Audyssey says it was inspired to name its first iPod/iPhone audio system after the South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood in San Francisco because of its "eclectic blend of energy and history." Well, we're not sure what that means, but the Audyssey Audio Dock "South of Market Edition" definitely is distinct-looking and has some interesting features along with very good sound--all of which goes a long way to justify its fairly high $400 price tag.
If the Audyssey brand is familiar, it's because they're the folks behind the autocalibration systems in a lot of AV receivers and home audio systems. The Audio Dock is the company's first standalone product, but the company does bring some audio chops to the table and it shows.
As you can see from the picture, this Audyssey has a bit of an odd shape to it--it looks like a jumbo wireless router or a networked storage device. Love it or hate it, the thing is built very solidly and weighs in at a hefty 8.9 pounds. It measures 9 inches tall by 5 inches wide by 9 inches deep, so it's fairly compact, especially from a width perspective.
Inside you'll find two 0.75-inch tweeters and two 4-inch woofers, so this does pack some punch. You have a couple of options for listening to music. You can either dock your iPhone /iPod as you would with any of these types of speakers--the system is GSM-shielded, so you don't need to toggle your iPhone to airplane mode--or you can wirelessly stream music to the speaker via Bluetooth using any Bluetooth-enabled device with A2DP, including a PC. Audyssey also points out that his feature comes in handy when you want to do e-mail or text message friends and have music playing while you tap away on your iPhone or perhaps even an iPad.
The speaker also has built-in speakerphone capabilities, but they only work via Bluetooth (when you dock your iPhone, the sound comes out of the iPhone's speaker, not the Audyssey's). When a call comes in, the music you're listening to will pause and go silent. When you hang up the call, the music comes back on.
In our initial tests using the speakerphone, we didn't have any trouble hearing callers, but they said they heard a distinct echo on their end. We moved the phone farther from the speaker in a subsequent call, and that seemed to alleviate the echo problem almost completely.