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Alexa, turn up the bass! Amazon rolls out equalizer controls for Echo devices

Want to adjust the treble, bass or mid-range on your Echo speaker? Just ask Alexa.

Ry Crist Senior Editor / Reviews - Labs
Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a writer, a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, broadband and home networking.
Expertise Smart home technology | Wireless connectivity Credentials
  • 10 years product testing experience with the CNET Home team
Ry Crist
2 min read
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Audiophiles love to nitpick over the way their music sounds, but until now, you haven't been able to do that with any of Amazon's Echo smart speakers. I say "until now" because starting this week, Echo users will be able to tweak the treble, mid-range or bass on their smart speaker by opening the Alexa app, or by simply asking Alexa herself (provided of course that she can hear, something Alexa sometimes struggles with during music playback).

To do so, just use a command like, "Alexa, set treble to maximum," or "Alexa, decrease the mid-range," or "Alexa, turn up the bass." You can adjust each setting on a scale from -6 dB to 6 dB (e.g., "Alexa, set the treble to minus three"), and when you do so, the new sound settings will apply across all playback -- music, podcasts, audiobooks, you name it. If things sound wonky, you can always go back to the default mix by saying, "Alexa, reset equalizer."

Specifically, the new controls will work with the Amazon Echo (1st and 2nd-gen), Echo Dot (1st and 2nd-gen), Echo Plus, Echo Show and Echo Spot smart speakers.

Amazon also tells me that the new EQ controls are coming to the touchscreens on the Echo Show and Echo Spot smart speakers, so you'll able to adjust the sound with a tap or two, as well. On top of that, Amazon made the new EQ controls available to developers as part of Alexa's open software tools, so expect to see these same controls on third-party gadgets like the Sonos Beam, too.

The new in-app EQ settings are coming to Alexa users across the globe, though Amazon says that the voice controls are limited to English speakers in the US at launch, with other regions and languages still "coming soon."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Updated 2:41 PM EST on 7/23/18 to reflect that voice EQ control is limited to English-speaking customers in the US at launch.

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