Amazon Alexa amplifier, receiver, subwoofer



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I do like using the Echo Show for music in the kitchen. When I can’t remember the name of an album, “Alexa, show albums by xxx”. Then I just swipe through the list, and touch the one I want to play.



I have no doubt Amazon will enhance Show (or the next generation) to output to their upcoming amp via Alexa Cast. That would be a killer system; always see which song is playing, with lyrics if wanted.



This would also cast to a pair of Play:1s, which would certainly give Sonos a boost. There are still no self-contained, fully wireless speakers that beat a stereo pair of Play:1s for price, sound quality and functionality. Add a Show or Spot with Alexa Cast, sweet setup. And I’ll forgive Sonos for killing my Dock, lol.




I have a Show in my kitchen as well, and use it a lot. I've not convinced that it's been a successful product for Amazon though as I keep seeing it with deep discounts, leading me to believe they might be trying to dump inventory. I suppose we'll have a better idea of the future for Show and Spot after these new products are announced.



As for the casting feature you're looking for, I don't know. I was thinking that the amp/receiver would be an echo or alexa device with mics built in, so that you would request music directly. Of course, you can request music to play on the amp from your Show (like you can to Sonos speakers today), but that doesn't mean the show screen is going to display lyrics in sync.



That said, I do think this receiver/amp, and a soundbar, could be designed to do tv audio and have firetv and alexa capabilities built in. Given that, you'd then get your song lyrics on the TV...as you can do with a firetv today.
But a microwave? I'm not buying a new microwave until my old one is broke, and it certainly must be built in as mine currently is.



Well, just like analogue speakers, which are nowadays mostly seen as ancient fossils by anyone younger than 20 years of age and hence are more and more being replaced by digital devices, there might be an established new standard when in comes to kitchen appliances in the future, i.e. voice recognition and AI.

Like I said, think long term.


As for the casting feature you're looking for, I don't know. I was thinking that the amp/receiver would be an echo or alexa device with mics built in, so that you would request music directly. Of course, you can request music to play on the amp from your Show (like you can to Sonos speakers today), but that doesn't mean the show screen is going to display lyrics in sync.



That said, I do think this receiver/amp, and a soundbar, could be designed to do tv audio and have firetv and alexa capabilities built in. Given that, you'd then get your song lyrics on the TV...as you can do with a firetv today.




Alexa Cast is a different beast, only available in the Amazon Music app right now. Sadly, it’s disabled (for now) when the app is in Alexa mode, but I imagine Amazon is working on that. The Show is probably on sale due to ramping up competition from Google partners, and Amazon’s own “Show Mode” and Dock for their tablets, which are a cheaper Show equivalent. Amazon is, no doubt, working on another version of Show.



Right now, BlueTooth is the only option to get better sound for Show, but AirPlay is available in the Amazon Music app in Alexa mode. I can’t see Amazon not enabling Alexa Cast for both of these, greatly expanding the options. Their Dock supports 3.5mm analog audio out, another Show killing feature.
But a microwave? I'm not buying a new microwave until my old one is broke, and it certainly must be built in as mine currently is.



Well, just like analogue speakers, which are nowadays mostly seen as ancient fossils by anyone younger than 20 years of age and hence are more and more being replaced by digital devices, there might be an established new standard when in comes to kitchen appliances in the future, i.e. voice recognition and AI.

Like I said, think long term.




If it's got a killer feature, sure. People will replace their micrwaves when they fail. And that's a long term strategy, ok. It's still rather different from the long term strategy that was used for echo.


Alexa Cast is a different beast, only available in the Amazon Music app right now. Sadly, it’s disabled (for now) when the app is in Alexa mode, but I imagine Amazon is working on that. The Show is probably on sale due to ramping up competition from Google partners, and Amazon’s own “Show Mode” and Dock for their tablets, which are a cheaper Show equivalent. Amazon is, no doubt, working on another version of Show.



Right now, BlueTooth is the only option to get better sound for Show, but AirPlay is available in the Amazon Music app in Alexa mode. I can’t see Amazon not enabling Alexa Cast for both of these, greatly expanding the options.




I don't see Alexa cast being that much of a game changer. I see it more of a 'no brainer' feature that was easy to do with their existing cloud infrastructure. For one thing, it only works for Amazon music sources, and I doubt it will expand to the other sources Alexa supports. And I don't think it needs to. There is no need (other than you're lyrics feature) to really cast from one echo device to another, as you can just instruct for music to play on that other echo device.
But a microwave? I'm not buying a new microwave until my old one is broke, and it certainly must be built in as mine currently is.



