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  • Jordan Mladenov

Amazon Echo Studio Review



Advantages

  • Excellent audio

  • Alexa smarts

  • Hi-res audio

  • Relatively affordable

  • Works as home theater speaker


Disadvantages

  • Big

  • EQ requires some fine-tuning

  • 3D audio content is very limited

  • Sound best with Amazon Music HD



Brief info about Amazon Echo Studio

Amazon Echo devices have popularized the market with voice-activated speakers,but most of them have been criticized for their audio being average.Amazon Echo Studio aims to change all that.


The new Echo Studio has great competition from Sonos and Apple in the higher-end of the smart speaker space.However,with it's design and sound quality,it aims to be one of the best smart home speakers.


Design

Most Amazon Echo speakers look pretty similar,especially the standard Echo and the Echo Plus.Not surprisingly,the new Echo Studio continues that same design language,being cylindrical in shape and covered with a fabric mesh, it’s considerably larger than any Echo that’s gone before it.



The Amazon Echo Studio is definitely a big unit. The Echo Studio outputs 330 watts at peak, via two two-inch side-mounted mid-range speakers, a two-inch upward firing midrange speaker, a 1-inch front-facing tweeter, and a 5.25-inch downward-firing sealed woofer. Volume buttons sit on the top, along with a mic mute and Alexa-wake button, with the signature blue-light ring also present. You can also notice two cut-aways inside the Echo Studio enclosure, allowing air to flow freely to help it pump out bass at high volume.



It's size may be simultaneously an advantage.It is an advantage, because it's bigger size means better sound quality and greater bass.On the other hand,the greater the size of the speaker is,the bigger space it needs in order to be stored.


And there’s another thing to consider here too – its directional sound capabilities. As a result, you're going to need to keep a bit of space around the Echo Studio in order to take advantage of that directional sound.


Setup and Use

Before you start setting up your Echo Studio,you have to firstly download or update the Alexa app in your mobile device's app store.After you have downloaded the app,follow these steps to setup your Echo Studio.


  1. Choose a location for your Echo Studio.

  2. Select a location at your preferred listening height, and that is a minimum of 6" from the wall. It's important to have clearance on the top and sides of the speaker.

  3. Plug in your device.

  4. Open the Alexa app

  5. Go to the settings menu

  6. Select Add Device.

  7. Select Amazon Echo, and then Echo Studio.

  8. Follow the instructions to set up your device.



Performance

Producing immersive, directional audio is always going to be difficult, but doing it from a single speaker source is even more challenging. So how does it fare?


It's not without its faults, but the quality performance of the Echo Studio’s sonic is pleasantly surprising. It’s definitely a powerful speaker, absolutely booming with bass force and overall volume, and easily the best-sounding Echo speaker to date.


The speaker has more robust drivers,which finally makes it stand out alongside higher-end smart home speakers.


3D audio, comprised of a "growing library" of specially-mixed tracks is a feature exclusive to Echo Studio users who sign up for the company's new Amazon Music HD streaming service. As the name suggests, it offers Hi-Res Audio versions of the majority of its catalogue, alongside the 3D audio mixes – something that rivals like Spotify currently can't compete with. Note that in 2020 Tidal will also be offering 3D audio tracks through the Echo Studio.


So, if you request a song on the Echo Studio, and happen to be an Amazon Music HD subscriber, Alexa will pull in a version of the track in the following order of preference, where available: 3D audio > Hi-resolution > standard resolution. And, if you're on the fence about giving the service a go, a 'Best of 3D Music' taster playlist is available to all to listen to, offering about 20 tracks.


TV sound performance

The Echo Studio has the ability to easily, wirelessly pair with Amazon Fire TV device in order to bring cinematic audio to the TV experience.


If you've one of the more recent Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K models, or the Amazon Fire TV Cube, you can pair the Amazon Echo Studio to your TV streamer with just a few taps from the devices pane of the Amazon Alexa app.


If you buy the Echo Studio to upgrade from the simple speakers built in your TV,or a lowly stereo soundbar,it's a great upgrade to make.You will experience cracking,resonant bass response,excellent volume and quite a cinematic feeling.Note that that it will not feel just like a home cinema system,but it will also not be as expensive as the home cinema system.


In order for you to get the best sound experience, we advise you to put the speaker on a stand or next to your TV,unless the screen is mounted above it,as placing it within an AV rack will stifle its potential for directional audio.In other words, consider your AV placement well before use.



Alternatively,you can create a stereo pair with two Echo Studios,placing them on both sides of the TV as shown on the photo.


Conclusion

With Echo Studio, Amazon has finally made a great high-end class sound quality,which can compete with other premium speakers such as Apple and Sonos.It's ambitious, flexible, serves multiple purposes and comes at a low price point that only a company with the scale of Amazon could competitively achieve.


The speaker is packed up with great smart home technology. At its best, its 3D audio effects breathe new life into your favorite songs and that's before considering its deserving place alongside your TV, too.



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