Edifier Luna 2 desktop speaker set
Class-D amp, 30W output for your laptop, anyone?
Reviews The lines between multimedia audio kit – the sort of equipment designed for use with computers, iPods and the like – and 'proper' audio equipment seem to be getting increasingly blurred. Edifier's new Luna 2 speakers are a fine example of the blur, looking like run-of-the-mill desktop PC speakers but, at £250 for a pair, costing a darn site more than this kind of kit usually does and having some pretty serious amplification built in.
Edifier's Luna 2: beefy
Out of the box, the Luna 2 speakers certainly look and feel the part. As we've come to expect from Edifier, the build quality is excellent. Each unit feels like it has been carved out of stone, and looks rather smart in its black and sliver colour scheme with a brushed aluminium base. Physically, each speaker takes the form of a 118mm deep, 194mm diameter circular unit with a bite taken out of the top and mounted on a sculpted plastic base. Each weighs a beefy 2kg.
The Luna 2's controls comprise a touch-sensitive panel on the cut-out top of the right-hand speaker. In between the volume up and down controls is an input selector that glows a different colour when set to either USB stream, optical or auxiliary input. Round the back of the right-hand unit, you'll find the power socket, a mini USB port, combo 3.5mm analogue and optical digital socket, and an RCA jack to connect it to the left-hand speaker.
When switched, on a Cylon-style red LED glows from beneath the fixed speaker cover on the right-hand satellite.
Beyond controlling the volume and source, the control panel has a few tricks up its sleeve, at least when the set's hooked up to a PC by USB. Place your hand palm down on the panel for about three seconds and the system pauses your media player and mutes itself, put your palm back down for a moment and the music resumes.
The fun doesn't stop there: swipe a finger to the left or right across the panel and you media player will jump to the next or previous track.
The control panel's touch-sensitive
The whole swiping forward and back malarkey works smoothly and reliably and functioned out of the box with Windows Media Player, Songbird and iTunes running on a PC though, according to Edifier, it also works with Winamp, Foobar and most other popular media players. The only drawback of the system that we came across was that the media player needs to be the most forward application on the desktop – if it's behind another app then swiping the control panel has no effect.
You've not listened to the Aegos, then? To quote Pocket Lint (I know it's the competition, El Reg, but I'd quote you if you'd only review the bloody things), "Acoustic Energy is a British company better known for its Hi-Fi speakers than its PC peripherals", which is probably why they sound so good.
Class D is one of those things that is on a steady development curve, and I don't doubt that KEF's implementation of it is fine (I have a pair of their floor-standers), but switching amplifiers were originally designed to improve efficiency. A good damping factor is a useful side-effect, but keeping switching distortion down at high frequencies is another matter, which may well explain why KEF only put it in a sub-woofer...
So Class D amps are "shit" are they? Have you heard an Alpine PDX ICE system? For compact active systems or in-car use Class D is ideal because it keeps the speaker drive unit on a very short leash and is very efficient. Like all amplification systems Class D can be executed either well or poorly, to dismiss the very concept is idiotic unless you get your jollies in the men's room with a copy of Stereophile magazine! As for Class D being "cheap and nasty" KEF's Cube powered sub-woofer is certainly not nasty and it sure as hell ain't cheap either. I'd say the reviewers comment about Class D sounding better - in the context of devices like these speakers - is probably right.
@ Rick & James re. Class D.
err...no it's not, well, not exclusively, Class D amplification is also about keeping a speaker damped and so making sure it has less time to flap around resonating and doing its own thing - an upside of being under tighter control by the amplifier than is the case of Class A, B or C. As for the Aego M's, I can't share your enthusiasm - two tiny satellites and a sodding great woofer is never going to be provide ideal sound, that's why serious hi-fi speakers are not made in that form. OK for games, far from ideal for music.
The reason for using class D is to build something cheap and nasty. Class D is power efficient and will put up with crappy power supplies so it is much simpler and cheaper to design and build. Small drivers are not exactly efficient, class D is a cheap way of getting loud noises out of them. Nobody uses class D because it sounds good.