If you want to have an Alexa-powered smart speaker, superb audio performance and would like the option to use your speaker as part of a home cinema audio setup, the Amazon Echo Studio is the perfect choice. As such, this is one of the best smart speakers (opens in new tab) you can buy right now, and is certainly the best the Echo range has to offer.
This speaker churns out a massive 330W of sound, making it one of the most powerful smart speakers out there. Pair two of the Echo Studio together and you have a stereo setup fit for a home cinema experience that can really keep you on the edge of your seat. This model also has Zigbee built-in for great smart home control, backed by Alexa, which offers superb compatibility across devices.
To get the best out of this speaker you'll need Amazon Music HD, which provides 3D audio. However, you can still use lower-quality streamers to get a decent performance out of this smart speaker.
Amazon Echo Studio: Design
- 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
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 you buy the Amazon Echo Studio?
The Amazon Echo Studio is a large and powerful smart speaker with Zigbee built-in for great Alexa controls. It also works as a pair for an amazing home audio experience. It's not the cheapest and does require a subscription to Amazon Music HD to get the most out of it, but if you don't mind the large size, this is a superb option.
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.
If this product isn't for you
If you're on team Apple and want a Siri-based smart speaker then look no further than the Apple HomePod (opens in new tab). Sure, you're limited to the Apple ecosystem more than other smart speakers but if that and the price aren't an issue, you're getting a serious setup here. Not only does this look fantastic but the audio performance is superb and voice recognition works fantastically.
If you want to use Google Assistant and don't want to break the bank then the Google Nest Audio is a great option. This well-designed smart speaker fits into any room's decor well, while the far-field microphones make for excellent voice recognition and controls, even in larger and noisier spaces. The audio quality isn't the best, but for the price this does offer a lot.
For supreme audio quality and a fantastic design that can be grown for home-wide audio coverage, the Sonos One (opens in new tab) is a great pick. Thanks to dual Class-D amps you will hear the difference and see why you pay more for this speaker. You can pick between Alexa and Google Assistant for voice controls and can even add more speakers to make a 4.1 surround sound system. All that, and fantastic compatibility, make this a top smart home speaker.