Old speakers can indeed learn new tricks. Canadians with old speakers collecting dust can now turn them into Alexa-enabled devices using the Amazon Echo Input.
A processor and a quad-microphone array reside within the unassuming diskette enclosure. Users can send voice commands from across the room and ask Alexa to play music, read news updates, control other smart home devices, and 50,000 other skills. Once a speaker is connected to the Echo Input, it can be added to a multi-room music group for synchronized streaming with other Amazon devices.
The Echo Input adds a flexible voice assistant solution to Amazon’s Alexa smart home portfolio. By using the 3.5mm audio jack, the Echo Input can attach to any speaker system with a compatible input. Wireless speakers can also connect to the Echo Input via Bluetooth. Since speakers range in audio quality, they can be turned into a smart entertainment system, or just be used as a daily brief device. In addition, the modularity allows for separate repairs if one or the other breaks.
The Echo Input isn’t the only Amazon device that connects to an external speaker; the 3rd generation Amazon Echo Dot can, too. They may have similar prices, but as one sharp-eyed reviewer pointed out, the Echo Dot needs a 15W wall adapter to power its included speaker whereas the standalone Echo Input sips just 5W. Echo Input’s lower power requirement allows it to be powered through a USB Type-A port typically found on smart TVs and sound bars, which can only supply up to 10W.
Do note that the Echo Input does not work with Wi-Fi speakers and that it cannot make calls when paired via Bluetooth.
The Echo Input is available for pre-order today for $44.99. For a limited time, it will be on sale for $29.99. Shipment will begin on March 28.