Amazon Echo Dot/ as a source/quality?

  1. variable
    Searched to see if anybody has tried using the Dot as any decent audio source. I can only imagine it is quite low quality but a man can dream...

    The voice commands are nice on the original Echo and the speaker is better than say... The one on my cellphone... But that isn't saying much for hi-fi.

    At least the Dot had stereo analog out whereas the original Echo had no output and was mono only. I just had high hopes this round of releases for some sort of digital output.

    Anyways, if anyone has made use of the 3.5mm jack I'd be interested to know your thoughts. Or other opinions about the Echo/voice controlled audio players.
     
  2. Prohobo
    I too am interested.  I ordered one to play with it.
     
    I think my only disappointment is there is NO digital out to run to my DAC.
     
    So far I have found NOTHING to replace my Logitech Squeeze Box Touch. 
     
    Perhaps someone can HACK the Echo Dot to create a DIGITAL OUT.
     
  3. variable
    Yep, my sentiments exactly.
     
    I am now jumping the amazon ship and looking at google home.
     
    It can control a chromecast, or any android device... and they have digital outs. whether they are spdif or hdmi.
     
  4. NiHaoMike
    I recently tore down an Echo Dot.
    EchoDot_small.jpg
    EchoDotPCB_small.jpg
     
    Notable is that it uses a TLV320DAC3203 I2S DAC. That means a digital out mod should be possible, but I'm not looking further at this point since I have some other projects to work on.
     
  5. Prohobo
    Google Home - I looked at it and it has NO digital out that I could see, let alone even audio out.
    Am I wrong? Maybe I am missing something.
     
    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/google-google-home-white-slate-fabric/5578849.p?skuId=5578849
     
  6. Prohobo
    Thanks very much for the break down. I will look closely at those photos and welcome hack ideas for digital out.
     
    I just bought a Google Dot (2nd gen) and waiting for it.
     
  7. variable
    Correct, the Google Home does not have any digital out [maybe internally, I haven't torn it down]. What I was trying to convey, is that the Google Home can be used to control other Google Chromecast devices that ARE connected digitally. Such as any Chromecast variant, [Audio, normal, HD] , any Android TV device [Sony built in, Nvidia shield, mii box, etc]; in fact it can control the media on any device that is 'chrome[Google]cast out'.

    I just received mine yesterday and can vouch for it.

    The internal speaker on the Home itself is comparable to the Echo, maybe slightly better.

    So far it has heard both myself and my wife above the din of surrounding conversations, television/movie output, and the fact that it is not in our voices line-of-sight.

    12 hours in, so far, so good. [Does all our lights via Hue and Smartthings too]
     
  8. Prohobo
    Amazon Dot has bluetooth, so what about this option for connecting to a DAC?
     
     
    Amazon Dot -> Bluetooth Streamer w/ Digital Out -> DAC
     
     
    Products like:
     
    Audioengine B1
    https://www.amazon.com/Audioengine-B1-Premium-Bluetooth-Receiver/dp/B00MHTGZR4
     
     
     
    In another post I asked about Bluetooth Streamers w/ Digital Out.
    http://www.head-fi.org/t/827399/bluetooth-streamers-w-digital-out-options
     
     
     
    Your thoughts?
     
  9. mfid
    Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but is anyone still playing with this idea? I've got an Echo Dot that I'd like to build into a home office setup I'm planning. I essentially want to be able to run audio both from my Mac but also the Echo Dot through one set of speakers without having to buy a mixer and constantly switch sources from one to the other (would defeat the object of hands free voice control).
     
    Currently just have a Macbook Pro and am looking to buy a decent set of computer speakers to go with it (Audioengine A5+ or Yamaha HS7 seem decent bets for my budget). I may also buy a Dragonfly Black DAC, but my plan is to connect the Echo Dot to my Mac via bluetooth (bypassing the Echo Dot's DAC), and then have the Mac essentially serve as the mixer to mix both inputs before either going through the in-built DAC through to the audio in on the speakers, or going through the Macbook's USB into the DAC and then the audio in on the speakers.
     
    Have I understood that right? Is that approach the best way to do it?
     
    Thanks in advance! 
     
  10. klaypigeon
    Late to the race, but an option I am considering is building an Alexa enabled Raspberry Pi (well documented on Instructables and elsewhere, Amazon even gives workshops on this at AWS conferences) and then porting the sound to a dragonfly usb dac or something similar. I think that would pretty much accomplish what is being hoped for; Alexa functionality with a higher quality DAC.
     
