Audyssey South of Market audio dock
Touch tone tweaks and telephony for the iAudiophile
Review Audyssey isn’t exactly a household name here in the UK, but its audio technologies are found in many TVs and home theatre systems and are designed specifically to improve the sound quality from small speakers used in the home environment. The South of Market Audio Dock is its first own-brand hardware product, and it clearly makes the most of the company's technical know-how.
Musical mouthful: Audyssey's South of Market audio dock
The slimline design of the South of Market audio dock immediately stands out from the crowd. Rather than the rectangular-box design of most iPod docks, the Audio Dock is a narrow pedestal that measures just 13cm wide and 23cm high.
Its smoothly tapering side panels sweep back for another 23cm, with the left- and right-hand panels both containing a separate woofer and tweeter that fire sound out on either side. A small dock connector protrudes from the front of the unit, allowing you to insert an iPod or iPhone.
It’s not really wide enough to support an iPad, but the Audio Dock also includes Bluetooth wireless networking so that you can stream audio from an iPad or any other device that has Bluetooth capabilities.
Audyssey obviously shares Apple’s penchant for minimalist design, as the rest of the unit is relatively unadorned. The volume controls are cleverly mounted behind the metallic logo on the front of the unit, so you just tap the logo to adjust the volume or use the small remote control that is also supplied with the dock. One neat touch is the volume indicator on the front of the unit, which glows like the eye-piece of a Cylon Centurion as the volume goes up or down.
Audio quality is very impressive – higher frequencies are clear and detailed, with a warm tone that reminds me very much of the Philips Fidelio. The bass is full and strong too, thanks to the twin 4in woofers. It’s not loud enough for a full-scale party, but there’s more than enough volume for a dinner party with friends.
The Audyssey iApp provides more comprehensive equaliser adjustments
There are no EQ presets available on the dock itself or on the remote control, but you can download an Audyssey iOS app that allows you to adjust treble and bass, and even to create custom EQ settings of your own.
The handheld remote has more basic offerings
You can get comparable quality from less expensive docks such as the aforementioned Fidelio, which is a good £100 less expensive. However, the Audio Dock also has a number of additional telephony features built into it as well.
Just above the dock connector there’s an unobtrusive microphone that allows the Audio Dock to act as a speakerphone – there's one on the back too, to facilitate noise cancellation – and a conveniently timed phone call allowed to me confirm that the speakerphone features work very well.
Interfacing provides support for telephony with external devices
A glance around the back of the unit also reveals audio input and output connectors that allow you to connect the Audio Dock to a Mac or PC so that you can use it with VOIP applications such as Skype.
It all sounds rather good, apart from the UK pricing
The Audyssey South of Market audio dock is certainly a high-quality piece of kit, and its iPhone app will appeal to audio buffs who like to fine-tune the sound themselves. Even so, its £349 price tag seems a bit steep, especially if you don’t need its Bluetooth and telephony features. I’m impressed by the sheer quality of its design and construction, but it still looks a bit over-priced given that the US price is only $400. ®
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