Amazon’s smart speakers may have been some of the first voice assistant-enabled speakers to hit the market, but they haven’t always received rave reviews for audio quality… which would be fine if we weren’t talking about a product you’re likely going to use to listen to music.
Now Amazon is expanding its Echo speaker lineup with several new models that could help the company compete in the premium speaker space alongside Apple, Google, and Sonos.
Interestingly, rather than sell one high-end smart speaker, Amazon is offering a range of cheaper options that you can pair with your existing devices to bring high quality audio to your smart speaker system.
First up is the Amazon Echo Sub, a $130 Alexa-enabled 100W, 6 inch subwoofer. As leaked yesterday, the Echo Sub is pretty much exactly what we expected: it’s a speaker that you can pair with one or two other Echo devices to get 1.1 or 2.1 channel audio with much more bass.
Echo Link Amp
This is a 60 watt amplifier that lets you bring Amazon Echo/Alexa functionality to your existing home stereo system.
Interestingly, it doesn’t actually have a microphone. Instead the idea is that you’ll control audio playback using other Echo devices, while the Echo Amp will connect your speakers to the internet so Alexa can control audio playback on your speakers.
You can use an Echo, Echo Dot, Alexa app on your phone, or just about any other Alexa-and-mic enabled device for voice controls.
The Echo Amp will hit the streets in 2019 for $300.
Or for $200 you can get a device that’s not actually an amplifier, but which connects to your existing amp or powered speakers.
Like the Echo Amp, there’s no built-in mic on the Link.
This model should be available by the end of 2018.