It’s lazy cliche (a phrase which is itself slightly overused) to attribute the success of Apple products to the mythical Apple hype machine. Firstly, up until the iPad, the volume of Apple devices sold paled in comparison to other manufactures. There are still more non-Apple computers and phones out there in the world, all without the magic of Apple marketing. Secondly, it implies that other consumers are sheeple, happy to fork over hundreds of dollars, euros or pounds just to try out the latest and greatest knick knack on the strength of a swish ad campaign alone, but you and you alone had the perspicacity to purchase elsewhere. And lastly because lots of Apple products aren’t warmly embraced by the marketplace – even when they should be.
I’m referring to the slow adoption of Apple’s uncompressed wireless streaming standard – Airplay. The ability to share audio and video on the big screen, or over big speakers, with a simple button press (and all with a superiour sound quality to Bluetooth) is wonderful, but not yet widely supported. So we were very keen to try out life with the Audyssey Audio Dock Air.
Set up was relatively straightforward – you create a local network on the device, hop in from your iPhone, iPad or regular computer and then configure it to your local network. It took a few goes for me to get this up and running but I think that is mostly my fault for using non-Roman characters for my SSID (it’s since been changed to “Take my wifi – please” a wonderful joke from @SquidyUK).
The Audyssey Audio Dock Air is great to look at – a big, imposing looking box that demands to be taken seriously. There’s a discrete port at the back for old-fashioned wired input and an equally tiny headphone port at the front. There’s a rotary dial for volume on top that you can also click to mute. And that’s it. The only thing that detracts from the unit’s stylish look is the big power brick at the back, but that’s easy to tuck away.
Amazingly it’s even better to listen to with rich, clear and balanced sound. There’s a lot crammed into a relatively small packaged but even when you throw the bass heavy madness of the latest Killer Mike album (R.A.P Music which El-P worked production magic on) or some delicate jazz from Robert Glasper, it’s hard not to raise an eyebrow in admiration at how clear the sound is. And it that’s not enough, you can link up to four Audio Dock Airs for a multi-room audio system.
The only issue I had was that there was a slight delay with connecting to the system but I’m not sure if that’s an Airplay issue in general. I switched between iPhones and iPads and the wait to get up and running always felt slightly too long (for context it’s only 5-10 seconds longer than connecting to Bluetooth but you do notice).
The Audyssey Audio Dock Air is out now for an RRP of £300. It’s not cheap but if audio quality matters to you, it’s definately worth it.
For more information head to http://www.audyssey.com/