Alexa and Sonos Megathread

  • 25 September 2018
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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.

This topic has been closed for further comments. You can use the search bar to find a similar topic, or create a new one by clicking Create Topic at the top of the page.

38 replies

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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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Actually, I think it is a waste, not a waist. :8
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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.
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
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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Sorry for the typos, old eyes, big fingers, small screen!?
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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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Hi Adam, the main thread for that question is here .

The most recent message is:

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.
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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.


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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Hi All,

When you setup a new Sonos device along with Alexa which are the languages available for it? I’m having issues in Brazilian Portuguese to show up in Sonos app (I can see Spanish, Italian, etc) but not Portuguese.

Amazon has recently released (about 2 months ago) Brazilian Portuguese language for their devices Echo etc but I can’t get to see it on my Sonos app - I have a Beam.

Any help is appreciated.

Regards,

Cesar

Alexa on Sonos is not supported in Portugal yet, nor is Portuguese a supported language.

 

See this link for supported countries/languages:

https://support.sonos.com/s/article/3505?language=en_US

I have problem each time Alexa is replying, i do not find any results related to the search.
priyank sharma wikipedia
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Alexa on Sonos is not supported in Portugal yet, nor is Portuguese a supported language.

 

See this link for supported countries/languages:

https://support.sonos.com/s/article/3505?language=en_US

I see that thanks. However it doesn’t make sense. Amazon devices like Echo etc are ready for it (Brazilian Portuguesese). So I don’t get why Sonos wouldn’t allow Beam for example to speak BR Portuguese for someone based in US that wants to speak BR-PT to Alexa. It is just a matter of including it to the list in my opinion since it is already there in Amazon available for everyone.

It has nothing to deal with support for Portugal or Brazil, it has to deal with the languages that Alexa is able to speak and allowing the customers to choose one or the other.

What can Alexa do on Sonos One that it can't do on Echo?

I plan to buy several Sonos One or Play:1 speakers.

It's not clear to me I need Alexa built into my Sonos speakers. Any Sonos speakers I buy will be in the same rooms as other Amazon Echo devices (Spot, Dot, or Show). I have two Sonos Connects, and I know I can ask Alexa via an Echo device to play music on the Connects, so I don't need Alexa built into Sonos to do that. I understand if Alexa is built into a Sonos speaker, I can ask Alexa -- on that speaker -- to adjust the volume. Other than that, is there anything Sonos-related I can do with Alexa built into a Sonos speaker that I can't do by talking to Alexa on my existing Echo devices?
If all your speakers will be in the same room as an Alexa device, there is no Alexa-specific reasons to buy the Sonos One over the Play:1. However, the Sonos One has other features that the Play:1 does not; it is newer so it will be supported longer (though all Sonos players since 2005 are still being supported), it has Airplay 2, and it has capacitance controls on the top that let you swipe for volume and FF/Rew instead of the hard button controls (and weird button combos for FF/Rew) on the Play:1.

If these additional features are not worth it to you, then go for the Play:1s.

And by the way, you can adjust volume on Sonos using Echos too. Matter of fact, if the Sonos is the preferred speaker for the Echo device, and music is playing on the Sonos, the volume instructions default to the Sonos. Same goes for initiating music. If Sonos is the preferred speaker(s) for an Echo, all music defaults to the Sonos(es) by default. No need to add the room name.
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I live in Australia where Apple Music, Alexa and Sonos have all supposedly integrated. When I add the Apple Music skill, and try to link it, I am told Apple Music isn’t available in my region.

I just bought 4 x One’s and a Beam solely for Apple Music. I’m furious as now they’re opened they can’t be returned.
I live in Australia where Apple Music, Alexa and Sonos have all supposedly integrated. When I add the Apple Music skill, and try to link it, I am told Apple Music isn’t available in my region.

I just bought 4 x One’s and a Beam solely for Apple Music. I’m furious as now they’re opened they can’t be returned.

i think it was clearly announced in this thread (2nd post from Sonos Staff):

https://en.community.sonos.com/announcements-228985/alexa-play-apple-music-on-sonos-6823840

That said though, I can see Australia and New Zealand getting this at some stage in the not too distant future. (Famous Last Words) ! Time will tell.
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I live in Australia where Apple Music, Alexa and Sonos have all supposedly integrated. When I add the Apple Music skill, and try to link it, I am told Apple Music isn’t available in my region.

I just bought 4 x One’s and a Beam solely for Apple Music. I’m furious as now they’re opened they can’t be returned.
i think it was clearly announced in this thread (2nd post from Sonos Staff):

https://en.community.sonos.com/announcements-228985/alexa-play-apple-music-on-sonos-6823840
That said though, I can see Australia and New Zealand getting this at some stage in the not too distant future. (Famous Last Words) ! Time will tell.


It is already available in Australia or else I wouldn't otherwise have posted.

https://support.apple.com/en-au/HT209250
https://www.macrumors.com/2019/05/15/alexa-support-apple-music-australia-nz/
https://www.smh.com.au/technology/apple-music-now-works-with-amazon-s-alexa-in-australia-20190514-p51n8l.html

So it’s looking quite imminent then for both Australia and New Zealand, as I mentioned. Just perhaps needs someone to 'flick the switch' to the 'on' position (if only such things were that easy!)... I’m just not sure however who needs to do that?

joshuaroth,

Ah I now see Sonos Staff have commented on the Amazon/Apple integration on Sonos in Australia in this thread:

https://en.community.sonos.com/amazon-alexa-and-sonos-229102/i-could-not-find-that-on-apple-music-alexa-and-apple-music-integration-issues-6825682

Still some technical work to do, it seems, to make it all happen, or so it appears. So it’s possibly a case of waiting patiently, for a while longer, perhaps? ...
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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!
Thanks jgatie, this is useful information. I'll think about my priorities, then make a purchase decision.
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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.
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.

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

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!