Review: The $299 Echo Link Amp adds Alexa to any speaker
The Echo Hyperlink Amp is designed to offer Echo homeowners choices. As an alternative of settling for the sound from a few Echo audio system, this amp lets homeowners use a set of good bookshelf audio system. Greatest but, this replaces a big receiver typically wanted to energy audio system.
At $299, the Echo Hyperlink Amp lives in a curious spot. It’s cheaper and smaller than a standard residence audio system. But it’s dearer than smaller desktop amps with an identical energy ranking.
Like its little brother, the $199 Echo Link, the $299 Echo Hyperlink Amp requires one other Echo gadget. The Hyperlink and the Hyperlink Amp lack a microphone, which is required to speak to the system. These two merchandise are, if you’ll, the lacking hyperlink between Alexa and higher sound.
There are cheaper methods to copy a variety of the Echo Hyperlink Amp’s characteristic set. There are a handful of small and highly effective amps out there for round $50 that may take audio from an Echo Dot and energy a set of audio system. I take advantage of a $30 Lepai amp to energy a set of Yamaha outside audio system on my deck. I used this technique to check the Echo Hyperlink Amp.
It’s lastly good outdoors right here in Michigan. The solar is out and the leaves are budding. I’m penning this from my deck the place I’ve two Yamaha audio system related to a small amp and an Echo Dot, that are mounted to the floorboards. It’s the most effective. I can yell requests to the Dot from my hearth pit. The Dot and $30 amp have survived two Michigan winters, too.
That is the right use case for the Echo Hyperlink Amp, although I’m positive Amazon will disapprove of the position outdoors. That’s okay.
Like once I examined the Echo Hyperlink, I enlisted the assistance of one other Echo product to make switching between the audio sources a bit simpler. Utilizing an AV switcher I used to be capable of join the whole lot concurrently and press a button to change between the sources. I cued up some summer season BBQ music and stepped again, distant in hand.
There wasn’t a distinction.
The $30 amp had the identical bass response, vocal copy and soundstage because the $300 Echo Hyperlink Amp. On paper, the Echo Hyperlink Amp has extra energy, however in observe, that energy didn’t lead to a distinction with these outside audio system. I disconnected the whole lot and plugged the audio system straight into the amps. Nothing modified. Hank Jr. sounded the identical. For higher or worse, in fact.
I attempted the system on a set of outdated Infinity audio system and had the identical outcomes. The sound had the identical constancy. On each techniques the highs have been simply as excessive and the lows have been simply as low. The standard had the identical, admittedly, lack of punch, however sounded adequate to blast Kenny Chesney all through my yard.
The $299 Echo Hyperlink Amp shares loads with the $199 Echo Hyperlink. The primary distinction, because the title suggests, is the amp. The Hyperlink Amp has the power to drive a set of audio system, whereas the Hyperlink must be related to an amplifier. I discovered the Echo Hyperlink to be a implausible addition to a house audio setup. The $199 gadget gives a digital connection missing on different Echo gadgets and I discovered it to enhance the audio high quality of streaming companies.
The Echo Hyperlink Amp, nevertheless, is a contact disappointing, however on the identical time very proficient at its job. Patrons are paying for the convenience of use greater than the standard of the amplifier. It’s intelligent too. If the related Echo Dot is requested a query, it responds with the reply. This lets the proprietor flip off the amplifier and nonetheless retain entry to Alexa. Solely when the proprietor asks the Echo to play audio does it offload the duty to the powered audio system.
With a collection of inputs, the Echo Hyperlink Amp can simply serve a number of roles, together with as a 2.1 channel residence theater receiver.
The Echo Hyperlink Amp is a stunning gadget although I discover the audio high quality missing when in comparison with cheaper amps. It’s intelligent and I’m stunned Amazon is promoting the gadget. Whereas the remainder of the Echo product line is a mass market play, the Echo Link and Echo Hyperlink Amp are designed for a smaller market. The Echo Hyperlink Amp includes a set of features unavailable on some other Echo gadget and the best means so as to add Alexa to a set of audio system.