Amazon is finally getting serious about high-end home audio. The company may have a slew of Echo smart speakers, that basically get the job done, but something has always been amiss – all its Echo smart speakers, even though they’re reasonably priced, lack compelling audio. At a time when products like the Apple HomePod and Google Home Max exist. Not to mention, Sonos has been bringing high-end audio to the masses for some time now.
All this changed on Wednesday night, when Amazon took the wraps off the Echo Studio, that has seemingly been designed to “deliver an immersive studio-quality audio experience,” at typical Amazon Echo prices. Simply put, the Echo Studio is Amazon’s most high-end Echo smart speaker ever, and the company is not being subtle about it – it is Amazon’s answer to the Apple HomePod and Google Home Max. “Echo Studio is our best-sounding Echo smart speaker yet,” Amazon says, and it has a feature set to back that claim.
The Echo Studio is the world’s first smart speaker to support 3D audio – and it supports Dolby Atmos and Sony’s 360 Reality Audio out-of-the-box as well. There are a total of five drivers on-board the Echo Studio - three 2-inch midrange speakers (that fire out of the sides and straight up), a 1-inch tweeter, and a 5.25-inch woofer. All of this is powered by an amp that peaks out at 33 watts, plus there’s also a 24-bit DAC “for high-res, lossless music playback.”
That’s the whole point of the Echo Studio after all. The Echo Studio will play a key role in ushering in the company’s newly launched Amazon Music HD streaming service that promises access to over 50 million songs in more than double the bitrate of rival streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music - Amazon Music HD isn’t available in India at this point of time though.
Being an Amazon smart speaker of course means that the Echo Studio is also based on Alexa and responds to voice commands. There are seven microphones in all here, but they do more than just listening to voice commands. “Echo Studio also automatically senses the acoustics of your space and fine-tunes audio playback to deliver optimal sound - no matter where you put the device in the room.” A Zigbee smart home hub completes the package.
The design is familiar if you’ve crossed paths with any of the recent Echo smart speakers.
The Echo Studio is now available for pre-order in India and will be available for buying later this year for Rs 22,999.