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4.3 out of 5 stars15
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 28 February 2015
Firstly, I’d never heard of Bayan Audio before I was asked to review this speaker, and I'm delighted I did. It's really impressive.

I’d already upgraded to Spotify Premium to get the 320 kbps quality, and it really shows on this device. Delivered in a beautifully designed custom made thick-card box to protect it during transit, it's great to see the wonderful attention to detail. Even the standard 3.5mm AUX cables is a top quality thick black cable with a velcro strap to keep it tidy.

The whole experience just says "quality" with remarkable attention to detail.

What is it and what's it like?
-----------------------------------
The Soundbook X3 a top-end bluetooth wireless speaker with an impressive sound-stage. At this price range it's one of the best speakers available, and has just leapt into first position, as the best I've tested to date.

Firstly, the build quality is excellent. Weighing in a reassuringly heaving 1.4Kg (about one and a half a bags of sugar) it has a reassuring heft, and appears to have been carved out of solid (cold to the touch) block of aluminium. As you can see from the photos it’s an unusual design based loosely around a book, and the front cover acts to both protect the front speakers and automatically switch on the device. Made from “a hard wearing ballistic nylon” material, (I do wonder whether it’d stop a bullet), you open it out and fold it under where it acts as a stand.

These nice design touches don’t stop there. Pair it with your smartphone using bluetooth (and NFC if your phone supports it), and a subtle orange LED displays briefly displays the word BLUE to indicate it’s in “bluetooth mode” when switched on, Across the top it has four subtly indented rubber buttons for volume, power and to scan for radio frequency on the built in FM radio. It also has a sequence of tiny white LEDs to indicate the volume. The designers clearly spent a great deal of time and effort agonising over the design of this product, and it shows.

Let me point out of few of the small but beautiful design features:-

* On the front cover (which also includes an integral arial for the FM radio), there’s a small leather “Bayan Audio” label - sewn into the cover like a clothes label on the designer tee-shirt.
* The solid heavy aluminium block to gives a feeling of stability, quality and a reduces acoustic energy loss
* The subtle fingertip shaped indented rubber buttons, so you can “feel” the buttons even with the lights turned down low
* The “smart cover” which automatically switches the speaker on when you open it up to act as a stand, and off when you close it providing both protection and function
* You can plug in a USB cable and charge your smartphone - great for an emergency (although admittedly a bit of a gimmick)
* On the rear, when you plug in the power cord, a tiny green light comes on to indicate it’s powered on
* The LED display indicates FULL when it’s fully charged up, LOW when your battery is getting a bit low and CALL when making a conference call (you can use it to answer the phone).

All this adds up to a device that’s had a great deal of attention paid to it.

And that’s before you switch it on.

What's the sound quality like?
--------------------------------------
Firstly, I'm no audiophile, so these are the opinion of a "layman" and I'll avoid any reference to frequency modulation, bright mid-range or harsh treble, but this really is an outstanding device.

I've listened to a series of test tracks including everything from the deep mournful voice of Nina Simone singing “Feeling Good”, to the raw energy and jangling guitars of The Rolling Stones. Pleased to say it handled everything I threw at it with ease. I think it really surprised me when listening to a track by “Elbow", and I heard the children playing in the background for the first time. Amazing.

For me, where it really came into its own was listening to “The Seldom Seen Kid” by Elbow. Not a track, the entire album. Listening to it again was like listening to it for the first time. I could hear detail I’d not noticed before. Lovely. Just lovely.

In short, this would be a great speaker to kick out a great soundscape for a party, but will equally work well providing the sound-track for a dinner party.

What's Good about it?
-----------------------------
* Beautifully designed with great attention to detail
* Beautiful clear sound, impressive separation and almost no distortion, even when played at high volume
* Acts as a bluetooth “wireless” or wired speaker, FM radio and conference call centre if paired to your mobile
* Absolutely stunning build quality, and lovingly presented in the box. It’s a pleasure to open.

What you should be aware of?
---------------------------------------
Something I have noticed with these really top end speakers, is they need “running in”, and I think this may need to as well. When I first switched it on I was shocked that it didn’t sound anywhere near as good as I’d expected. To be honest I was really disappointed at first, but an hour or so later I noticed the sound was much warmer, and now you’d have to prise this out of my dead fingers. I love it.

Other than that it’s wonderful.

