I wanted to start a thread to do some comparisons between the Connect and Amazon's new Echo Link. I'm not trying to a review and say which one is better, just point out the differences. On the surface, they look to be very similar products, but they actually have some pretty significant differences. As a Sonos fan, I have to admit there a few things on the Link that I like, that I'd like to see an a hypothetical Connect 2.0
Here are the similarities:
- Both send into to a 3rd party receiver/amp for audio playback by analog or digital connections.
- Both are part of a multiroom audio system (Sonos and Alexa respectively) The Connect plays with other Sonos speakers, the Link plays with echos.
- Both can be voice control through Alexa, and configured with Alexa groups. The are not Alexa devices, just speakers where Alexa can direct music towards.
- both can stream music directly from the internet.
- both have line-in connection(s) that can automatically turn on when audio is sensed on the source.
Here is where they differ:
- Although both have 'line in' connections available to bring audio in, Sonos only has a single RCA line in. The Link can bring in Bluetooth audio, RCA, or digital (COAX/optical) This is something I think a Connect 2.0 could use .
- The Connect can share it's line-in connections with other speakers in the network. The Link cannot. All the Link can do is pass the audio signal on to a receiver/amp. On the surface, it seems pointless to have inputs if they cannot be shared, but it does allow for smart switching of inputs. Something that would be an issue if you plugged a echo dot directly to the amp. Also, the Link may gain this feature in a future software update.
- The Connect has 'Work with Sonos' functioning with some receivers, allowing it to turn on/off, volume, and input control of some high end receivers. The Link doesn't have this, but the functionality is partially met with it's multiple inputs and smart switching already.
- the Connect will buffer anything that comes through it's inputs, so that it can be shared with other Sonos speakers. The Link does not, since it will only passthrough. That means that the Connect can't really take a TV/video input, while Link can and will not have any lip sync issues. This is something I think a Connect 2.0 could use. The Connect would be more useful if it had a passthrough mode to resolve lip sync issues when playing with other speakers is not needed
- The Link has a subwoofer output. I'm not really sure why.
- The Link has a headphone jack. Also something I think a Connect 2.0 could use
I'm probably missing some things, but I think these are most of them. I'm also not mentioning details that are more inherent to the music system they belong to rather than specific to the device itself.
It's also worth noting that the two products do not need to be mutually exclusive. You could have both devices connected to the same amp. You could even have the two devices 'feed' each other with their inputs and outputs. One perhaps useful example would be to take the output of a Link into the input of a Connect, with the result being that your echos and Sonos can play the same audio, slightly out of sync.