Well, just like analogue speakers, which are nowadays mostly seen as ancient fossils by anyone younger than 20 years of age and hence are more and more being replaced by digital devices, there might be an established new standard when in comes to kitchen appliances in the future, i.e. voice recognition and AI.

Like I said, think long term.




If it's got a killer feature, sure. People will replace their micrwaves when they fail. And that's a long term strategy, ok. It's still rather different from the long term strategy that was used for echo.




I've been smiling all the way since we started this little discussion. We're actually debating Alexa in microwave ovens... ;)



My point is that in setting a new standard (VR) for household appliances and sharing the VR functionality with selected 3rd party manufacturers, Amazon will see Alexa running on so many devices that you do not even have to invest in the required infrastructure anymore.

Eventually you will move into a new house and at least one device integrated into the house at the time of purchase has Alexa already running on it.


I don't see Alexa cast being that much of a game changer. I see it more of a 'no brainer' feature that was easy to do with their existing cloud infrastructure. For one thing, it only works for Amazon music sources, and I doubt it will expand to the other sources Alexa supports. And I don't think it needs to. There is no need (other than you're lyrics feature) to really cast from one echo device to another, as you can just instruct for music to play on that other echo device.




It doesn’t just cast to another Echo device, it doesn’t even work from Echo devices right now. It does cast to Sonos devices right now, from the Amazon Music app. If it could cast from Show to, say, a pair of Play:1s, from the Show, while retaining the full visual experience of Show, it would be a great enhancement to Sonos. Not sure why I’m unable to make that clear...


It doesn’t just cast to another Echo device, it doesn’t even work from Echo devices right now. It does cast to Sonos devices right now, from the Amazon Music app. If it could cast from Show to, say, a pair of Play:1s, from the Show, while retaining the full visual experience of Show, it would be a great enhancement to Sonos. Not sure why I’m unable to make that clear...




That's just it chicks. The part I bolded...this exists right now. We don't typically call it Alexa cast, but whether you initiate from the Amazon music app, or from a voice command to your Echo show, the command goes from the Amazon cloud to the Sonos cloud, down to your speakers. This is why Sonos didn't announce Alexa cast when it came out...they didn't even know about it. Amazon didn't need to tell Sonos because they were using the interface/pathway that already existed when Sonos integrated with Alexa.



You won't be able to get any kind of visualization in sync out of this because it's just a command, it's not streaming through your music app or your echo show. You can see that right now with the Amazon music app. Cast to an echo on Sonos speaker and the app kind of goes dead after that point. It doesn't tell you volume, lyrics, or time remaining in the track.



Now, Amazon could revamp the whole thing to enable two echos, or an echo and sonos room, to be in sync somehow, but I don't see why they would. It complicates things tremendously, and for customers who want scrolling lyrics, they can buy a Show, spot, firetv, and possibly whatever other new products they come out with.


I've been smiling all the way since we started this little discussion. We're actually debating Alexa in microwave ovens... ;)



My point is that in setting a new standard (VR) for household appliances and sharing the VR functionality with selected 3rd party manufacturers, Amazon will see Alexa running on so many devices that you do not even have to invest in the required infrastructure anymore.

Eventually you will move into a new house and at least one device integrated into the house at the time of purchase has Alexa already running on it.




Eh, this isn't a debate, it's a pleasant discussion. ;-)



Makes sense. And microwaves may be the cheapest entry point for appliances that are going to stay with the house. The thermostat is cheaper, but already well covered territory and usually not in a good location in the home for voice control.



And I imagine they will talk with new homebuilders to get their microwave point into new homes.



Oh, and it would be something else if Amazon puts a camera on the microwave, with the front glass being able to double as a screen useful for video call and checking up on your other cameras around the house. Really kind of funny as people were mocking the idea of your microwave spying on you not 2 years ago.
It doesn’t exist right now. You don’t see what’s playing when you tell the Show to play on your Sonos. With BlueTooth speakers, you do. Alexa Cast on Show, with the ability to select dedicated speakers as targets, would SHOW you what’s playing, while the audio would be routed elsewhere.



Here’s an example. Two devices running Amazon Music, simultaneously, one of them casting to Sonos via Alexa Cast. Show could do the same thing, if Amazon enabled Alexa Cast on it. Note that the visualizations are all in perfect sync. As I said, Alexa Cast is a new and different beast. Amazon has already said they will open it up, eventually, to third parties like Spotify.





Here’s an example. Two devices running Amazon Music, simultaneously, one of them casting to Sonos via Alexa Cast. Show could do the same thing, if Amazon enabled Alexa Cast on it. Note that the visualizations are all in perfect sync. As I said, Alexa Cast is a new and different beast.





