Edifier R1280T vs. Klipsch Reference R-51M

Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers Klipsch Reference R-51M Bookshelf Speakers
$120 $350
Dimensions (H × W × D)
9.50” × 5.75” × 7.00”
241mm × 146mm × 178mm
13.00” × 7.00” × 8.56”
330mm × 178mm × 217mm
Power Type
Powered Passive
Frequency Response
75-18,000 Hz 62-21,000 Hz
ASR Score
1.9 n/a
ASR Score w/Subwoofer
4.5 n/a

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In a sonic showdown, the Edifier R1280T speakers offer a budget-friendly entry with a warm, balanced sound and convenient built-in amplification, perfect for intimate spaces. Conversely, Klipsch's Reference R-51M speakers brandish a dynamic soundstage with their signature Tractrix horn-loaded tweeter, delivering a bright, detailed sound that excels in larger rooms. The R-51M requires an external amp but rewards with engaging, room-filling audio. The choice hinges on listener preference: the R1280T's all-in-one ease and mellow tone, or the R-51M's energetic performance demanding additional investment. Both represent remarkable value in their respective classes.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to setting up a high-quality audio system, bookshelf speakers can often be the gateway for many audiophiles hoping to blend space efficiency with sterling sound quality. Two notable contenders in the market that strike a balance between affordability and performance are the Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers and the Klipsch Reference R-51M Bookshelf Speakers. Both have their respective fan bases and come from brands with a reputation for delivering an exceptional auditory experience. However, their approach to sound reproduction and the value they offer can differ significantly, which is crucial for users to understand before making a choice.

The Power of Simplicity: Edifier R1280T

Edifier's R1280T speakers are an attractive option for those who appreciate straightforwardness and convenience. These powered speakers eliminate the need for a separate amplifier, as they come with a built-in system ready to play right out of the box. The dual RCA inputs allow for easy connection to multiple audio sources, which is particularly beneficial for users looking to minimize the complexity of their audio setups. Their wooden finish not only adds an elegant touch to any room but also contributes to the acoustics, offering a warm and rich sound that is quite impressive for a speaker in this price range. The inclusion of a remote control furthers their user-friendly appeal, making volume adjustments and input switching seamless from the comfort of your listening position.

Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers
Edifier R1280T arrow (at Amazon.com)

Klipsch's Horn-Loaded Heritage: Reference R-51M

On the other hand, Klipsch Reference R-51M speakers carry the brand's signature horn-loaded technology, which allows for greater efficiency and a more dynamic audio response. This design has been a staple of Klipsch's engineering philosophy for decades and is revered for its ability to deliver clear, lifelike sound that faithfully reproduces the nuances in music and audio. The R-51M speakers are passive, meaning they require an external amplifier or receiver to power them. This setup can be viewed as a potential for higher fidelity, as it grants the user the freedom to pair the speakers with an amplifier that matches their specific sonic preferences, but it also adds an extra step and cost to the audio system as a whole.

Sound Quality: A Comparative Analysis

When considering sound quality, the Edifier R1280T speakers offer a balanced sound profile with a slight emphasis on the mid-range, which brings vocals and acoustic instruments to the forefront. The bass is present but not overwhelming, and the highs are crisp without being piercing. They tend to favor a more relaxed listening experience that's suited to a variety of music genres. Conversely, the Klipsch R-51M speakers are known for their lively and detailed sound. The emphasis on the higher frequencies, thanks to the horn-loaded tweeter, adds sparkle to the treble and makes these speakers particularly well-suited for genres that benefit from a bright top-end, like rock, pop, or classical music. The bass response is punchier and more pronounced, which may appeal to those who like a more robust low-end presence.

Klipsch Reference R-51M Bookshelf Speakers
Klipsch Reference R-51M arrow (at Amazon.com)

Build Quality and Aesthetics

The build quality of both speaker sets is commendable, with each brand showcasing their unique approach to design. Edifier's R1280T speakers sport a classic look that blends easily with most decor, thanks to their MDF wood construction that not only lends durability but also helps in reducing acoustic resonance. Klipsch, with its R-51M speakers, offers a more modern aesthetic that features a textured wood grain vinyl finish and a visually striking copper-spun IMG woofer that stands out in any setting. The build is robust, and the materials used ensure that the speakers not only sound good but are built to last.

Ultimately, the decision between the Edifier R1280T and Klipsch Reference R-51M speakers will come down to the listener's personal preferences in terms of sound signature, setup complexity, and aesthetics. The R1280T's are a fantastic choice for those seeking simplicity and an all-in-one solution, while the R-51M's cater to the audiophile who enjoys the process of customizing their sound experience with different amplifiers and values the dynamic range and efficiency of the Klipsch sound.

In summary, both the Edifier R1280T and Klipsch R-51M bookshelf speakers stand out as excellent choices for different reasons. The Edifier is the go-to for user-friendliness and a warm, balanced sound, whereas the Klipsch appeals to those looking for a more dynamic, detailed listening experience, with a penchant for a bit of flair in both sound and design. Whichever path one chooses, both sets of speakers are sure to elevate any home audio setup to new heights of auditory delight.

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Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers
Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers
Klipsch Reference R-51M Bookshelf Speakers
Klipsch Reference R-51M 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.