Echo (Alexa) User Forums

Alternate - 3rd party internal speakers?

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Snafs

Alternate - 3rd party internal speakers?
« on: October 25, 2016, 06:39:32 pm »
Whilst I probably would not be brave enough to attempt it myself, nor have the knowledge to know what I would need speaker wise.

I am surprised, by now, given that the Echo has been out in the US for almost 2 years for someone not to have put together a DIY kit to improve the Echo's audio quality.

Now, I'm not in any way saying it's bad. I actually think the sound it very good.
If I was to find fault, I'd say it was a little lacking in any crisp treble for my tastes, esp for music, it's all rather warm and bass sounding.

Given that there are two physical speakers, as I say, I'm surprised no one has come up with a: Fit these new speakers kit yet.


Re: Alternate - 3rd party internal speakers?
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2016, 08:58:05 pm »
I am surprised, by now, given that the Echo has been out in the US for almost 2 years for someone not to have put together a DIY kit to improve the Echo's audio quality.

Given that replacing the internal speakers with any others that would fit would violate the unit's warranty (if any remains) and provide minimal improvement in sound quality I'd be surprised if there were any real demand for such a kit.  This is especially so when you consider that a better option would be to buy a Gen 2 Dot and use it with whatever superior audio equipment you likely already have if you're the sort of individual who can't live with the Echo's speaker quality.

Offline Snafs

Re: Alternate - 3rd party internal speakers?
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2016, 04:23:03 am »
Oh yes yes, I fully understand such an 'upgrade internal speaker pack with instructions' would void the warranty, that would have to be the customers personal decision.
And I'd not wish to do it, but then I don't like messing with things anyway, well, not unless they are old and does not matter if I break them. ;)
Though looking online there seem to be a lot of people who don't mind opening things up.

However looking here: https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Amazon+Echo+Teardown/33953

It does seem just 4 screws under the rubber bottom and a few other minor bits, which it way easier than say a tablet or phone these days.

You are quite correct of course about the dot, so you have the line out as well as bluetooth.
I had a dot myself also, but straight away there is a obvious problem

Yes, you can have far higher quality speakers then with an Echo, but you then have to keep them powered up all the time. I've not worked out a method I'd like yet on this front.
It means either buying a nice quality bluetooth speaker system which will auto power down.
But then these seem to suffer from a delay in actually starting up, and you can easily find yourself spending as much for the bluetooth speaker than a whole full size Echo unit.
Or you use some mains powered amp/speaker system and connect it to the dot with line out, in which case, you need to leave it powered on all the time (not good) or turn it off, and manually turn it on when you wish to use the Dot.

I will admit, I would like to see a, Echo Pro, or something like that, say about $50 more, but perhaps a larger unit with even better speakers.
Having the speakers built into the Echo and ready to work at any time is much nicer than bolting something on.

Again, not saying I'm not happy with the Echo sound quality :)
Just be nice for their to be a simple, practical option for even better.

Actually I'm not Anti-Wire myself, and I'd be interested if there was a socket on the back of the current Echo, to fit an identical looking unit that was just another speaker, Stereo!
Then you could place the Echo one side of your desk/table and the other identical looking unit at the other side.
Improve the treble just a little bit, and customers then have a great simple choice :)

Re: Alternate - 3rd party internal speakers?
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2016, 09:01:35 am »
You are quite correct of course about the dot, so you have the line out as well as bluetooth.
I had a dot myself also, but straight away there is a obvious problem

Yes, you can have far higher quality speakers then with an Echo, but you then have to keep them powered up all the time. I've not worked out a method I'd like yet on this front.

It means either buying a nice quality bluetooth speaker system which will auto power down.
But then these seem to suffer from a delay in actually starting up, and you can easily find yourself spending as much for the bluetooth speaker than a whole full size Echo unit.
Or you use some mains powered amp/speaker system and connect it to the dot with line out, in which case, you need to leave it powered on all the time (not good) or turn it off, and manually turn it on when you wish to use the Dot.

Or you can buy a cheap little bluetooth receiver, and plug that into your mains powered amp instead. As you are also in the UK, this might be of interest to you - I have bought a couple of these, and they work just fine, for a fiver!

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/182089178432 (I am not the seller of this kit, or connected to them in any way).

Not obvious from the picture, but the jack is actually a two headed jack, i.e. it sticks in the device and out. So this can easily be replaced by a suitable lead with phono plugs if that is what you need. It does need to be USB powered, and I have found that is best done from a USB charger, although it can be done from a USB socket on your kit, if you want to try that.

Then all you need to do, having set it up with your Echo Dot, is say "Alexa Connect" when you turn on your stereo, and "Alexa Disconnect", when you turn it off, and what the Dot to use its own speaker.

