The Amazon Echo Studio smart speaker is, as the name suggests, all about quality audio and as such this can playback big bassy audio with Hi-res file support. It's the most powerful Echo speaker yet.
Amazon Echo Studio: What you need to know
- $199 price
- Alexa assistant
- Powerful, Hi-res sound
The Amazon Echo Studio goes big in both design and sound as the leader in the Echo range when it comes to quality. As such this is almost double the price of the Echo, but that extra money puts this speaker in a whole different class.
Not only is there plenty of hardware to push out powerful bass but there's also the smarts to support Dolby Atmos 3D and hi-res audio. The competition at this price is minimal as the Google Home Max, Apple HomePod and Sonos Move are all increasingly a hundred dollars more respectively. That puts this Echo in a very good position.
Alexa is running the show as the voice assistant which not only offers controls of the speaker and smart home but also answers questions and more. But is this the speaker to set Amazon apart?
Amazon Echo Studio: Design and build
- 5.25-inch sub
- 3.5kg weight
- 24-bit DAC
The Amazon Echo Studio packs in a serious amount of hardware in that 8.1-inch (26cm) tall body, which is why it weighs in at a mammoth 7.7lbs (3.5kg). Inside are three 2-inch midrange speakers and a 1-inch tweeter backed by a huge 5.25-inch down-firing woofer. This has a bass aperture, which can be seen stylishly cutting a hole through the body of the speaker, to enhance that bass for maximum effect. All that equates to a hefty 330W of power pumped out from this speaker.
But there's more room in there, enough for a 24-bit DAC too. That means this is able to play Hi-res audio of many kinds, but more on that below. Thanks to 802.11ac Wi-Fi even huge files zip across wirelessly to this speaker easily. You've also got Bluetooth onboard. Don't like wireless? There's 3.5mm line-in should you want to use this to play from a device like a turntable.
The smooth rounded finish is understated with a material mesh that helps it blend into any room. The LED light ring for Alexa controls is instantly recognizable as Echo while the rest of this speaker screams a far more premium message. On top is a touch control panel which looks great although be wary as this collects finger smudges easily. There is also a built-in smart home hub for anyone that wants to use Zigbee compatible smart devices directly. No? Didn't think so.
Amazon Echo Studio: Features
- Auto calibration
- Dolby Atmos 3D
- 24-bit audio
The Amazon Echo Studio is packed with features aimed at getting the best out of that broad array of speakers crammed into the body of this beast. At the heart of that is the 24-bit DAC backed by a 100 kHz bandwidth. This is able to carry out the digital-to-analogue audio conversion of many files from AAC and MP3 to FLAC, Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality Audio.
Wherever this is placed the speaker will automatically analyze its surrounds and how the sound bounces off everything around. By using the built-in microphones the speaker will adjust equalizer calibration, while playing, to create the best sound balance possible.
While the Echo Studio works well as a stand alone speaker it can also be used with another to create a stereo pair. This is ideal if you want this for your TV as it supports all the kinds of Dolby and also works with a sub to give true 2.1 surround.
Alexa makes this a wonder with far too many features to list here. Some choice ones include voice controlled music playback, multi-room support, voice calls, intercom, questions answered, routes planned, weather checked and plenty more. Smart home controls for lights, thermostats and more are all just a vocal command away too.
Amazon Echo Studio: Performance
- Huge bass
- 3D sound
- Superb voice controls
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The Echo Studio certainly isn't lacking on bass, in fact you couldn't ask for more. Tracks are punchy while there is still clarity in the mid-range and everything is immersive, filling most spaces easily. Crack this up and you'll have more than enough volume even for a party.
The only issue is perhaps that the bass can be a little too overpowering. It's not bad, it just doesn't sit as well with the composition as some competing speakers do with their bass.
The 3D audio is a great offering and that Dolby support does really work. Listen to a live track from the Amazon Music HD collection and you'll feel like there's a stage and you're at the gig in the crowd. But there could be more content to really take advantage of this. Also for Hi-res audio tracks there is very little that uses the full 24-bit DAC, most sampling at the lower 16-bit rate.
While the 3D is a nice touch, and Hi-res audio is compelling, the bass balance can be off to the point where other - admittedly more expensive - smart speakers deliver a more refined sound.
Alexa performs well as ever, picking up what you're saying even when music is loud. Most tasks are carried out with understanding although terminology sometimes must be accurate to get the desired result.
Should I buy the Amazon Echo Studio?
For really big boomy audio backed by the Alexa smart assistant, the Echo Studio is one of the best speakers out there. It uniquely offers Dolby Atmos 3D and Sony 360 Reality audio support, uses a 24-bit DAC for Hi-res audio and can be used as part of a stereo pair.
You won't lack power, nor smarts from Alexa, but audiophiles may want to spend a little more for a perfectly refined audio finish.
Amazon Echo Studio: Verdict
The Amazon Echo Studio is a Hi-res audio wonder, offering powerful and clear audio playback that, for the price, is near class-leading. This is a huge jump up from the Echo making the price jump well justified.
The competition might offer more refined sound but then the price jumps up considerably. This offers a design that says high-end and has audio to back that all with the Alexa smart assistant offering a huge array for features which grow more expansive by the day.