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Alexa and Sonos Megathread


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Since the first introduction in October 2017, we've been hard at work with the Amazon Alexa team to improve the Sonos skill and Alexa-enabled Sonos speakers. We're constantly fine-tuning and adding new features, along with improving the integration as we work together to bring the ultimate music and sound solution to your homes with Alexa and Sonos. That means new features, improved performance, and everything in between. 

This thread is a resource for people who might have questions that they're looking for answers to; a directory or megathread, so to speak. 

To start with, our home page is here for Alexa on Sonos. It's kept up to date and shows some great information to answer your questions.

We have our getting started thread with the basic setup and questions, and a similar guide here to follow to get yourself all set up with the Sonos Skill for Alexa. 

Also, there's the how it works thread for anyone looking for more details. 

Since launch, there have been many changes and updates to the whole Alexa and Sonos experience. We've added support for many new skills and several more music services got added as well, such as Audible, Spotify, and Deezer. Alexa support on Sonos has expanded to several new countries this year since launch. 

Amazon Alexa is currently available on Sonos in United States, Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Recently, we added Alexa Announcements to Sonos. 

Sonos with Alexa built-in or Echo + Sonos


Alexa and Sonos integration is two-fold, the skill and Alexa enabled speakers. Some features will come to specific Alexa devices first and take some dedicated engineering work to bring them to all other Alexa-enabled devices, like Sonos speakers. There are some features that might only be available on Amazon Echo devices, while others will come to Sonos. Features like Messaging, Calling, and Drop-in aren't available on Sonos with Alexa. You can use an Alexa-enabled Sonos device to start a Routine, but the routines can't include actions on Sonos devices at this time.

The Sonos Skill for Alexa is the link between Sonos and Alexa that allows you to tell Alexa-enabled devices to control your Sonos speakers. This integration is in beta, it's cloud-based, and constantly improving with software updates. For details on controlling Sonos with the Alexa skill, take a look here.

Along with the skill and software, there are now two Sonos speakers with Alexa built in, Sonos One and Sonos Beam. All Sonos speakers can be controlled by Alexa with our skill and an Alexa-enabled device. These speakers are voice-enabled Sonos speakers, with Amazon Alexa built in and features that are a combined effort between Sonos and Amazon Alexa developers. If you need a hand setting up a Sonos One or Beam, see here to start with. 

Why does the volume lower on my Sonos speakers whenever I speak to an Alexa device?

There's a feature which causes the music that's playing on Sonos to lower in volume when you talk to an Alexa device. This is designed so that Alexa can hear what you're saying, and you are able to hear Alexa's response.

On Sonos, all speakers that aren't Alexa enabled will drop in volume when an Amazon Alexa device (not a Sonos device with Alexa built-in) hears your request. Alexa-enabled Sonos players will also lower their own volume when they hear you, but the other Sonos devices won't unless they're part of the same Sonos room (such as a home theater set up or stereo pair).

There's an Alexa feature called Alexa Groups that can now include Sonos speakers. When you put your Sonos devices into Alexa Groups with your Alexa enabled devices, only the speakers that are part of that group will lower in volume when Alexa is invoked. You can find out more here.



Controlling your TV with Alexa and Sonos


With Alexa built in, Beam is the smart, compact, sound bar for your TV. Find out all about Beam here.  
Controlling your TV and home with Alexa and Beam:  
For compatible TV’s, with Sonos Beam we introduced commands specific to TV use, including “Turn on the TV” and “Turn off the TV”. Sonos Beam also takes commands such as “Turn it up” and “Mute” and applies them to the TV volume.   
 
Sonos Beam must be connected to your TV’s HDMI-ARC input and your TV has to support these CEC features. You can check which CEC features your TV supports with the manufacturer. Amazon Alexa voice control for your TV will not work if Sonos Beam is connected via the optical adapter.   
  
