Amazon Echo Link: Multi-Room Music Meets Alexa

/ 12:58 AM February 21, 2019

Going by Amazon statistics, the chances of you owning and using at least one Alexa-enabled device in your home are very high. That being said, the Amazon Echo Link is here to work as a literal connection between your home theatre, stereo, and your Alexa supported device. We review Amazon Echo Link and highlight the several digital and analog components. These controls give you power over your music by allowing you to control the output, volume, and location of your multimedia.  

FEATURES

  • Review Price- $199
  • Dimensions – 7.9 x 6 x 3 inches
  • Weight – 1.9 pounds

DISCUSSION

The Amazon Echo Link is a small box with a volume knob that’s designed to connect to your current speakers and AV receiver. The Echo Link operates using Alexa, therefore if you have an Alexa enable device such as the Echo Dot speaker,  it’s possible to control the system using voice commands (hands free). You also have the option of regulating volume, music choice, and multi-room playback on your stereo through Alexa or Echo.

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The Amazon Link features an extensive range of connection options, offering optical, coax, and analog inputs. The subwoofer manipulation is easy to access with the sturdy volume dial on the front of the device. These various connection options blend together to make the Link a sort of “audio swiss-army-knife.”

Due to its lack of microphones (that are common to the usual Alexa Echo speakers), The Echo Link is essentially an audio controller with multi-input and multi-output features. To truly enjoy its features, you would need an Echo speaker or output device.

Using the Echo Link in conjunction with another Echo device or speaker gives you the ability to setup voice-operated music systems all over your home. Once you have the device integrated, you are able to listen to your programs from anywhere inside or even outside of your house.

However, if you’re connecting the Echo Link to passive speakers, you will need an amplifier or receiver to connect to.

The Amazon Echo Link also allows you stream high-fidelity music via your headphones.

Setting up the Echo Link is pretty straight forward. First, you connect the Echo Link to your receiver or amplifier and plug it in. Use the Alexa app to connect to the internet, then connect another piece of audio equipment.  Finally, use an Alexa-enabled Echo device on your network to command Alexa to play music.

A popular usage of the Amazon Link is the multi-room audio feature. Just by connecting an audio system to the Echo Link in one room, music can be streamed to the other Alexa devices or speakers in different parts of the house (or even every room).

The Amazon Echo Link effortlessly makes a home for itself in your stereo system setup. Its outputs and inputs offer fluid syncing with your current digital devices, letting you listen to/ stream music from your preferred source on your preferred system. The Link is also cleverly designed to suit almost any audio rack or shelf.

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Still, there is an issue with the Echo Link and that is volume control. Almost every person purchasing the Link would already have a volume button on the device or speakers they connect it to, thereby rendering the Echo Link’s volume knob useless and redundant. It is possible that the knob exists for the purpose of Alexa’s volume commands.

However, if we were to suggest features to replace the volume button or exist alongside it on the front panel, we would consider a display feature or an input selector to be of value.

Both features would have more use than the knob, and would likely be a welcomed addition for Link users. For now, the device seems constrained to digital inputs and app controlled streaming. The digital input ability of the Echo Link was a brilliant move by Amazon, and we hope that the next version of the device will have useful upgrades as stated above.

Another problem with the Amazon Echo Link is its lack of support for TV/video connections, casting to multi-room music from a line-in or Bluetooth input. The Link’s ethernet port supports network connectivity only. This is another aspect we expect Amazon to look into.

CONCLUSION

Apart from its seemingly redundant volume button, lack of TV/video connection, and lack of Bluetooth compatibility, the Echo Link is an interesting release from Amazon due to its multi-room music abilities and high-fidelity music streaming for headphones.

Audiophiles will find that the Link device meets their music needs, and general users that have an Echo device will appreciate the features as well.

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