It's hard not to laugh at the Drop speakers from the Iberiodanish (a Danish company that now resides on Spain's Costa Brava) Scandyna. That's the point, though.
They are small, cute and fun, as well as funny. With their little rubber antenna, silver feet and any of five ABS colour schemes, the Drop looks like the name suggests; a water droplet in black, white, red, silver or yellow (or, in the case of the blue version, a British Gas advert).
Yet, for all the blobby aesthetics, there's a very real loudspeaker inside. It's a two-way, sealed-box job, with a 25mm fabric dome tweeter and a 125mm Kevlar mid/bass driver. The speakers are single-wired, but with solid connectors at the rear of the speaker.
The rubber feet and antenna are standard, but optional spikes, stands and wall- and ceiling-mounts can be had, too.
The Drop is a true satellite speaker, with a quoted -6dB roll-off at 50Hz - meaning no deep bass whatsoever. The speaker is said to be a reasonable 89dB; coupled with a 4? load, this should pose no difficulties for amplifiers in the 10-100W range that Scandyna suggests are compatible with the Drops.
Arguably the most conventional speaker in the line-up is the Cinepod, a sort-of D'Appolito design with two 125mm mid-bass units flanking a 25mm tweeter. The words 'sort of' apply here because the tweeter is sited on top of the two bass speakers instead of nesting between them.
Once again, the ABS cabinet can be had in any one of six bright colour schemes to match the Drop, plus an extra three Minipod/Bass Station finishes.
There are also a series of accessories, mounts and other stuff to help fix a slightly odd speaker into the real world. That extra bass unit gives the speaker extra bass extension (-3dB at 55Hz) and at a claimed 93dB, a more efficient design, too. The impedance is quoted at 8? and unlike the Drop, the Cinepod is a ported design.
Then there's the Bass Station. This circular footstall of a subwoofer is also made extensively from ABS (the same colour scheme, too), but behaves unlike most subs on the market. The 250mm bass driver is upwards-firing (as opposed to forward- or downward-firing) and the vented case sports a 70W Class D amplifier; enough to raise the roof with reggae, but grumbles with the rumbles and could perhaps do with more power to deliver strong bass.
I love the styling, and the disparate poddy components go together well. It isn't for everyone, though... those with more traditional homes may find the downright funkiness of the design makes the product hard to blend. That said, their über-modern approach will work in a surprisingly wide range of homes, in some respects more so than the rectangular wooden 'monkey coffins'.
The use of four sealed-box satellites makes the speakers seem tight and fast. The Drops are keen, lively and upbeat-sounding speakers. Not much in the way of any deep bass, but they are extremely communicative and sound as much fun as the look.
Hi-fi buffs might not be too impressed with the fact that the subwoofer needs to be slotted in at a high upper bass level to work well, but even the most dour of audiophile turns in a smile when they hear just how much headroom these cuties have. The Drops can go very loud, and very clean while they are at it.
The Cinepod is also capable of reaching good volume and the general tonality is good, but not a perfect match for the Drop satellites. It's got something to do with switching from a sealed box to a reflex cabinet, but where the Drop is tight and dry and light in the bass, the Cinepod is more relaxed and possessed of more bottom-end.
On the one hand, this makes the integration around the room less than perfect, with a marked tonal shift as you move from satellite to centre. On the other hand, the centre is more articulate and coherent than the satellites; voices in particular are free from coloring and artificiality.
The change from Cinepod to Drop is not a powerful one and even the move from conventional speaker to dipole rears can be more profound, but if you play a lot of music DVD in surround (or especially DVD-Audio or SACD) you might want to consider a more uniform speaker sound.
The bass sat kicks in neatly with the Drops. Once again, the pace of the Drops is hard to match and the Bass Station struggles to keep up. Which is strange because the Bass Station is not the deepest sub around.
Integration between the two is good though; it's only if you listen to the Drop pre- and post-Bass Station that the speed differences begin to show. Likewise, the limits to the Bass Station's bottom end-only become apparent in a barn of a room; for most of us, the system hangs together perfectly.
Scandyna's Drops are no replacement for good full-range speakers, but they are good satellites. None of your style-over-substance here; you get both for the price of one.
Yes, there are issues about integrating the sealed-box Drops in with the ported centre and sub, but these do not become obstacles unless you play an awful lot of surround music. If you like a bright, clean sound in an extremely funky shell, you should Drop round to a Scandyna dealer today.