Edifier S2000MKII Acitve Speaker Review
Author:Soomal
Source:eng.soomal.com

Rate:09.78/391
Product Positioning, Tuning and Subject Sound Performance

Speakers and Tuning

Edifier had done almost all they can do to improve the sound performance in core hardware and functions. We would like to talk about this tweeter here first, as our review of Airpulse Silver Reference-1, which adopts flat panel tweeter, had been hanged up for years. It is not strange to find flat panel tweeter in speakers over $2000. Silver Reference-1 performs treble excellent with great extension and resolution. The sound is bright, smooth and fine in layer, width in dynamic range performance make it belong to those top tweeters, especially in dynamic and resolution. However, the tenderness, layer, and transient sound performance is straight. The reason for hanging up is the mid-range and bass is not satisfied when using our amplifiers, we consider this speaker may be imperfect.

Let's return to the subject. Amplifier output power was increased for woofer, otherwise, greater power potential is increased, but the woofer is still the one that S1000 used. Aluminum vibrating diaphragm and aluminum basket also cost much, especially adopting in the 299-dollor-S1000. Although the woofers remain the same, the tweeter changes much. It is hard for traditional passive frequency division when woofer changed while speaker positioning remains the same. We can say that digital frequency division plays an important role in S2000 MKII, and reduces not only R&D cost, also production cost.

The advantage of flat panel speakers over silk film tweeter and metal diaphragm speakers is better dynamic performance and balance. Edifier adopts different style of tuning in S2000 MKII than S1000, S2000 MKII is tenderer and relaxing, which style is pursued by audiophile, while S1000 is a little heavier. This plat panel tweeter not only provides the advantage in treble performance, but also deeper in frequency to guarantee mid-to-high range performance in mid-range tendering and the overall frequency balance. At least, S2000 MK2 performs better in balance than Fountek ribbon tweeter or QMS air motion transformer, especially in mid-to-high range linking.

Subject Sound Performance

Of course, we will not compare S2000MKII with S2000 or S2000v, it should be compared with Edifier S1000. In order to verify the treble performance of S2000 MKII, we will use Rhyme DM215 which adopts ribbon tweeter, and Scanspeak 9700 silk film tweeter (almost the best silk film tweeter in the world). The input resource includes Musiland Monitor 06 MX, MD30 DAC, FiiO X7 player, and Soundaware A280C. Xindak A600 power amplifier is used for passive speaker. S2000 MKII requires to be warming up for more than 50 hours, we spent more than 120 hours to warm up. If not, treble would be tight and hard, elasticity of bass would be not satisfied.

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First Impression: At first, we were a little disappointed, because we hope S2000 MKII could reach the level of Silver Reference-1 in treble, but at that time, S2000 MKII had not been warmed up. Although not be warmed up, we could still find advantages over S1000. First, the overall sound style is relaxation, mid-range and bass is not that dashing as S1000. The mid-range of S2000 MK2 is restrained, the bass is deeper, and mid-to-low range is relaxation. Second, treble performance is better than S1000 in dynamic and resolution at our first listening. After 50 hours warming up, S2000 can easily beat S1000 in treble performance. Third, the sound style of Monitor Mode is conservative, but not stiff. You can switch to Dynamic Mode and Classic Mode when listening to different kind of music. However, vocal mode is a little strange. After hundreds of hours of warming up, the sound performance of S2000 MKII is significantly better than S1000, but the treble performance is still not as good as the $2000-level Silver Reference-1.

Treble Performance: This flat panel tweeter is tenderer and stretching than metal diaphragm. This flat panel tweeter performance is more like silk film tweeter, such as vifa BC25SC55 that was adopted in E-MU PM5. However, although the treble performance of S2000 MKII is tender, great dynamic and exquisite laying, the higher frequency of treble is a little straight, for its density and beauty slightly lacking. We cannot figure out where it comes from, digital amplifier or the tweeter.

Compared with the ribbon tweeter of DM215 (not the Fountek top one). If we concentrate on treble, the result is pretty clear, that is S2000 MKII is better than DM215 in all aspects on the connection of mid to high frequency. In mid-to-high frequency, S2000 is richer in layer, fuller in sound and tenderer in treble. Fundamental tone are distributed in mid-to-high frequency string music, this makes the stereo imaging and bursting S2000MKII performs much better than DM215. For the extra-high frequency, ribbon tweeter gets the upper hand with better density and dynamic performance. S2000 MKII is a little bit leaner in performing music with wide dynamic range, exquisite than we expected, but worse density and dynamic. (If it could perform better, it has the potential to surpass Silver Reference-1's treble.)

