When I started getting more into making YouTube videos, I recognized the need for good computer speakers. I had been using some really low-end plastic computer speakers, and I had to re-do some recordings because I initially couldn’t hear a 60Hz buzz in my recordings (caused by laptop or hard drive vibrations on my desk). This wasted a few hours so it was time for good speakers with some actual bass response!
After doing a ton of research, I purchased the Edifier MR4 Studio Monitors in white to use as my computer speakers. I got them for $129.99 on Amazon.
These are powered speakers in MDF wood enclosures with the amp in the right speaker.
Here’s my full review, with the good and the bad!
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I wanted good sound but had limited space on my desk. Each Edifier MR4 speaker has a footprint of 5.5″ wide by 6.5″ deep. That was about the upper limit of the size that I was willing to sacrifice on my desk. They are almost 9″ tall and fit behind my monitors when they are at full height.
From my sitting position, the tweeter is partially obscured by my monitor, but they still sound great to me.
One of the reasons I picked these monitors is that they come in white (in addition to black). Just personal taste. So many speakers only come in black.
Just note that the white isn’t a pure white; it’s off-white, with a tad of warmth to it. You can see it in the photos. I would have preferred a true white, but it’s close enough.
The MR4s do not have any kind of digital inputs (i.e., USB, Bluetooth, etc.) You simply plug a stereo cable in from your computer’s line output to the RCA inputs on the back of the right speaker. I see this as a “pro” rather than a “con”. I prefer not to pay for these interfaces that I don’t need. And digital circuitry can add noise.
All of the cables necessary to connect the speakers to your computer and get them working are included. The RCA to 1/8″ stereo cable was the perfect length to reach my tower below my desk, and I have a standing desk.
There are also balanced TRS inputs on the back and a 1/8” stereo aux line input on the front for plugging in things like a cell phone. There’s a headphone output jack on the front as well.
You connect the left speaker using standard speaker wire and spring connectors.
For me, these are the perfect set of inputs and outputs. Nothing more is needed!
Of course, sound quality is the most important thing! I wasn’t disappointed when I listened to my favorite music on the monitors. There was plenty of bass, even for pumping EDM music! Wow.
The frequency response goes down to 60Hz, so when I listened to my flawed video recordings, I could hear the hum clearly. If I had had these when I did those recordings, I could have saved a lot of time!
Aside from the bass, the rest of the frequency response is great. If you press the power/volume button, you can switch between monitor mode (which has a flat frequency response), and music mode, which has a frequency response optimized for music.
The volume is plenty loud, especially when they’re used for computer speakers. I’ll never go anywhere near full volume when I’m sitting two feet away from them. There is no hum or hiss even when I turn up the volume all the way.
On the back, you can tweak the low and high frequency response. I find the sound to be fine with these flat at 12:00.
Overall, I think these speakers sound great, whether for music or monitoring recordings. If you check the reviews online, you’ll find lots of people prefer the sound of these speakers to competitors’ monitors in the same price range. I don’t feel a need for a subwoofer, but if you’re a gamer or are using these to watch movies, you may feel differently.
Probably my biggest complaint is the volume knob, which has thirteen quantized volume levels with “clicks” at each one, instead of a smooth infinite-resolution potentiometer.
In my use case, anything past about 12:00 on the knob is too loud, so that leaves me with about six usable volume levels to choose from… not nearly enough!
I could adjust my volume on the computer, but I prefer to leave those at full volume and adjust at the speaker for lowest noise.
The size of these boxes might be prohibitively big for some people’s desks. I have a huge Ikea desk and these are about as big as I’d want to go. Smaller would be great but of course, there would be tradeoffs in bass response.
Finally, while lots of bass is great for music, it can be too much for Zoom calls. I found that some people’s computer mics pick up too much bass, making their voices very bassy with these speakers. I usually just turn down the volume to solve that problem. I could turn down the bass knob, but in my setup that’s hard to reach. Perhaps in addition to monitor and music modes, there could be a voice call mode?
Despite these shortcomings, I love my Edifier MR4s and I believe I made the right choice in getting them. They are great for use as computer speakers if you are doing video or music production, or just want insanely good sound quality for listening to music. If you’re using cheap plastic computer speakers now, these will blow you away!
Questions? What do you think of your Edifier speakers? Please comment below. – Brian