Conclusion
---------------
I've owned and tested a huge number of bluetooth speakers ranging from £20 to £260, and can say (with some confidence) this is one of the best I've heard, and certainly one of the best in its price bracket.

Don't faff about - just buy it!

Reminder: As I'd said at the start, I was given this speaker for an independent review. Having said that, it's a pleasure to test a device this well made.
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I was very kindly sent the Bayan Soundbook X3 in black with orange trim by the manufacturer for review purposes. The comments made within this review are from my own experience of using it. I have uploaded a few photos to accompany my review.

The Bayan Soundbook X3 is a Bluetooth 4.0 apt X audio system that can wirelessly play any audio/music/radio apps/podcasts/audio books streamed from your Bluetooth enabled devices such as mobile phones - tablets - computers. It also has an integrated FM radio. The X3 arrived well presented and looks really good as you open the box. . . .

What do you get?

- The Soundbook X3 - (length) 24cm x (width) 12cm x (depth) 4cm - weight 1.4kg - supports Bluetooth - Aux - FM radio - 20 watts stereo output - NFC
- Aux cable (3.5mm)
- Power cable with UK and European/US plug configurations
- Instruction booklet

As you would expect for the price at this time of writing - the X3 has absolutely outstanding build quality, no doubt about it. It's made from high grade aluminium and a heavy duty nylon mesh covering. The protective nylon flip cover - which also acts as the stand - houses a FM radio antennae. Across the top you have five concave buttons. . .

- Power on/off
- FM radio channel search up
- FM radio channel search down
- Volume up
- Volume down

Underneath the top buttons you have 13 small white LED lights that indicate steps of volume which is a nice visual in regards to how loud this powerhouse is.

At the back you find the following ports. . .

- USB charging port to charge your devices from
- 3.5mm in
- 3.5mm out
- Charging input

All this is very nicely finished, neat and tidy. This is a quality stylish looking speaker.

In use -

Before your first outing you need to charge the X3 up for 12 hours to prime the internal battery. From a full charge you should now get 10 hours of play at 50% volume - which is loud!

Behind the black mesh front there is a cracking LED display that tells you if it's in Bluetooth - FM - aux mode and also displays the radio frequencies and battery level.

Pairing with your Bluetooth devices is easy via NFC or the usual way by searching for Bluetooth devices and connecting to 'BayanSBX3' You can also connect to your devices via the 3.5mm aux cable.

The FM radio aspect of this speaker is a bit disappointing for me. By entering FM mode and searching for stations using the buttons on the top it does find radio frequencies but you definitely need to place it in 'that space' that we all know in our houses that gets a good signal. You can't just put this anywhere and pick FM up but - with a good signal it does the job as a FM radio well enough.

Due to it's built in mic the X3 can also act as a speakerphone when your mobile is connected and a call comes through. This function works well enough and I found no problem at all.

How does the X3 sound?

The X3 is aptX enabled so can stream near cd quality audio as long as what you're streaming isn't compressed low bit rate rubbish. I used 320kb audio from Spotify, audio from my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphone and pc. This is definitely a bass heavy speaker and at times I wish I could turn the mega bass down a tad to provide a little clarity to low end bass.

The Bee Gees greatest hits - Nights on broadway at 3.44 when the vocals become layered to hell and back - amazing to me. I could pick out every layer. The harmonies on How Deep is Your Love were a delight to listen to.

Pink Martini's Hey Eugene with around ten different instruments on the go. They can all be picked out quite easily here.

Knights of Cydonia by Muse - So much going on and all of it separated by this speaker.

Metallica - Enter the Sandman. The heavy bass was spot on throughout. Vocals clear and not muddied by too much bass.

and finally (because I could go on forever!) Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance march No1 which I love, nearly brought me to my feet flag waving! I could feel the thumping bass in my chest from this beast.

I have quite a few audio books and podcasts I listen to via radio apps from my phone and all sounded great through the X3.

The only cons for me with this speaker is the lacking quality of low end bass at times and I personally think that it's priced quite high compared to some other comparable speakers that I've looked at in the past although this is probably due to the internal components and build.

