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Amazon Echo Sub review

Research Center: Echo Sub

While it’s fair to say that Amazon Echo devices have dominated the smart home, they’ve always been lacking in the sound quality department — until this week.

On Thursday, Amazon announced a gaggle of new Echo devices to bump up your home’s sound quality — devices that will surely make audiophiles happy.

The Echo Sub, a heavy beast of a subwoofer (available for $130 now on pre-order, shipping in October) will work with existing Alexa speakers to create a multi-room music experience that when put together, may not compete with the best, but is a respectable first step into an established and crowded market.

The Echo Sub will work with any Alexa device, but can work with the soon-to-be-released Echo Link ($200, with an unknown release date) and Echo Link Amp ($300, also with an unknown release date), which will connect your system to streaming music, among other things, and features ethernet ports and multi-room music support.

We took the Echo Sub for a quick spin to see if the sound is truly as mind-blowing as Amazon boasts.

Echo Sub: I like it

The first thing you’ll notice about the Sub is its hefty size, at least for an Echo device. At just over nine pounds, it definitely belongs on the floor just like a traditional subwoofer. Standing eight inches tall, it’s roughly the size of a gallon paint can. The charcoal fabric material surrounding the Sub is neutral and seems like it would be easy to clean, but the overall package looks squatty and pudgy, rather than elegant.

Amazon Echo Sub Hands-on Dan Baker/Digital Trends

Amazon recommends that you pair the Sub with an Echo, or the new Echo Plus announced this week to get the most out of it. Or, you can throw a couple of Echo Dots (the 3.0 versions sound much more robust and less tinny than the previous versions) together for a stereo listening experience. The Sub summons its bass from a six-inch, downwarding-firing woofer and a 100-watt class D amplifier.

Echo Sub Compared To

We were able to test out an Echo Sub that was paired with a couple of the just- announced Echo Plus devices in a living room setting, and walked away impressed. We asked Alexa to play Cardi B.’s I Like It, and were treated to a nice rumbling, room-filling bass that was prominent (as it is in the song) but also nicely balanced and not overbearing.

We changed it up and asked Alexa to play us Magic by Coldplay to see how it handled a song with less bass. All three Echos synced up perfectly and worked well together to easily fill the large room with rich sound.

We wonder why Amazon didn’t just focus on a single high-end speaker.

The Sub is part of Amazon’s Multi-Room Music ecosystem, designed to make a dent in a market dominated by the likes of Sonos and heavyweight smart speakers like the Google Home Max and Apple HomePod. Still, we wonder why Amazon didn’t just focus on a single high-end speaker, rather than forcing people to buy both the Sub and an accompanying Alexa speaker.

It does provide flexibility though. If you already own an Alexa speaker, adding the Alexa sub offers to elevate it from producing sound you can hear to sound you’ll enjoy. And if you want to take sound quality a step further, the Link and Link Amp now allow you to fold all types of speakers into the Alexa empire.

Overall, the Echo Sub shows a lot of promise, and we’re looking forward to testing out the device in our own setting to see how well it performs. We’ll update you when we get a chance to test the device more thoroughly.

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