Is the Echo Studio the best Alexa speaker yet? (The Daily Charge, 11/6/2019)
The Daily Charge
I've got CNET audio genius Ty Pendlebury here to talk about the Amazon Echo Studio and answer your questions.
Stay tuned for your good Daily Charge.
Welcome to the The Daily Charge.
It's Wednesday, November 6th, I'm Ben Fox Rubin.
I'm Todd Pendlebury.
And here are today's top stories.
Cnet's review for Amazon Echo Studio Speaker is out today, and here are some quick details to get you started.
It's $200 it's really big right here.
And it includes Dolby Atmos which is apparently a thing, but tight.
Is it any good?
It's very good actually.
Not surprisingly I mean, obviously Amazon has been in the audio space for five years now this is actually the fifth anniversary, pretty much of the original Amazon Echo.
So this is the fourth or fifth Iteration of that speaker.
We don't actually have the original Echo, but it's about that tall.
Yeah, a Pringles can.
Yeah, so this looks like a subwoofer.
This does not look like a speaker you would sit on your Kitchen cabinet or something.
This is a hefty piece of equipment.
Well since we have it here, let's test it out.
All right now I'm gonna.
Now it works terribly for me I know.
I wonder why.
is in the Australian market but it just does not understand me at all.
Okay so should I say something?
Go for it.
We tested this out earlier Alexa, play 3D music.
Here we go.
Best of 3D music on Amazon music.
So what you should be hearing there listeners is 3D audio just going everywhere.
So what will turn this Alexa stop.
So what's happening here is this is the first Atmos and 3D audio speaker in a single box.
Atmos is a surround sound standard.
The biggest thing about it is that it has a ceiling mounted Audio capability.
So what's in here, I don't know which camera I'm pointing to, but this here is the speaker.
It's a driver, I think it's two inch there, two inch there, two inch there.
So what is it doing, is it's firing audio up and to the sides.
To make this 3D audio
I remember this.
So when I was in Seattle when they first announced this the demo room afterwards, they played me Rocket Man in a relatively small room.
And they were like do you hear like the rips like shooting up over your head into the.
Admittedly I don't know that much about audio.
That's why you're here.
But I was like, Yes, absolutely.
[LAUGH] But anyway it did.
It was from your review specifically, it really did fill the room.
It was a rather compact.
Packed room and for one small speaker.
Well, one big speaker, it really to me did seem to do the job which is kind of what your review specifically said, talking about the fact that it's that it's big, it's fun, it's loud.
Maybe it's not as nuanced or as chill as the Sonos one.
But at the same time they seem to do a really good job with.
What they were trying to get at which was big sound.
And I do wonder who would be buying this and where they would be putting in.
So be very interested.
It goes on sale tomorrow.
$200 and it's I think it's 180
89 pounds in the UK.
I think Australia is launches a bit later but what would people be buying this for?
The idea is you know, it's got 3D audio, it's got Dolby [UNKNOWN] But You can only get Atmos in if you have a fire TV stick for K or the fire TV cube.
So you need an actual dongle on your TV to get Dolby Atmos to come through this.
So but that also means is that you can Focus up to your TV and actors or sound boss.
So that's just.
Do you wanna get it with the sub two or is it already pretty basic or whatever?
It's not that great.
I mean the thing is once the bass activates There's a balancing act.
When you're in a compact speaker like this, what they usually do is they kind of can the bass a little bit so it doesn't distort.
So when there's a lot of other stuff going on, the bass kind of drops out a little bit.
So, if you had the sub, you'd still get that full bass.
Which is interesting that you mention that because this is already a giant, honking Speaker.
And then the sub is also a slightly smaller version of this.
No, it's bigger.
It's even bigger?
It's even bigger, yeah.
So you've got to find somewhere to put this stuff.
Right, so because it's such an awkward shape you wouldn't put it underneath your TV.
But the idea is you can pair this with another one that becomes then 400 bucks and put them on the sides of your TV and make it a A surround sound system-
I mean, approximating it.
I mean, the price sounds good, well, sure.
But then, in that territory, there is a fantastic video SV512-36.
[SOUND] The name just rolled off here.
I'm just making up the model number but, essentially, it's a $450 Utmost sound bar which will kick bar off this thing.
Because it's got dedicated ria speakers.
So speaking of which one of the reasons i wanted to have you on, wasn't just to talk about this specific speaker.
But especially going into black friday, cyber monday.
What are some of the best things that people should look at when they're thinking of getting a speaker or a sound bar.
Obviously smart speakers are where it's at, you know having Alexa or which I think is better for me and people with accents is is Google Assistant.
Because you can talk to it.
You can ask it for music, you ask it to close the blinds, you can ask it to do.
Do a bunch of things.
And obviously this is the preeminent model at the moment.
The Sonus one is more fun, it's also more compact and then sit on your bench or whatever.
And it also includes two different kinds of
And you can use your Phone to control it, this is on the voice.
You can't use Spotify or you know Apple airplay or anything like tha,t you have to use your voice which limits this a lot.
But there's a bunch of different sound bars, speakers that all have voice activation.
Obviously, you know the sky's the limit, you can spend 100 bucks, you can spend $100,000 But spinning more doesn't always mean that you're gonna get a better experience, you're just gonna get a different one.
So I think it's about looking at your budget and looking at what you wanna do with it, and then take it from there.
Let's talk really quickly also about what your favorite budget Soundbars are, I feel like this is a perineal thing that I ask you about-
That I haven't quite yet purchased, so tell me now.
I need my roll of particular Viziio soundbar names.
It's all basically the width and then five on two.
And so I didn't come with those prepared [LAUGH]-
[INAUDIBLE] okay, you basically look for a Vizio.
Yeah, Vizio make great budget soundbars there's a $100 model
Which is just a skinny bar kinda looks like a toblerone or something out of blade runner it's got like lists of hexagonal honeycomb things going on
It's so good and there's another one that their hundred and $30 sound bar and subwoofer and that's basically all you need.
I haven't hit put this head to head against any sound balls yet, but I'm pretty sure that anything that goes out wide and has a dedicated subwoofer with sound pretty good.
And there's lots of models is the YS 209 which is a Yamaha sound but that's a little bit more expensive.
That's about 350 bucks.
Should work on the names of these time.
Yeah, I mean they know you know At least some of those guys, okay that's the one or it's the kinect.
Or it's just got a catchy name.
Whereas some of these other companies could do a bit more marketing, I guess.
So, yeah, it depends on what you wanna spend.
But something like the Home pod, which is a little bit smaller then this, the Apple Home pod.
IE or you probably have more of an idea about that's selling at the moment because I think that way down, you know ->> In the smart speaker market?
They are like 5% of the smart speaker market, Amazon is-
Which is still okay because these guys have like 60 or 70%.
And then it's Google assistant and then Cortana probably has 0.1%.
Yeah, not really so.
For the Daily Charge.
I'm Ben Fox Rubin.
I'm Ty Pendlebury.
Thanks for joining us.
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