Ok, I'm simply not seeing what you're seeing. When I cast to from the Amazon music app to a Sonos speaker or an echo, the music app doesn't show me lyrics or a timeline the way it does on yours. Perhaps because on not on my local wifi network, but I doubt that's the reason. Perhaps I have a different setting then you. Maybe it's a feature that's being rolled out regionally or something.


Ok, I'm simply not seeing what you're seeing. When I cast to from the Amazon music app to a Sonos speaker or an echo, the music app doesn't show me lyrics or a timeline the way it does on yours. Perhaps because on not on my local wifi network, but I doubt that's the reason. Perhaps I have a different setting then you. Maybe it's a feature that's being rolled out regionally or something.




That’s odd. Dunno, but it works great, even when my phone isn’t on the WiFi, via 4G. Hopefully Amazon will bring it to Show, or whatever replaces it, and will enable it via voice, which doesn’t Cast now.


Oh, and it would be something else if Amazon puts a camera on the microwave, with the front glass being able to double as a screen useful for video call and checking up on your other cameras around the house. Really kind of funny as people were mocking the idea of your microwave spying on you not 2 years ago.




I've seen all of this before...

https://youtu.be/5ztwns5PkJY
You don’t see what’s playing when you tell the Show to play on your Sonos. With BlueTooth speakers, you do. Alexa Cast on Show, with the ability to select dedicated speakers as targets, would SHOW you what’s playing, while the audio would be routed elsewhere.



Here’s an example. Two devices running Amazon Music, simultaneously, one of them casting to Sonos via Alexa Cast.


How does this work? When I was investigating the Spot, I found that using it - theoretically in my unsupported in India case - via the Alexa Sonos integration would not mean much because the track artwork and name would not be shown. But since I use it with the line in on the Connect Amp, that isn't an issue because there is no hand over of the type that is there with the Sonos integration.

I suppose if you cast directly to a Sonos speaker in the Amazon app, the artwork still shows on the phone you are casting from; so if Amazon were to enable casting on the Show/Spot, does this mean that the sound will be heard on the target Sonos speaker even in India where there is no Sonos Alexa integration?
I doubt it will work without the Alexa integration. Amazon registers your Sonos and Echo devices in its cloud database, and can target any of them from the Amazon Music app, even on a phone not connected to your WiFi. Open the Music app on another phone, Alexa Cast to the same target, and it will start playing whatever is on the new phone. The display on the original phone will quickly sync up its display.



None of this works when the Amazon Music app is in Alexa voice control mode, which doesn't allow Alexa Cast or Chromecast, but does allow AirPlay and Bluetooth. Will they bring Alexa Cast to the Show? Dunno. Hope so. Would be cool.



Note that Google Home has sticky settings to play audio to any other speaker in the Home ecosystem, including Chromecast Audio. So, once Sonos finally integrates with Home, the upcoming Google Home Hub should be able to display what's playing on your Sonos speakers.



https://www.digitaltrends.com/home/images-leaked-of-google-home-hub/



All my Chromecast, Echo and Sonos targets in the Amazon Music app on Android. The iPhone shows Airplay vs the Chromecast targets.

So, looks like a wimpy little $99 “subwoofer”, of the type that pairs with cheesy computer speakers. It will add some thump to a stereo pair of Echoes. Hardly an audiophile setup...



https://www.engadget.com/amp/2018/09/19/amazon-echo-sub-and-smart-plug-leak/
So, looks like a wimpy little $99 “subwoofer”, of the type that pairs with cheesy computer speakers. It will add some thump to a stereo pair of Echoes. Hardly an audiophile setup...



https://www.engadget.com/amp/2018/09/19/amazon-echo-sub-and-smart-plug-leak/




The new stereo pairing feature is the most interesting part of the article.
As long as cheap and smarter Amazon front ends remain available with a stereo line out jack...


Ok, I'm simply not seeing what you're seeing. When I cast to from the Amazon music app to a Sonos speaker or an echo, the music app doesn't show me lyrics or a timeline the way it does on yours. Perhaps because on not on my local wifi network, but I doubt that's the reason. Perhaps I have a different setting then you. Maybe it's a feature that's being rolled out regionally or something.




That’s odd. Dunno, but it works great, even when my phone isn’t on the WiFi, via 4G. Hopefully Amazon will bring it to Show, or whatever replaces it, and will enable it via voice, which doesn’t Cast now.




I figured it out this morning. When playing audio from 'My Music', you 'll get the experience I saw. The Amazon app gues dumb. Doesn't even know when the audio track has ended. But you play from an Amazon's collection of tracks, playlists, stations, etc, I see exactly what you saw @chicks.



