In order to put these speakers to the test, we tried a wide variety of music and had it evaluated by some expert listeners (aka everyone who was in the room.) Artists included Alias, 65daysofstatic, Diefenbach, VNV Nation, video game soundtracks and tributes, Daft Punk, Florence and the Machine, Deadmau5, Eminem, skimo Joe, Foo Fighters, Four Tet, Burial, George Gershwin, Gorillaz, Keple, Linkin Park, Matthew Good Band, Mike Oldfield, Moby, Modest Mouse, Phillip Glass, Rammstein, Roeksopp, Seth Lakeman and The XX. While the bitrates and compression quality of my library is not uniform, I have only one artist that is not at least a 256kbps MP3, the majority encoded as 256kbps AACs.
The testing was done as one would actually use the speakers: listening to your music library through them. I have had about a month to track through my library on the Bayan 7s. This mostly happened after busy days in the office while I relaxed in my armchair with a book, or as is more often the case, the internet . Occasionally, I had no other distractions and just listened to my music for the sheer pleasure of it.
Well, I can report that the Bayan 7s excel as a piece of audio equipment. The bass provided by that dominating 8″ woofer is meaty without being overpowering, while the system never loses clarity and definition in the mids and highs. However, as with any configurable iPhone dock, it is easy enough to get the bass and treble settings wrong, causing the whole system to scoot along the table during the more excited tracks. One thing to note was that the relative level of bass and treble didn’t seem to remain level through the volume range in my early testing, however that seems to have gone away with time.
My review unit seemed to suffer from one odd glitch- when swapping between two docked iPods, it would not pause the iPod that you were switching away from, but it would pause both iPods when switching to the tablet input.
For the asking price of 300 pounds, the Bayan 7 makes a reasonable argument. The audio quality is very good if not perfect, the system is fairly easy to use (even if it contains a rather annoying glitch when swapping between the two docked systems), and it even makes provisions for non-Apple hardware. In terms of style the Bayan 7 is striking and I personally like it, but this will no doubt be a contentious position to hold. It is certainly a very weighty and massive speaker system, and you’ll need a good amount of space for it to be a workable audio solution. However, even when compared to the Harmon Kardon Go + Play or the Bower & Wilkins Zeppelin, which offer similarly striking designs, the Bayan 7 is a worthy competitor. Have a look at all three and see which you fancy.