These intelligent audio amplifiers offer an easier way to listen to tunes.
If extra time at home these days has you yearning for something other than headphones or smartphone speakers for listening to music, you’re in luck.
Smart speakers have come a long way from the alarm-setting, question-answering instruments of yore. The new generation of smart speakers pair brains with robust audio equipment, providing solid sound quality with easy-to-use control options.
Below, some of the top options for intelligent amplifiers.
High-end audio equipment purveyor Sonos has spent the past few years developing smart speakers, and its latest foray, Move, is a versatile sound solution that works across a variety of home environments.
This battery-powered, indoor/outdoor smart speaker is both weatherproof and drop resistant, can be controlled via voice (Alexa, Google Assistant), Sonos App or Apple AirPlay 2, and will jump from Wi-Fi connection to Bluetooth, should you find yourself out of signal range.
And as a Sonos product, you can count on the device offering the superior sound quality, which experiences no degradation when moving from indoor to outdoor settings.
The Sonos Move is available for $399.
Amazon Echo Studio
No brand has been more closely associated with the smart speaker than Amazon Echo. From discs and dots to towers and touchscreens, the Echo has evolved form and function to lead the way in the smart speaker market. And now the Echo is tackling high-end audio with the Amazon Echo Studio.
This sizable smart speaker offers immersive five-speaker sound featuring Dolby Atmos technology, allowing the Studio to play music in the highest-quality formats, including HD, UltraHD and 3-D.
And the Studio didn’t sacrifice any smarts to provide peak sound quality. The speaker can still do anything you’d expect from an Echo, including streaming music directly from your preferred service, controlling smart home devices, answering phone calls, functioning as an intercom and more.
The Amazon Echo Studio is available for $199.
Google Home Max
The other big name in the smart speaker space is search, software—and now, hardware—giant Google, and the Google Home Max displays all the company’s ingenuity across these spaces.
The large, rectangular speaker, which can be placed either vertically or horizontally, features dual 4.5-inch woofers that provide deep, balanced-based custom tweeters that can crisply hit all the highs.
And the Home Max is clever enough to automatically recognize where it has been placed in a room and adjust its sound output accordingly, altering equalizer settings to achieve the optimal acoustics for the space.
In addition to offering Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection and control, Max owners can stream directly from their favorite music services, control a range of smart home products and take advantage of Google’s superior search functions—all via voice command.
The Google Home Max is available for $299.
Bose Home Speaker 500
Bose knows audio, and with the Home Speaker 500, they appear to have worked out the smart speaker, too. Featuring two custom speakers pointing in opposite directions, the Home Speaker 500 provides wall-to-wall stereo sound out of a single device.
And the 500 is no schlub when it comes to smarts. The device features built-in voice control (thanks to Google Assistant and Alexa), a personalized Bose music app, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity—meaning if you can get it on your phone or tablet, you can play it on the 500—as well as a custom-designed eight-microphone array, so even in a loud environment, it can pick up your voice commands.
The Bose Home Speaker 500 is available for $299.