Changing Sonos "wake word" (Sonos Arc with Sub 3)

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I have many Amazon Echo devices (made by Amazon and by others) and I can change the wake word on all of them (I prefer Echo and really dislike Alexa in part because we have a young child with that name). When I ask any other device to change the wake word, they do it. When I ask Sonos, it says “you are unable to do that on this device.” SO FRUSTRATING.

I will probably install a Fire TV stick and avoid using Sonos for voice commands.


Best answer by Paul A 8 October 2020, 16:55

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Goodness gracious… can we stop anthropomorphizing this device. It is not a he or she. It’s an “it”. Why not make it so that I can clap my hands to get its attention. Just the the “Clapper” light switch. Would that assuage everyone's sensibilities? 

All I want to do is have separate names for the devices in different rooms so that when I say the wake word the device nearest me is the one that responds. 

Seems like a reasonable request. I do think, however, it wasn’t “we” who anthropomorphized AI personal assistants. You can thank Apple, Amazon, Google, and a slew of tech manufacturers for that. They opened that door, I’m just asking for it to be open wide enough to allow ALL users to feel like they are included in the AI domain.



I don’t know why you think people would be excluded just because the name and voice, possibly sexual orientation, doesn’t match that of their own.  I mean how can we have diversity if people need to have their AIs match their own?  Besides didn’t you say that these AIs create the image of a servant/subservient role?  If Sonos (really Amazon since Sonos doesn’t own the Alexa AI) created an Pacific Islander transgender voiced assistant, would that be say that particular group should be viewed in a servant/subserviant role?  I mean, if if the owner didn’t see it that way, you still leave open the possibility that someone else might hear that voice and be offended?


If you want to use a cisgendered persona who speaks with a good-ol-boy accent and drops bits of dog-whistles and misogyny into the conversation, I’m fine with that.



Sounds like you don’t think highly of that type of person.  That’s kind of offensive.


Just so long as there’s a balance and someone who’s maybe gender fluid or trans can have a persona for their environment that works as well for them. It’s about making tech that allows for inclusivity, not exclusion.



Again, why does the voice of an AI have to match that of the person speaking to it in order to be included.  How does one go about living in a diverse world where anytime something in the world doesn’t match how they identify, they feel excluded?


i don’t see why people would object to options. Typically that type of thinking is often just a racist, xenophobic, homophobic, misogynistic, etc. feelings masquerading as invented offense at a reasonable request.


Well, it sounds kind of like a bit of those things if your  (oops, “you’re”) offended that an AI doesn’t match your own, or if you view the gender, race, and sexual orientation of the AI and subservient to your own.

But no, I don’t want Sonos to provide options.  First, as I stated, they don’t own Alexa, and can’t just decide to add a voice to it.  It’s been a while since I’ve used Google Assistant with Sonos, I believe you could change the voice there, so I have to believe it’s Amazon that’s preventing this, or a license fee.  And no, I don’t want Sonos paying a license fee for extra voices.  When/If Sonos gets their own voice assistant, I don’t them spending a fortune recording multiple voices, nor do I want them to use the limited hardware space for that. And I really don’t want them spending money and time on the tech to recognize who’s speaking to them (and who might be in the room, but silent) and make sure the AI responds in a voice that doesn’t offend...whatever they might deem as offensive at that particular moment in time.

Most importantly though, I don’t want the option of picking the gender, race, and sexual orientation of my AI slave.  I mean, I already picked an Australian female for Google Assistant and offended all of them.  Or maybe I’m an Australian female myself and now I’m feeling included?


Sounds like it’s an issue that really shouldn’t be even discussed in these Sonos forums, in that Sonos has absolutely no control of wake words or voice tones. So, I’ll stop.

Please just make it so that we can change the Wake word on our Sonos equipment, thank you.


FWIW, Apple just added “Voice 5” to Siri. Voice 5 is a voice that is gender neutral. Impossible to say whether it’s a masculine or feminine toned voice.

I too would like to change the (alexa) wake word for my new Sonos ARC speaker..

With one of our daughters named Alexa - it makes the Alexa voice assistant completely useless - if I can’t change the wake word the way I’ve changed it on all the Alexa enabled Amazon devices scattered around the house.  

And as a software developer myself, it should be an easy change to make. Because they already have most of the the code you’d need in the Alexa software that runs on the Amazon devices.

So please do you whatever you need to do to work with Amazon to add it to the Sonos devices too.