However, compared with our top Scanspeak 9700, there still exists a gap between the two speakers. The extra-high-frequency extension of silk film tweeter is not that exaggerate as DM215, so S2000MKII's dynamic disadvantage to Scanspeak 9700 is smaller. However, on the whole, S2000 MKII's treble is a little harder than that of silk film tweeter, but the tension of dynamic is quite near to our 2000-dollar-speakers, and even faster in transient response speed.

After comparing one by one, let's talk about the overall performance among S2000MKII, S1000 and DM215 on treble. We consider the biggest advantage of S2000 MKII over the others is balance in connecting mid to high range frequency, which is performed natural and stretching, and much better tension and dynamic than S1000. Theoretically, titanium dome tweeter has advantage over flat panel tweeter in dynamic, tension and brightness, but maybe the one adopted in S1000 is not good enough, or maybe the one adopted in S2000 MKII shows its power. The result is S2000MKII¡¯s treble performance is better than S1000 in all aspects. The extra-high frequency performance of S1000 is harder and cruder than S2000 MKII.

All those advantages make S2000 MKII perform all kinds of mid-and-high frequency of sound freely. Never ever has any speakers could reach this level of treble performance with such a price. Especially the sound of brass-wind instrument, with Hi-Fi and high-volume recording, can full display S2000's treble dynamic ability. DM215 is better than S2000 MKII in bursting; Silver Reference-1 is better in dynamic and density; Scanspeak 9700 silk film is tenderer and richer in layer.

We believe those silk film speakers with the price less than $80 (for a single speaker) can hardly reach such dynamic performance. If compared with those 2000-dollor and ever higher speakers or amplifier system, the treble style of S2000 MKII is a little straight, even input resource is quite warm. For me, I consider this may be caused by digital amplifier. However, it is said even the tweeter of Silver Reference-1 can be damaged by overloading. So, this time, Edifier is too conservative to adopt high power amplifiers, which results the decline of dynamic and density. If the problem lies on this spot, it can be only solved by improving this flat panel tweeter.

Mid-Range Performance: we'll not compare mid-range performance of S2000MKII with that of DM215 or even Silver Reference-1, because under the present conditions those two speakers have very obvious flaws in mid-range. The mid-range of S2000MKII has been restrained a lot based on S1000, but the mid-range is still full enough, gentle and stable. While the mid-range of S1000 is very full and mighty. The slightly restrained style of S2000MKII makes the comparatively slack middle zone, and it has more advantages in deep male vocal, and you can have better experience of the slack middle zone in mid-to-low frequency.

The greater output power of the amplifier made the control of S2000MKII under the wide dynamic range of mid-range improved. Compared with speakers released before S1000 with similar price and positioning, the power of S1000 already has made significant contribution to its success. There is still a gap between the control of Class A and B Amplifier with hundreds-watt output power and that of S1000. S2000MKII made the sound slack, and decreased the stable and strong feeling of the mid-range [it is said that DSP can be slightly adjusted], which created a more slack and stable sound. While S1000 seems to be strong but not stable enough in sound, which can be experienced on the performance of vocal, symphony and so on. Relatively speaking, more advantages can be found of those changes of S2000MKII in big symphony, and the promotion in layering and dynamic and the slacker perception of the sound are all beneficial to symphonies. For voice and pop music, S1000 is also great, because it is a different style, which more likely to be a heavier and thicker mid-range. From the aspect that HiFi is in pursuit of details, calm, layering and nature, of course S2000MKII is better.

Of course, compared with other more outstanding speakers, the extending level of the voice of aluminum chassis speaker is not as good as the composites diaphragm based on cone. The vocal performance is far from high-ranking or top-level [the high pitch is close to the level]. The dynamic and control of S2000MKII have been improved compared to S1000, and the speakers at or one or two times higher than the price of S2000MKII have difficulty in competing with it.

