Article Index

 

Satellite Speakers

Front and Rear

As a premium multimedia speaker, the S550 uses two-way Satellite speakers for all channels. This setup represents the best combination of dynamic range and cost. Cheaper or entry level speakers use one way speakers of lesser power. Two-way satellites are expected of speakers in this product segment, being for high end multimedia, gamer and enthusiast but not very common. The Kiplisch ProMedia 5.1 is notable for its use of two way satellite speakers. The inclusion of two way speakers in combination with the Sub woofer with radiators provides a very wide dynamic range of frequencies that the speaker is able to reproduce making it ideal for all genres and types of movies and music

 

The five satellite speakers all use a modular construction with the speaker drivers being fixed to the speaker cabinets via screws. Unusually Edifier have gone with hex head screws which can be opened via means of an Allen key. One may presume they thought these screws provided a much more elegant look than Philips or flat head screws and complement the styling of the speakers.

The satellite speakers do not include a bass port as the speakers are not intended to reproduce low or very low bass as their use is designed to be in conjunction with the active sub woofer The satellites, including the centre were designed to replicate mid and high tones and that's just what the speaker boxes do.

The satellite speakers themselves have a very contemporary, elegant yet conservative design unlike its competition which have very modern and cutting edge cabinet designs often in silver.

We quite liked the styling of the satellite speakers, however their size makes them more suited for larger desks, living rooms or wall mounting. In fact all of the satellites include sturdy wall hooks for wall mounting. The wall hooks are actually facilitated by brackets so that there is some angular adjustment possible. These speakers are not really designed for very close listening or very tight desks as they do not have stands nor are they slim or tall speakers.

If you are looking for a 5.1 speaker that can fit into compact spaces this speaker may not be the choice for you. The satellite speakers measure 116mm wide, 203mm high and 160mm deep.

The speaker grilles are removable for cleaning and aesthetics. The speaker grills covered with cloth mesh are held on using friction to chromed posts fixed into the speaker. again these are a style element as most mainstream mass market speakers hold the grille on using the opposite method. The grille will have 4 posts and the speaker will have 4 holes.

 

Due to this fastening method and that the cables to the speaker use spade lugs, the speakers can be repaired or upgraded easily wether under warranty by the manufacturer or their agent or by enterprising users who enjoy modifying their audio equipment. The polarity of the speaker connections is keyed with different size lugs for the positive and negative speaker terminals. The speaker wire used is the exact same as the bundled speaker wire that is included in the speaker set. We can also see the speaker padding used to reduce resonance within the speaker boxes.

The drivers used all have magnetic shields and bear Edifier's branding, signifying the speakers are of their own design. Not all multimedia speaker manufactures do this as some simply source third party speaker drivers. We experienced some magnetic interference with the television used in conjunction to test these speakers so we are not sure about the magnetic shielding's effectiveness.

The front and rear satellites use a 25mm silk dome tweeter of 6ohm impedance and a 3.5" mid range driver of 8ohm impedance. Total power for each satellite is 32 Watts RMS.

Interestingly, the tweeters used in these speakers have a heat sink attached to their magnets which is something we haven't really seen on PC/Multimedia type speakers and is mainly found on expensive speakers. The heat sinks assist in cooling the tweeters during transients.

 

When a speaker cabinet contains different types of speaker drivers, a circuit called a crossover is needed to separate the incoming audio signals into the particular ranges of frequencies suitable for each type of speaker driver. The different types of speaker drivers such as tweeters (high frequencies), mid range (mid frequencies), woofers (low range) and sub woofers (very low frequencies) can be present within a single speaker.

Cheap speakers use a crude design for a crossover consisting of a single capacitor part.

The Edifier S550, like well designed high performance speaker cabinets uses a full function crossover circuit of the passive 2nd order design as shown in the photograph below. The audio signal is fed into the crossover which splits the audio signal into high and mid frequencies to the tweeter and mid range speaker driver in the speaker cabinet. We can also see the damping material put inside the wooden speaker cabinet to reduce resonance, reverberation and provide a clearer , more neutral sound. Something also which cheaper plastic speaker sets skimp on.

Centre Speaker

The centre speaker's role is to clearly reproduce dialogue when used in a a dedicated surround system. The S550 centre speaker is based on the satellite speakers but adds an additional mid range driver. The manufacturer could have included a 5th two way satellite identical to the front and rears for use as the centre channel but this would not have been doing the concept of quality 5.1 surround sound any justice as the centre speaker would have projected an asymmetrical audio image which is not ideal for a centre positioned speaker. The addition of the second mid range allows the centre speaker to project a symmetrical audio image and will play the centre channel audio signal louder.

The centre speaker contains two 3.5" mid range drivers with 4ohm impendence each and a 25mm silk dome tweeter with 6ohm impendence. Total power for the speaker is 32 Watts RMS.

It varies as to which vendors include an enlarged centre speaker. Most speaker sets that use full range drivers include five identical speakers for use as the Front pair, Rear pair and centre speaker and do not emphasise the centre channel simply because the speaker system is not designed or intended to emphasis the centre channel where as a vendor producing a speaker set for Consumer living room or Home Theatre use will emphasise the centre channel typically with a 2+1 setup as the Edifier has. Logitech's X530 entry level system and many Creative Inspire models use five identical satellites

The centre speaker is quite large which we have tried to illustrate by including a photo of the centre speaker located in its appropriate place on top of a 29"/68CM television which we used as part of our review. The centre speaker measures 316mm wide, 117 high and 157mm deep.

Like the front and rear satellites the centre speaker is wall mountable however two wall hooks are required due to its size. The size of the centre speaker precludes it being positioned at the corner of two walls or in tight spaces. One could place a LCD monitor atop of the centre speaker (which is a valid configuration according to many speaker setup guides such as THX's) but anything else would likely be too heavy and damage the speaker. The centre speaker in this speaker set is quite unique and is alike to the centre speaker found in mainstream home theatre surround speaker sets.

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