Amazon Echo Link - Mystery Box! What does it do?

KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
It seems that they are claiming that this device will increase the SQ streamed via an Echo device when connecting it to a high quality stereo system!
However, they are very sketchy on explaining how this happens.
An Echo device (such as Dot or Input) has two outputs - a 3.5mm analog connection and BT.
If the Echo Link is fed using the 3.5mm connection then you have already run it through the (presumably) inferior DAC of the Input or Dot.
If it uses the BT, then the signal may remain digital until the Link gets it, but to my knowledge the Dot/Input does not offer some "gee-whiz" BT format.
It seems like from a theoretical standpoint the Dot/Input will be the weak link and I don't see how the Link can successfully make the signal better!
What am i missing?
Thanks!

Edit: All of this said, I have been quite happy using Echo devices as streaming sources for casual listening; however, I suspect if I critically compared it to direct CD playback I would recognize the lower resolution it tops out at.


 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Samurai
It seems that they are claiming that this device will increase the SQ streamed via an Echo device when connecting it to a high quality stereo system!
However, they are very sketchy on explaining how this happens.
An Echo device (such as Dot or Input) has two outputs - a 3.5mm analog connection and BT.
If the Echo Link is fed using the 3.5mm connection then you have already run it through the (presumably) inferior DAC of the Input or Dot.
If it uses the BT, then the signal may remain digital until the Link gets it, but to my knowledge the Dot/Input does not offer some "gee-whiz" BT format.
It seems like from a theoretical standpoint the Dot/Input will be the weak link and I don't see how the Link can successfully make the signal better!
What am i missing?
Thanks!

Edit: All of this said, I have been quite happy using Echo devices as streaming sources for casual listening; however, I suspect if I critically compared it to direct CD playback I would recognize the lower resolution it tops out at.


No, there is no way of improving the SQ of an audio source. IMO, that publicity can be considered as pure marketing bullshit.:eek:
Cheers,
 
Last edited:
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
No, there is no way of improving the SQ of an audio source. IMO, that publicity can be considered as pure marketing bullshit.:eek:
Cheers,
That is my thinking, but I am a little surprised that Amazon would decide to get into Audiophoolery!
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Samurai
That is my thinking, but I am a little surprised that Amazon would decide to get into Audiophoolery!
If they can attrack audiophools with that kind of message, it brings in more money. As you know, money equals power and runs the World.
 
S

SMc

Audiophyte
The Dot enables Alexa commands to the Link (which doesn't have a microphone) but isn't connected directly. The Link streams from wifi. The Link dac could be superior to that of the Dot or Echo and would be used for Spotify, Amazon HD, etc as well as direct digital connections.
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Spartan
I would say that the audio is most definitely improved.

That is, the speaker inside that little Dot is not exactly what my Paradigms sound like. So, yeah, a real audio improvement. Even if it is the same waveform coming out of the box that it would use inside the box.

Obviously, I also get exactly what you are saying. I enjoy my Dots that are throughout my home... listening all the time.

Why do I now have ads for Krispy Kreme all the time??? Dammit Alexa!
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
I would say that the audio is most definitely improved.

That is, the speaker inside that little Dot is not exactly what my Paradigms sound like. So, yeah, a real audio improvement. Even if it is the same waveform coming out of the box that it would use inside the box.

Obviously, I also get exactly what you are saying. I enjoy my Dots that are throughout my home... listening all the time.

Why do I now have ads for Krispy Kreme all the time??? Dammit Alexa!
Well I have my 3 Dots connected to external speakers (either pro audio monitors, or via a power amp), so the link is not required to improve the speakers (if I understand you to be saying that is what the link affords).
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
I would say that the audio is most definitely improved.

That is, the speaker inside that little Dot is not exactly what my Paradigms sound like. So, yeah, a real audio improvement. Even if it is the same waveform coming out of the box that it would use inside the box.

Obviously, I also get exactly what you are saying. I enjoy my Dots that are throughout my home... listening all the time.

Why do I now have ads for Krispy Kreme all the time??? Dammit Alexa!
Not just Echo, but Apple phones also listen in!
I suspect Android phones may as well, but the FBI guy mentioned Apple specifically and suggested we have a conversation about something obscure in front of an iPhone. We talked about sloths and the next day my GF had an ad for a sloth park in Costa Rica pop up on her Facebook page (it was her iPhone)
 
S

snakeeyes

Audioholic Samurai
I have a couple dots that my GF bought for playing audiobooks. I mostly end up yelling at them to play specific music when I’m in the kitchen. I haven’t tried to make her order anything from Amazon yet. Alexa, order a six pack! :)
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Spartan
Well I have my 3 Dots connected to external speakers (either pro audio monitors, or via a power amp), so the link is not required to improve the speakers (if I understand you to be saying that is what the link affords).
Actually, looking specifically at the Echo Link, this looks like it is a playback streaming device that focuses on higher quality audio.

