Audyssey Audio Dock Air AirPlay Speaker Preview
- Product Name: Audio Dock Air
- Manufacturer: Audyssey
- Review Date: March 21, 2012 20:45
- MSRP: $399.99
- First Impression: Pretty Cool
Drivers Two 3-inch woofers, two 4-inch passive bass radiators, two 0.75-inch tweeters Frequency Response 50 Hz to 20 kHz Inputs Aux (3.5mm) Outputs Headphone (3.5mm) Streaming AirPlay Size
- Length: 8.9 in./22.6 cm
- Width: 4.7 in./12 cm
- Height: 8.3 in./21.1 cm
Weight 5.2 pounds
Docks, docks and more docks. Where we used to have entire aisles dedicated to boomboxes and portable CD players, now there is nothing but iDevice docks. Every manufacturer has one. Even receiver manufacturers are offering them as add-ons to their offerings for complete iDevice support. That fact that there are so many should tell you that they are selling. That there is a demand. As long as that demand exists, they'll keep making them.
Even Audyssey, a company that made its name through room correction systems, has gotten in on the game. They've released docks with names like South of Market. Their newest "dock", once titled "Lower East Side", is now shipping. We put "dock" in quotes because, well, there is no dock. Let's back up.
First, it seems that Audyssey is getting away from their San Francisco location names. This, however, leaves them with generic names like "Audio Dock" (for the South of Market dock) and Audio Dock Air. While not necessarily a bad thing, it is a bit bland.
But that may be okay because the Audio Dock Air is a bit bland to look at. It is a large rectangle (4.8 x 8.3 x 8.9 inches) with speaker fabric on each side and a plastic strip up the middle. It sports, on each side, a .75" tweeter, a 3" midrange, and a 4" passive bass radiator. Controls are spartan with a volume knob on top and a pairing button on the back (for connecting to your phone or laptop). There is a 3.5mm port on the front (a headphone out) and back (for and auxiliary in). According to Audyssey, the Audio Air Dock will reach down to 50 Hz.
And that's it. Like we said: no dock.
But the Audio Dock Air (we'd like to start calling it the ADA but we think that'd just confuse everyone... particularly dentists and Google) does have AirPlay. For those of you that categorically close any webpage (except for this one, apparently) that mentions Apple, AirPlay is a way of streaming content from your iTunes on your PC or Mac or from your iDevice over your WiFi network. This has the advantage of having, usually, a much better range than other solutions (such as Bluetooth).
To set this up on the Audyssey Audio Dock Air, you need to pair the dock to your phone or computer and configure the WiFi settings. After that, once you reconnect your phone/computer to the network, you can start streaming your music to the Audio Dock Air. If this sounds a little complicated... it is. But it's something you should only have to do once.
For those without an iDevice, you can stream your iTunes from your networked computer. Android users can download apps like DoubleTwist to stream their content as well. Otherwise, you are relegated to the 3.5mm jack on the back of the unit. With a device like the Audyssey Audio Dock Air, we don't blame it for not having a bunch of additional inputs. That really wasn't the point of the device. It's designed for use with iOS devices.
One thing we noticed was that the Audyssey Audio Dock Air doesn't have any sort of power button. According to what we've heard, it, instead, has a "sleep mode" which is activated after 10 seconds or so of inactivity. This seems awfully short to us and we wish there was some sort of dedicated control. With this type of power saving feature you may assume that such a speaker has an internal battery and is portable. Sorry, the Audio Dock Air must be plugged in to operate.
When you boil it all down, the question is how much are you willing to pay for AirPlay? Audyssey is betting that the sound quality of their Audio Dock Air and the convenience of Apple's AirPlay is worth $400 (that's the MSRP on the site, we've never seen a retail price higher than $350). Audyssey seems to be putting all of its eggs in the AirPlay basket. They certainly aren't trying to woo you with looks. The Audio Dock Air looks like one of the bass modules that come with computer speakers, though we doubt it sounds like that. Knowing their lineage, we fully expect Audyssey to put out a product that sounds good. The question is if the rest of the world, those less familiar with Audyssey, has the same expectations.
For more information, please visit www.audyssey.com.