Amazon echo studio reviewThere’s a world of choice in the smart speaker market. Depending which digital assistant you favour, and what kind of quality you’re looking for, you can get smart speakers from inexpensive and pocket-sized to big and beautiful sounding. In that high quality audio category, we’ve got a new entrant; the Amazon Echo Studio.

What is Amazon Echo Studio?

Amazon Echo Studio is a smart speaker you control with your voice. It’s designed to be much higher fidelity and better sounding than the typical Amazon speakers. The Studio has three 51 mm mid-range speakers, one 25 mm tweeter, and one 133 mm woofer with bass aperture to maximize bass output. Echo Studio also has Dolby Atmos processing, which, generally speaking, adds a more enveloping sound, including overhead channels for more 3D soundscape.

Setting up Amazon Echo Studio

Amazon echo studio reviewGetting your Amazon Echo devices set up is even easier than it ever was. Amazon appears to have streamlined the process, so you’re hardly needed at all!

Plug the Studio in, and the device will actually tell you to take the next step: Download the Alexa App. Create (or sign into) your account.

Once that’s done, you’ll likely get a pop up, as I did, that shows your Studio ready and waiting to be set up. Click ‘Continue’ and the app will help you connect to your Wi-Fi network. If you’ve already got Echo devices set up, it will connect automatically for you to your previous Wi-Fi settings. Give it a minute to make the magic happen, and you’ll get confirmation that it’s done.

Next, the Studio will want to calibrate the sound for the room it’s in. The app will share placement tips (6” from walls, with clearance around it). You’ll name that room, and then the device will conduct a sound test by emitting a tone that helps measure the acoustics in the room. That takes seconds, and then you’re ready to listen.

There are controls on top for volume and to turn the mic off.

Amazon echo studio reviewListening options: Aux 3.5mm jack

If you’re old school, you can plug in nearly any device that has a 3.5mm aux jack. Plug and play.

Listening Options: Bluetooth

You can connect to your Echo Studio using Bluetooth to wirelessly stream from any Bluetooth enabled device, like your phone, tablet, or computer—or a Bluetooth-enabled TV! But we’ll get to that.

Listening options: Amazon Music (free or subscription)

Amazon Music is a great music service, and you can listen for free to a limited selection of music, or pay the monthly subscription fee for a much bigger catalogue.

Listening Options: Spotify or other streaming services

Amazon Echo Studio is compatible with other music services too. Stream songs from Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, and more. You’ll need to issue your commands correctly, so say, Alexa, Play {whatever} to Studio on Spotify.

Amazon echo studio reviewThe power of a personal digital assistant

Of course when you add an Amazon Echo smart speaker to your home, like the Echo Studio, you’re getting not just a speaker, but a powerful digital assistant. Amazon Echo devices can do a variety of smart home tasks from setting timers and alarms, to controlling smart lights and smart home gadgets like thermostats and appliances. Ask Alexa to play music, answer questions, read the news, check the weather, set alarms, control compatible smart devices, and play Audible audiobooks too.

Sound quality of Echo Studio

Let’s get to the big question; how does the Echo Studio sound?

It’s definitely got a noticeably fuller audio picture than something like the Echo Plus, for example, which has been my main Alexa-enabled Echo device. I also recently got the Yamaha YAS-209 sound bar and subwoofer with Alexa, and that sounds really great. The Studio is very similar in terms of quality. You’re getting much more resonant, clearer, and crisper sounding audio. The Studio doesn’t lean to the high or low at all, and it really provides just a lovely, high quality audio experience.

Bass quality on Echo Studio

But what about the bass? The Echo Plus I have was paired with an Echo Sub, designed to bring in more low end. But with Echo Studio, you don’t need extra horsepower or components. The bass is full, rich, and rumbling, and I was very happy with it when  listening to bass heavy tracks.

Dolby Atmos: is it noticeable?

Amazon’s Echo Studio is the first voice-enabled smart speaker that enables users to listen in immersive formats Dolby Atmos and Sony’s 360 Reality Audio.

Dolby Atmos is technology that gives you a more 3D audio picture, mainly from the addition of overhead audio channels. Amazon says the Echo Studio has Dolby Atmos, but will you really notice it? Maybe. If you pair your Studio with your Amazon Fire TV Stick or Cube, and you watch TV or movies made with Dolby Atmos audio tracks, maybe. But on regular music listening, not so much.

With that said, they remastered and released the Beatles Abbey Road in Dolby Atmos surround, and it’s available only on Amazon Echo — ask Alexa to play it for you.

I listened and did feel like the audio was somehow more dimensional… it definitely felt like it was coming from a bigger space than just the Studio. It sounded really great, intricate, and detailed.

Connect Studio to Fire TV for improved sound

Want better sound from your TV? You can pair Echo Studio to Fire TV Cube (2nd Gen) or Fire TV Stick 4K for better sound (it does not work with older generations of Fire TV Stick).

How to pair Amazon Echo Studio to Fire TV Cube

Getting your Studio paired to your Fire TV Cube is easy. Go to the Alexa App and choose Devices. First Select your Studio and assign it to a room, if you haven’t done this already.

Select your Fire TV Cube or compatible Stick. You’ll see an option for Connected Devices-Speaker, and it’s likely set to Built-in Speaker. Click Change and then you can select a different speaker or group of speakers. I connected Fire TV Cube to my Living Room speakers for bigger sound all around.

You can also create a stereo pair for your Studios or other Echo devices.

Amazon echo studio reviewAmazon Echo Studio: additional features

The Echo Studio has a number of special features, and some of them you will find on other Echo smart speakers.

Intercom: Use your Alexa devices like an intercom and talk to any room in the house with Drop In and Announcements features. To use this feature you need at least two Echo devices, and you just say “Hey assistant, drop in to living room”, or office, or wherever the speaker is. It opens a two-way talk feature that’s handy and means you don’t need to shout all over the house.

Privacy: Designed to protect your privacy – Built with multiple layers of privacy controls, including a microphone off button that electronically disconnects the mics.

Overall review of Amazon Echo Studio speaker

Overall, the Amazon Echo Studio is a great sounding speaker with a lot of versatility. It’s a smart digital assistant for home control and help, and you can connect it to your Amazon TV devices too. It’s easy to set up and operate with voice commands, and like most of the Echo and Alexa gadgets, it’s infinitely helpful.

Find Amazon Echo Studio at Best Buy.