And what about wireless connectivity in the Audyssey South of Market ? These days it is hard to release a dock without it. The routes typically taken are either AirPlay (expensive, Apple-limited, but lossless) or Bluetooth (lossy, but ubiquitous). Audyssey has opted for the latter along with the ubiquitous Bluetooth A2DP profile. Pairing couldn’t be easier: press and hold the dedicated Bluetooth button at the rear of the dock to put it into pairing mode, connect with your phone and enter the default passcode (0000).
There is one further interesting connectivity option: a 3.5mm microphone output. This follows on from the dock’s genuine PC speaker replacement aspirations and will be a boon to regular users of VoIP services like Skype.
So how does it all sound? Very impressive. Given its compact shape what impressed us most is the scale of the sound reproduction. Audyssey has equipped the South of Market with two 0.75in tweeters, two 4in woofers and four discrete amplifiers. The result is a potentially monstrous total output of 200 watts, considerably more than any dock we have tested (the Zeppelin Air was top with 160W). Much like megapixels, watts do not tell the whole story though and we’d be hard pushed to say the Audyssey South of Market is any louder than Bowers and Wilkins opus.
That said, Audyssey has produced a genuine window-shaker and one that marries detail and subtlety with full party cred. It is genre neutral too, being as comfortable with classical music as hip hop or heavy metal and audio integrity holds together even at maximum volume – a level listeners are more likely to shy away from than the dock itself.
The secret sauce in all of this is Audyssey’s aforementioned decision to position the speakers at opposite angles. This allows the dock to create a far wider sense of stereo separation than is usually experienced on docks and prevents it from becoming a monotone boneshaker. Happily Audyssey backs this up with plenty of midrange, which gives the South of Market the backup to project tracks with plenty of depth.
Caveats? If anything the South of Market can have a little too much bass at high volumes, but it doesn’t smother the music and, chances are, at this level you’re looking for the party atmosphere this brings. Aside from this, sound reproduction over Bluetooth is competent rather than special. It won’t alienate the casual listener, but would benefit from the inclusion of aptX which made the NAD Viso 1‘s Bluetooth performance so exceptional.
We think Bluetooth with aptX as well as AirPlay is the way forward for premium docks hoping to serve all handsets. Many Android handsets are aptX compatible as are Macs, but iOS devices have yet to follow.