Bass Performance: Mid-to-low range of S2000 MKII have been improved a lot than that of S1000. The mid-to-low range benefits from Edifier's less concentration on vocal performance. The stereo imaging of violoncello sound comes little back than that of S1000, but the layering of S2000MKII does not response too fast like the metal chassis. The bass performance under high sound pressure and wide dynamic range can still show its calm and stability, which is far better than DM215 and Silver Reference-1, and of course the former S2000. With the booming drums of Ondekoza, S2000MKII and S1000 actually have a very similar performance in excellent control, strength feeling and transient performance. The advantage of S2000 MKII is deeper bass with richer details. However, compared with the depth of Vifa NE180W-08 flagship with 6.5-inch woofer, S2000 MKII cannot go that deep, and also there is a big gap of the whole thickness of voice. Meanwhile, advantages of S2000 MKII can be found in transient control and resolution.

In general, without changing the woofer, S2000 MKII has changed the sound style through DSP adjustment. The whole sound style of mid-to-low range has been changed with richer detail and thicker layer in wide dynamic. Great improvement has been made in the perception of mid-to-low range, if S2000 MKII wants to have a higher level and deeper low frequency, a 5.5-inch woofer and the output power of amplifier may be not enough. Nevertheless, the overall bass performance of S2000 MKII is far better than that of DM215 and E-MU PM5, but it is a little inferior to the NE180W-08 or Dynaudio Focus 110A [we are not sure where exactly the difference is]. Although the improvement in bass is not as big as that in treble, but among the speakers with the similiar price, S2000 MKII still holds great advantages.

Four sound styles: Four sound styles on R2000/1900TV come back. Monitor mode is comparatively straight with a restrained high frequency, and you may not feel enjoyable enough after being accustomed to some popular equipment recent years. Dynamic mode enhanced treble and bass, and also makes the tension of high frequency more outstanding. If music quality guaranteed, dynamic mode is fine. Classical mode slightly lowered the mid-range, but compensation was made in loudness. It feels like that the high frequency is enhanced, the low frequency is not improved as the dynamic mode is improved, and the ¡°flavors¡± added to the high frequency is not as much as the dynamic mode has. Vocal mode highlights the mid-range. The "voice" nowadays is not just simply the western classical bel canto, while the post processing takes a large proportion in the voice of pop music, so how the voice performs depends on the music itself too. In short, switching is convenient, so users can choose whatever mode they like. We think that except vocal mode, other three styles are fairly successful.

Back to the issue that S1000 does not have any mode to choose, actually that can be a reference to the dynamic mode of S2000 MKII. In dynamic mode, the mid-to-low range of S2000MKII is kind of restrained. You can regard the tuning style of S1000 as dynamic mode, and maybe it is true.

Bluetooth, digital input, etc.: there is nothing changed in digital input chip of S2000 MKII, which supports input of 24bit/192kHz [chips should support up to 216kHz, and we do not know why former models only support the highest sampling frequency of 48kHz], but no big surprise. Form the subjective perception of the sound, high quality analog input is better than digital input. Just like our previous review said, if you just compare the analog output with the digital output of a laptop, maybe the digital output is relatively better. For Bluetooth, S1000 has already used the receiver chip of APT-X coding. We cannot compare the performance of S2000 MKII with S1000 [ for the speakers are different]. Since R1600, Edifier has done a good job in the design of Bluetooth, for the tuning and compensation. However, the audio quality of Bluetooth is far worse than wire in. Even if you use iPhone, the AUX out is better than Bluetooth

Summary

The release of S2000 MKII following S1000 shows that Edifier is quite interest and playing great in applying new technology to speakers, and they cannot even stop. After high-level digital frequency division and digital power amplifier showed their power on S1000, Edifier became much more confident than before. Equipping S2000 MKII with flat panel tweeter but only sold at $399 seems wayward. When S1000 released, we expressed that it is hardly to appear a product with similar price that can be comparable with S1000 in ten years. S2000 MKII gains that advantage, becomes a threat to speakers on or not on sale in a larger range than that of S1000. You should never doubt that whether it is worthwhile to spend $100 upgrading speakers, from the aspect of DIY, upgrading speaker to better ones is most cost-efficiency. Never has a manufacturer upgraded speakers at such a big improvement with merely cost $100 more. Compared with S1000, Edifier S2000 MKII not just improved the tweeter although the tweeter is still the most important and valuable upgrade.

Since we said that Edifier "cannot stop", it means that there will be some much high-end plans for upgrading and speakers¡­Well, Soomal strongly recommend Edifier S2000 MKII active speaker.

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