Cygnet is an Australian manufacturer of iPod accessories, the usual array of FM transmitters, cases and a couple of alarm clock docks.
So you might forgive me for not expecting great things of the Unison i-X5 kit that arrived on our doorstep promising to change the way I think about iPod speakers forever.
I had a feeling things were about to get interesting when the parcel arrived, given the size and weight of the box.
After all, iPod speakers are meant to be relatively small and light, portable like the ‘Pod and if the audio quality suffers a little then that’s the price you pay for the cool design, right? Wrong, wrong, wrong.
The Unison i-X5’s turn this notion on its head and have gone for the most important thing first, the sound quality, and let that single focus dictate the design. Which is why the two speakers weigh in at a combined 10Kg and measure a just about bookshelf friendly 272 (H) x 190 (W) x 198mm (D).
The weight has something to do with them featuring hand crafted wooden enclosures, with a seriously sexy piano black glossy finish. Oh and the integrated 70w dynamic power amp of course, not to mention integrated power supply. The size can be explained courtesy of the 5-inch magnetic shielded paper cone dome woofers, 1-inch magnetic shielded silk dome tweeters, and the sub-woofer vent ports discharging frequencies below 50Hz to aid the low frequency bass response.
The dock itself is small and minimalist, consisting of a matching gloss black fag packet dock with volume controls and not much else on display.
Of course, around the back there are the required sockets for connecting to the mains via an ample 3 metre cable for charging the iPod, to the computer via USB for synching and to the speaker amp for sound via another generous 5 metre cable.
You can even add a separate subwoofer if you want, although to be honest only the most demented of neighbour hating nutters would even consider such a thing necessary.
With the volume ramped up and a bassy track playing, the standard Unison i-X5 was able to make the furniture here vibrate on its own.
The great thing being that the bass response never dominated by being too strong, and I was able to enjoy listening to all sorts of music from the acoustic vocals of James Morrison through to the Pet Shop Boys in full electronic disco mode and even the rock posturings of Funeral for a Friend.
Make no mistake, these speakers are the real deal. The mid-range clarity and detail revealed is nothing short of astounding, and far and away the best I have heard from any iPod speaker system at any price.
While the lack of any bass or treble controls on the speakers was a little disappointing it has to be said, the truly astonishing remote control kind of made up for it.
Small and slim it packs a real punch with the full range of functions you would expect, and even some you might not such as the backlight control and shuffle for example. My only criticism would be that perhaps the volume control is a little sensitive, but I soon got used to this and was able to control the levels without any nasty wall vibrating surprises.
So is the i-X5 worth the money? I should say so. The sound is exemplary, the design equally so as long as you are prepared to accept that bigger is often better when it comes to audio enjoyment. There’s even a 5 year manufacturer warranty thrown in.
If you really care about what your music sounds like, then Cygnett have exactly what your ears have been waiting for.
Sure, the Unison i-X5 isn’t cheap. It isn’t small either. But it is sexy and sounds absolutely stunning.
£250 is a lot to pay, but you get a lot of quality sound for your money.