In 2011, Audyssey introduced a stylish set of $200 powered multimedia speakers -- the Media Speakers -- that offered good sound and the added bonus of a digital optical input. Now the company has put together a wireless version of the Media Speakers simply called the Audyssey Wireless Speakers. It carries a list price of $299, but is expected to sell for $249 when it hits online stores on August 29.
Unlike the company's $299 Audio Dock Air, this isn't an an Apple AirPlay Wi-Fi speaker; instead, it uses the more universal Bluetooth standard to stream audio from any Bluetooth-enabled device, including phones, tablets, and many PCs.
The Media Speakers were black with a strip of red trim. This model, in contrast, is white with a strip of black trim. But it looks almost identical to the Media Speakers, with the same "elevated" wired base and volume knob on the front of the right speaker. While you get a headphone jack (it's next to the volume knob) and an audio input for using these speakers in "wired" mode with a cable, there's no digital optical input. (Both the Apple TV and PlayStation 3 have optical outputs, which made it easy to pair the Media Speakers with those devices.)
In terms of size, the speakers are compact but not tiny, measuring 9 inches tall by 4.9 inches wide by 6.8 inches deep and weighing a total of 7 pounds. Audyssey lists them as having a 0.75-inch tweeter, a 3-inch woofer, and two 4-inch passive bass radiators. There's a low-power "standby mode" for energy efficiency.
A lot of Bluetooth speakers these days are single tabletop units that feature twin speakers but little in the way of stereo separation. One of the big things Audyssey's Wireless Speakers have going for them is the simple fact that you can separate the two speakers to achieve good stereo separation. (The catch is that these wireless speakers are attached by...a standard speaker wire.) There's a lot of digital processing onboard; the speakers are powered by a collection of Audyssey's proprietary audio technologies -- Audyssey BassXT, Audyssey EQ, and Audyssey Dynamic EQ -- which the company says enable the Wireless Speakers to "provide better sound than comparably sized speakers."
According to Audyssey, BassXT pushes the speakers' two passive bass radiators "for deeper notes," while Audyssey EQ accounts for "common acoustical distortions that other speakers fall victim to, keeping clear and balanced audio in all situations." Finally, Audyssey Dynamic EQ makes "continuous adjustments to account for the way humans hear at different volume levels."