IF500 Luna 5 Encore iPhone iPod Speaker Dock

Apr 23 2012

Speaker docks for iPhone and iPod devices are very common these days, with more manufacturers putting their name in the hat, vying for a place in your living room, bedroom, bathroom, or any other location you may so desire to amplify the music coming from your mobile device. Edifier manufactures numerous speaker products, ranging from studio speakers, to surround sound gaming systems, to of course, speaker docks. With the IF500 Luna 5 Encore, Edifier tries a more modern and artistic approach to the traditional iPhone/iPod speaker dock. And with a $299 MSRP, the Edifier Luna 5 is on the upper tier of docks so we will evaluate the speaker as much on sound quality as on style.

SPECIFICATIONS

Model Number:iF500
Total power output:RMS 10W x 2 + 32W x 1
THD + N (testing level):10%
Signal to noise ratio:
Distortion:
≥85dBA
≤0.5%
Input sensitivity:AUX: Satellites: 150mV ± 50mV | Subwoofer: 100mV ± 50mV / iPod/iPhone: Satellites: 150mV ± 50mV | Subwoofer: 100mV ± 50mV
Audio Input Type:AUX, iPod/iPhone, FM
Adjustment:Power, volume, FM, Input
Subwoofer / bass unit:5¾ inch, Magnetically shielded, 6Ω
Midrange / high unit:2¾ inch, Magnetically shielded, 6Ω
Tweeter unit:2½ inch, Magnetically shielded, 6Ω
Remote control:Wireless
Colour option:Black / White
Dimension:376mm x 390mm x 240mm (W x H x D)
Weight:≈4.70Kg (Net) | ≈6.10Kg (Gross)

UNBOXING

As we have seen with other speakers, the presentation during the unboxing is a thing of beauty. The Luna Encore is wrapped in a protective sleeve held with string and keeping it free of any dust or damage. The unit is larger than it seems in photographs, although that was a given as soon as the massive box was delivered. Lifting the unit is no small achievement, as lifting a 13 pound oval speaker is not a typical activity. That being said, I would have been more concerned if the $300 dock did not have some heft to it--portability is not one of the Luna 5's strengths. However, as big as the unit is though, it's not nearly as deep as you might imagine--only 9".



The Edifier Luna 5 Encore is a very unique shape, as shown in the pictures throughout this review. The entire speaker and dock appear as a single unit, with the base handling the docking and button functionality, and the oval structure enclosing the speakers. Consisting of one 5.75" subwoofer, two 2.75" midrange speakers, and two 2.5" tweeters, all at 6 Ohm, the specifications and structure definitely feel like this can handle most music needs. With a total power output of 52 watts--32W subwoofer and 10W speakers--the specifications support this theory as well. The beauty of the Luna is that its capabilities are deceptive since all of the speakers are concealed.

The base of the unit is a black soft touch smooth surface with red touch-sensitive buttons which illuminate when powered on--it's the type of surface that will attract fingerprints easily. None of the buttons are raised however, so it is fairly slick. One element you will notice immediately is that all of the displays for volume and input options are shown on the top of the base, so if you are controlling the unit on a shelf you will not be able to see what exactly you are doing. The lower-front portion of the base houses a hidden panel, made visible by pulling back a small piece of rubber, which shows the auxiliary input port. I found this location rather odd since it sticks out awkwardly and the rubber piece crosses over the cable--although I suppose this point is minor, given that most people spending this amount on an iPhone/iPod dock will utilize it with said devices.

To that point, the Edifier Luna 5 Encore IF500 includes 12 dock adapters for various generations of iPod and iPhone products. It's a subtle touch that allows each device to fit optimally, but it’s odd that the design of the unit could not be done to accommodate such products without the need for plastic adapters.

Lastly, let’s look at the remote control for the unit. It is as massive in size as the speaker dock--the remote length is 240mm long, and also carries a bit of heft to it. On it are standard volume and power buttons, along with input mode-switching (between FM, iPod and Aux), as well as transport buttons for play/pause, menu, and skip forward/backward. The comfort of the remote is acceptable and the button placement makes sense, but the bulk means you can't hide it anywhere convenient.

The greatest omission I found from the Edifier Luna 5 Encore IF500 is with the lack of Bluetooth audio support, which would allow you to keep an iPhone in your pocket and still play audio through the speaker system. The inability to do so forces your device to be tethered to the unit which is inconvenient for when you wish to check e-mail or text messages on your device while playing music.

 



PERFORMANCE

 

The Luna 5 is a fairly massive speaker system as shown above, but the sound quality is just as impressive as the unique design itself. 55 Watts is a lot of power for a speaker dock, and the unit definitely feels as such. The speakers go up to volume 50, and the power was overwhelming for my 20 square foot room. In fact, the unit was able to easily fill my entire 1300 square foot apartment with music--I'm not sure my neighbors appreciated it, but nonetheless they were able to enjoy the high quality of the system.

The bass from the unit is adjustable and when set to the highest setting is very powerful. The speaker was tested both on elevated positions, as you would expect to place it, and the bass during certain tracks was pulsing through the floor and walls. Being a user of numerous surround sound and dedicated floor standing subwoofer systems, I was impressed by the power from the dock system.

The speaker was tested with a number of different genres of music, including pop, rock, rap, classical, house and opera. The quality throughout all genres was fantastic and each filled the room with its selection. The bass remained crisp and tight, even with the fastest tracks at high volumes. Classical music remained clean and crisp, even at the highest volumes. With the volume fully maxed at 50, the audio remained clear with little to no distortion. Testing with the same iPhone 4S connected via both the dock as well as the auxiliary cable provided no audible difference in quality. The auxiliary input was also connected with a Samsung Galaxy Tablet and performance was comparable to what was heard with the iPhone.

 


I cannot speak as highly however about the included FM radio. Attempting to connect to some of the largest stations in the Los Angeles area proved a lesson in futility as all stations tested came in with a fair amount of static. For a speaker system of this caliber, FM is not a requirement, but if done it needs to be done significantly better. There are tradeoffs when choosing a unique dome design, and clearly antenna reception is a large one.

CONCLUSION

For consumers in search of the perfect iPhone speaker dock, there are a plethora of options to choose from, as seemingly every speaker (and other types of) company has released a slew of them into the market. The Edifier Luna 5 IF500 Encore system is certainly along the upper tier in regards to pricing, with a street price of $299; however, the customers that purchase it will know exactly what they are getting--a great sounding speaker dock system with an eye popping design that is sure to catch the attention of anyone that visits.

And that's the caveat--if you find the speaker design to be polarizing, then no amount of comments regarding the quality of sound will be able to convince you to dive in and use it. However, for fans of the unique dome shape, you should be content with being able to have not only a great looking system, but one that sounds just as good (or odd, depending on your tastes).

PROS:

  • Unique design (could be a con)
  • Powerful and responsive bass
  • Room filling sound
  • Crisp audio even at maximum volume
  • All in one system

CONS:

  • High price for dock systems
  • Auxiliary input obtrusive and unsightly
  • FM reception is terrible
  • No bluetooth music capabilities

Thanks to Edifier for providing the review unit.

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