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Product Review: Amazon Echo Sub

You may remember Amazon recently announcing a lot of new devices in a massive press event. Well out of all of the devices that they announced there really where only a few that I was excited about. One of the announced products that I was excited about however was the Amazon Echo Sub, as I loved the idea of being able to build a proper Alexa based audio system and the bass was always something that was lacking. Since receiving my Amazon Echo Sub I have spent a great deal of time listening to it and adjusting its placement and even setting it up with different Echo¬†devices as well as creating a 2.1 audio system with two Amazon Echos and the Amazon Echo Sub. I was pleased with the sound quality delivered and the functionality gained. Let’s take a look at my thoughts together.

good

  • Adds much needed low-end sound to Amazon Echo Devices
  • Small size can easily be hidden out of site
  • Frustration-free setup was a breeze

bad

  • Issuing a command to Alexa while playing music mutes the audio from the main Alexa but does not mute the Sub

The first thing I noticed about the Amazon Echo Sub is the build quality. Out of the box, the Amazon Echo Sub looks much like a large second generation Amazon Echo with its cylindrical shape and cloth wrapped exterior. The other thing you will notice is its weight to size ratio. The Echo Sub is small yet considerably heavy which when talking about a subwoofer is a good thing. the weight talks to the driver’s magnet size and build quality while the size speaks to the higher end materials used in the magnet which allow you to reduce the size. Now the Echo Sub utilizes only a six-inch driver which I actually prefer but some will argue that with subwoofers bigger is better. I disagree as I find larger subwoofers to be less accurate in sound reproduction and can easily get sloppy.

On top of introducing products like the Echo Sub during Amazon’s press event, they also announced some quality of live improvements. One of these, Quality of life improvements was “frustration-free setup” and it really showed when setting up the Echo Sub. This was a great start to using this new product. Not having to struggle with anything really other than selecting to pair a sub in the Alexa App. Starting the process of using the Echo Sub in this manner I think put me in a more relaxed mood than if I would have actually had to do more to get it set up and really started things off on the right foot.

Now that we have gotten design and setup out of the way lets talk about what we really care about which is the sound. I went in a little excited but skeptical that the sound quality would be where it should be. My skepticism as it turns out was without warrant and the sound quality was rather good. The Echo Sub could accurately reproduce the low end of various songs across all genres I tested. In addition to covering the bass, the Echo Sub also removed all of the bass reproduction needs from the Echo itself and even enabled a graphic equalizer in the Amazon Alexa App which could be used to fine tune the sound of not only the Echo Sub but also the Echo that it was paired with. This leads me to a question, however, “Why don’t we have equalizer control without the Echo Sub?” I can not answer that and actually would like to see that feature added but not sure Amazon would add it as it may hinder sales of the Echo Sub.

The sound quality gets even better when your Echo Sub is paired with two Amazon Echos in 2.1 channel mode. I was surprised that when paired together you do not just get mirror image sound out of both the Echos but rather a distinct left and right audio channel. This combined with the low end provided by the Echo Sub lead to an excellent audio experience.

Now one thing I did not like about using the Echo Sub was that if I were listening to music and then decided I needed to ask Alexa a question, she would not mute the Echo Sub. This I found annoying and it is something that will continue to annoy me until hopefully someday when Amazon fixes this as it is most certainly a bug.

Overall Rating

four-star

Overall I am impressed with the Echo Sub and feel it is something that should have been added to the Echo product mix. However, if you are an audiophile you can do better with a dedicated audio system with an Echo Dot as a source. I am not sure high-fidelity sound is really the market for Echo devices and I think sales will suffer because of this. However, if you are for the most part okay with the sound from your Amazon Echo and only looking to add a little boost in the low end the Echo Sub might just be for you. I would like to see better integration between Amazon Echo and Amazon Fire TV devices as a feel like with that integration would could see the Echo Sub and even Echo 2.1 channel setups thrive, I for one would love to pair two Amazon Echos and an Echo Sub to my Amazon Fire TV Cube and get my sound through them. Perhaps we will get that functionality in the future.

Have you added an Amazon Echo Sub to your Echo ecosystem? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Mike View All

I am passionate about the IoT and connected devices. Using connectivity to automate our lives will empower civilization to achieve greatness.

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