Audyssey Audio Dock Air
Sound quality; multiple audio inputs
Large power supply
It’s one of the great boons of the Apple ecosystem – the ability to watch or listen to content that’s on one device and direct it to another. AirPlay ticks the box as one of those ‘Why didn’t someone already think of that?’ technologies.
The Audio Dock Air from Audyssey (it’s a portmanteau of ‘audio’ and ‘odyssey’) is an attractive, Wi-Fi-enabled speaker system that can be used with Macs, PCs and iOS devices wirelessly.
The initial set up process is clearly explained in the accompanying Quick Start Guide, though you need to follow the steps carefully as the colour and sequence of different blinking lights requires close attention or you’ll need to start over. We had the Audio Dock Air running in a few minutes.
Once we’d connected the Air to our network we could direct sound to it from a variety of devices. With our Macs, the Air appeared almost instantly as an available AirPlay device. However, with our iPhone and an iPod touch, it took a few minutes to appear.
With speaker systems, the proof of the pudding is in the listening. We were looking forward to putting the Air through its paces as Audyssey provides speaker systems for IMAX theatres and in Jaguar cars. We weren’t disappointed.
Despite the small 21cm x 22cm x 12cm footprint, the unit delivered big, rich sound. The elegantly styled case, with its black plastic and acoustic cloth covering houses a total of six separate speakers – two 0.75in tweeters, two 3in woofers and two 4in passive bass radiators.
The speakers are arranged so that they pump sound out from the left and right sides of the unit. Although the Audio Dock Air could fit in a bookcase easily, it does need plenty of space around it otherwise the sound will be muffled. Also, the power supply is big – it’s the sort of supply we’d normally see with a power-hungry storage device or older laptop.
We played a variety of music at the Audio Dock Air – everything from Puccini to Eminem. Regardless of the genre, it delivered excellent output. Even music that was encoded in lossy formats at relatively low bitrates sounded good, making some of our earliest CD rips acceptable.
Although the Air is primarily designed as a wireless speaker system, it can also accept input via 3.5mm audio cables so that it can be used with other audio devices. There’s a separate volume dial for this at the top of the unit.
Even at high volumes, we didn’t experience any obvious distortion. The sound delivered by the Audio Dock Air could easily fill a loungeroom or large bedroom.
Given that Apple could update AirPlay one day and make the Audio Dock Air less reliable, it’s reassuring that Audyssey has provided an easy way to update the firmware via a USB port and a reset button. If you know the Audio Dock Air IP address (something you can find through your router’s setup utility) you can check the firmware status at any time.
With excellent sound quality, the Audyssey Audio Dock Air will likely satisfy the needs of most audiophiles.