Speakers For Amazon's Echo Dot

Discussion in 'Lifestyle & Portables' started by sholling, Aug 26, 2017.

  1. sholling Audioholic Ninja

    sholling
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    I have a couple of Amazon Echoes and a handful of Echo Dots scattered around the house that I use for home automation, alarm clocks, listening to audiobooks and podcasts, and of course news, weather, and traffic reports. I’d love to use them for background music but their built-in speakers, especially those built into the Dots are horrible. I decided that I had to do something about this while keeping the total cost below that of a full-sized Amazon Echo ($180). My solution was to reshuffle my Echo devices to put Echo Dots where I wanted background music and connect them to decent but dirt cheap powered speakers and I thought I’d share my choices.

    The House
    What I’ve settled on for the house are Edifier's little R1250T ($99) speakers connected to a couple of my Echo Dots. No the R1250Ts are not critical listening speakers but they are pretty darn good for tiny $99 powered speakers and the combined price of an Echo Dot ($50 or less) and the R1250T is still $30 cheaper than a full sized Echo and sounds a whole lot better. For their price and size, only 5.75 x 9.5 x 7 inches with ½” tweeters and 4” mid-woofers powered by built-in 21W amps, and a 75-18,000 frequency response they sound pretty decent for what they are and front porting makes placement easy. There is a Bluetooth capable version (R1250BT) for $30 more but the Dots have BT built-in making the extra expense unnecessary. Color options are black or decent looking fake wood. Even better, there are rumors that Amazon may upgrade their software to allow Echoes to support Sono-like multi-room music playback.

    https://www.amazon.com/Edifier-R1280T-Powered-Bookshelf-Speakers/dp/B016P9HJIA[​IMG]
    The Garage

    As nice as the Edifiers are for the house I needed something larger and more powerful for my garage while still staying within my $180 budget. For that I chose Monoprice’s 13259 “200 Watt Bi-Amped Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers with USB”. Are they great? Nope, but neither are the acoustics in my garage and for what they are, what they cost, and what I’m using them for they’re pretty decent. I got them on sale for $115 ($135 - 15% and free shipping with a now dead promocode) regularly $170. They sport 1” silk dome tweeters, 6-1/2” woofers and have a claimed frequency response of 30-20,000hz. The built-in 50Wx4 amp feeds each of the woofers and tweeters separately. These are NOT near-field speakers and sound best when placed at least 6 feet from the listeners. They automatically slip into standby mode after a few minutes of silence and must be turned back on via the included remote, making them unsuitable for general use Echo speakers, but they’re just fine for what I’m using them for. I’d probably just use them with Bluetooth but I’ve read that the onboard DAC is pretty limited.

    https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=13259

    [​IMG]
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  2. sholling Audioholic Ninja

    sholling
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    Update, the Monoprice speakers are starting to grow on me, or at least overcome my prejudice against cheap speakers. For the price they rock.
  3. sholling Audioholic Ninja

    sholling
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    Just an update, and please note that none of my Dot connected speakers are intended for critical listening. I simply want speakers that will produce good quality whole-house background music from Amazon Echo Dots playing 256bit MP3s. Also note that both my bedroom and family room already have really great sound systems, however an additional source of good quality always-on-tap music from my Dots are a big plus in my busy life.

    Master bedroom: Edifier R1280 powered speakers. These are the weakest of the bunch but are used where my needs here are the least demanding. The Edifiers have no power-on delay and are thus ideal for the intended purposes of alarm clock output, home control audio, and getting showered and dressed in the morning music. If I want to do serious listening I'll fire up the receiver and the Sierra-1s and Hsu sub, but for quick and dirty they do the job for cheap without the need to fire up an audio system. I do recommend being at least two-three feet from these speakers because they just don't work as very nearfield speakers.

    Formal livingroom: My living room is used strictly for entertaining and the living room Dot just has to supply "conversational" background music, loud house cleaning whole-house music, and be there for home control. I just hooked-up a pair of Monoprice 8" active studio monitors to the living room Dot and I like the results. Again I'm not using them for critical listening and they are doing everything that I want from them for $200 and without the expense of a receiver or amp to drive speakers or the complications of somehow connecting a subwoofer. The Monoprices have no standby or power-on delay so they are perfect for use with a Dot. I'll eventually add a Z-Wave switch to make sure that they are only powered up when I'm actually home but that's just to prolong the life of their built-in amps.

    Garage: I'm using the Monoprice 6-1/2" powered speakers that I spoke of in an earlier post. These are pretty so-so but so are the acoustics of my unfinished garage and front porting makes for easy placement. These are not suitable for home control or general Echo use because they have to be manually switched back on from auto-standby mode using the included remote. Again these are for background music in an unfinished garage and not critical listening and for that they do a credible job.

    Family room: The family room Dot setup is temporary. For now I'm feeding my family room dot's output into my KRK Rokit 6s but the Rokits will eventually be hooked up to a new video editing PC that I have yet to build. The Rokits are awesome but I'm thinking that I'll eventually connect a Dot to my receiver for a whole house Echo music feed in my family room. But for now that plan is not yet set in stone. Note that the Rokits have a 5 second startup delay making them unsuitable for home control.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
  4. KEW Audioholic Spartan

    KEW
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    You mentioned whole-house. Is there a way to sync the dots so they play the same thing at the same time?
    Last time I checked there wasn't, but it has been a few months.

    I have done the same but with different speakers!

    On the "cheap-out" side, I am using Philips SPA4270BT/37 Bluetooth Multimedia Speakers 2.0
    Unfortunately they have gone up from $30 to $50 (shipped price) and that is not such a great deal.
    I use them in the bathroom in the morning to get news, weather, and play Pandora as I go through my daily ablutions. They are surprisingly well balanced for $30 (with the "room-gain" of ceramic tiles and glass doors!) but I am running them with the volumes (both on Dot and speakers) pretty high when I get in the shower.

    In the LR, I have a $300 pair of JBL LSR305's for casual listening. My LR is open to the upstairs and only one door away from any room in the house (except closets and the master bath) so it can provide sound to anywhere in the house. Of course I also have a real stereo in there, but the convenience of saying "Alexa, play my Thumbprint Radio" as I walk through the room results in it being played about 50/50 with my real system.

    In my bedroom, I have a pair of Presonus R65's (these are about $700/pr, but I got them on sale for $400/pr). The JBL's are more dynamic and exciting speakers, but the Presonus has nice detail from their AMT tweeter (similar to those used by Emotiva and Martin Logan) and make a good BR speaker. The Presonus are the only ones that automatically wake and sleep when a signal is (or isn't) fed to them.

    Have you figured out how to wake to music? I suspect you can, but have been slack about experimenting with the apps!
    KEW,
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  5. sholling Audioholic Ninja

    sholling
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    I'm replying from my phone so I'll have to be brief.

    Go into your Alexa app, select settings, and mult-room audio. You'll create groups of devices and then tell Alexa "Play classic rock everywhere." Unfortunately an Echo can only belong to a single group.

    I'm still trying to figure out how to wake to music so if you figure it out let me know.

    Edit: I've read that multi-room audio doesn't play well with Bluetooth.

    If I think of anything else I'll post more after work.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
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