Amazon finally began selling its Echo Link Amp Wednesday, making it easier for audiophiles to bring internet-connected music streaming and voice control to their favorite pair of speakers. The Link Amp is available on Amazon.com for $299.99, and was first announced in September of 2018.
The device comes with a built-in 2-channel amplifier, with up to 60W of power per channel. In addition to dedicated speaker outputs, it also comes with outputs for analog, optical, coax, headphones and a subwoofer, as well as analog and coax line-in. There’s an Ethernet port for wired connectivity, but the Echo Link also comes with built-in Wifi, and even supports Bluetooth for wireless audio streaming.
The one feature the Echo Link Amp surprisingly doesn’t have is a built-in microphone array for far-field voice control. This means that consumers still have to add an Echo Dot if they want to use Alexa with the device. Also notable: While the Echo Link does support multi-room audio, it’s not actually capable of piping music from your record player, or any other audio sources directly plugged into the device, to other rooms.
Amazon first showed off the Echo Link last summer when it introduced a range of new devices, including revamped Echo speakers as well as a Hi-fi audio adapter called the Echo Link that doesn’t come with a built-in amplifier. On Wednesday, the company announced that it would now also sell the Echo Link and Echo Link Amp in the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, India, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
In many ways, devices like the Echo Link Amp are an attempt by Amazon to move upmarket, and bring support for Alexa and its own music service to music lovers who would otherwise have bought a more expensive setup from companies like Sonos. Interestingly, this is happening just as Sonos is moving down-market, and introducing two budget-priced speakers in partnership with Ikea.