I did a little bit of experimenting and the Amazon app does appear to be in sync with the Sonos speakers. I'm sure it's not streaming through the phone though, so I'm guess that it really only appears to be in sync...Amazon is just timing everything right. And perhaps it can do that with it's own tracks, but cannot with the tracks users have uploaded. Perhaps Amazon's tracks are tagged differently or something of that nature.



I have to wonder if this is related to Amazon's decision earlier this year to no longer allow users to upload their own tracks. And if that's the case, it would seem that Amazon has bigger plans for Alexacast, such as tying it in with their video echo products.





So, looks like a wimpy little $99 “subwoofer”, of the type that pairs with cheesy computer speakers. It will add some thump to a stereo pair of Echoes. Hardly an audiophile setup...



https://www.engadget.com/amp/2018/09/19/amazon-echo-sub-and-smart-plug-leak/





Amazon never claimed they were going audiophile, it was just speculation. And this product actually makes a lot more sense, IMO. It's an easy add-on to all the customers out their who already have echos saturating their home. It competes with Sonos in a way. If an echo+ sub comes close to the sound quality of a Sonos One, then it can win based on branding and echo exclusive features. Particularly if folks are thinking of replacing an echo with a Sonos One, you can save $100 by just getting the amazon sub.



And I would bet that amazon amp and receiver are along similar price and quality. A bit below Sonos, but good enough for a lot of people, and a cheaper option for those who already have echos. So you can build a 'decent' multiroom audio system for cheaper than you can with Sonos. The downside, of course, is that you're never getting a great system, and you're tying yourself in to Amazon approved audio sources. And perhaps lacking HT integration...we'll see.



It's hard to say this is bad for Sonos. Feels like a case of "rising tides raise all boats", in that Amazon is getting people thinking about multiroom audio, which may end up getting more people thinking about Sonos indirectly. As a consumer, I can't see the downside, as I don't think Amzaon is going to kill any competition with these products.
As long as cheap and smarter Amazon front ends remain available with a stereo line out jack...



All current Echos except the Show have a line out which makes them extremely flexible. I think your strategy is going to be viable for a very long time. And if Amazon lets you down you can easily switch to Google or something else without disrupting your core system. If you go the dual input route you can even run two front end technologies in parallel making it easier to slowly transition from one front end platform to the next as things evolve over time.


Amazon will most likely follow the same approach as with the Echo: develop a cheap product with just sufficient internal processing capabilities for basic functionality and a standard set of features and sell it at a ridiculously low price. Then make sure to enhance the product through regular future software updates. Once the product has been established on the markets, more high-quality varieties of said product will be released.



If their goal is to bring Alexa into every corner of our homes then starting by adding voice control to our most essential household appliances actually makes sense. Think long term.




I agree that that may be their strategy, but I don't see it working as well for microwaves. As an example, I had no issue bringing in my echo even though I had a Sonos setup in the same room. It wasn't a complete duplication of features. But a microwave? I'm not buying a new microwave until my old one is broke, and it certainly must be built in as mine currently is. That also means it has to be the right size and power. It might be neat to bring in 2nd microwave, but I don't have the space for a cheap microwave that I don't need.



Of course there are going to be plenty of folks that could use a new microwave and/or are willing to switch for the bargain pricing, but I can't see that as nearly a big a market as the echo was.




I don't think you are grasping the Amazon vision here. Picture a home theater with an Alexa receiver driving the front speakers, a pair of Echos for the surround speakers, the new Echo sub, and the Alexa microwave acting as the center channel speaker. You now have the ability to enjoy full 5.1 surround as you watch movies through your Firestick AND enjoy fresh microwave popcorn without pausing the film or leaving the theater room to fetch it. Nobody else can provide that kind of total theater experience!
I think your strategy is going to be viable for a very long time.

I think so too, and certainly hope so. Modular systems is the way to go where one part of the tech is evolving rapidly, while the other part related to amplification and speaker tech is largely stagnant. And modular as in modules from different makes, much the way legacy audiophile systems were and even today are put together. Except that this should be a lot simpler with line out/in sockets being the only requirement.
As long as cheap and smarter Amazon front ends remain available with a stereo line out jack...



All current Echos except the Show have a line out which makes them extremely flexible.




Was not aware of that. My original Echos definitely don’t have line out jacks, only my (2nd gen) Dots do.
FYI, I believe these new products are currently being announced. I'd expect to see news by the end of the day.
As long as cheap and smarter Amazon front ends remain available with a stereo line out jack...



All current Echos except the Show have a line out which makes them extremely flexible.




Was not aware of that. My original Echos definitely don’t have line out jacks, only my (2nd gen) Dots do.




Correct, current as in currently available for sale. I should have been more precise. I shuffle my first gen Echos and Shows into locations where I only need stand-alone devices.