Echo Studio 2022 test: the mono smart speaker that plays stereo sound

The Echo Studio is the best speaker in the Echo range: the size of the tweeter allows it to get deep, controlled bass, and the midranges are distributed around the main body, and positioned in such a way as to better cover the environment without necessarily finding an ideal spot.

The Echo Studio, like every Echo, is ultimately a smart speaker in service of Alexa, but compared to all the other models, Amazon has always tried to describe it as The best solution for playing music. Along with the second studio, which takes advantage of Dolby Atmos, the Echo Studio can replace speakers if it is used to reproduce the sound of movies and TV series from a Fire TV Stick or Fire TV Cube.

The new 2022 model is identical to the 2019 model: the same drivers, the same dimensions and the same weight: the finish changes, it could also be in the white version, the processor inside changes, it makes a little change, but above all the management of that which is the internal sound pipeline, which is how Amazon gets Echo Studio for playing music.

Amazon unimaginably launched spatial audio, things to know is this algorithm It is also already available on older models via an update Above all, his job is not to create an “ambient” effect as might be expected from the word makani, but to succeed. To best reconstruct a stereo display starting with a single speaker.

Echo Studio, on the other hand, already had many 360 ° audio solutions: the old model, for example, supported Dolby Atmos but above all was one of the first to believe in 360 Reality Audio format, a solution created by Sony to create a very open audio interface with a speaker one only. This goal wasn’t hard to achieve, especially if the amplifier itself was designed to spread out from all sides: the Echo Studio had a basic design that allowed it to make the most of room reflections, setting up a system that would send a series of test signals to adapt the internal DSP to the microphones’ combined response. and provide the best audio performance. We already tried Echo Studio in 2019, so let’s quickly try it again to see if the new spatial sound system actually works or better, as it says in the “Spatial Stereo Enhancement” settings.

Mid range dance

This was there in the old model and it’s also there in the new one, because nothing changes structurally: There’s still 300 watts of Class D amplification, there’s a 5.25-inch tweeter on the bottom that runs in a closed box and emits down, and there’s the tweeter that heads out. towards the distinct listening point.

The 3D rendering is built with the mid-level, two, mounted at opposite positions in the cylindrical body with the addition of another mid-range blasting upwards, as required by the Atmos standard.

What changes in the new one is the management algorithm that doubles: for the contents in Dolby Atmos the classic algorithm is used, already present in the 2019 model, while in the case of stereo tracks a new system is used that, with a single speaker, attempts to reconstruct the stereo display.

Amazon has clear ideas: it wants those who listen to the Echo, with their eyes closed, to have the impression that they are listening to the same audio track using a stereo system where the listener is in the sweets place, that is, at the top of an equilateral triangle where the other two heads are occupied by speakers, Right and left.

Amazon has been working on this system for years and has also produced several scientific white papers on how it manages to combine the principles of psychoacoustics with the properties of directional loudspeakers to achieve the desired result.

Several scientific white papers have been published on the technology behind Echo Studio’s “spatial” hearing

Did they succeed? There’s still a lot of work to be done, but the Echo Studio is sure to surprise: If you avoid placing it in a niche and leave some air in, the front-facing sound with stereo tracks is very distinct.

It’s still not the stereo sound you can get from two separate real speakers, however It’s remarkable how Amazon is still able to do something like scale, with the instruments coming from the hips and the voice, separated from the rest of the message, centered on the stage, clear and refined. It’s not true hi-fi stereo, but the closest thing to a stereo show heard through a single speaker.

Added to this is also the excellent performance that characterizes the speaker: the bass is always controlled and never overpowered, the amplification pushes without ever suffering and without reaching an annoying level, and distortions are almost non-existent. Echo Studio is a great speaker.

Ready for the task and thread. with the update

We wrote that there are no hardware differences between the 2019 and 2022 models, in fact there is a small change: the MT7668 is used instead of the Mediatek MT7658. Practically nothing changes, we think it’s just a supply chain issue: MT7658 is no longer produced. The functionality remains the same, the speed too, the same applies to smart home support: the Echo Studio, like any other Echo device, can act as a smart home control, and even the 2022 version can be a hub as well as a speaker for a smart home. It currently supports the Alexa platform with Wi-Fi and Zigbee, but Amazon has already prepared an update that will bring it to the Thread and Matter orbit.

The Echo studio doesn’t come cheap, it still costs €199 and is the most expensive speaker in the entire Echo range. However, today it is very difficult to find a single speaker that would sound very good in a body that is not small, but which could easily fit on a shelf or on a table.

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