Amazon Echo Smart Studio Review

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Last Updated on May 1, 2024 by Daniel Osakwe

Despite popularizing the concept of voice-activated smart speakers, the Amazon Echo line has received one constant criticism: that its audio quality is merely average. All of that is set to change with the Amazon Echo Smart Studio.

When compared to Apple and Sonos in the higher-end smart speaker space, the Echo Studio looks to swing the balance back in Amazon’s favor when it comes to audio quality, aiming to be one of the best smart speakers available today.

This low-cost Echo comes tantalizingly close to achieving those goals with ambitious audio credentials that include Dolby Atmos home cinema soundtracks and 3D audio mixes.

In spite of the fact that 3D audio may divide opinion, especially among purists, the Amazon Echo Studio is one of the most powerful speakers for under $200/£200. All this is before you take advantage of all the Alexa smart features.

Amazon Echo Smart Studio: Design and features

Amazon Echo amazon speakers

As a matter of fact, we’ve become accustomed to the resemblance of the popular Amazon Echo speakers, particularly the standard Echo and Echo Plus. Despite following the same design language, having a cylindrical shape, and covering it with a fabric mesh, it’s considerably larger than any Echo before it like someone zapped one and made it grow at least twice as large, like the Hulk. This piece is approximately 7 inches wide by 8 inches high.

Nevertheless, it is a large unit, and its output is as impressive as its size. The Echo Studio delivers 330 watts of power via two two-inch speakers mounted on the side, one two-inch upward-firing speaker, a 1-inch tweeter up front, and a 5.25-inch sealed woofer located below. It features volume buttons, a mic mute button, and Alexa-wake, as well as a blue-light ring. In addition, you’ll notice that the Echo Studio enclosure is equipped with two cutaway areas that let air flow freely to provide it with high-volume bass.

Because of its size, you’ll need to consider where you want to place the Echo Studio—it won’t fit as discretely on a shelf as other Echos do.

Also, it has directional sound capabilities, which is another factor worth considering. Due to this, you’ll need a bit of space around the Echo Studio in order to benefit from its directional sound.

Echo Studio will be able to stream ‘hundreds’ of music mixed in 3D over the new Amazon Music HD service, while stereo tracks will also be mixed to Dolby Atmos by default.

Today, directional audio systems and object-based soundtracks are a mainstay of quality home theaters. Music studios are increasingly using the format as well, with Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group both offering songs in it. The Echo Studio is also available for Sony’s own format, Sony 360.

By bouncing sound around your room, the Echo Studio creates the illusion that certain parts of a track are coming from everywhere. Adapting their sound mix to both the environment and the output for each track, the mics on the Echo Studio constantly monitor their output.

Make an immersive TV audio mix with an Echo Studio and a pair of Echo speakers. With just a couple of clicks in Alexa’s app, you’ve opened a 5.1.4 channel home cinema array. According to Amazon, Fire TV devices can wirelessly connect for Dolby Atmos mixes through this process, but you’ll also be able to hook up your TV via a mini optical input (though this method does not use premium Atmos mixes).

In addition to acting as a smart home hub, the Echo Studio also acts as a speaker. By building ZigBee support into the Echo Studio, all smart home devices can be paired smoothly with Alexa. The Echo Plus is essentially the successor to Amazon’s previous smartest and best-sounding speaker, the Echo Plus.

With regard to other features, the Studio is capable of doing anything an Echo speaker can. You can set timers, alarms, and reminders; control smart home devices; play music, and get facts and trivia just by asking your voice. The fact that such functionality has become a standard for users and is now almost expected from rival speakers is a testament to how ground-breaking the Echo line was, to begin with.

It is indeed good news that your commands are picked up surprisingly well even over the din of the Echo Studio’s own loud music output, even with its higher volume output.

Amazon Echo Smart Studio: Exemplification

Amazon smart speaker

It can be difficult to implement directional audio that is immersive and works well. If your audio comes from just one speaker, it’s even more difficult.

The Echo Studio’s audio performance was pleasant, but not flawless. There is no doubt that this is the best Echo speaker up to this point. Its bass is absolutely huge and the volume is large.

The Amazon Echo Show has a better set of drivers and a more discerning ear, which allows it to compete with higher-end smart speakers. It looks like Amazon has finally released a speaker that will rock any party.

The feature, which is exclusive to Echo Studio users who sign up for Amazon’s new Amazon Music HD streaming service, is made up of a “growing library” of specially-mixed tracks (numbering in the thousands). In addition to the Hi-Res Audio mixes of the majority of its catalog, it also offers 3D audio mixes, which rivals such as Spotify cannot match. The Echo Studio will also offer 3D audio tracks in 2020.

For example, if you request a song on the Echo Studio and are an Amazon Music HD subscriber, Alexa will pull up a version of the track in the following order, where available: 3D audio > Hi-resolution > standard resolution. You can also check out a 20-track ‘Best of 3D Music’ sampler playlist if you’re not sure if you’d like to give the service a shot.