So, it likely has better DACs in the unit. It likely streams from the Internet internally, so when you play back Tidal, for example, you get the high quality stream, and you are using a high quality DAC internally on the Link. It's not streaming from your phone to the Link, but the Link itself is doing the streaming. At least, that would be my expectation.

It's kind of like a high quality Echo, but without an internal speaker, so it needs an Echo, or the Echo app to control the device properly. But, when controlled, it actually is using full size RCA connections, and has a wired network interface for faster and more reliable download speeds. Plus, it likely has better DACs inside and better overall build quality and noise isolation.

It also has toslink and optical audio outputs, in case you want to take digital audio directly into your high quality receiver.

All of this is pretty much a guess on my part, so it may not make a huge overall improvement, but it darn well could if comparing the 3.5mm output of a cheap Dot to a Link when connected to a really nice stereo audio setup and using a high quality audio source like Tidal.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
Actually, looking specifically at the Echo Link, this looks like it is a playback streaming device that focuses on higher quality audio.

So, it likely has better DACs in the unit. It likely streams from the Internet internally, so when you play back Tidal, for example, you get the high quality stream, and you are using a high quality DAC internally on the Link. It's not streaming from your phone to the Link, but the Link itself is doing the streaming. At least, that would be my expectation.

It's kind of like a high quality Echo, but without an internal speaker, so it needs an Echo, or the Echo app to control the device properly. But, when controlled, it actually is using full size RCA connections, and has a wired network interface for faster and more reliable download speeds. Plus, it likely has better DACs inside and better overall build quality and noise isolation.

It also has toslink and optical audio outputs, in case you want to take digital audio directly into your high quality receiver.

All of this is pretty much a guess on my part, so it may not make a huge overall improvement, but it darn well could if comparing the 3.5mm output of a cheap Dot to a Link when connected to a really nice stereo audio setup and using a high quality audio source like Tidal.
Well, the situation is that this is not a stand alone device - it requires an echo device to feed it! (or maybe it just needs the device to hear me since the Link does not have microphones).
If Smc is correct that the Dot sends the signal over WiFi, then it is feasible that the signal is more complete and has not yet seen the bandwidth/DAC restrictions of the Dot/Input device!
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Spartan
Well, the situation is that this is not a stand alone device - it requires an echo device to feed it! (or maybe it just needs the device to hear me since the Link does not have microphones).
If Smc is correct that the Dot sends the signal over WiFi, then it is feasible that the signal is more complete and has not yet seen the bandwidth/DAC restrictions of the Dot/Input device!
My gut feeling is that this device is actually a streaming device itself. It downloads directly and plays back directly, but the lack of a integrated microphone means that it needs external control. So, it's just like every other Amazon Echo device, except it lacks a microphone. This means it is pulling streams directly from the Internet and decoding them internally and all the rest. Since you can use a Echo App to control the unit, I don't think your phone needs to stay on to stream to it. Once you've initiated a stream it runs the stream until you specifically turn it off.

That would be my guess on what this thing really is. The lack of a speaker and microphone helps to ensure that the cost is being directed towards components which are of higher quality than normal Echo products. The downside is that lack of a mic means you must use something else to control it.

Think of the Echo like a remote control for this device. The device itself is still a playback device just as a Roku must use a remote control (or app) to run it.

Still just my best guess. I would think Amazon could clarify this and should clarify it better.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
My gut feeling is that this device is actually a streaming device itself. It downloads directly and plays back directly, but the lack of a integrated microphone means that it needs external control. So, it's just like every other Amazon Echo device, except it lacks a microphone. This means it is pulling streams directly from the Internet and decoding them internally and all the rest. Since you can use a Echo App to control the unit, I don't think your phone needs to stay on to stream to it. Once you've initiated a stream it runs the stream until you specifically turn it off.

That would be my guess on what this thing really is. The lack of a speaker and microphone helps to ensure that the cost is being directed towards components which are of higher quality than normal Echo products. The downside is that lack of a mic means you must use something else to control it.

Think of the Echo like a remote control for this device. The device itself is still a playback device just as a Roku must use a remote control (or app) to run it.

Still just my best guess. I would think Amazon could clarify this and should clarify it better.
Yeah, that is where I am on this as well. That fits with Smc's explanation and make's more sense than anything else!
But why in the world doesn't Amazon make any attempt to explain it?
The Amazon Input is pretty much just the microphone system, so I guess they figured to let you buy that separately instead of adding the microphones to the Link.
I'm thinking about the Amazon Link Amp which is the Link plus a 30W/60W into 8/4 Ohms amplifier for $240.
 

Latest posts


newsletter
  • RBHsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis
Top