Where available, you can use Sonos Beam with Alexa-enabled video streaming devices such as Fire TV. Once linked, you can control those services with Sonos Beam by saying “Play Catastrophe,” “Switch to ESPN,” or “Tune to channel 500”. If you’ve logged into Netflix or added HBO shows on your Fire TV, you’ll be able to play shows by name, e.g. “Play Stranger Things” or “Play Game of Thrones”. For steps to set up the Amazon Fire TV with Sonos, check out the article here.  
  
If you're playing music and you need Beam to start playing the TV input, just ask "Alexa, switch to TV," and the source will change on the Beam.

Sonos Amp also has CEC built in, and when used with a Sonos One for surrounds, you can use it with Alexa to control your TV similarly. 

TV requirements, recommendations for Sonos Beam?

 
Sonos Beam was designed primarily to be used with televisions via HDMI-ARC but will also connect with TVs that do not support HDMI-ARC by using an included optical adapter. For the best overall experience with Sonos Beam, we recommend pairing with a TV that supports HDMI-ARC and has full CEC capabilities. We don't have any official recommendations but feel free to make your own.  
See our article here on television compatibility for Sonos home theater speakers



There will be lots more to come, and we'll keep on improving features that currently exist as we also add new ones. We'll be updating this thread as there are changes or there's news to share.

25 replies

Ryan - sorry can't work out where to post. Do you know if the new 3rd gen Amazon Echo Dot will play her replies through a Sonos speaker if connected? I know on the 2nd gen only music would play through the speakers, not her replies. Keen to find out if they've changed this with the update. Thanks
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rosie1991 wrote:

Ryan - sorry can't work out where to post. Do you know if the new 3rd gen Amazon Echo Dot will play her replies through a Sonos speaker if connected? I know on the 2nd gen only music would play through the speakers, not her replies. Keen to find out if they've changed this with the update. Thanks


Hi, you can ask here, and you can always open a new thread by clicking the button above to create a post. This isn't a feature in any model of Echo device. It's a good idea, but it's not currently possible to link a Sonos speaker with an Echo device so that all the audio plays out of Sonos. I'll make sure your name is on the list requesting this to be added as a feature in the future. I can't make any promises though.
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Hi we have a little workaround for our play5 in the kitchen. We hooked a bluetoots streamer to the 5, originally it was for my daughter’s friend to sometimes play music (in retrospect that was a mistake!) on it, before airplay became available. I don’t really use it anymore but my wife for some reason still do. Anyway streamer are relatively cheap and if you have a play5 you could plug it in, i actually also cennected the streamer in wemo plug so it’s not always on. Take care!
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Sorry for the typos, old eyes, big fingers, small screen!🙄
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@Ryan - first I applaud a nice rundown of some of the items. It's helpful for sure. But I'm really getting frustrated with the lack of progress on ducking. You can find threads here going back at least a year complaining about it. I was told by support you cannot comment on roadmap items due to the agreement with Amazon on Alexa development but this is kind of ridiculous that a known issue has lasted this long. And an issue that renders the integration completely useless for us with large sonos systems that are actively used across the house at the same time. Nothing is more annoying that being on the patio with some friends and the music starts cutting in and out because the kids are doing something in their bed rooms asking Alexa questions. Can Sonos please either kill this altogether or commit to a resolution? We've had to strip Alexa integration altogether b/c of this bug.
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Hi, is there any chance of getting Room/Group control via alexa. Even a very basic "party mode" option would help but would really like to be able to add and remove Rooms as and when desired.
Ryan,

I would love to see the Alexa part of a Sonos Speaker become authorised for 'Alexa Enabled Smart Groups' please, so you can, for example, create a Group in the Alexa App called something like ‘Grouped Lounge' and then add the Alexa part of a Sonos Speaker to it, to make the group what is currently termed as 'Alexa Enabled'.

Then once you add other things to the group, like smart-lights, such as Philips Hue bulbs etc. you can then talk to the Alexa device in the group and control just the lights contained in the group, by simply saying instructions like 'Alexa, turn on the lights'. (Just as an example).

The Alexa device knows that when no room name is mentioned in the instruction, then she just has to control the lights that the Alexa device is grouped with and a user can therefore then eliminate the need to mention any room names etc.

