We get excited every time Audyssey outs a new audio product and that's because the last time we've reviewed Audyssey's first consumer product, the South of Market speaker dock, it blew our socks off with such epic sound found in very few speaker docks today. Audyssey is a well known name in the audio world, and we're about to take a look at the Lower East Side media speakers, Audyssey's first set of consumer computer desktop speakers inspired by New York's Lower East Side neighborhood. Will the Lower East Side speakers be the last set you'll ever have to buy? Find out as we go all ears after the jump!
The Lower East Side speakers, or simply LES for short, are going to run you $249.99 and $199.99 if Amazon is your friendo. The street price seems to be just under $200 at any retail store though. Inside the packaging you will find a not so traditional form of connecting audio cables as far as desktop speakers go. Audyssey decided to go old school with interconnection on the LES speakers and provided rather long speaker wires which are coincidentally have the same color theme. I'm really not a fan of these pinch to connect audio wires and would have liked to see a more solid connection method like simple 3.5mm audio cables instead of going retro with connections. Thankfully there's a 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable which you will use to hook up these to your computer or really any other audio device that you would like to use. Let's not forget the power supply that powers up these bad boys.
As far as ports go, on the back of the right speaker is where all the magic happens. You've got the input for the power supply as well as 3.5mm and optical audio inputs. Please mind that 4" passive bass radiator. Speaking of specs, the Lower East Side speakers harbour two .75" silk-dome tweeters, two 3.5" woofers and two 4" passive bass radiators you'll be getting to know very well.
Taking one look at the Lower East Side speakers and your heart is instantly filled with the desire. Or am I just talking about myself here? Black and red, such a stunning color combination that just works and looks amazing no matter where you placed them or how cluttered your desk might be. Audyssey not only created a one-of-a-kind speaker dock with South of Market, but with these duo of speakers as well. The design is very modern, trendy and flawless from all angles. Branding? Oh it's there but hidden from plain sight. That just shows you the attention to detail. The focus is on aesthetics and not your brand logo being the center of attention.
The Lower East Side speakers are constructed very well and have a matte textured body with a sturdy black metal stand that extends around the speaker and in between the red rubber stripe that becomes a part of the icon red and black stripe design that sets these speakers apart from the rest. Rubber feet on the bottom of the stand insure a strong surface traction. Not even an earthquake can topple these over. While these are made out of plastic, they have that top-notch quality feel to them not many other speakers at the same price range have.
The front side is the part what you'll be seeing most of the time and it has a clean uniform look to it. The edge-to-edge mesh grille hides the audio drivers in a bezel-less fashion. Also hidden underneath is the status LED light which subtlely shines thru green when active and red when on standby. There's a nicely sized volume control knob on the front of the right speaker that is also a power push button. How convenient? Even more convenient is the 3.5mm output right beside it so you can easily hook up your headphones when you're not blasting tunes to friends and neighbors instead of unplugging and replugging the LES speakers.
For the past years I've been using what I've been calling the best affordable sounding desktop speakers, the Harman Kardon SoundStick 2. A 2.1 speaker setup that comes with a dedicated subwoofer. Since then the SoundSticks 3 came out and are priced just below $200. Did I forget to mentions the Lower East Side speakers don't include their own dedicated subwoofer? You would think it isn't fair to compare a 2.1 speaker system with the LES, but boy are you wrong. After having experienced the might of the South of Market speaker dock, the LES speakers had me smiling and amazed the second I pushed that button and my favorite music started blowing me away. The SoundSticks have certainly served me well over the years, but now I'm happy to replace them with my new favorite black and red set of speakers.
First off let's talk bass. I like my bass to have a strong presence when called for and those 4" passive bass radiators along with Audyssey's Smart Speaker technology have once again exceeding my high expectations. Lows are thunder thumpy and will make you wonder how speakers without a dedicated sub can produce such hard hitting bass. I say only Audyssey is capable of such magic. There are times when I wish these had a bass and treble adjustment knobs to better tune for personal tastes.
Overall the LES speakers have a deep, rich sound signature with very detailed and clear highs. Mids are well balanced together with the highs and have very good instrument separation without distorting at higher than normal volumes. The rumbling bass adds the heart beat that makes your music come to life. Crank these up way up high and the volume just keeps on rising until you've reached a block house party level. Seriously, these things are a beast when it comes to high volume levels without sacrificing sound quality. This also means you could easily use them for gaming and watching movies. The right amount of bass is there to pass on those explosions right into your face while the warm, detailed clarity sinks in. And by that time you're thinking about calling up Audyssey and demanding they would release a pair of headphones so you can complete your collection. You hear that Auddysey? Please make us some headphones too!
Saving space without hurting audio quality and good design at very appealing price is what should make you consider getting the Lower East Side speakers over the rest. Should you pick these up, chances are you'll be ending your tiring search for those perfect speakers. The Lower East Side are versatile, powerful, great sounding speakers in a classy body.