Alexa + Sonos: How it Works

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  • Retired Sonos Staff
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So you’ve read all about Amazon Alexa working with Sonos and you want to know more. Here’s a rundown of how the integration works.

Your Amazon Alexa devices are listening for you to say the wake word, “Alexa”. When they hear that word, the microphones record what you say and send the audio to the Amazon Alexa cloud to be translated.

That voice line turns into a string of text. The Amazon protocols determine if it’s meant for Amazon Alexa or for a Sonos player. If it’s for Sonos, that text is then sent directly, and securely, over to the Sonos cloud to be turned into a command using our own codes.

Finally, the Sonos intended command goes down to the system.

Want to try it out?

Here are some fun commands to try. I like starting with:

“Alexa, play some salsa in the kitchen.”

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179 replies

That's odd, jmkingsbury. I'd recommend that you give us a call on our support line if you haven't had a chance yet. They'll help sort it out for you. This could be a conflicting account, or perhaps a problem with naming or the connections.

@Ryan, jmkingbury went into more detail about his situation here
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Thanks! I had thought he might have. The invite still stands if he wants to work with a technician to make sure everything is as optimized as it can be. The slow recovery could be due to something local.
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I’ve just come back to sonos and am using Alexa to control my play 5 and 2 play ones.

it might be a silly question but does using Alexa to control Apple Music have any effect on audio quality? I seem to be detecting a slightly lower quality stream using Alexa vs using the sonos app

am I crazy?
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Ryan, after reading your opening post, I can only say that Alexa and Sonos do not always “just work.”


I have had numerous times where Alexa stops responding to my Sonos Ones/Sonos Beam setup. There is not always a Sonos app software update (software updates sometimes cause Alexa glitches; I am not sure why, but I now always check if Alexa is acting glitchy to see if an update is needed). Sometimes there is a Sonos software update, but it doesn’t always fix Alexa’s lack of response to my Sonos Ones and Sonos Beam. 


The only sure-fire way I have found to get Alexa functioning again is the nuclear option: deregistering all devices via the website, disabling the Sonos skill, removing Alexa from all rooms/Sonos speakers, signing out of all Sonos and Amazon products, restarting my phone … and painstakingly adding it all back again. But why is this necessary?


Again, why is this necessary? I have seen numerous complaints on here about these issues--Alexa and Sonos not communicating properly.  Alexa was working fine, but now she doesn’t respond to Sonos. 


The fix is for the Sonos developers to take these complaints seriously and work with the appropriate Amazon dev team to get to the bottom of why these glitches happen. In my case, sometimes they appear to affect one or two skills, but if left unchecked, it ends up affecting all skills; i.e., a nonresponsive Alexa that needs the nuclear option in order to once again function with Sonos.