Bayan Audio Bayan 7
iPod speakers fall into two categories, they are either bog standard and fairly cheap, or they attempt to be iconic in their design. Sometimes this division is so great that they polarise potential customers into thinking it is either the best-looking thing in the world or the most fugly thing they have ever seen.
The Bayan Audio Bayan 7 sits, as you might have gathered from the picture, in the second of those two camps coming with a striking design.
The design starts with a large, square, box with a further four speakers on the front, mounted into a large sheet of clear Acrylic.
Fo those who like tech specs, the Bayan 7 has a 120W power output through its twin amplifiers, a 5-way 2.1-channel stereo speaker setup and an 8-inch subwoofer for deep bass control. Then there is a pair of 2-inch mid-range and a 1-inch tweeters. Its frequency range is 30Hz - 47kHz.
The 7 is available in black or white, but whichever you choose, you end up getting a wall of speakers and docks with a big box behind it. The Bayan Audio Bayan 7 is more akin to a microwave than your usual iPod speaker.
That presents its own issues, in that it will take up most of a sideboard, and certainly be too big and too heavy for most shelves - something to bear in mind if space is at a premium.
Size aside, design, as already mentioned, is something that you'll either love or hate. It's certainly striking, causing plenty of conversation to everyone we've shown. Personally we're not so sure it works. We prefer the more subtle lines of the B&W Zeppelin, but each to their own. We're sure the designer loves it.
Performance and sound quality
Get past the "kooky" design and you can start to enjoy some of the more unusual features of the Bayan 7. Like the two docking station slots on the front allowing you to charge two iDevices at the same time. Which means both you and your other half's iPhone can be charging together.
As well as being charged, you can switch between the two iThings via the accompanying remote control although that's as far as it goes. Would-be DJs: there are no fading options.
Each dock is designed to accommodate the array of iPods and iPhones on the market, but if you've got a iPad it won't fit without blocking the speakers above.
If you haven't got an iDevice, then you can still play with the addition of a Line-in around the back, and for Android tablet users there is a USB charging slot as well - a nice touch.
The remote, as you would expect, allows you to control volume - although we found this to be pretty slow to respond - and if you are using an iPhone or iPod you can skip through tracks and other standard playback functions.
While the remote has a bass and treble button, but no visual feedback on whether these were working, we couldn't notice any audible difference even after pressing the buttons violently to change the settings.
One thing we did notice was that, for some reason, the volume control wouldn't work correctly with our first-generation iPod touch. Annoying.
With the volume controls buried at the back out of quick reach - a strange decision - you'll have to control playback and volume either via the remote or with the Apple device itself.
So, what about the quality? Not surprisingly the Bayan 7 sounds really good. The speaker combination gives a clear sound, coping well with both bass and treble on the tracks we played via an iPod touch and iPhone 3GS we had in the office.
We tested a range of music from Adagio for Strings (Platoon Soundtrack), to Daft Punk, to more challenging tracks from NoFX and TaTu - All The Things She Said.
Sound is crisp and clean compared to the Zeppelin - which offers a more base-heavy feel. Volume is loud enough to fill a medium-size room comfortably.
The Bayan Audio Bayan 7 sounds great, but with a design that isn't likely to be everyone's cup of tea. It's also one that will most likely be just too big to fit anywhere in your house, unless it's a mansion.
But if you lived in such a grand abode you would probably go for something a lot more impressive, leaving us with very mixed feelings for the Bayan 7.
We actually like the dual iPhone charging station idea for the iPhone or iPod friendly family, but it isn't enough to seal the deal for the microwave-sized music-monster.