  11. lansdownd21
    I am also very late to this discussion, but have some answers. Early this year I set up my home audio system with, among many other sources, an Echo Dot. I tried both the Bluetooth and wired methods. I also signed up for the Amazon Music Unlimited service for one Echo ($3.99/mo).

    The BT was disappointing, and in fact I have heard better BT. To my surprise, the wired method was not much better, if at all. The signal level out of the Dot is very low, even fully cranked up. This is typical of portable (battery)devices but not usually for wall-powered stuff. My educated guess is 10dB lower than other typical line-level sources (like a CD player). But the quality issue is not a signal level related. It sounds like the high end is lacking, and there's not much dynamic range. It's very possible that they are only streaming limited bandwidth audio to the Echos. They may be thinking that since the Echo speaker won't reproduce it, why waste the BW.

    So, other than the novelty of telling Alexa to play just about any song you've ever heard and impressing your friends, this use of the Dot was a bust. There are other ways to get quality streaming audio into your home, not the least of which is streaming that same Amazon Music Unlimited through a BD player or Roku player app which are intended to feed a "full size" home audio system.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017
  12. richard_hing
    I recently received an Amazon Echo and Echo Dot (2nd generation) for a gift. My son uses the Echo in his bedroom, while I set up the Echo Dot in the living room with my system. After setting it up using the iPhone Alexa app, I connected it to one of the line level inputs of my stereo system:
    • Audio Research LS7 vacuum tube line stage preamp
    • Power amp is a DIY amp project using a Texas Instruments TPA3255EVM Class D amplifier that has received great reviews by DIYers who have built amps using this module with a highly reliable power supply -- 150 watts/channel
    • Speakers are KEF LS50 wired version.
    For source comparisons:
    • Rebuilt vintage Kenwood PC-400U belt-idler drive turntable
    • Audio Research PH5 vacuum tube phono stage preamp
    • Sony ES DVP-NS999ES DVD/SACD/CD player
    Using a low-coast RCA 3.5mm mini-stereo to RCA cable (that's all I have at this time), the sound quality I initally heard was underwhelming. Frequency extremes were rolled off and the sound had a flat, dull quality to it. I turned the volume output to the maximum setting of "10" with an Alexa voice command, but still found I needed to turn the volume knob on my ARC LS7 a notch or two higher than what I use with my CD player. I haven't measured the output, but the Texas Instruments TLV320DAC3203 DAC data sheet indicates its output to be less than 1V (RMS), and I cannot tell if there is an op amp between the DAC and mini stereo output jack.

    As I let the Echo Dot play more tunes and with better source recordings from my designated music services including Amazon Music, the sound really opened up and the detail and frequency extremes settled in. I estimated that it took three hours of continuous play before things really opened up. Once I had Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue" (Sony Legacy Edition) playing, "On Green Dolphin Street" was playing tunefully. Listening to the Bill Evans Trio's "Sunday at the Village Vanguard," Paul Motian's brush work on "My Foolish Heart" came through with clarity and Scott Lefaro's bass notes were digging deep. The audience and sounds from the bar were quite evident in the background. The soundstage depth improved and channel separation was pretty good.

    I don't want to paint a picture that the Echo Dot is a high-end source, because it's not. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how good it could sound with the online music sources it accesses. I would definitely rate it higher than my 4th gen iPad playing the same music sources through my stereo system. The Alexa voice command capabilities really make it fun and easy to use. I'm going to roll my own stereo mini-RCA interconnect cable using Switchcraft Gold-plated connectors and Duelund DCA20GA oiled cotton-insulated 20ga Tinned Copper wire. Jeff Day of Positive Feedback has written about these fantastic interconnects in his Jeff's Place blog, and this is what I use as interconnects throughout my system.

    My son used a cheap stereo mini-to-RCA interconnect cable to connect the Echo to his KRK Rokit 6 powered studio monitors that he uses in his bedroom studio to mix beats, and we both listened to some tracks on and off over the course of 5-6 hours. Again, after some time to burn in, the sound quality was impressive.
     
  13. johnsnowkornar
    Thanks for the info. I have seen you are an expertise about eco dot. Would you please suggest me a good one speaker for my eco dot. I am looking under $100.
     
  14. lansdownd21
    mfid,
    IF you always have your MacBook on and handy, then yes, what you are proposing is feasible. I am not an Apple person, but I am assuming that it will perform the mixing or switching that you are trying to avoid externally.

    But the reference in your first sentence to "an speaker for Echo Dot" (linked to Top PC Tech bluetooth speakers). This is confusing because your description that follows doesn't even use a bluetooth speaker, but wired only.

    Looks like you are building a very nice office system, I am envious of your speaker budget.
     

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