience of bookshelf speakers or invest in the acoustic presence of floor-standing towers? The Edifier R1280DBs powered bookshelf speakers and the MartinLogan Motion 20i tower speakers represent these two paradigms, each offering a distinct listening experience. This comparison aims to discern the practical and sonic implications of choosing between these two paths in the pursuit of auditory bliss.

The Compact Versus the Towering

At first glance, the contrast in size between the Edifier R1280DBs and the MartinLogan Motion 20i is evident. The Edifier, with its compact design, is ideal for small to medium-sized rooms where space is at a premium. Its build facilitates ease of placement on shelves or desks, making it a versatile choice for various room configurations. On the other hand, the Motion 20i, with its impressive stature, demands more floor space and typically benefits from being positioned away from walls to optimize performance, a trait common among tower speakers.

Edifier R1280DBs Powered Bookshelf Speakers
Edifier R1280DBs arrow (at Amazon.com)

Connectivity and Power

The R1280DBs from Edifier come equipped with an array of connectivity options, including Bluetooth, optical, coaxial, and RCA inputs, making it a breeze to integrate into modern setups that value wireless convenience and flexibility. Additionally, being self-powered means these bookshelf speakers eliminate the need for a separate amplifier, which is a significant advantage for those aiming to minimize their audio system's footprint. Conversely, the MartinLogan Motion 20i, as passive speakers, requires an external amplifier or receiver to drive them, necessitating additional investment and space, but offering the enthusiast a chance to tailor the amplification to their exacting standards.

Sound Signature and Performance

Sound-wise, the Edifier R1280DBs offers a pleasantly warm and balanced auditory profile, with a surprising bass response for their size—courtesy of the built-in digital signal processing and dynamic range control. They are quite accommodating to a variety of genres and can fill a room with sound, despite their modest stature. In contrast, the MartinLogan Motion 20i delivers an expansive and highly detailed soundstage, thanks to its larger cabinet and advanced driver technology, including the Folded Motion Tweeter that's revered for its lightning-fast response and precision. The resulting audio is articulate and spacious, with a level of depth and realism that is hard to match with smaller speakers.

MartinLogan Motion 20i Tower Speaker
MartinLogan Motion 20i arrow (at Amazon.com)

One cannot discuss the Motion 20i without touching upon its bass capabilities. These floor-standers house sizable drivers dedicated to low frequencies, capable of delivering deep, room-shaking bass that is both nuanced and authoritative. While the Edifier bookshelf speakers perform admirably in the bass department for their class, they cannot physically reproduce the same level of visceral impact and low-end extension that comes so effortlessly to the Motion 20i.

Value and Longevity

Affordability is where Edifier often shines, with the R1280DBs providing a remarkable value proposition for those seeking quality audio on a budget. They are an excellent entry point into the world of better sound without depleting one's savings. On the opposite end, the MartinLogan Motion 20i represents a significant investment. However, for that investment, audiophiles receive a speaker that not only delivers superior acoustics but also serves as a long-term audio companion that could be a cornerstone of a high-fidelity system for years to come, with the option to upgrade components around them.

Ultimately, the choice between the Edifier R1280DBs and the MartinLogan Motion 20i may come down to personal preferences, listening environments, and long-term audio aspirations. For the compact living space or the listener who craves simplicity and ease of use, the Edifiers make a compelling case. For the audiophile willing to invest in a more immersive, expansive sound, and who has the space to accommodate them, the Motion 20i towers can transform a listening room into a concert hall. Whichever path is chosen, both speakers stand testament to the idea that great sound comes in many forms, each with their own unique set of strengths to be celebrated.

Check Current Prices:

Edifier R1280DBs Powered Bookshelf Speakers
Edifier R1280DBs Powered Bookshelf Speakers
MartinLogan Motion 20i Tower Speaker
MartinLogan Motion 20i Tower Speaker

Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

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.