This currently works with Amazon Alexa products, but the Sonos Alexa products (Sonos One etc.) are presently not in the list to create such 'Alexa Enabled' Controlled Groups.

It would be a 'nice to have' feature, I think.
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lay3r3 wrote:

@Ryan - first I applaud a nice rundown of some of the items. It's helpful for sure. But I'm really getting frustrated with the lack of progress on ducking. You can find threads here going back at least a year complaining about it. I was told by support you cannot comment on roadmap items due to the agreement with Amazon on Alexa development but this is kind of ridiculous that a known issue has lasted this long. And an issue that renders the integration completely useless for us with large sonos systems that are actively used across the house at the same time. Nothing is more annoying that being on the patio with some friends and the music starts cutting in and out because the kids are doing something in their bed rooms asking Alexa questions. Can Sonos please either kill this altogether or commit to a resolution? We've had to strip Alexa integration altogether b/c of this bug.


Thanks! It's a great question, and the ducking is absolutely something I confirm to be under further development. Timelines with partners are in a word, complicated, and we don't want to promise dates that might not be kept. To be clear, this isn't considered a bug or something that is broken. It's a feature that while performing as expected, we're working to improve it. The audio is expected and supposed to drop down when Alexa is in use by non-Sonos Alexa enabled devices in your household. What we'd like is for there to be a better/smarter way for your Sonos players to know which rooms need to duck, and only have those rooms do so. I know the weaknesses of the feature surface mostly for larger systems, I personally have the same problem when I use my Dots, though it's great with my Sonos Ones and Beam.

gavingks wrote:

Hi, is there any chance of getting Room/Group control via alexa. Even a very basic "party mode" option would help but would really like to be able to add and remove Rooms as and when desired.


There's a chance of all sorts of things. I'll make sure to pass along your interest to the team, but don't have any specific details on if it might happen, and or when

Ken_Griffiths wrote:

I would love to see the Alexa part of a Sonos Speaker become authorised for 'Alexa Enabled Smart Groups' please, so you can, for example, create a Group in the Alexa App called something like ‘Grouped Lounge' and then add the Alexa part of a Sonos Speaker to it, to make the group what is currently termed as 'Alexa Enabled'.


I'll pass this along for you too, Ken.

Thanks all for your feedback!
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A year later and still no drop-in support :(
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Peteo wrote:

A year later and still no drop-in support :(



As I understand it, Amazon has not released that feature to anything but it's own echo product line at this point. I could be wrong about that, but if so, not sure Sonos can do much about that.
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I am still confused and dismayed by the fact that I can not play songs from my SONOS playlists through Alexa. I have a great deal money and time invested in my SONOS playlists. The fact that I can only use Pandora, Spotify or any other source is, in my mind, a waist. I want to have more control over what plays and when.
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Actually, I think it is a waste, not a waist. :8
Look forward Sonos with Google Home.:D
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Are there plans to add alexa in amp or connect:amp? And when I ask about adding alexa in those sonos products, I'm talking about a built in alexa (like sonos one and beam have), rather than just an enabled skill allowing an external echo to control sonos via a skill. Thanks.
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They don’t lend themselves to integrated alexa. I’m sure it is s no. No real advantage building in.
Ryan -

I'm not sure where best to post the following, but this "megathread" sounded like a good starting point.

My question is:
With the recent addition of the Apple Music skill for Alexa (which, thankfully, allows Apple Music subscribers, like myself, to play my entire iCloud Music library on Amazon Alexa devices) and, keeping in my mind the Sonos skill for Alexa, do you happen to know if and/or when there will be the ability to instruct Alexa to play music from my Apple Music on my Sonos speakers? As of right now, that functionality does NOT exist and one can only play music via Alexa commands to Sonos speakers if that music falls under "Alexa music services."

I do NOT use my Amazon echos to play music in my house, as my Sonos speakers offer far superior audio quality. So, while the addition of Apple Music as an Alexa skill is certainly a step in the right direction, the inability to use Alexa voice commands to play that same music on Sonos speakers forces me to still use the iPhone app to initiate music play.

