Amazon Echo Studio
Amazon have very much upped the ante with the Amazon Echo Studio. With support for Dolby Atmos and Sony's 360 Reality Audio, not to mention five strategically positioned speakers (two side-mounted midrange, one upward-firing midrange, a front-facing tweeter and a
Amazon have very much upped the ante with the Amazon Echo Studio. With support for Dolby Atmos and Sony's 360 Reality Audio, not to mention five strategically positioned speakers (two side-mounted midrange, one upward-firing midrange, a front-facing tweeter and a downward-firing woofer), different parts of the music you're listening to will approach your ears from different directions, resulting in an immersive, 3D audio experience. The Echo Studio – like Apple's HomePod and Google's Home Max – will also automatically analyse the acoustics in the room and optimise its playback accordingly.
For many, though, the most attractive feature of the Echo Studio will be its support for highresolution audio – which ties in rather nicely with the fact that Amazon has stopped charging extra for lossless music streaming. Being able to listen to Cadaveric Incubator in glorious HD is something we all aspire to, and with the speaker pumping out a wall-rattling 330W, we can share the experience with our next-door neighbours.
To round off the Echo Studio's feature set, its aforementioned support for Dolby Atmos means that the speaker doubles-up as an effective home theatre system, saving you a few dollars on a dedicated soundbar. And with a Zigbee hub also on board, you can connect your various smart home devices to it and control them with your voice. So, dim the lights and let's see what this thing can do.
To test out the Echo Studio's audio prowess, we selected a bit of classic Bon Jovi. As Let It Rock – the opening track from Slippery When Wet – emerged from the speaker, our first reaction was surprise at how spacious the cod-classical keyboards sounded. Indeed, throughout the track the mids and highs sounded clear and precise. It was only when the bass kicked in that a modicum of doubt crept in.
It was by no means bad, but it was a little overbaked for our liking. On the whole, we were impressed with the experience, which was tall, roomy and immersive. The 3D sound wasn't an unmitigated success, and there were moments when parts of the song were slightly lost in the mix. But we were left with no doubt that this is the best-sounding Echo speaker we've heard so far - and a great option for music fans.