If you own a recent HDTV or home theater receiver then you may have come across the name Audyssey. This company specializes in audio technology designed for movie lovers and audio buffs. Their technologies help address problems such as spikes in volume, complex room arrangements and improving sound quality at low volumes.

Besides providing technology for other company’s products, Audyssey has recently released their own digital speaker products. Their New York City inspired Lower East Side Media Speakers are designed to fit in with a computer, TV set top box, or media Center.

Designed with a retro appearance that provides a modern sound the Lower East Side Media Speakers are being marketed with a hipster ethos. This is immediately noticed with their use of Instagram style photos on their packaging and website for this product.



Audyssey ships the Lower East Side Media Speakers in a red cardboard box with images of the speaker on the front along with snapshots of Lower East Side of New York City. The back of the package lists features, specifications and box contents along with more pictures and some history about the Lower East Side.

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The speakers system comes protected between two cardboard protectors. The contents of the packaging includes the Lower East Side Media Speakers, a power supply, a 3.5 mm audio cable and a speaker interconnect cable. Sadly not included in the package is an optical cable.

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The Lower East Side Media Speakers are primarily all-black that measure 9.3” x 5” x 6” with a rounded body. A red trim wraps the around the front 1/3 of the speaker with a non-removable black grille on the front. The speakers angle upward with a metal stand with rubber grips on the sides and back to keep the speaker from sliding. The whole setup weighs in at 7 lbs.

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Found inside each speaker are a 0.75” silk-dome tweeter, a 3.5” woofer and a 4” passive bass radiator.

The back of the right speaker has a red and black interconnect jack, while the left speaker features the same jack along with 3.5 mm audio input, optical audio input and power supply connector.

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On the front of the left speaker is the power button, which also doubles as the volume control. An LED behind the grill indicates whether the speaker is in standby via a red light or on via green light. Adjacent to the power button is a 3.5 mm headphone input jack.

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These speakers feature a passive bass radiator that work in conjunction with Audyssey‘s proprietary technology to provide a sound that usually comes from a 2.1 speaker system using a subwoofer. Looking at the back of each speaker you’ll see the subwoofer like lpassive radiator; just be careful when grabbing the speakers from the back not to damage this area.

Audyssey envisioned the lower East side speakers to work with Apple TV, computers, HDTV’s, Blu-ray/DVD players, cable or satellite set top boxes, PlayStation 3, Boxee, iPods and iPhones.

Specifications:

Lower East Side Media Speakers

Looks good. Sounds better.

Inspired by the sights and sounds of New York’s Lower East Side neighborhood, the Lower East Side Media Speakers deliver exceptional clarity, deep bass and balanced sound for movies and music on your computer and media center.

Content, Meet Digital Speaker

No other speaker this size offers deeper bass, clarity or power. With both 3.5 mm line and digital optical audio inputs, use these with all your digital content. It’s the last computer speakers you’ll ever need.

Looks Good. Sounds Better

You’ll like the way the Lower East Side Media Speakers look on your desktop, but you will love the way they sound. With Audyssey Smart Speaker™ technology, the Lower East Side Media Speakers let you hear every musical detail: deep bass, warm mids and clear highs. Turn it up and you’ll be blown away by the distortion-free, powerful and precise sound. That’s the flawless audio quality that you’ve come to expect from Audyssey.

Connects to Everything

As the first speaker of its kind with both 3.5 mm line and digital optical audio inputs, the Lower East Side Media Speakers connect to all your electronics. Use them with just about any playback device: computers, Apple TVs, Blu-ray players, iPhone models or MP3 players. Wherever you want your movies and music to sound better, just add the Lower East Side Speakers.

Audyssey Smart Speaker Technology

With everything going digital, why not your speakers? The Lower East Side Media Speakers use Audyssey Smart Speaker digital technology to provide flawless sound for your computer and media center. Small speakers that can’t produce bass, speaker cabinets that make noise, distortion, or even poor sound quality at low volumes are all problems that are solved by Audyssey Smart Speaker technology.

Bass Lovers Unite

If you think you need a massive subwoofer to get bass from your speakers, think again. The Lower East Side Media Speakers are designed with a passive bass radiator and Audyssey’s proprietary technology to play deeper bass than anything else its size. Audyssey redefines low frequency reproduction. We don’t boost the bass and distort the sound; we actually enhance the performance of the driver to give you deeper sounds. Nothing else does this, it’s actually pretty impressive, so take your favorite bass laden track and take the LES Media Speakers for a rattling low frequency test drive.