Re: Alternate - 3rd party internal speakers?
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2016, 09:04:45 am »
Oh, and I would advise you to position it somewhere easily accessible. The bluetooth connection is solid during use, but when not in use, it may drop into standby mode (I find this does not happen if you connect it to a proper USB plug, so it is charging all the time). So I have mine fixed to the shelf next to my amp with a 3M command strip, so it is just a little button I can press if I see the blue light (Bluetooth Active) isn't lit.

Re: Alternate - 3rd party internal speakers?
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2016, 09:09:06 am »
3rd and last post on this subject :D

If you are wary of the cheap devices, Roberts (of Roberts Radio) also do a Bluetooth Receiver called a BluTune Sync.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxYeJvLT5kY

I have one of those too, but I am not aware it is any better or worse than the cheap imports, for sound quality. However, it does have a better internal battery, which will function for more than 10 hours unplugged.

Re: Alternate - 3rd party internal speakers?
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2016, 04:28:05 am »
f you want to hear better quality than an Echo has, then get a Dot and plug the audio out into a good stereo system.  I do, and the difference is worth the price of the Dot; especially since the price has dropped recently.  Forget about hacking into the Echo to improve its sound, which IS what it IS: it's convenience audio, and not better audio.

Offline Snafs

Re: Alternate - 3rd party internal speakers?
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2016, 05:08:21 am »
Thanks.

I'm no Bluetooth expert :)
But am going to look at the products you mentioned.

One question I have is, if you are connecting to a good sound system, what is Bluetooth like for audio quality?
Does it transmit the full data or some loss in there?

Actually reading this:
https://www.lifewire.com/what-to-know-about-bluetooth-3134591

I think that answers my question.
You really need to use the physical aux connector to get a quality signal out from the echo (Dot)
« Last Edit: October 28, 2016, 05:10:46 am by Snafs »

Re: Alternate - 3rd party internal speakers?
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2016, 02:08:19 pm »
A genuine problem with even the best BT speakers, is that BT sends a restricted audio frequency range.  BT was never intended for high fi transmission, although new BT standards have gotten better in this regard.  If someone wants high (er) fi from an audio source (even BT) the source needs to be hard wired to the receiving device.

Re: Alternate - 3rd party internal speakers?
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2016, 06:20:15 pm »
The main problems with BT for audio are:

1) Codecs that rely on "lossy" digital data compression to compensate for bandwidth limitations, which causes degradation in fidelity to the original digital encoding.  These have gotten better in the most recent version of the BT specifications, but are still a problem.

2) Operation in the crowded 2.4 GHz band, which can result in interruptions in the audio (as network packets are resent following transmission timeouts) and other phenomenon.

Offline Snafs

Re: Alternate - 3rd party internal speakers?
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2016, 08:35:49 am »
You know what I would love, what you would love and what every Dot owner would love?

- Are you listening Amazon? -

Make a tiny mod to the output circuit for the Dot's line out.
If there is no device pulling signal from the Dot = your amp/speakers are on.
Then output sound from the Dot's internal speaker.
If there is a powered on device connected to line out then send it to that.

Is that possible?

If not... Hey, why not give the option to have the Dot speaker on all the time even if there is a wired speaker attached.
Your hi-fi speaker would overpower whatever the Dot was outputting anyway.

This is a big problem, you buy the Dot, wire your amp/speakers in, but then unless you always turn on your sound system the Dot will be silent.

Re: Alternate - 3rd party internal speakers?
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2016, 08:55:40 am »
One question I have is, if you are connecting to a good sound system, what is Bluetooth like for audio quality?
Does it transmit the full data or some loss in there?

Actually reading this:
https://www.lifewire.com/what-to-know-about-bluetooth-3134591

I think that answers my question.
You really need to use the physical aux connector to get a quality signal out from the echo (Dot)

I like music, but do not consider myself an audiophile - you won't find any carbon-wrapped speaker cables or gold-plated connectors in my house.

To my ear, it sounds absolutely fine. Especially when you consider that whatever you are listening to has been processed and compressed anyway, for the purposes of streaming, I really don't think you will hear the difference between bluetooth and a bit of wire connecting your Dot to an amp or powered speaker.

Offline Snafs

Re: Alternate - 3rd party internal speakers?
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2016, 09:08:41 am »
I would imagine you are quite correct when it comes to listening back on your typical modern day small speaker setup.
I won't be doing it yet, as it's all packed away, but one day I may set my, what I call proper HiFi up, then IO can get a Bluetooth receiver and see if there is any difference.
Certainly, as you say, bluetooth is plenty good enough for small typical modern day speakers most people have.