Amazon’s top of the range returns with a vengeance

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For years Amazon has won millions of homes with its Amazon Echo smart speaker. From the smallest Echo Dot, through the Echo “without a surname”, to the top of its range, the Echo Studio, the company has been able to position its devices as the “ideal companion” for all kinds of needs and user profiles. , play for it with two winning cards: quality and prices below what its direct competitors offer in the same market segments.

In this case, Amazon’s most advanced speaker it competes head to head at a price of 200 euros, with the now defunct Apple HomePod and the Sonos One in the field of smart speakers; and with a varied number of “non-intelligent” speakers that range between 150 and 400 euros. Its first generation, presented in 2019, quickly positioned itself as one of the best alternatives for “audiophiles” who also wanted to have the features that Amazon’s intelligent assistant can offer.

Its second generation now reaches our newsroom equipped with all the features that made it an excellent speaker in 2019 and with some novelties, the most interesting in this case is its compatibility with Dolby Atmos and the update of ultra HD spatial audio technology, which according to the manufacturer provides us with “a more direct sound, with greater amplitude, clarity and presence, for an enveloping perception”.

Available for the first time in white, it is worth noting its combined input of 3.5 mm and the Toslink mini-optics that we can connect, for example, to our smartphone, CD player or even a turntable. It is something that was already included in the previous generation and, if we asked to offer RCA connectivity as another option, we find it more than interesting for those users who are increasingly abandoning traditional audio brands to start looking. example, in increasingly competitive Chinese companies. But perhaps even more interesting is what this device allows us to do when we connect it.

In the event that we acquire a second Amazon Echo Studio, we can connect them to each other and create a true high quality stereo sound system in our living room, at a really reasonable price. If we also have a Fire TV device, we can likewise set up a Home Cinema system that we will have little to blame. We will find few sound bars with that price-quality ratio. Rather the complete opposite.

In the field of home automation, it maintains its compatibility with ZigBee as a center from which you control everything from the thermostat to the smart lock or the surveillance cameras in our home. However, a few days ago the company announced in a statement that a large part of its Amazon Echo range (among which this Studio is included) would be updated to give support for Matterwhich will increase its compatibility with all types of devices known as the Internet of Things.

hardware and more

Amazon’s review of the speaker actually retains many of the features that the original model had: if something works, don’t touch it too much. In this sense, both the dimensions (206 x 175 mm) and the weight (3.5 Kg) are the same. We wished that Amazon increased the size and weight a little in order to further reduce vibrations and why not, the diameter of some components? For asking not to stay.

That the basis of the construction is the same, justifies in fact that the internal components have not changed either. That is, we still have three midrange speakers of 51 mm (2”), a tweeter of 1 25 mm (1”) and a woofer of 1 133 mm (5.25”) with a bass opening. The truth is that considering the size of the box, we can’t ask for much more from Amazon in this regard and, in fact, from any other manufacturer that moves in this price range . Amazon Echo Studio Pro speaker for 500 euros in 2024? We wrote it in our letter to the Magi.

We find an improvement on the other hand in the DAC, which has grown in the capacity to process audio without loss. In this sense, the new one from Amazon is compatible with FLAC, MP3, AAC, Opus, Vorbis, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos, Sony 360 Reality Audio/MPEG-H; and CD-quality (16-bit) and high-resolution formats up to 24-bit. This means that it supports the highest quality formats that platforms such as Amazon Music itself and Apple Music already offer.. On the other hand, in this new review, we wished that Jeff Bezos’ company worked with partners like Qbuz or Tidal who are committed to offering their users audio of the highest quality. A solution for some? Being able to connect a multimedia server or NAS audio to its input port.

It is equally interesting that Echo Studio has support for bluetooth both to receive audio from other devices (such as our computer) and to send it to other Bluetooth speakers, so the possibilities of listening to audio in this sense are multiplied.

Audio quality and Alexa

As can be expected considering what we already knew about this device, what we finally find from Amazon is a detailed, dynamic and distortion-free midrange and treble sound, very much in line with what we can find in more expensive speakers. . .

With a maximum power of 330 W, we will have no problem when it comes to “filling with sound” quite large spaces, which are ideal for use in rooms up to 40 square meters. It is true that at maximum power, on certain tracks the deepest bass tends to present some distortion, but it is a situation that should not really concern most of the potential audience for such a product. In any case, and if this can become a problem for certain people, Amazon sells it Echo Sub, which can be combined with one or two Amazon Echo Studios for an extra 100W of power to access that deeper bass in full quality.

From the Alexa application on our phone, Amazon also offers us the possibility to adjust the Echo Studio audio with a small equalizer in which we can “work” with low, medium and high tones. And although it is certainly interesting, it is perhaps too basic for enthusiasts. In a future update of the application it would be interesting to be able to work with different pre-configured profiles.

As for its compatibility with Dolby Atmos, so far it depends a lot on the offer, which, in reality, is not much if we consider the huge catalog of songs that have services like Amazon Music. In the same way, it is our opinion that the spatial audio is a characteristic, which is enjoyed when watching a movie than when listening to music, and creates a feeling of a certain “unreality” on some occasions. Do not forget that the original recording will be 90% of the time in stereo (when not in Mono for the oldest) and spatial audio is still a layer of synthetic post-processing.

If we talk about its compatibility with Alexa, the micro has much more sensitivity than other smart speakers of the brand, so even when the music is loud it detects the magic word without a problem. Little more to add in this area beyond the fact that in reality, most users who buy the latest from Amazon will do so more for its aspect as a music player than for his ability to hold long conversations with his assistant or try his different. skills.

conclusions

With the new generation of Echo Studio, Amazon shows that it still has one of the best speakers (smart or not) in its price range. It is true that although the main novelties of this revision are above all aesthetic, we find greater compatibility with formats no loss and an update to the connectivity options.

In any case, they are not enough to justify a change in case you already have an Echo Studio 2019, but it is certainly a highly recommended purchase for those who want to enjoy their music without complications and at the highest quality.

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