Amazon Dot and Play 5 line in going quiet when replying from Alexa

  • 5 October 2017
  • 72 replies
  • 15227 views

Userlevel 2
Badge
I have an Amazon Dot connected to my play5 using the line in option.

Until today Alexa speech volume and the music volume were fine. I have now updated my speakers, but now I can hardly hear Alexa speaking. (Weather reports etc)

If I ask her to play music the volume is fine. I have set the line in volume to 10 for the speaker in the options, but this makes no difference. Anyone else having this issue.?

Thanks
Marc

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.

72 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +26
Oh wow! I just spent over 20 minutes with Sonos support (who claimed no knowledge of the problem and told me to call Amazon) and 45 minutes with Amazon support (who had me switch echo dots and audio cables and then credited me for $5 and had me buy an Amazon branded audio cable (arriving Sunday) and they will call me back on Monday to continue troubleshooting!

Both Sonos and Amazon Alexa support need to update their support staff with this info pronto.

I've let the technician you spoke with know about this one. It's actually a pretty unusual issue to come up, partially because everything is technically working as it should. There are just a few dots to connect to understand what's happening. My apologies for the runaround.
Ryan, thank you for your response. Like others, I have a Dot hardwired to a Play 5 and ran into the same problem with Alexa's responses. I'm happy Sonos is aware so I'm confident a solution will be coming. It's not the cheapest solution, but if I replaced the Dot with a new Sonos One and didn't hardwire it to the Play 5, would Alexa's response from the Sonos One also be muted? (I'm aways justifying buying audio equipment I don't really need!)
Userlevel 7
Badge +26
Sonos One will function almost exactly like your Dot does right now in those regards. The music playing on that speaker would duck, and it would play whatever audio response, the request you asked of it would have, at normal volume.
Userlevel 6
Badge +8
I understand why ducking was implemented. The current implementation is lacking. I'm listening to a Sonos at one end of my house and my wife asks an Alexa on the far end of the house and my Sonos ducks. We are so far apart I can't hear my wife. If I had not read about ducking I still be wondering why the volume on Sonos was going up and down.
Let me add my support for a change in this area... Ducking devices in the room that the Echo is in, is fine; ducking all the registered devices when someone talks to Alexa, is not. We have a fair number of Sonos' around the house and we're starting to roll out Dots in the major rooms as well, so "Global Ducking" would very quickly lead to all-out war!

If I were formulating the change request on this, I would allow for an Echo to be paired with a selected Sonos device and to take its name. For example, we have a Dot in the kitchen and the Sonos for the room is called "Kitchen", so we've had to name the Dot "Kitchen Dot". When someone speaks to that Echo, the pairing would indicate which Sonos to duck and avoid ducking the others. The name pairing also means that user confusion would be reduced when using the message or drop-in function... (We currently have to "drop in on the kitchen dot" 😞 )
Userlevel 3
Badge +1
Well I have given up on it ! Removed the Alexa skill all together and have gone back to a line in from the dot to a P5 in each room, it's not perfect but it works for me. I get voice control over selection of music from Spotify account in my zones, once again I can walk into a room and ask for the artist/track/Genre of music and it plays . Would love to have library integration of my music collection from my NAS, but this seems to be beyond the capabilities of both Sonos or Amazon, the cynic in me says this will never be a feature because Amazon will want to sale it's streaming service as the premier service on Sonos. I suspect that Spotify integration will be a long drawn out affair and ultimately be an unsatisfactory service when it does arrive. I can see Sonos being bought out by Amazon in the future and that will be a sad day .
Userlevel 1
Thanks Ryan for explaining the "ducking" process. I too have noticed that the volume drops momentarily on ALL Sonos speakers in the house when a command is issued to the Echo Dot (in my kitchen). I agree with mwiseman that this might be an irritation to those listening to music on a Sonos speaker at the other end of the house . As I wrote in an earlier post, I have connected my Echo Dot to the line-in of a Play-5 in my Kitchen. When the Play-5 was registered in the Alexa app as a Smart Home device, the Alexa responses were inaudible on the Play-5. By "forgetting" the Play-5 speaker in the Alexa app, audibility is restored (and I can still issue commands to Alexa to play music in other Sonos "rooms" in the house. HOWEVER, somehow, without my prompting, Alexa has rediscovered the Play-5 in the Kitchen and Alexa responses have become inaudible again. So I have decided to disable the Sonos skill in the Alexa app and will watch with interest as the Sonos/Alexa is refined and developed.
I experienced the same, even though I've moved the now unconnected Dot to a seemingly better position in the room.
I experienced the same, even though I've moved the now unconnected Dot to a seemingly better position in the room.

