Bayan Audio Bayan 3 review

The Bayan 3 Speaker Dock for iPod/ iPhone is the baby brother of the Bayan Audio Bayan 7 - a monstrous dual iPhone speaker dock that was large and cumbersome. Can a smaller version be more in keeping with your home?

We had a play to find out.

Design

The Bayan 3 from Bayan Audio is considerably more dinky, and better for it in our minds, than the Bayan 7 (it measures 290mm x 180mm x 230mm and weighs 2.8Kg). Gone is the dual docking station, and gone too is the clear acrylic design. In is a tidy little package that will sit comfortably on your bookshelf rather than the microwave-sized device we looked at previously.

Using the same sound platform as the Bayan 7, the compact Bayan 3 sports a 9mm solid wood casing and front panel that promises to reduce energy dissipation and reflections to channel maximum sound energy towards the front of the speaker.

Connections

The Bayan 3 main connection point is a front docking port for Apple iPod and iPhone that lets you charge and play at the same time - as you might expect.

The design doesn't allow iPad users to dock their tablet, but we had no problem docking a 3GS or 4S. The phone fits snugly into the design and doesn't look out of place when charging.

Those who do want to use their iPads can use the USB charging port around the back and then connect the audio via a 3.5mm stereo jack. This is a little more clumsy, and you won't get the same audio quality as you would through the all-digital dock connector. There is also an AUX socket for additional devices.

Remote

Included in the box is a rather standard IR remote that lets you control the music from your sofa. The size of an iPhone, the buttons are large and rubbery. It's not amazing in its design but it does the trick and means you can skip the track or turn the volume up without having to touch the Bayan 3 at all.

There are dedicated buttons on the remote that allow you to select any of the three inputs on the rear of the device, either the iPod, tablet or auxiliary.

Sound performance

Sound is always the important factor for a speaker dock and, thankfully, the Bayan 3 delivers, especially considering the £99 price tag. The thrust of noise comes from the two front-facing speakers; a 5.25-inch bass and tuned bass reflex port, and a 2-inch mid/high frequency speaker that gives a rather natural 45W of sound that isn't overly basey, or too heavy on the treble either.

If you want to focus on the voice even more, the speaker has a "voice mode" which reduces the bass still further and picks up the voices on the track for better results when listening to audio books or spoken word - ideal for Radio 4 listeners.

The power light on the top of the device changes so you know which setting you've selected, although you can normally tell very quickly.

We tested the Bayan 3 with a number of different tracks and different genres of music from Deadmau5 to Norah Jones, Clint Mansell to Dave Matthews Band - and a couple of other artists inbetween. We are impressed by the speaker's performance. It sounds good, offers good bass, good treble and a volume that will fill most rooms in your house.

Future bolt-ons

Bayan Audio tells us that the Bayan 3 will be compatible with the company's Airstream add-on accessory that is launching shortly. That means you'll be able to upgrade this dock to work with other A2DP Bluetooth compatible devices including laptops, smartphones and other non-Apple players.

Verdict

The Bayan 7 produced a great sound, but also came in a box that was unlikely to fit in your home. The Bayan 3 is a very different kettle of fish. It's a third of the price, a third of the size, and produces a great sound that will fill your room.

Normally at the sub-£100 price point you are left with cheap, nasty sounding iPhone speaker docks. Bayan Audio just showed us that that doesn't always have to be the case.

The music really does sound better with them.