Edifier MR4: Two-minute review
Every now and then, a product reminds me that you don’t have to splurge to get something good. The Edifier MR4 studio monitors are a perfect example of that. They cost just a little over $100 / £100, but they don’t sound cheap. On the contrary, they sound very good, though with one or two caveats.
While they won’t top anyone’s choice for the best computer speakers, they’re certainly worthy of making the list. What differentiates them from other inexpensive yet quality-sounding speakers like the Logitech Z407 is their ability to offer a frequency range more suited to creative content as well as media consumption. Anyone looking to do some mixing, whether it’s music or a Youtube video knows that even the best headphones, as good as they are, are no substitute for a good pair of speakers.
One of the reasons the Edifier MR4 is more suited for content creation than other computer speakers is their form factor. These active-powered bookshelf speakers, which are available in black or white, don’t rely on a single woofer per speaker cabinet to create sound. Instead, each unit has a 1-inch silk tweeter, a 4-inch dome woofer, and a bass port in the back to help project a full and accurate sound. Utilizing that form factor is also helpful as many computer speakers in smaller enclosures can end up sounding boxy.
Another reason is the selection of the ports the company decided to include. There’s no Bluetooth, optical, or USB connectivity that you’ll find on other computer speakers. But, it does come with an RCA input, TRS balanced input for use with audio interfaces, and an Aux input located on the front of the right speaker (along with the headphone jack). The speakers also come with an RCA to 3.5mm cable so you don’t have to order one from Amazon to connect to a computer.
There are a small number of controls on the Edifier MR4 all situated on the right speaker. A power and volume dial is the only one on the front, while two EQ dials – one for the low-end and one for the high-end – are situated on the back. They’re a bit awkward to get to for regular adjustment, and considering that they’re fairly subtle even when turned all the way to one direction, you’re better off EQing on your computer.
As the Edifier MR4 studio monitors are fully analog, the feature set is pretty light compared to many other computer monitors. However, they do come with one interesting feature and that’s its dual sound effect modes. There’s a monitor and a music mode on hand, and you switch between the two by pressing the power dial. The LED that indicates that the speakers are on switches between red for monitor and green for music mode. Like the EQ dials, the effect is pretty subtle, but the music mode does seem to boost the mid-highs a little to give the audio a little more presence while the monitor mode gives a more neutral frequency response.
Though the two modes and the EQ dials are maybe too nuanced, the overall sound quality of these speakers more than makes up for that. The highs are clear and crisp without being overbearing or piercing. And, the mids are full without being muddy. While they’re not as neutral as I find on expensive monitors, they’re better than I expected from a pair of monitors at this price.
The low end is where the Edifier MR4’s limitations are most apparent. With its 60Hz frequency range cut-off, you’re just not getting a lot of sub-bass. This means there’s not only minimal rumble when watching movies or playing games, but even music lacks some punch because of that limited bass response. Strangely, the bass response does come back as I turn up the speakers (and these can get loud), but I do have to raise the volume louder than I would like. And though I end up with a more robust bass, it’s still not getting into sub-bass territory. That’s to be expected when you don’t have a subwoofer, but I would have appreciated having a sub out on these speakers.
Being physical speakers, the soundstage here is almost entirely up to placement. But, I get a pretty immersive audio experience having them about three feet apart. The sound imaging is accurate enough for use in gaming, though you won’t find any kind of special positional audio setting available if you rely on that for competitive gaming. While you won’t get a virtual surround sound experience, elements in a game’s environment will accurately move around wherever they’re supposed to be based on your character’s position and point of view.
To sum up, the Edifier MR4 sound very good whether it’s for media consumption or content creation, though you’ll have to account for that somewhat weak low-end.
Edifier MR4: Price & availability
- How much does it cost? $129.99 / £109.99 / AU$179.99
- When is it available? Available now
- Where can you get it? Available in the US and UK
Edifier has always punched above its weight with its price-to-performance ratio, and the Edifier MR4 studio monitors are no different. With an asking price of $129.99 / £109.99 / AU$179.99, this set of speakers is very reasonable.
