Amazon announce Subwoofer, Stereo Amp and Chromecast rival
Amazon announces multi-room devices. Beginning of the end for Sonos?
4Amazon have announced a huge number of devices to add to their ever-growing Alexa Smart home range.
The full list includes a new Echo Dot, a second-gen Echo Plus, a new Echo Show, Echo Link Amp stereo amplifier, Echo Link stereo receiver, Echo Sub, Echo Input add-on audio device, Fire TV Recast, Echo Wall Clock, Ring Stick Up camera and Smart Plug.
For audio lovers, the most interesting new products announced were the Echo Link, Echo Link amp, Echo Input and Echo sub.
Starting with maybe the most interesting new products; the Echo Link and Echo Link Amp. The Link and Link Amp are designed to connect into a user’s existing Hi-Fi. Both come with multiple audio input and output options. The Link connects to a user’s receiver or amplifier, while the Link Amp has a built-in 60-watt dual-channel amplifier to connect directly to a set of speakers.
Unfortunately, there is no UK pricing for either device. The Echo Link will cost $199.99 in the USA and will be available later this year. The Link Amp will cost $299.99 and will be available early next year. Both support Ethernet and coaxial cables but neither has a microphone, as they’re meant to work with other Echos.
Another interesting looking device is Amazon’s, all new, Echo Sub. It’s a 100W subwoofer with the sole purpose to supply the bass for a home audio setup through its 6” down-firing speaker. It can be paired with two Echo devices for full stereo pairing, in a 2.1 set up. The sub can also pair with just one Echo device for a 1.1 type set up. Amazon has said that the Echo devices must be ‘compatible’ for this to work. It ships later this month and is available for preorders today. It costs £119.
Finally, the Amazon Echo Input lets you add Alexa to any existing speaker set up, like a smaller, cheaper Echo Link. However, the Echo Input connects to your speaker through a 3.5mm audio cable or via Bluetooth, whereas the Link connects through coax or phono. Whilst the Link is clearly meant for audio files, looking for an alternative to Sonos, the Echo Link is more of a Chromecast Audio rival.
Unlike the Echo Link, the Echo Input has microphones built in. This gives you direct access to the Alexa digital assistant, without the need for another Echo device to control it. The Input is similar to the Echo Dot, which itself can output audio over 3.5mm and Bluetooth and is controlled by voice. However, the Link, unlike the Dot, allows the speaker to be added to a multi-room music group. The Echo Input will be coming later this year, will be available in black or white and will cost £35.
What is clear from these announcements, is that Amazon is very committed to becoming the leader in smart home audio. The devices all have a definite place in a smart home and are clearly aimed at taking on the likes of Sonos, Apple and Google. The Link and Link Amp are direct competitors to Sonos. The Echo Input is a direct competitor to Google’s Chromecast Audio. And the Echo Sub, once paired with at least one New Echo Plus (£139), is a very compelling competitor to Apple’s Home Pod and Google’s Home Max.
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