Amazon Echo Link is now available to pre-order and will be released this week

Amazon has set a release date for the Echo Link. It will be released on December 13th and is now available to pre-order. The Echo Link is the first “high-fidelity streaming music” hardware from Amazon. It’s meant to be a bridging device that connects your existing hi-fi stereo equipment to the Alexa and Echo ecosystem.

The Echo Link does not have microphones, like all of the other Echo devices in Amazon’s line-up. Instead, it’s simply a node that can be controlled by Alexa through another device. The assumption is that it will output superior audio quality, thanks in part to its RCA, Coaxial, and optical connection options. The Echo Link needs to be connected to an amplifier if it’s being used with speakers, but the Echo Link Amp, which is not yet available for pre-order, can be connected directly to speakers, thanks to its built-in 2-channel amplifier.

It’s easy to understand how one would use the Echo Link’s audio output connections to play streaming music via Alexa through an existing home stereo, but there is some confusion about how the Echo Link’s input connections can be used. A note on the product page states that “casting to multi-room music from a line-in or Bluetooth input” is not supported, however that seems like the main reason to have audio inputs on a device like this. A Reddit user asked Amazon’s customer support if it’s possible to connect a CD player to the Echo Link’s inputs and have the CD audio played through on all Echo devices in a music group and the customer service representative said yes, that was possible, which contradicts the note on the product page.

If the Echo Link can be used as a bridge to play local audio sources through an Alexa music group, then it becomes a much more attractive product because there is no way to achieve that through any other Echo model. The Amazon Echo Plus is unique in that its auxiliary port can be configured as an input source, but the input audio can only be played through that one speaker and will not be broadcasted to a whole-home audio group. If all the Echo Link can do is output better audio quality than the other Echo devices, but with no additional functionality, it’s a much more niche device.

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10 comments
  1. Brantome says:

    Yeah, it’s a funny one – maybe explains why we haven’t seen an optical out on the newest Dot.
    It’s my gut feeling that the splitting of channels for stereo pairs and the echo Sub is an Alexa cloud driven affair i.e. Alexa splits the audio into the necessary channels and then sends each stream to your echo devices which they play, or to put it another way, there’s not a local master echo in the group that takes the responsibility to split and send the channels to its partners.
    If my hunch is right, then for the Link to accept line or Bluetooth input to then be sent to a multi room group or stereo/sub pair, the input audio would need be to be sent to Alexa for splitting/ distribution.
    I appreciate this might be nonsense as I could also imagine the DSPs in each echo being told only to output a specific channel of the stream it’s receiving, but even then that would need to be driven by Alexa.
    It is a strange device and I can imagine more being disappointed in what it can’t do rather than what it can.

  2. MA says:

    Looks like a version on the Sonos Connect Amp but at a more reasonable price.

  3. Scott Gibson says:

    I own a Brennan B2 device. It stores some 3000 flac-encoded CDs. It does fine, but only plays on a pair of speakers in one room. Could a device like this allow you to play its music on Alexa grouped speakers in many rooms. Would it work for a NAS connected Hard Drive of music (such as a WD Cloud)?

  4. H.E.C. says:

    This looks a bit like old Samsung Link Mate (https://www.samsung.com/uk/audio-video/multiroom-link-mate-wam270/) but with less (or unknown yet) functionality …

  5. H.E.C. says:

    In regards of the ” Echo Link does not support TV/video connections, casting to multi-room music from a line-in or Bluetooth input, or the Amazon Music Unlimited Single Device Plan.” statement in the product description – this could be also read as that streaming is not possible ONLY from BT, line-up (read analogue RCAs) and AMU single device plan while it’s possible from all remaining sources i.e. digital inputs as well as full AMU plans. Which kinda make sense as otherwise it would require additional A/D converter for the analogue RCA input to be able to stream it to multiply Echo devices. In another world’s all digital inputs should be able to send to multiply speakers or groups.

    • Robert Baker says:

      I hope you are correct. Following up from the original Reddit post I contacted Amazon customer service and asked a similar question, “Whatever is connected through the optical IN can be broadcast multiroom using Alexa speaker group?”. Customer Service told me, “Robert it supports multi-room music.” Then they listed the ways including the line-in sources. Suppose I will find out for sure on Friday the 14th after I get off work if it’s shipped per the estimated delivery.

  6. paul Elder says:

    Is this only to be released on the USA I’m from the uk or are we going to have wait

    • Brantome says:

      Of course we’ll have to wait, we always do… Join the Amazon Alexa UK Users Facebook group to be kept up to date on such matters :)

  7. Dave says:

    Would this gizmo resolve the inconvenience of me having my echo dot plugged into Input 2 on my A/V receiver and my Fire TV plugged into Input 1? It’s so annoying having to switch back and forth between inputs just to ask Alexa what the weather is like outside.

    • Robert Baker says:

      Possibly, as the echo dot would now be free to use its own speaker when to announce the weather, however, I don’t think it will do it over your A/V receiver if you are using the FireTV as the source.

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