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Sonos Amp vs. Amazon Echo Link Amp: Which should you buy?

Sonos Arc lifestyle photo
Sonos Arc lifestyle photo (Image credit: Sonos)

Sonos Amp

Sonos Amp render

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The Sonos Amp can instantly improve your audio set up with high-quality audio within your Sonos speaker setup, but the premium price may turn some people off.

Sonos Amp

Digital powerhouse

HDMI-ARC
Wireless Sonos Speaker support
Multi-room casting
AirPlay 2 support
Adapter needed for TOSLINK Optical Audio output
Very expensive

Echo Link Amp

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The Amazon Echo Link Amp provides Alexa functionality within your home audio setup. Yet it doesn't feel like it's enough since you need another Echo device to get that smart assistant capability.

The analog option

Less expensive than the Sonos Amp
Integrates seamlessly with Alexa ecosystem
Supports streaming from Amazon Music, Spotify, and other major services
Relies completely on wired speaker setup
Multi-Room casting from line-in and Bluetooth inputs not supported

When choosing between the Sonos Amp versus the Echo Amp, you have a seemingly hard choice. Both are popular options for bringing new wireless listening options to your high-end speaker system without completely overhauling your setup. Both amps can help turn your perfectly good "dumb" speakers into smart speakers with Alexa support. Yet of the two, the Sonos Amp surpasses the Echo Link Amp in audio quality and connectivity, though it comes at more than double the cost.

Sonos Amp vs Echo Amp: Not much to look at

We won't beat around the bush: both of these amps are rectangular black boxes, neither of which are particularly attractive to look at. The Echo Amp is an inch wider, and more significantly, an inch taller, giving the Sonos Amp a slightly sleeker appearance and making it slightly easier to fit on your entertainment center.

More importantly, both devices are very limited in terms of front audio controls, compared to what we've seen on most amplifiers. The Echo Amp only has a volume knob on front, which lets you quickly adjust the audio levels but not much else. For comparison, the Sonos Amp has a play/pause button, as well as two buttons on either side that you can tap to increase or decrease the volume — less intuitive than a knob.

For comparison, many amplifiers let you manually adjust EQ settings directly on the device and give you much more information and control over your inputs, using controls on the front. Both of these devices go for a more understated look and trust you to use their respective apps to control them. It's on the back where you'll find the meat of these devices.

The Sonos Amp's HDMI-ARC port allows users to transmit audio from their television via HDMI to their speakers.

For fans of TOSLINK optical audio, the Echo Link Amp comes with both input and output ports. The Sonos Amp only provides this output via an adapter that plugs into its HDMI port. This may be disappointing to some, as the peripheral does not come packed in with the Sonos Amp and must be purchased separately. However, the plus to the Sonos Amp having an HDMI port is HDMI-ARC (Audio Return Channel) technology, allowing users to transmit audio from their television via HDMI to their setup to the Sonos Amp. In effect, your decision comes down to either saving or sacrificing one of the HDMI ports on your television.

Sonos Amp vs Echo Amp: Powerful specs

Amazon Echo Link Amp

Source: Amazon (Image credit: Source: Amazon)

Out of the box, The Sonos Amp and Echo Link Amp offer 2.1 stereo sound. For the Echo Link Amp, though, this is where it stops. As far as we know, there isn't any way to add additional speakers to create a surround sound setup for Amazon's amp. The Sonos Amp can extend as far as 4.1 surround sound. This is accomplished by adding your existing wireless Sonos speakers, such as a pair of Sonos Ones, or by stacking a second Sonos Amp and using additional wired speakers.

Sonos AmpEcho Link Amp
Size (LxWxD)8.54" x 8.54" x 2.52"8.5" x 9.5" x 3.4"
Weight4.6 lbs5.03 lbs
Power per Channel125 Watts at 8 Ohms60 Watts at 8 Ohms
Input (Digital)HDMI-ARC
1x Coaxial RCA
1x Coaxial RCA
1x TOSLINK Optical
Input (Analog)1x L/R RCAAnalog 1x L/R RCA
Output (Digital)TOSLINK (via adapter)1x Coaxial RCA
1x TOSLINK Optical
Output (Analog)1x Subwoofer RCA1x L/R RCA
1x Subwoofer RCA
Smart AssistantAmazon AlexaAmazon Alexa
Bluetooth ConnectivityNoYes
AirPlay 2 SupportYesNo

The Echo Link Amp supplies 60 watts of power to each speaker. In contrast, the Sonos Amp provides 125 watts to each speaker, allowing for greater quality across a wider array of speakers. You'll definitely hear the loudness difference between both setups when streaming high-quality audio from services such as Pandora, Spotify, and Apple Music.

When it comes to multi-room audio, both Amazon's and Sonos' offering handle this very well. With the Echo Link Amp, you can set up groups with other supported Echo devices, enabling audio streaming throughout your home. The Sonos Amp does the very same thing but edges out the Echo Link Amp in one category: streaming whole home audio from any device.

The Echo Link Amp lacks support for multi-room casting from line-in and Bluetooth devices. Another way Sonos supports multi-room audio is the ability to connect multiple Sonos Amps in different rooms to the same network. This further extends audio to more places around the house, such as your patio, basement, attic, or wherever your network reaches, no matter if it's wireless or wired.

Sonos Amp vs Echo Amp: Streaming and smarts

Echo Amp Link

Source: Amazon (Image credit: Source: Amazon)

The Amazon Echo Link Amp supports direct streaming of exactly nine music services: Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, Deezer, Pandora, SiriusXM, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn. Whereas, as of this latest update, the Sonos Amp supports 130 (opens in new tab) music streaming platforms through the Sonos S2 app. Some important additions include Audible, Bandcamp, Google Play Music, Qobuz, SoundCloud, YouTube Music, and many others. This is just the tip of the iceberg, but considering the staggering difference in supported services, it certainly tips the scales in favor of the Sonos Amp.

As for smart assistant capabilities, it's generally even, with both devices supporting Amazon's Alexa voice assistant. The caveat to this is that an external device, such as the Amazon Echo or Alexa-enabled speaker, is needed for voice command support. You can also connect the Sonos One to the Sonos Amp to provide Alexa voice assistant support.

If you want to stream music from your personal music via Bluetooth, only the Echo Link Amp supports this, as Sonos has never bought into Bluetooth for whatever reason. Yet if you have an iPhone, you can stream content via AirPlay 2, which some users will find convenient.

Sonos Amp vs Echo Amp: Which should you buy?

It is within the narrowest of margins, but the Sonos Amp is the winner in this match-up. When it comes to wireless expansion capabilities, the Sonos Amp edges out the Echo Link Amp with the ability to stream music through any device to your whole home.

The Echo Link Amp has the edge when it comes to price, admittedly so. However, the Sonos Amp has more options for streaming audio — one hundred and thirty to be exact, as well as the ability to use HDMI-ARC for higher quality audio from the sources attached to your television. Additionally, the Sonos Amp allows for multi-room streaming from line-in and Bluetooth sources, unlike the Echo Link Amp. Did I mention the support for one hundred thirty different streaming audio services?

Frankly, if you're looking at adding a cheap Alexa-enabled device to smarten up your home theater setup, you may want to consider the Echo Link instead, assuming you can find or own an audio receiver.

Clinton Bowman is an Amazon Product Expert at Android Central. He mainly focuses on the Amazon technological ecosystem as it pertains to Echo, Alexa and Amazon Fire devices. When not writing and talking about technology, you can find him playing video games on the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PC, as well as watching and talking about anime, NBA basketball and pro wrestling. He's also an avid mobile phone and PC building enthusiast.