There are cheaper options like the criminally inexpensive Creative Pebble Plus, but the audio quality on the MR4s are going to trump anything in the sub-$100 range. In fact, it’s a bit closer in quality to the excellent Vigilant Audio SwitchOne, which also allow you to physically switch between two different audio modes (one for mixing and one for general listening) though they’re much pricier at $249 / £255 / AU$471. Of course, the SwitchOne does sound better but it’s almost twice the price. Considering the price, the Edifier MR4 is quite a steal.
- Price: 5 / 5
Edifier MR4: Specs
|Drivers:||1-inch tweeters, 4-inch woofers|
|Supported Connectivity:||Analog only|
|Audio Inputs:||RCA, TRS, 3.5mm Aux|
|Outputs:||3.5mm headphone jack|
Should you buy the Edifier MR4?
|Value||For not much money, you get an excellent-sounding pair of speakers.||5 / 5|
|Design||While there’s plenty of analog connectivity available, you won’t have Bluetooth, optical, or USB on hand.||4 / 5|
|Performance||The Edifier MR4 are excellent sounding speakers that unfortunately underperform in the low-end.||4 / 5|
|Avarage rating||These are great if somewhat flawed speakers that are ideal for most people with a limited budget.||4 / 5|
Buy it if...
You’re on a budget
The Edifier MR4 is barely over $100 / £100, a very affordable proposition for anyone looking for speakers to round out their computer setup.
You want great sound
Though there are issues with the low-end, the overall audio quality is quite impressive, offering a full and pleasing sound.
Don't buy it if...
You need that low-end
With a 60Hz cutoff and no sub out, you’re going to be missing that low-end oomph, whether you’re playing a game or mixing music.
You need digital or wireless connectivity
There might be multiple analog inputs available, but there’s no Bluetooth or USB connectivity on hand. If either is important to you, then look elsewhere.
Edifier MR4: Also consider
|Edifier MR4||Edifier G2000||Vigilant Audio SwitchOne|
|Price:||$799 / £799 / AU$1479||$899 / £899 / AU$1,619||$1,199 / £1,199 / AU$1,999|
|Frequency range:||60Hz - 20,000Hz||98Hz - 20kHz||45 - 20,000 Hz|
|Drivers:||1-inch tweeters, 4-inch woofers||2 ¾-inch||0.75-inch tweeters, 3-inch full-range drivers, 4-inch passive radiators|
|Supported connectivity:||Analog only||Bluetooth||Bluetooth|
|Audio inputs:||RCA, TRS, 3.5mm Aux||Bluetooth, USB sound card, 3.5mm||3.5mm, RCA, ¼-inch|
|Outputs:||3.5mm headphone jack||Sub out||Headphone|
If you’re looking for a pair of computer speakers that don’t take up much space, have USB connectivity, and come with decent sound, consider the Edifier G2000.
Read our full Edifier G2000 review
Vigilant Audio SwitchOne
These sleeper speakers are worth their higher price tag for the sound quality alone, though they also come with Bluetooth connectivity and an EQ switch that gives the Vigilant Audio SwitchOne its name.
Read our full Vigilant Audio SwitchOne review
How I tested the Edifier MR4
- Tested over a week
- Tested with music, computer games, and streaming video
- Listened at various volumes to different mediums and different genres within those mediums
To test the Edifier MR4 studio monitors, I spent a week with them, listening to various genres of music, watching various streaming video, and playing computer games on them. While testing, I used them at different volumes to see how that affected the sound quality.
After extensive testing, it’s clear that these are ideal for a general computer setup as well as for content creators who are on a budget. They won’t stand up to more expensive studio monitors but they’re good enough to get the job done. They’re not ideal for a home theater setup, mainly due to that weak low-end, but they will do the trick if you’re watching something just a few feet away from your computer.
Having spent the last few years reviewing mostly audio equipment has given me enough experience to quickly get a handle on these speakers. But, I have also spent decades as a musician and music fan and am sensitive to the audio quality of whatever I’m using, whether it’s for review or personal use.
First reviewed March 2023