If you have a house full of Amazon Echo's, and you're looking for a smart speaker that delivers higher fidelity, the $279 Amazon Echo Studio is a no brainer. It would be a fantastic speaker for the money even if it didn't have a digital assistant (Alexa) and a smart home hub (Zigbee) onboard.

The feature that sets the Echo Studio apart from not only most smart speakers but most powered speakers in general (soundbars excepted) is its support for 3D audio. Amazon achieves this in two ways: First, through the speaker's hardware design (more on that in a bit); and second, by way of its support for the object-based audio formats Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality Audio.

The Echo Studio can also handle all the more convention­al audio codecs you'd expect, including AAC, FLAC, MP3, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, as well as the less common Opus and Vorbis. Amazon outfitted the Echo Studio with an onboard DAC (digital-to-analogue converter) that can decode tracks with up to 24-bit resolution at sampling rates as high as 48kHz. The speaker has a dual-band Wi-Fi adapter onboard (2.4- and 5GHz), and it also supports Bluetooth—but not the aptX or aptX HD codecs that deliver higher fidelity via that wireless connection.

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