Audyssey unveils absurdly powerful iPod dock

iPod speaker docks are beyond ubiquitous now. There are docks with awesome design, docks that hold books, even docks that grill your hamburgers — what does a dock need these days to stand out from the crowd? How about raw power? That's the plan from this baby from Audyssey, unveiled today.

This is the first actual product from Audyssey — up till now the company has made a successful name for itself by creating different kinds of audio technology (if you own a receiver, there's a good chance it has Audyssey tech). Simply named the Audio Dock, it comes in several "editions" named after trendy places. Audyssey gave us a South of Market Edition dock to try out.

With a form factor that looks similar to a Bose SoundDock turned 90°, Audyssey's dock doesn't look like much, at least until you try and pick it up. At 9 pounds, it's a relatively heavy beast. That heft gives the Audio Dock its power, however, rated at 200 watts. By comparison, B&W's massive Zeppelin dock has just 100 watts. The Audyssey isn't the most powerful iPod dock ever, though — as far as I can tell that's Fidek's iBigBoy 2. Still, pretty good for something you can put on a table.

The Audyssey's impressive power was evident in our listening test. This sucker can play LOUD, filling my entire apartment with music, and I'd only gone about halfway up the dial. Everything stayed clear at high volumes, too, with lots of pounding bass. You could probably host a dance party in a big hall using just this dock and an iPod (a remote control is included). One downside: the dock itself can get pretty hot.

Also in the mix are some great convenience features like Bluetooth streaming, speakerphone abilities, and a USB port for syncing. The only bone I have to pick with Audyssey's dock is one aspect of the design: With the iPod connector jutting out from the front, it seems to be asking for it to be broken off. The support seems pretty durable, but it just strikes me as one hard slip away from disaster.

But even with that caveat, the combo of convenience and power makes the Audyssey my favorite iPod dock yet. It'll be available in November for $399. Wait, $399? OK, maybe second favorite.

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