It is by design. Sonos "ducks" the volume so Alexa can hear.
Another one with the problem here! I got an Echo Dot as I could connect it to the Sonos system and not need the more expensive Echo, but as I can only use Spotify through the Dot, if I want to start it from the Dot, it needs to be wired to get any decent sound. It appear that what is needed is a greater set up for the Sonos skill, asking if the Dot is wired to a Sonos station, and which Sonos stations should duck if Alexa is woken. It seems that ducking is not perfect either, as if I have a long weather forecast or news report, then the music cuts back in before it is finished. Hopefully these problems, which I would not consider too tricky, will be sorted soon 😉 I'm intrigued to see that the question is marked as answered - only a work around has been given, this is like going to the doctor with an arm which is falling off, to be told that "it's ok, you can just use the other one".
Userlevel 7
Badge +26
I'm intrigued to see that the question is marked as answered - only a work around has been given, this is like going to the doctor with an arm which is falling off, to be told that "it's ok, you can just use the other one".
In this case "Answered" is just a way of getting the confirmation of the problem in an easily visible place. The flag isn't calling the problem solved, just putting confirmation and a workaround up there. We're still looking into it on our side, the state of the thread itself doesn't relate to our status internally.
Thanks Ryan, I was being a little facetious, I hope you can work out a solution soon! BTW, love the Sonos system!
I hope the desired outcome is clear for the eng team?
Whether Dot is physically plugged into a Sonos System (pre-skill, this is why Sonos users bought just a dot, we have the speakers set up in every room alreadyt) in a room OR wirelessly integrated (via the new skill, BETA....), the desired behavior is to have ALL audio output (music streaming and Alexa answers) from the Dot come through the Sonos system IN THAT ROOM (and only in that room).

That means no ducking in other rooms (nicely labeled 'Global Ducking' above - the only edge scenario I could imagine where that's useful would be to use the Dot in one room to make a house-wide 'PA' style announcement 🙂 )
It also means no ducking for non-music output in the current room.
And of course no one wants to have to repeat the name of the room one is in all the time.

Conclusion: Sonos 'zones' and Alexa ‘room’ concepts have to be aware of each other (and unless you want to implement some magic, users will have to pair them up manually).
Net result: Talking to the Kitchen Dot affects the Kitchen Sonos like it should and leaves the other Sonos zones alone.

Coupling things just via the name seems a bit fragile. For Hue lights, Alexa seems to have imported the Hue-side definitions - a bit kludgy but maybe there is a path similar to that to teach the systems about each other if there is no clean way.

Previously, the line out wire physically connected one Dot to one Sonos speaker, now that has to be done in software.
Piping that input to speakers other than the one in the same room would still be done via Zones...
I just enabled this new skill today and am generally very pleased with the features. The ducking issue is a disappointment. I suggest giving users the ability to disable ducking. My Dots don't really have much trouble hearing me with the music up anyway. I'd be very happy with the ducking feature disabled as a user choice, or just gone if making it optional isn't as easy as I assume it is.
Thanks Ryan for explaining the "ducking" process. I too have noticed that the volume drops momentarily on ALL Sonos speakers in the house when a command is issued to the Echo Dot (in my kitchen). I agree with mwiseman that this might be an irritation to those listening to music on a Sonos speaker at the other end of the house . As I wrote in an earlier post, I have connected my Echo Dot to the line-in of a Play-5 in my Kitchen. When the Play-5 was registered in the Alexa app as a Smart Home device, the Alexa responses were inaudible on the Play-5. By "forgetting" the Play-5 speaker in the Alexa app, audibility is restored (and I can still issue commands to Alexa to play music in other Sonos "rooms" in the house. HOWEVER, somehow, without my prompting, Alexa has rediscovered the Play-5 in the Kitchen and Alexa responses have become inaudible again. So I have decided to disable the Sonos skill in the Alexa app and will watch with interest as the Sonos/Alexa is refined and developed.

I too have this problem and have to get Alexa to 'forget device' on a daily basis for the sound to work. It simply finds the Play:5 and adds it into it's device list.
Just adding that I too have had the problem. Hopefully it'll be fixed soon in a fix/update but in the meantime I've disabled the Skill.
Userlevel 2
Badge +3
Many thanks to @Stephen G for the workaround of removing recalcitrant Sonos speaker from the skill setup as I too had connected an Echo Dot to the line-in of a Play-5 in my Kitchen - seems a popular setup! :)

Perhaps Community Manager @Ryan S could amend the 'Best Answer' to include Stephen G's workaround although if @Tangochile is correct and Alexa keeps adding it back then maybe the best thing is to remove the long awaited and keenly anticipated Sonos Skill until it better integrates. :(

As others have said the 'naming' conflicts are also a frustration and the ability to 'link' Dot with specific Sonos speaker without cable and without the need to specify which room to play music unless asking for a room other than the one you're in or asking for a system wide play would also be great.