To conclude - I do like this speaker a lot. It is powerful as hell for it's size and the build quality is first class, audio is very good indeed, it looks stylish and can fill a room with expansive sound which is why I can recommend this speaker if build quality, music power, bass and style are your thing.
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on 30 January 2014
My mate in England has a soundbook and I couldn't believe how great it sounds, so when I found this bigger version I couldn't resist. It has loads of bass and is easily loud enough for any situation I can think of. It's built like a panzer tank - seriously solid and looks awesome, but it's not so heavy you feel like you want to leave it behind. 5 star sound, 5 star build and 5 star looks.
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Note the maker supplied a review sample for evaluation, the opinion of the product is my own personal view.

This speaker from Bayan Audio is aimed firmly at the higher end of the market build and finish are in a league of their own, this feels first class taking it out of the box you are immediately struck by the weighty feel to the unit it's a solid beast. Leaving aside the "Tiger tank" build (you really can't fault the speaker in any way here) Bayan have gone for a simplistic design with logical controls and layout.

Opening the cover powers the speaker on automatically (you can turn it off via the central button too) the cover is just as well built with ultra robust materials and this also houses the FM antenna for radio reception. Top panel has a series of rubber buttons for track/station search, power/mode/call accept end (multi function button) and volume. LED lights on the top indicate the volume, a rather neat group of lights show you the radio frequency and mode, these auto turn off after a while. No problems in pairing this speaker up range is near to the quoted distance (about 9 metres in my tests) a built in microphone handles calls respectably too.

Rear houses a few connections a 3.5mm Aux input (a good quality gold plated cable is supplied) a line out jack and a USB port this is for charging other devices not for using a USB stick as an alternative media source. An input for the wall adapter is also here this is a higher voltage than most speakers probably due to the higher capacity battery.

**Sound Quality**

A very subjective area even more so for the more audio astute buyers out there. This unit has 4x 1.5" full range speakers a passive radiator deals with the lowest frequencies. Sound does have an emphasis to my ears on the upper bass and lower mids, the drivers are capable of good treble output but you'll need to tweak the EQ for some songs. I did find the sound improved over a few days playing it smoothed out and had more depth to it, persevere a little here it does reap some rewards. Using higher quality audio files is also recommended low bitrates won't really do the speaker justice. It might have been easier to use 2 ways drivers (woofer and tweeter) for each channel space is limited in the unit but the radiator could be reduced in size with a speaker design such as this. The drivers rely on the radiator to provide depth to the bass (they are full range but not down to the lowest bass cycles) For most tracks the speakers did well but a few hard bass songs such as Billie Jean pushed it a bit at higher volumes.

The Aux input needed a bit more work I ran it through a Xonar PC sound card, you'll have to watch the input volume to avoid overloading the speaker with some tweaks I got a good sound, though I'm surprised the speaker can't regulate the input signal better it's perhaps better used as a Bluetooth speaker (you also have NFC via the front panel which is nice to see) than an Aux one.

**Areas for improvement**

The integrated FM radio works quite well for good signal areas, but it doesn't have the strength of a dedicated radio and can struggle a bit indoors this will vary depending on location. One feature missing is the ability to "auto store" pre-sets this speaker can auto lock on the stations, and with a quick press make small adjustments to the frequency.

I'd like to see separate adjustments for Treble and Bass whilst you can tweak this via the Bluetooth device it would be possible to integrate this discreetly into the unit without spoiling the "aesthetics and style" A unit at this price level really deserves some sound adjustment built in. (even possibly some pre-sets for an EQ would do the job too)

**Conclusion**

I'm very fond of the design on this speaker it's a finely crafted piece of work and though it's not light it's portable, and has a excellent battery endurance (I got about 9 hours played at just over half the max volume) Sound improves with longer use, though it does emphasise the lower frequencies a bit more than some speakers. The choice to use 4 same size drivers might be down to the size of the casing, these are decent speakers but they do need the passive radiator to pull in the lowest frequencies. To the makers credit they do offer a trial period with a no quibble returns policy and the price has fallen a bit too. The sound is good for the most part (I will emphasise to give it some time in use it does benefit from extended playing), though I would prefer to have some adjustment on the sound via an equaliser or tonal control. Either way it's a solid speaker (literally to the touch) and likely to please most users looking for a compact but capable Bluetooth speaker.
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I have reviewed a number of bluetooth speakers over the recent past, and although each has had some positive and negative points, this without a doubt is one of the best that I have tested! I received an email invite from the manufacturers (Bayan) to test this product. Having spent the past few weeks with it, I was very keen to get my thoughts out to prospective buyers who may be contemplating to purchase this speaker.

