LaCie, like Apple, puts a premium on good design.

You don't have to look further than LaCie's Porsche-designed hard drives to see this in action. So when LaCie set about making these FireWire desktop speakers, it should come as no surprise that design luminary Neil Poulton was called in to do the job.

Poulton won last year's RedDot Design Award and has a history of acclaimed product designs going back decades.

The result is this rather industrial looking set of speakers, not a million miles away from a pair of ship's funnels perhaps. We found that the white and black form sits very well next to a Mac, particularly our iMacs, and that was enough to win us over design-wise.

But these speakers also stand out because they draw power via a FireWire 400 cable (included), which is very rare. The speakers can also run off a power adaptor, but this doesn't come in the box and needs to be bought separately.

The big bonus of this kind of set-up is that you end up with fewer cables on your desk. This clutter reduction is further aided by the fact that underneath each speaker there is a spool so you can wrap the cable around the base and avoid those trailing wires.

Because FireWire is the primary energy source, a bit of installation is required. One quirk is that music from older PowerPCs will be speeded up and garbled if you don't adjust the Audio Midi Setup first.

This is a simple enough task; under Utilities select Audio Midi Setup, select the LaCie speakers and change the Audio Output Format to 44100Hz using the pull-down menu. A step-by-step guide is available in a PDF document on LaCie's website.

When you have the speakers up and running we think you'll like the sound quality, particularly if you like playing detailed acoustic music. The sound is crisp, without becoming too bright.

This is a set of speakers that should appeal to people looking for a decent sound and not the bombastic drive that some other speakers can provide. A teenager hoping to terrify the neighbours might feel short changed.

The upward leaning angle of the speaker drivers means you get the best results if they are placed on the desktop right in front of you. This is the short range that the speakers were designed for. From the other side of the room, however, they can come across as much less detailed compared with bigger systems.

At this price, with this kind of performance, you are clearly paying a premium for the designer label.