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November 7, 2017

Amazon Echo update doesn’t forget the bass

by John_A

Amazon’s been listening. Not just to your every word (waiting for you say “Alexa”), but also to the widespread criticism of the audio quality on the new Echo. The company issued a software update on Friday to improve the second-generation Echo’s sound profile. It should have installed automatically, meaning you may have already noticed a bit more bass in your music this weekend. You can see if you have the latest software by looking under the Settings section of your Alexa app. The version number should be “592452420.”

After checking that I had the right software, I asked Alexa to play “In the Night” by The Weekend, which was my comparison song in my review. When I first tested the Echo, the music sounded tinny and lacked bass. This time around, I could clearly hear the thumping beat. The tweaks didn’t seem to hurt the vocals, which sounded strong even before the update. I asked my Google Home to play the same track at the same volume (which I also did in my review) and noticed less of a difference between the two, especially in the bass. The Google speaker delivers subtler highs though, which makes for a more well rounded profile.

The bass still isn’t as strong as it was on the Echo Plus, which was punchy enough that I could actually feel it in my chest when the beat dropped at the start of the first verse. But since the new Echo costs just $100 (less than the Echo Plus and the Google Home), I’m happy to live with a barely noticeable difference.

I already liked the rest of the new Echo’s features, including Alexa’s prowess and Amazon’s communication features. This update shows that Amazon not only pays attention to feedback, but that it can also quickly provide solutions — which should keep the Alexa faithful from jumping ship.

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