Audyssey have already built a strong reputation in the field of high-end audio calibration. This is their first self released product. In a world of crappy plastic housings and terrible sound quality, finding a good quality iPhone/iPod dock is a rare occurrence. Audyssey’s South of the Market dock is a breath of fresh air in this over saturated, low quality arena.
Though not perfect, this dock is hands down the best I have reviewed and outdoes similar offerings on both build quality and sound by far. Read on to find out why.
The South of the Market dock is a very well made speaker. It is crafted from high quality aluminium and thick matt black plastic. It has a weight to it that inspires confidence, yet is not ridiculously heavy. This weight acts to create a better sound quality, and it works well. The dock connector is Apple approved and worked with any iDevice I threw at it including the iPad. Though not officially supported, the platform that carries the device is rigid and wide enough to hold your iPad with no issues.
The dock is fronted by a silver Audyssey logo, which also acts as a volume switch. This is one of the few areas of the dock where the quality is lacking. On my test unit it was slightly wonky and was fairly unresponsive unless pressed really hard. It’s this sort of detailing that should be perfect for a dock at this level. In fairness, I checked out another test unit and it was totally fine, however make sure you check it when you get yours!
Features, Connections & Accessories
Features wise, this thing is packing. The Audyssey SOM has built-in bluetooth to allow for hands free calls via the speaker, as well as wireless music streaming. This works well and calls are clear and easy to understand. Unusually for a hands free unit, those on the other end reported no distortion or echo when getting a call made with the hands free on.
The music streaming worked perfectly throughout the house with no drops in playback. Quality was OK, not the best but very passable.
Other features include Sync and Charge – allowing you to use the SOM as a computer dock for iPhone and using the included 3.5mm cable, it doubles up as a very good desktop speaker for your Mac.
In the box you get the dock (duh!), power leads, 3.5mm audio leads and a remote. Not a spectacular array of items, but all of which very well made, I once read about a man who spent $3k on a power lead, just to improve the sound quality – I don’t think this comes close, but as cables go, these are pretty good. The remote is simple but well made; a favourite feature is that it has a little magnet in the back allowing it to sit nicely on the fridge. (The test dock is in the kitchen).
The dock also has a companion iPhone app, allowing for custom EQ settings and a few other cool features such as dynamic volume control and levels. It’s a simple app that does one thing well.
Now to the most important aspect of a speaker; the sound. As I mentioned at the start of this article, Audyssey have been harnessing sound for years and all that experience is evident in this product. For such a small speaker it fills the room with sound. Often the diminutive size of speaker docks results in less than impressive sound with tinny bass and unimpressive highs.
Using their award-winning technologies such as BassXT, Dynamic EQ and tilt management, the SOM delivers superb quality across all genres of music. The Smiths sound deep and depressing as they should, while Matisyahu’s latest offering is tight and punchy. When compared to the sound of something like B&W’s Zeppelin, the Audyssey holds its own and in my opinion beats the sound quality produced by the Zeppelin.
At $399 the South of Market dock is not cheap, but compared to B&W’s Zeppelin at $599, it is cheap-er. Though I have not done a side by side review of both products, I have used each individually, and I honestly believe that the Audyssey beats the Zeppelin on almost every level – build quality, sound and features. For me it is a winner and if it wasn’t for a slightly problematic volume button, this reviewer would give it 100%.