Amazon adds Dolby Atmos to Echo lineup

Amazon has overhauled its Echo smart device lineup, and the highlight is a new flagship model, the Echo Studio, which is the world's first Dolby Atmos-enabled smart speaker.

Priced £190 and shipping from November 7 – pre-orders are available at the retailer's website – the Echo Show is a desktop smart speaker with immersive aspirations.

Its driver array comprises five units – a 5.25in woofer (tethered to a down-firing bass port), three 2in midrange drivers and a 1in tweeter. Power is rated at 330W peak. 'Echo Studio has been purposefully engineered to create premium sound with space, clarity, and depth,' says Amazon.

One of the Echo Studio's mid-range drivers is an upfirer, designed to make the most of Dolby Atmos music sources. Such immersive content is a feature of Amazon's newly announced Amazon Music HD, its premium streaming subscription. Amazon says Universal Music Group are Warner Music Group are among the labels mastering tracks in 'native 3D'.

Another is Sony Music Entertainment, although it's utilising its proprietary 360 Reality Audio platform. 'We are proud to offer this new and immersive music experience through Amazon Music HD and the all-new Echo Studio,' says Yoshinori Matsumoto, Director and Deputy President, Sony Home Entertainment and Sound Products Inc.

'We hope to further energize the market by expanding available options for listeners to enjoy their music. Moving forward, Sony intends to expand the number of compatible streaming services and devices to build an ecosystem that reaches as many listeners as possible.'

The Echo Studio (or perhaps two of them – the devices can be paired), will handle multichannel and Atmos audio from Amazon Fire TV devices. The speaker's internal 24-bit DAC, meanwhile, handles high-res and lossless file playback, another feature of Amazon Music HD.

In addition to the Echo Studio, Amazon announced an updated third-generation version of its Echo speaker (£90); a compact plug-in speaker dubbed Echo Flex (£25); the 8in screen Echo Show 8 (£120), and Echo Buds (£120), true wireless earbuds feature Bose active noise cancelling and hands-free Alexa support.