UNBOXING
From the very unboxing, you know you are in for a high quality product. The packaging has a very Apple-product like unboxing feel, with a minimalistic approach to the packaging and contents. Included in the box is the speaker itself, a 3.5mm to 3.5mm jack (to attach devices with no bluetooth capability), a charger and instructions. It is also worth mentioning that the out box itself is very attractive and would make for a great gift.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
The speaker came with some charge right out of the box, so I was good to go. Pairing with a phone/bluetooth device was a simple affair, and one of the easiest connections I have ever experienced. Simply select the device name from your phone, and it instantly connects (after a 3-4 second delay). I found this process to be quick and simple, with no awkward buttons or codes to go through. This means that it will be easy to switch between different users, particularly useful for small parties/summer BBQs, when we wish to play music from different peoples devices. Simply disconnect from the existing user, freeing the bluetooth connection, and the next users simply selects the Sound Book X3 from their phone/device.

The speaker itself is very attractive and built to a high quality. It is a little weighty (~1.5kg), which adds to the overall quality feel. The Sound Book X3 opens like a book, with the front cover acting as a stand for the speaker. The cover is made of a hardback material and over the past 4 weeks I have tested it, seems to be very durable. After use, simply close the cover, which secures shut with a magnetic catch, similar to the iPad smart cover. There is also a built-in FM radio tuner and AUX socket, which will allow connection of a 3.55mm device directly to the Sound Book X3. Also included is an LCD display, showing what connection is currently open (bluetooth, FM, AUX).

You turn the device on and off from a top button, where there are also options to toggle between the different connections, as well as adjust the volume. I tend to find it easier to keep the volume on maximum from the device, and simple adjust the overall volume using my phone.

SOUND QUALITY
However, without great sounds, the quick connection and positive aesthetics would be a little redundant. Fortunately, the sound is just as good as the other details. I am not audiophile, so my knowledge on the technicalities of speaker sounds are not comprehensive, but like anyone else, I do appreciate good quality acoustics. The Sound Book X3 can be turned to the maximum volume with no distortion. Bass and treble also seem great, having tried the speaker with a number of my favourite music pieces, ranging from hard rock to softer piano music themes. All sounded incredible! I have been listening to a range of different music, just to hear certain pieces again on this device. I also own the Bowers and Wilkins MM-1 speakers for my mac, and would dare say that the sound quality is almost comparable. I should also add that there was no bluetooth drop-outs, despite having my iPhone in my pocket and moving up to 10 metres away from the speaker.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Conclusively, I am finding it difficult to think about any negative points. The Sound Book X3 has exceeded all my expectations from a portable bluetooth speaker. I am really looking forward to summer BBQs with this speaker, and will update my review as time goes on with how things are progressing. Highly recommended. 5/5
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 The UK designed Bayan Audio Soundbook X3 Bluetooth V4.0 Speaker comes beautifully boxed and in the package you get the speaker, a mains charger/adaptor with EU, US and UK plugs, a 3.5mm audio jack cable for non-Bluetooth devices and a user guide. The SoundBook X3 measures 235mm W x 120mm H x 40mm D and weighs in at 1.4Kg - in terms of physical size the unit is about the size of a traditional bound volume and also boasts mobile phone call handling plus an integral FM radio.

The immediate impression is one of a high quality product which looks individual rather than "corporate" in its appearance. There are two colour schemes available black with orange highlighting (the version I was sent) and silver with blue highlighting and display. The cabinet is formed from aluminium with a distinctive mesh front highlighting the position of the bass driver. Protection is provided by a clever integral ballistic nylon cover which protects the unit from scrapes and also incorporates the NFC touch connector plus FM radio aerial. An orange display shines through the front grille indicating the status of the unit. The thing I like about the styling is that it is clean and uncluttered but exudes quality.

The Soundbook X3 will connect to both Bluetooth devices, those with standard audio jack outputs, plus, it will also connect to the input of an amplifier etc. effectively connecting your Bluetooth device to say, a HiFi system, for example. As soon as you open the cover the unit is ready for pairing and the unit paired effortlessly with my iPad, iPhone, Nokia Lumia and Samsung Galaxy Tab 3.0 (7"). You can also pair by NFC and the sensor is just inside the front cover. I found Bluetooth reception was really good without dropping out or fading over a considerable range.