Feeling ever so slightly underwhelmed by this iteration of Sonos skill. :?
Userlevel 7
Badge +26
Perhaps Community Manager @Ryan S could amend the 'Best Answer' to include Stephen G's workaround although if @Tangochile is correct and Alexa keeps adding it back then maybe the best thing is to remove the long awaited and keenly anticipated Sonos Skill until it better integrates. :(

The Alexa app recently updated some of the control features for smart home devices and they added an automatic device discovery. I believe every 2 hours, your Alexa devices automatically check for new devices. Which means if you forget the player with the line-in, it'll get re-discovered regularly.

Ducking is being worked on though, so we'll see how this changes in the future.
Userlevel 2
Badge +3
The Alexa app recently updated some of the control features for smart home devices and they added an automatic device discovery. I believe every 2 hours, your Alexa devices automatically check for new devices. Which means if you forget the player with the line-in, it'll get re-discovered regularly.Thanks, that fits with what was happening to my system so I have now disabled the Sonos skill.
Thank you so much! That was driving me nuts!!!
Same problem here. Ok, here is an additional problem. I bought the Sonos One. I used to be very - very happy with my Echo Dot and my Play5. I was about to buy another Echo dot for my other Play5 but I saw the new Sonos One coming and I decided to pre-ordered. I have it...I paid $200 for this speaker and I can't use Spotify and there is a a lot of limitations (not able to near news or sport reports...etc). So, after experiencing the "ducking" problem on the previous setup, now to go back to normal I am learning that I have to disable Sonos skill in Alexa so the Sonos One will work like a regular speaker. Can someone at Sonos explain me why I shouldn't return Sonos One and buy another Echo Dot (I have an extra Play5)?.
Userlevel 7
Badge +26
@marcoecheverria, that'll kind of come down to how you want to be using your Sonos with Alexa. With the Sonos skill, you can use voice and the controller app together seamlessly, something that's hard to do with the line-in route. You can't mix groups of Echo speakers and Sonos speakers, so the Sonos One can't group with the Dot, but you can group the PLAY:5 and your Sonos One. However, you could have a group of Sonos players all playing the line-in, you just don't have much control through the Sonos app of what's on.

Ducking is something that's being worked on, so I'd expect to see some changes there which might really improve your experience with the line-in Dot connection. I can't say exactly what that will look like, since it's still in the works, so that's a bit of a grey area. If you want to get all of the audio from your Dot to play on your PLAY:5s, including Alexa's responses, you'll probably want to be disable ducking entirely on the PLAY:5, and I'm not sure if that'll be an option, though we've definitely had the request passed over to the team.

The Sonos One won't duck any of your other players when it's responding, it only ducks the room it's in.

Spotify with voice and the news briefings are also coming too. One great thing with the Alexa integration is it can keep on getting better over time, and we're hard at work on several features with the Amazon teams.

My advice, would be play around with both and see what you're really looking to get out of the integration. What features do you like the most, what are you looking to have access to, and through.
I find the biggest difference between the line-in and the Alexa skill is there is absolutely no track/artist/album/station/etc. metadata displayed with the line-in. It even drives my slightly batty that the track info is missing when playing SiriusXM via Alexa (Hint, Hint! Nudge, Nudge! Sonos team.) So the line-in approach is a deal breaker for me, but maybe not for others.
Thanks Ryan for taking the time to reply my post. Sonos One without Spotify and CNN report news is not what I really need (but I need to be fair saying that I kinda knew about Spotify but now that I have it I am finding that I need Spotify more than what I thought). For now, I will continue testing the Sonos One with just the integration with Alexa and Smartthings to control devices. This seems to work pretty well and the sound is great but w/o Spotify (I am paying the service and several accounts for my family) I need to use the free option from Amazon Music. I will wait some weeks but if I don't see progress on the integration I will return the Sonos One and wait until you fix all the problems.
Hello all. I am having the ducking issue as well, but have a question to clarify. I have 4 echo dots in the house and just added a Playbase, sub and 2 Sonos Ones in a home theater config. Nothing is connected to any of the Dots. When I was just listening to music on the Sonos home theater setup, and my daughter spoke to her Dot upstairs, I got ducking on my home theater setup. So, in one of the earlier posts, I think it was said that Sonos Ones will only duck in the room they are in, but mine ducked with the Playbase and sub. If I disable to Alexa skill for Sonos, does that also disable Alexa on the Sonos Ones, or does the skill only “enable” normal Sonos speakers and Sonos Ones have Alexa built in? If that is the case, if I disable the Sonos skill in the Alexa app, and then still talk to the Sonos Ones, will I be able to control other hom e automation devices using the Sonos Ones like an expensive Echo? Would I be able to turn volume up and down on the Sonos Ones with voice (and therefore also control volume on the home theater config since they are all paired together). That would help me immensely while the larger ducking issue is being worked on. I’d hate to disable the Sonos skill in Alexa and thereby render the new Sonos Ones as just normal Sonos Play1’s. Thanks!