Is the Echo Link Amp worth it compared to the Echo Link?

As someone who has fully integrated the Amazon ecosystem into his everyday life, I'm always looking into finding new ways to enhance ...

As someone who has fully integrated the Amazon ecosystem into his everyday life, I'm always looking into finding new ways to enhance the smart home experience. Here at Android Central, we research numerous devices to reach that same goal.

Amazon Echo Link Amp

Smart amplifier

$300 at Amazon

Pros

  • Great first audio receiver for home theater usage.
  • Adds Alexa to home theater setup
  • Supports streaming from Amazon Music, Spotify, and other services

Cons

  • No built-in microphone
  • No multi-room casting from Bluetooth or line-in
  • Cheaper AV receiver options exist

The Amazon Echo Link Amp employs all of the functionality of the Amazon Echo Link, with a built-in amplifier for an all-in-one solution for those looking to introduce high fidelity audio to their home theater setup.

Amazon Echo Link

Smart receiver

$200 at Amazon

Pros

  • Adds Alexa to your home theater setup
  • Multi-Room playback supported
  • Supports streaming from Amazon Music, Spotify, and other services

Cons

  • Depends on an already installed audio receiver
  • No multi-room casting from Bluetooth or line-in
  • No built-in microphone

The Amazon Echo Link is a device designed to upgrade your home audio setup with Alexa functionality and hi-fi audio streaming. Unlike the Amazon Echo Link Amp, it depends on you having an audio receiver in your home theater setup beforehand.

The Amazon Echo family has grown quite a bit with the addition of the Echo Link and Echo Link Amp devices. These devices provide Amazon Alexa functionality to either your current home theater setup, or in the case of the Amazon Echo Link Amp, an entry-level 60W 2.1 channel audio receiver with RCA and Optical Audio inputs and outputs.

The Differences Matter

The Amazon Echo Link is tailor-made for those who already have an audio receiver or audio-video receiver in their home theater setup, and want to add a high fidelity Alexa option. The built-in digital-to-analog converter — or DAC, as it's more commonly known — provides greater sound quality and higher dynamic range than solely connecting an Echo Dot or Echo itself to the receiver. In layman's terms, it sounds significantly crisper than if you were to connect your Echo speaker via a 3.5mm audio cable. The only downside is that there are better options available with more functionality than what the Amazon Echo Link offers if you're willing to spend the extra money.

The Echo Link Amp is catered to those who want to step up their audio game in the home theater space and want to remain invested in the Amazon Alexa ecosystem. Containing the same DAC as the Echo Link, the Echo Link Amp lives up to its name, including a 60W, 2-channel stereo amplifier. This gives the Echo Link Amp the options to add a pair of speakers, removing the Echo Link's crutch of needing a separate audio receiver for proper functionality. Much like the Echo Link, there are other devices with more functionality, however, the Echo Link Amp is suitable for entry-level audio receiver needs.

What's amazing about both of these devices is the inclusion of RCA, Digital Coaxial, and TOSLINK (S/PDIF) Optical Audio inputs and outputs. The RCA is your standard analog input/output device — the red and white cables that came with older devices like the PlayStation 2 — while the coaxial and optical input/output are digital sources. In an ideal space, you can use the RCA or TOSLINK connectors to connect the audio leads from a gaming console, HTPC, or Blu-Ray player to your Echo Link for higher quality stereo or surround audio.

Echo Link Echo Link Amp
Size (LxWxD) 4.5" x 5.3" x 2.7" 8.5" x 9.5" x 3.4"
Weight 18 oz Value
Input Analog (1x L/R RCA), Digital (1x Coaxial RCA, 1x TOSLINK Optical) Analog (1x L/R RCA), Digital (1x Coaxial RCA, 1x TOSLINK Optical)
Output Analog (1x L/R RCA, 1x Subwoofer RCA), Digital (1x Coaxial RCA, 1x TOSLINK Optical), 3.5mm headphone jack Analog (1x L/R RCA, 1x Subwoofer RCA), Digital (1x Coaxial RCA, 1x TOSLINK Optical), L/R Speaker Binding Posts

The great thing about the Amazon Echo Link line of devices is that there's definitely something for everybody. If price isn't an option, and you want to improve the quality of your already-established Alexa connection in your home theater setup, the Echo Link will serve your purposes. The Echo Link Amp offers an all-in-one solution for those who don't want to use an AVR but still want high-quality audio from their TV, and all of the devices connected to their TV.

What hurts these devices, however, is the entry price for the limited functionality that they both have. The lack of a built-in microphone on both of these devices means that they will most certainly depend on you having another Echo device in your home. While enthusiasts will see the chance to jump at these devices, I cannot easily recommend any of these devices to the average consumer, unless a future revision adds a built-in microphone for one-device Alexa functionality.

Amazon Echo Link

Hi-fi add-on

An Alexa-powered DAC

$200 at Amazon

The Amazon Echo Link provides a fairly high-powered DAC with smart features for your current receiver set up.

Amazon Echo Link Amp

All-in-one hi-fi solution

$300 at Amazon

Great entry point for hi-fi audio

Although the price is high for the limited functionality, the Amazon Echo Link Amp is a good entry point for those who want to get into the audio receiver game.



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