The Soundbook X3's controls are simple - a power input switch on the top panel is flanked tuning/up/down buttons on one side and volume up/down on the other. A neat touch is that a row of about a dozen LEDs light incrementally as you increase the volume. However, each LED represents two steps of volume increase and the first step results in the LED lighting at half power and the second takes it to full power - a nice touch that allows to get the level spot on.

The battery takes about 2-3 hours to charge from flat and, in my experience, delivers the 10 hours playing claimed by Bayan Audio. When the battery level gets low the orange LED displays the warning "low" and during charge the socket surround is red turning to green when the charge cycle is complete. The internal battery can also be used to charge your phone etc. via a USB output socket - a clever touch.

The ample room filling volume which is delivered by four 1.5" long throw neodymium drivers and a 3"passive bass radiator is highly listenable. What I like about the sound is that it is spacious with plenty of presence. I think Bayan have got the bass just right - it's there and taut without the usual boom that leads to listening fatigue over time. Vocals and mid-range have a reassuring crispness but without being too harsh. I found that speech programmes such as Radio 4 etc. are also well reproduced. This is a speaker which delivers sound with great precision and presence - that's what makes it so listenable. The unit also uses aptx© audio coding algorithm for enhanced quality which adds to the quality. I listened to a range of tracks such as Tom Wait, K D Lang, Kraftwerk, David Bowie, Lesley Garrett and the LSO and before I knew it had spent three hours sampling the delights of the Soundbook X3 - it's an addictive listen.

I'd say the sound is very much in keeping with the ethos of good hifi - there's little colouration and therefore the sound is really lifelike with realistic rather than exaggerated or boomy bass - I just love it. Whilst on the subject of sound quality, both mobile phone call handling and the FM radio quality are good too.

The Bayan Audio Soundbook 3 has an awful lot going for it - the design, build, features and sound quality all add up to a sumptuous product that's hard to fault. Recommended.

(This unit was supplied for my review).
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 Kindly sent to me for review this mid range speaker impresses with it's design and solid build quality. The soundbook is aptly named being hardback book sized with it's own nylon smart cover which, when opened, not only turns the speaker on but also acts as the speaker stand.

The cover also has the NFC tag built in for quick pairing, alternatively you can pair via the bluetooth menu or you can connect non-bluetooth devices via the aux in socket. There is also an aux out socket should you wish to connect headphones or a second speaker, and a USB out allowing you to charge your device while listening to music.

The speaker has 4 drivers sat behind the front grill as well as a passive bass radiator. There are some LEDs also hidden behind the grill which tell you what mode this is on, so bluetooth, aux or FM for the radio.

The radio is an FM radio rather than DAB and that means lower sound quality compared to streaming music/radio from a mobile. You can set a single station (frequency is listed on the cool LEDs) and the speaker remembers which station you were last listening to.

Sound quality is good, but not amazing. It does a good job at delivering room filling volume with a decent bass for something so slim, but for the money you're getting top notch styling and design rather than sound quality.

The Soundbook is expensive, but it's also really well built and offers up good music playback on the go.
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on 23 March 2014
I have recently bought this Bayan Soundbook X3 and am absolutely delighted with it. The clarity and sound quality is extremely good, so good in fact you'd think the artist was in the room with you!
I have the one in brushed silver and turquoise and and I think it looks very smart and looks very good just about anywhere.
I noticed it was featured yesterday in the Daily Express, ( this week must have section ) and it also comments on its excellent sound quality.
So if you are looking for ideas for a special present for someone I would highly recommend this beautiful Bluetooth speaker for just about anyone.
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on 30 January 2014
I couldn't recommend the Bayan Audio Soundbook X3 more highly. I spent quite a lot of time researching similar products and this Bayan Soundbook is really impressive and beats the competition in all categories... design, price and sound.
Not only does it look and feel fantastic, it's a great price and the sound quality will blow you away. I also love the fact that it instantly connected to my iPhone straight out of the box and the long battery life gives it great staying power.
It's like a Porsche 911... beautifully designed and packs an enormous punch!
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on 24 March 2014
I own one of these beauties - if you have never heard one, you are missing out. The sound quality is unbelievable, and it looks absolutely gorgeous. It is crisp and clear on the vocals but with a deep rich bass when needed, and it is seriously loud and does not distort when ratcheted up as loud as you like ( unlike my previous speaker, which was not a Bayan but cost me more!)
It could easily replace all the hi fi systems in your house, it is that good. Five star product, and I see it was designed in the UK!
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