Published on August 23rd, 2012 | by Greg0
Audyssey Wireless Speakers: Bluetooth Can Rock
A bit over a month ago, representatives from one of our favorite audio companies dropped by our offices and presented a demo of their latest model. A short while later, we received some of the first production models, and have been burning them in, testing them out, and playing around with them. And we can happily report to be impressed with Bluetooth audio performance, something that doesn’t happen very often.
The Audyssey Wireless Speakers are simply named (a noticeable change from a company that began with a line of products named after neighborhoods in New York and San Francisco). But they offer a compelling answer to audio-lovers who want wireless without being forced into the Apple Airplay ecosystem. Fans won’t notice any big changes in sound between the wired and the wireless versions, though the cosmetic changes (white with black trim, glossy without being fingerprint magnets, instead of the black/red combination) are lovely. Plus, the addition of wireless adds a new dimension in playback, allowing you to quickly connect your smartphone, tablet, or laptop to the speakers without having to fuss with cables.
Pairing is easy and we didn’t notice any drops or reconnection issues, as we have on some other Bluetooth devices. And, as mentioned, performance is similar to the previously-reviewed Audyssey Media Speakers. Highs are crisp and tilt towards bright, mids are full and solid, bass is decent but not exceptional and they can struggle at times with some distortion at both ends of the spectrum, especially at higher volumes. Separation and depth are good, thanks to Audyssey’s excellent audio technologies, making music sound a bit richer and boomier. This pair can put out a fair bit of sound- enough to rock an apartment party easily- but this is a 2.0 system with no dedicated subwoofer and fairly small. Perfect as a bookshelf or back-to-school system, you can have your friends connect to the speakers from their devices, then control the sound from the couch. There isn’t a remote, but we never feel the need for one on a Bluetooth system where your device is typically the control.
Wired users aren’t left out either- a cable is included, and they have the typical 3.5mm headphone jack input. We tested these out with both Android and iOS devices, as well as Mac and PC laptops, and came away impressed with the overall sound quality for their size. Stylish and spiffy, any student will appreciate a new way to listen to tunes. Check out the pretty challenging new Bloc Party track “Octopus”, and see what we mean.
Available now (today!) online and from limited retailers. The price is definitely a bit steep at $299- a $50 price break would’ve put these into solid recommend territory. We missed the digital optical input, though few users probably will, but at the same price, the Audyssey Dock Air feels like a better deal, and for those who don’t need wireless, their earlier wired model is pretty great and less expensive.