One Good Thing about Music, when it Hits you, you Feel no Pain
Baggen by name, big sound by nature, Urbanears Baggen speaker could be the musical feature for your home tech fiends have been waiting for
Review by Andy Barnham
Who are Urbanears?
Founded in 2008 in Stockholm, in their own words, Urbanears isn’t a brand per se, but rather a concept spawned from ideas primarily on the basis that there weren’t any headphones that shared Urbanears’s passion in what headphones are and how they’re used. So, sound quality aside, the headphones are designed to feel more like clothes than merely plastic items. Products are also designed under the assumption your phone is the centre of the universe; but more on that later.
What’s a Baggen?
Baggen is the name of one of Urbanears’ Wi-Fi speakers. The biggest in the family and billed as the ‘loud and mighty’, Urbanears also offer the ‘neat and powerful’ Stammen with the Lotsen as the smallest in the range. Each is available in six colours; from dirty pink to a neutral concrete grey via a big bright goldfish orange and so on. The Baggen is perfect for larger spaces and open plan homes. And should you feel that a single Urbanears would be lonely, you can combine two or more to create multi- room audio systems. Play different genres in different rooms or set up a synchronised system; it’s up to you.
Coming from Scandinavia, how well designed is the Baggen?
It’s immaculately designed. Covered in fabric, there are two knobs on the top with no digital display in sight (that’s right, real knobs!). The power lead, connecting to the mains, plugs into the bottom, where there is also a USB port for an Aux feed. And that’s it. Simples. As a Wi-Fi speaker, you can save up to seven internet radio stations or Spotify playlists on hand for instant play.
How about the sound?
For me, it’s all about the bass and the Baggen doesn’t disappoint. The sound carries very well and clearly through my open planned home. At 50 per cent volume I can comfortably hear it throughout my downstairs living/ dining/ kitchen open plan. And the loudest I can reasonably use my Baggen is 85 per cent, any more and I’m sure my neighbour is going to have words about my choice of Classic Rock pumping through the walls. And as much as I love the dulcet tones of Jim Morrison et al, even I have to admit the sound of wailing guitars isn’t to everyone’s taste…
With only two buttons, how do I use it?
Urbanears is unashamedly transparent about their design direction being driven by people’s mobile phones. As such the main portal to access the speaker is via an app on your mobile. From there you can sync to your Spotify account, internet radio, control the volume and bass and treble. You can link to the speaker via your computer, but it’s fussy; there isn’t any computer software or an app and you have to connect when you start up and then re- connect the speaker every time your computer goes to sleep.
What’s not to like?
There’s no power button, so the Baggen is always ‘On’. However, as it’s not an Alexa or Echo smart speaker it is only listening to you (and not spying via a microphone). However, as it is connected to your Wi-Fi it is collecting data.
Is that it?
It depends on your opinion about your phone. If it is the focus of your digital world and holds your potentially thousands of images and weeks of music, then it’s prefect. It’s easy to use via the app/ Bluetooth/ AirPlay/ Chromecast. If however, you’re looking for reasons not to use your phone because you’re either a tech dinosaur or so on the cutting edge that you’ve eschewed mobile technology altogether, this is probably not for you.