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Alexa Skills with a stereo pair of Sonos Ones

  • 27 December 2023
  • 4 replies
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Userlevel 2
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Hello,

I have two Sonos Ones that I have now added as a stereo pair.  This seems to work great except for one thing.

If I use an Alexa skill, the output only seems to come out of one speaker.  For example, if I open the Face the Music skill, I only hear the skill from one of the speakers.

I believe that if I have a pair of Echo Dots then the skills will work in stereo, although I haven't enough dots to try this myself.

Should Sonos be able to do the same thing or is it always limited to a single speaker for this kind of thing?

I should say that I have enabled Alexa on both speakers.

Ideally I would want Alexa to treat the 2 Ones as a single stereo device.

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Best answer by melvimbe 28 December 2023, 17:55

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4 replies

Userlevel 6
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Hello @mrgrieves, welcome back!

If you request Amazon Alexa to play music on the stereo pair, will it play on both Sonos Ones or only the one that responded?

If requests for music commands work fine, then maybe the behavior for that skill is the intended one. If not then I would suggest you to separate the stereo pair and then re-create it and try again.

Removing and then re-adding the Sonos skill within the Amazon Alexa App might also help, as it refreshes the connection between your Sonos and the Amazon Alexa cloud.

I hope this helps.

Userlevel 2
Badge +6

Thanks for replying.

If I ask Alexa to play something in the office, then it will play on both speakers as exxpected.  (E.g. I asked it to play BBC Radio 5 Live).

But when I ask it to open a specific Alexa skill, it only works on one speaker.

I've read elsewhere that when you epak to a stereo pair, then Alexa will respond on the nearest one, so you would only hear her voice coming out of one speaker.

I've muted the mic on one of them now, but before that she would respond to either one or the other independently.

Then any interactive skills would be confined to a single speaker.  I've tried a few and would expect even if the skill didn't explicitly have a stereo track that it would still play from both.

So I am guessing that the Alexa functionality itself is limited to a single speaker, but when playing music it is maybe routing through the Sonos skill and therfore it is coming out of both.

Looking at the Sonos Alexa skill, it does only mention streaming music and nothing else aso I am guessing removing and adding it is unlikely to help.  (I will try if it might but I am just a bit worried about breaking the Alexa integration altogether)

I would be interested if someone else can confirm that this is expected behaviour.

If so, and if someone from on high is reading this, then please can I add this as a feature request.

Thanks for replying.

If I ask Alexa to play something in the office, then it will play on both speakers as exxpected.  (E.g. I asked it to play BBC Radio 5 Live).

But when I ask it to open a specific Alexa skill, it only works on one speaker.

 

 

Yes, this is expected.

 

I've read elsewhere that when you epak to a stereo pair, then Alexa will respond on the nearest one, so you would only hear her voice coming out of one speaker.

I've muted the mic on one of them now, but before that she would respond to either one or the other independently.

Then any interactive skills would be confined to a single speaker.  I've tried a few and would expect even if the skill didn't explicitly have a stereo track that it would still play from both.

So I am guessing that the Alexa functionality itself is limited to a single speaker, but when playing music it is maybe routing through the Sonos skill and therfore it is coming out of both.

 

 

Correct.  Music playback is pretty much a completely different function than interactive Alexa routines.  When you request music via Alexa, the command is sent to the cloud server, and sent back to the speaker so that it can then request music playback directly from whatever service you’re using.  

 

Looking at the Sonos Alexa skill, it does only mention streaming music and nothing else aso I am guessing removing and adding it is unlikely to help.  (I will try if it might but I am just a bit worried about breaking the Alexa integration altogether)

I would be interested if someone else can confirm that this is expected behaviour.

If so, and if someone from on high is reading this, then please can I add this as a feature request.

 

I’m confirming this.  Believe it or not, you can actually setup Alexa on one of your speakers and Google Assistant on the other in a pair in some cases.  

 

Userlevel 2
Badge +6

Thanks for confirming.  It is a shame that sonos has these little quirks that means it never works quite as well as a dot.  I actually have a dot in the same room and tried to set its output to the stereo pair.  It didn’t work but I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right.

 

I might try setting one to use google - that’s not a bad idea. But it would have been nice to have had stereo sound for skills.