Fashion brand Ted Baker’s surprise entry into serious audio continues apace. Its sweet-sounding and beautifully retro Rockall headphones, which I featured in September, were greeted with near swoons by many reviewers in the notoriously fussy hifi press. Now we have Fastnet (the plan is for all products in the range to be named after British fishing areas), a still more quirkily styled Bluetooth speaker and handsfree phone amplifier.


The Fastnet continues the retro theme, even if it doesn’t evoke anything specific from the past, more just a playful sense of – very British – heritage. In the Fastnet’s leather and brushed-metal design, there’s a touch of a 1950s camera here, of a big electric razor there. Above all, the Fastnet is a thing of proper old-school knobs and buttons, a surprisingly ergonomic delight today. You turn it on with a big, clicky push-switch and wind up the (considerable and grand) volume with a knurled thumb-operated control. The sound from its single 5cm speaker is mono, which is becoming increasingly fashionable, especially when it seems to have been tinkered with in some way by its engineers to achieve a slightly stereo note. The Fastnet is on the big side, by the way (18.5cm x 10.5cm x 4.5cm and 1.4kg), with a commensurately grown-up hifi sound. Very British, very lovely.