Just Like Mom Used to Make

Mom knows the best baked goods are made from scratch; we design every piece of our speakers in-house. Starting with custom-designed drivers, our engineers and designers work together to design the perfect cabinet for them. Then our audio software team takes over with more custom technology used during playback. It can change the speakers’ capability on the fly to better reproduce whatever music or movie you are enjoying. This is what makes our speakers smart, from design to the home, technology is providing better sound. It is an innovative approach done only by Audyssey.

Works With

  • Apple TV
  • Desktop, laptop and notebook computers
  • HDTVs
  • Blu-ray/DVD Players
  • Cable/Satellite Boxes
  • PS3
  • Boxee
  • Videogame consoles
  • Set top boxes
  • iPod and iPhone Models
  • Mobile phones and PDAs with music players
  • All products with 3.5 mm outputs
  • All products with digital optical outputs

Specifications

  • Two .75” silk-dome tweeters
  • Two 3.5” woofers
  • Two 4” passive bass radiators
  • Audyssey Smart Speaker audio technology
  • Digital optical audio input
  • Analog 3.5 mm line input
  • 3.5 mm headphone output
  • Easy access volume control
  • Automatic standby mode

Price: $249.99




For testing I hooked the Lower East Side Media Speakers into a 2nd generation Apple TV via the optical input, an iMac using the analog 3.5 mm jack and a PS3 using the optical.

Appearance wise the Lower East Side are a nice looking set of speakers. Some people like the retro look, some don’t I personally found the red stripe around the speaker makes it stand out more than I prefer with my speakers. Also the interconnect cable is noticeable due to the red component of its black and red wiring; this makes the wire standout more if not hidden out of sight.

They are solidly constructed and have some heft to them for their small size.

Of course the way to judge speakers is not by how they look but how they sound. I have seen plenty of sexy looking speakers sound like crap and vice versa.

To test out the sound of the Lower East Side Media Speakers a wide variety of musical styles was played ranging from the top 40 my kids love to my heavier rock and metal with styles in between. All music genres sounded fantastic as the LES produced a deep rich sound. The bass was punchy with a warm mid range and crisp highs.

The passive bass along with Audyssey‘s proprietary technology was easily able to handle the bass heavy tracks such as Pink Floyd’s Money, Tool’s Forty Six & 2 and the speaker straining Everlasting Light by the Black Keys.

Besides music movie playback sounded great with the Lower East Side Media Speakers; whether it was Cars 2 or Lord of the Rings the LES sounded as terrific. One thing to keep in mind is if streaming a movie in 5.1 from iTunes you’ll need to turn off Dolby Digital in the settings of the Apple TV. This will stream the track in stereo.

If you need loud speakers then the LES can easily handle the task. Once the volume knob is past ½ then some minor distortion can be noticed, but unless you are throwing a party you’ll never need to get that loud.

Unfortunately if you wish to wall mount these speakers you’ll need to place them on a shelf. Also the stand is not adjustable so they will always aim up at an approximate 15 degree angle.

In terms of sound adjustment, any equalization must be done on the playback device end as there are no treble or bass adjustments found on the Lower East Side Media Speakers. Also missing is a remote control.

My favorite feature of the LES is its ability to attach to the Apple TV via the optical input giving you a remote music system when used in conjunction with the Apple Remote App on your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. The TV does not need to be on when listening to music on the Apple TV through this setup.


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Conclusion:

Audyssey is a company who is specializes in audio and their Lower East Side Media Speakers showcases their technology and ability to pack a rich sound experience in a bookshelf speaker system. Don’t let their bookshelf size and retro appearance of the speakers fool you as they showcase a rich full soundstage. Acoustically I don’t have any complaints about the Lower East Side Media Speakers.

For its price point the LES is comparable to the Antec Soundscience Rockus 3D which I have reviewed in the past. Overall I prefer the sound of the Lower East Side Media Speakers. If you are looking for an outstanding set of speakers to pair with a game console, media player or computer then the Lower East Side Media Speakers is a fantastic option.

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Pros:
+Terrific sound
+Retro design
+Well constructed
+Analog and digital enabled

Cons:
-Not wall mountable
-No built in equalization ability
-Lack of remote
-Does not include optical cable

Grades:  
Overall score 9 10 thumb1 Review of Lower East Side Media Speakers
Design score 9 10 thumb1 Review of Lower East Side Media Speakers
Performance score 9 10 thumb1 Review of Lower East Side Media Speakers

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