Amazon Echo Link and Echo Link Amp let Alexa power real audio gear

Priced at $199 and $299, they undercut the prices of traditional AV gear from the likes of Sonos and Denon.

David Katzmaier Editorial Director -- Personal Tech
David reviews TVs and leads the Personal Tech team at CNET, covering mobile, software, computing, streaming and home entertainment. We provide helpful, expert reviews, advice and videos on what gadget or service to buy and how to get the most out of it.
Expertise A 20-year CNET veteran, David has been reviewing TVs since the days of CRT, rear-projection and plasma. Prior to CNET he worked at Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as the Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics. Credentials
  • Although still awaiting his Oscar for Best Picture Reviewer, David does hold certifications from the Imaging Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology on display calibration and evaluation.
David Katzmaier
2 min read

It's official: Amazon is getting serious about audio quality.

The retail giant announced three new devices that allow you to attach your own speakers: the $35 Echo Input and two devices that cost a lot more.

Lacking the microphones of traditional Alexa speakers like the Echo, they're basically small Alexa audio controllers with multiple inputs and outputs. Both let you "control music selection, volume, and multi-room playback on your stereo with your Echo or the Alexa app" in Amazon's words. In other words, you'll need another Echo speaker to use one.

For $199 Amazon will sell the Echo Link, a little box with a volume control that's designed to connect to your existing AV receiver and speakers. 


The back of the Amazon Echo Amp.


Don't have an AV receiver? The slightly larger Echo Link Amp ($299) adds a built-in amplifier (60 watts per channel, stereo) that you simply connect to speakers. It lacks HDMI inputs so it's strictly an audio device, with analog audio as well as optical and coaxial digital inputs and outputs. There's also an Ethernet port for wired connections.

The Amp in particular is reminiscent of the Sonos Amp -- for half the price. Of course that product has more than twice the power and adds HDMI capability to integrate your TV, as well as Sonos' superb multiroom capabilities.

To go with its new audio gear Amazon is improving its own Echo multiroom audio system. You can set up speakers as stereo pairs and designate one speaker to be the "preferred" speaker, device or group. This fall, it's also expanding multiroom music to be available on third-party devices like the Polk Command Bar.

Both are the Echo Link will ship later this year, while the Echo Link Amp ships early in 2019.

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