Do you know if there are plans to add this functionality? It seems silly to allow one to play Apple Music on Amazon-branded equipment, but not to allow one to use Alexa commands to play it on Sonos speakers.

Any input and/or feedback you can provide would be appreciated (and, if there's a better thread for this post, please let me know).

Thanks,
Adam
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Hi Adam, the main thread for that question is here .

The most recent message is:

Keith N wrote:

Hello everyone and thanks for all the discussion about this. Rest assured, our team is always interested in helping you control the music service you love with voice. Nothing to share now, but stay tuned. We will share information directly on this post as soon as it is available.

First time post. I recently bought a Sonos Beam. I have a Echo Dot in the kitchen and a Beam in the living room. Is it possible to ask the Echo Dot to set a timer and the Beam to sound the alarm when the timer is finished?
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Ryan - Any update on the "ducking" issue with Amazon / Alexa ?
JH6 wrote:

Ryan - Any update on the "ducking" issue with Amazon / Alexa ?



Ducking has been fixed, along with Alexa groups functionality. See this link:

https://en.community.sonos.com/announcements-228985/sonos-now-playing-with-alexa-groups-6817588
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jgatie wrote:

JH6 wrote:

Ryan - Any update on the "ducking" issue with Amazon / Alexa ?



Ducking has been fixed, along with Alexa groups functionality. See this link:

https://en.community.sonos.com/announcements-228985/sonos-now-playing-with-alexa-groups-6817588



Awesome. Thanks! Will check it out.
I have a bit of an issue with my Sonos ones not being able to activate routines, I understand that it is not possible currently. But I have an Echo plus that I use to control all of my routines in my living room and kitichen. The problem is that the Sonos one on my kitchen counter always hears me when I activate a routine with the Echo. To which it always responds that it isn't capable of doing the routine, which I am aware of. Most of the time I am with in a few feet of the echo and the Sonos one is at least 15-20 feet away and still responds even when I talk quietly. Another odd thing is that I have another Sonos one in my master bedroom which I am closer to then the one in the kitchen and it never responds. I though maybe it was just that one and tried swapping the two around, but had the same result with the kitchen one responding to a rountine command that the echo also hears and carries out while the Sonos one is telling me It can't do it.

This gets rather annoying quickly and have currently had to mute Alexa on my Sonos One in the kitchen, which doesn't work well as the Echo that is in the living room has a hard time hearing me when I'm in the kitchen. Hence why I put a Sonos one there in the first place. Is there any plans to have a mute or similar function for things the Sonos ones can not carry out with Alexa, as hearing it tell me it can't do something multiple times a day is pointless. Even if it just responds with the no connection tone, would be a vast improvement.
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Does anyone have the problem of Alexa hearing itself say “Alexa” and going on an endless loop?
I’m using a Sonos Beam with Alexa - been a few months now and been running into weird things like this.
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hannahlikesyou wrote:

Does anyone have the problem of Alexa hearing itself say “Alexa” and going on an endless loop?
I’m using a Sonos Beam with Alexa - been a few months now and been running into weird things like this.



No. In fact, I don't ever recall 'her' saying 'Alexa', much less triggering herself. What command is causing this to happen? Is there more than one Alexa device involved with the loop?
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melvimbe wrote:

hannahlikesyou wrote:

Does anyone have the problem of Alexa hearing itself say “Alexa” and going on an endless loop?
I’m using a Sonos Beam with Alexa - been a few months now and been running into weird things like this.



No. In fact, I don't ever recall 'her' saying 'Alexa', much less triggering herself. What command is causing this to happen? Is there more than one Alexa device involved with the loop?



Ergh, unfortunately I've forgotten which exact command made this happen. I was trying to get it to do something with my Philips Hue + smart home stuff and it got confused (likely by naming issues) after a few tries. So, it gave up and said something like "Sorry, I'm having a bit of trouble. Go to the Amazon Alexa app to -- Sorry, I'm having a bit of trouble. Go to the Amazon Alexa app to --" ...it would stop and repeat every time it got to "Alexa" in sentence until I cut it off!

It's only the single Alexa device – my Sonos Beam – involved in this.

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