Since its announcement, we’ve tested the Echo Studio in a number of situations, spaces, and locations, from an early, listen at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters to a press event in London to this extended review period at home. The results are always the same: for some songs, 3D mixes sound spectacular, but for others, they sound confusing.

During Amazon’s press conference in Seattle, we heard 3D audio mixes of Elton John’s “Rocket Man” and Gregory Porter’s “Mona Lisa.” when we first approached the Echo Studio. They both showed the challenge the Echo Studio will face in 360-track audio: the mix will be extremely important.

The sound of ‘Rocket Man’ was good, but it didn’t seem to have much room. The spine-tingling moment, however, was when Porter’s “Mona Lisa” roared into life. With its orchestration in full swing, the song’s sense of space grew larger and larger; it was as if we were listening to it in a concert hall, with wonderful depth and height.

Additionally, Anne-Sophie Mutter’s rendition of the Star Wars theme, Rey’s Theme, exemplified what’s possible with a great 3D mix. There is an overwhelming sense of separation between all elements of the orchestration, as well as a sense of being enveloped by the sound coming from the speaker. I was equally taken by Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration”-the lead vocals are in the foreground, the backing vocals seem to be coming from further away, and there is a little cocoon of scratchy funk guitar all around. The music is energetic in a whole new way.

However, when you jump to something a bit crunchier, like The Killers’ ‘When You Were Young’, it feels a bit cluttered again. The bass and guitar dominate in an uneasy way, sounding aimless and uncomfortably out of focus. As a matter of fact, this is a track we’re big fans of and know very well-it’s almost a criticism of not having had the 3D mix we’d wanted, and how unnerving that can be.

There are only a few songs that are mixed this way, and when 3D audio isn’t available, the Studio can add height to stereo mixes with a bit of post-mixing wizardry.

It appears that this is enabled by default, and it cannot be switched off in Alexa app-though it has been done behind closed doors on test apps at Amazon.

Having just listened to regular stereo tracks at Amazon HQ, we found that they sound just as good. In Destiny’s Child’s Say My Name, the low end is wonderfully punchy, the vocals are clear and there is a feeling of separation between the top-end instruments.

Amazon Echo Smart Studio: TV audio performance.

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The Amazon Echo Studio has perhaps the biggest advantage over the rest of the Echo range in that it can easily and wirelessly pair with an Amazon Fire TV device to bring cinematic audio to your TV shows or movie watching sessions.

You can connect the Amazon Echo Studio to your TV streamer with just a few taps from the devices pane of the Amazon Alexa app if you own a recent Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K or Amazon Fire TV Cube.

This is a great and simple way to upgrade from the lowly stereo soundbar built into your TV, or from the built-in speakers. Compared to a comparably priced soundbar, you’ll get a strong, resonant bass response, excellent volume, and greater depth.

The Echo Studio really shines with Dolby Atmos soundscapes. Thankfully, Amazon’s Prime Video movies won’t be the only ones to benefit from it; Netflix videos and other apps with Atmos soundtracks will also work. With the Echo Studio, you can experience the sci-fi gun battles of Netflix’s Altered Carbon or the steampunk cities of Amazon’s Carnival Row. Our surprise was how the single speaker unit was able to envelop us in a sound bubble that felt as though we were right there, at the center of the action onscreen.

As always, we aren’t of the mindset to consider virtualized surround sound as more engaging than having discrete physical speakers above and behind you, connected to an AV receiver. This would be an impressive purchase, but a costly option that might not be practical for all living room setups.

As a tall speaker, the Echo Studio won’t fit underneath a TV unless that screen is mounted above it. Sitting directly in front of a screen will obscure the view of the screen. As a result, putting it within an AV rack will stifle its ability to provide directional sound, so you’ll probably need to place it to the side of your TV. However, you will put that great sonics off-center, making them distracting. Consider the placement of your AV before using it.

Alternately, you can use two Echo Studios to form a stereo pair and place them each on the opposite side of your TV to create the standard center sweet spot between them.

Yet, we did not have enough time to spend with a pair during an Amazon event to properly evaluate them. As soon as we can, we will add our thoughts on this setup to this review, but so far, it appears to be promising.

Pros Cons
Easy setup for home cinema 3D audio is a mixed bag.
Alexa’s intelligent function Unlike your average Echo, this one is larger.


Amazon has made the best speaker it has ever made with the Echo Studio. Amazon is the only company with the scale and ambition to compete on price with this multipurpose, flexible, and low-priced service.

The device boasts a whole host of smart technology for your home, as well as smart audio considerations. Even at its worst, the smart speaker remains a powerful source of sound that brings life to your favorite songs. In addition, it deserves a place alongside your TV.

It is unlikely the Echo Studio will fully appeal to the audiophile community, particularly since they are a fussy group. There will be inconsistencies in the quality of 3D audio mixes that will make that feature, for now at least, a party trick rather than a go-to feature.

Amazon is looking to cater to your ears with an audiophile price point and a tantalizing combination of sound quality and affordability. It’s time to pick up an Echo speaker if you’ve yet to do so.