Marrying design aesthetics with functionality is difficult, whatever field you're in.

When it comes to speakers at least, the words "boxy" or "squat" usually shamble into view, even though the actual sound that's produced is more than adequate. Edifier's M3200 speaker set falls between two stools, at least on the design front.

The two satellites that'll be on permanent view resemble elegant flower vases and would stand out from the majority of speaker models at this price point.

Elegant Edifier

Inside each unit is a small driver at the top and a larger one at the bottom. The sound from each is loud and clear enough, if not exceptionally sharp.

This backs up the fact that Edifier is marketing the speaker set as suitable for multimedia playback, when you'd be listening to music tracks or dialogue from films.

In stark contrast to the satellites, the bass unit is just a black slab of plastic and painted wood that's best placed out of sight under your desk. It's capable of pumping out some fairly decent low notes, although nowhere near the league marked "earth-shattering".

The amount of bass can be adjusted by turning the knob on the rear of the unit. Because the power supply is housed inside the bass unit, floor clutter is kept to a minimum - power leads and connection cables notwithstanding.

A powerful speaker set

The final aspect of this setup is the wired remote control unit. This has a large aluminium wheel for adjusting volume, along with inputs for headphones and a digital music player.

A subtle red light effect is employed when you switch the speakers on and off, which ties in with the red plastic strips on the speaker fronts.

We think that Edifier's effort compares well with similarly priced 2.1 speakers from the likes of Creative or Logitech (the Inspire A300 and X-230 respectively). Both these sets are slightly less powerful with more conventional looks.

That the M3200's satellites have spent some time in the design lab is in its favour, and this cheap 2.1 setup delivers the sonic goods.