What is the Amazon Echo Sub?
While Apple HomePod and Google Home Max are designed for audiophiles, Amazon has not had a product yet to compete. The response of the company has not been to create a rival product for any of these products, but to create a complementary product for the Echo range, the Sub Echo.
This is more similar to Sonos' way of doing things. with Sonos Sub making an excellent combination for two Sonos One smart speakers. The more defined bass and simple settings make Echo Sub an exciting product that increases the audio quality of the Echo speakers, but for the best audio fidelity, it is better I searched elsewhere.
Amazon Echo Sub: design and construction quality
With 202 x 210 x 210 mm, the Amazon Echo Sub looks like a great Echo Plus (2nd generation). It is designed to sit on the floor and is the first Echo device that I have seen that has no physical buttons or microphones. This is just an additional product, designed to work with additional speakers. Inside, there is a 6-inch low-frequency loudspeaker, powered by a 100-watt amplifier.
Covered with a material finish that is now key for the Echo range, the Sub looks excellent. In fact, it is a subwoofer that I would happily have on display, instead of hiding it from view. It is a pity that there is only one black version available and that there are no color options that match the rest of the Echo range.
On the back, there is a single power input and an action button. In my opinion, the latter is misnamed, since it only provides a way to restart the subwoofer, instead of doing anything else; In other devices, the Action button allows Alexa without having to say the word to wake up.
Amazon Echo Sub-Features
The Sub Echo can only work with additional Echo speakers. The current list of compatible devices includes Amazon Echo (1st generation), Amazon Echo (2nd generation), Echo Dot (3rd generation), Echo Plus (1st generation), Echo Plus (2nd generation), Echo Show (1st generation) and Echo Show (2nd generation). Only Echo (2nd Gen), Echo Dot (3rd Gen) and any of the Echo Plus generations can be used as a stereo pair with the Sub.
For the Echo Show Smart Screens, the subunit only works with audio and not with video. And for all devices, the Sub only comes into play when you're playing music, not when you ask Alexa a question.
Although it is an Echo device, the Sub Echo has no microphones or controls, so it is designed exclusively for bass. Once the Sub has been added to the application, you must link it to a speaker (or a pair of speakers). If you have already created a stereo pair (see the guide, how to create a stereo pair Amazon Echo), you can not add the Echo Sub to the mix. Instead, you must break the stereo pair and then recreate it, adding the Sub. That's a bit frustrating, and the configuration should be more flexible.
Related: Amazon's Alexa Guide
The Sub comes configured by default and matches its volume with the one in the attached Echo. (or stereo pair). However, if you enter the Alexa application and select an Echo speaker that is paired with the Sub, you can use the EQ function to adjust the bass, midrange and treble, and the results apply to all speakers in the group. It is a bit annoying that you can not adjust the subwoofer individually, or access the EQ by selecting the Sub in the Alexa application.
Related: How to add an Amazon Echo Sub and configure the Alexa EQ settings
Amazon Echo Sub – Sound quality
] To begin, I paired Echo Sub with two Amazon Echo Plus speakers (2nd generation) to provide the best audio experience. I have to say that I was impressed with the results. The Echo Sub injected the blow and the emotion missing from the speakers by themselves.
With a low frequency response of 30Hz, the Echo Sub does not have the low range of some models: the Sonos SUB goes to 25Hz, for example. But, again, it's a matter of balance, and the Echo Sub has been tuned to the Echo range of speakers. The Sub is also perfectly balanced, does not exceed the Echo Plus speakers. In general, the sound is much more balanced, and the stereo pair creates an appropriate stereo separation effect.
What Echo Sub can not do is because of the slight lack of midrange dexterity in the Echo Plus speakers. They are decent in the high-end, but the mid-range is compressed a bit and confused.
Next, I tried a single Echo Plus speaker (2nd generation) with Echo Sub. This time, the Echo Sub still adds the extra presence and the sense of urgency, with perfectly balanced lows. But, the overall effect is not that impressive. With a single speaker, the configuration feels less impressive and immersive, and mid-range problems with the Echo Plus feel more intense.
The Amazon Echo Show (2nd generation) is a great actor in its own right and an Echo Device in which I would happily listen to music. Adding in the Sub improves things even more. Although the Echo Show has decent bass, the Sub makes it a little more powerful and powerful. Again, the midrange in the Echo Show sounds a bit more compressed and the sound is not as balanced as it could be. Having said that, the Echo Sub is a decent update for the smart screen.
The use of a single speaker from Amazon Echo Dot (third generation) and the Echo Sub is a bit excessive. Sure, the Echo Sub accentuates the low frequency audio, but it does little to improve the center sound at the echo point. What you get is lower, but a slightly unbalanced sound.
Related: What Amazon Echo should you buy?
Why buy the Amazon Echo Sub?
At £ 119, the Amazon Echo Sub is a good-value add-on that boosts the sound of any compatible Echo smart speaker that supports it. For the quality of the sound, I would pair it with an Echo Show, Echo (2nd generation) or Echo Plus (2nd generation).
Ideally, the Echo Sub works best with two Echo Plus (3rd generation) speakers, a package that can be purchased for £ 299.97 (saving £ 100 on buying the devices separately). Here, you get proper stereo separation and a properly balanced sound.
At £ 300, this package is cheaper than the Apple HomePod (£ 319). In terms of bass and stereo separation, the Amazon package wins. However, the HomePod has a much more controlled and better balanced sound, especially because it adjusts the audio intelligently depending on where you place it. From a pure audio point of view, the HomePod sounds better, even if it can not reach the low frequency of the Echo range. And, put two HomePods together in a stereo pair and Apple is much better (not to mention double the price).
Google Home Max is louder and better balanced, but costs £ 399.99. You can double that figure if you want to match the stereo separation provided by the Amazon Echo.
Then there's the option to buy two Sonos One speakers (£ 199 each) and one Sonos SUB (£ 699) for a total of £ 1097. It's fair to say that the Sonos option sounds amazing, but that's a quantity Amazing of money to spend.
In terms of fidelity of pure audio, there are better options, but if you want a loud and noisy sound at a decent price, Echo Sub gives you that option and perfectly complements the Echo range. You can also buy two Echo Plus devices and have a powerful wireless music system that does not cost a fortune.
The Echo Sub is a fantastic addition to any Echo configuration.
Amazon Echo Sub Review: Everything about that bass and we're delighted first appeared in Trusted Reviews.