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Ducking

  • 17 October 2017
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Reluctantly, I disabled the Alexa skill for Sonos today. The whole house ducking was causing too many complaints form everyone in the house. Ducking a Sonos speaker in a room so far away from the person using Alexa just doesn't make sense. I really would like to use voice commands with Sonos; but I guess I will have to wait even longer for Sonos to correct this problem.

I have three Echo dots connected to Sonos either through line-in jacks or Connects. This was originally done to work around the Audible issue. The bonus of doing this was that all output from the Dots sounded great going through the Sonos speakers. Even, simple things like: "Alexa, what is the weather?" sound very good. Well, they don't with ducking, because you can't hear them at all now.

Perhaps the long-term fix is to assign Alexa devices to specific Sonos products. A short-term fix would be to add the option of turning ducking off. I would be willing to accept that Alexa might not be able to hear me with this option.
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Best answer by Keith N 26 June 2018, 19:17

Hi there, mwiseman. Thanks for checking in. No news to share regarding this just yet. In the meantime, be sure to keep current on Sonos Controller app updates!

I will be sure to update this thread with any new information as it becomes available.
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48 replies

Userlevel 7
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I really would like to use voice commands with Sonos; but I guess I will have to wait even longer for Sonos to correct this problem.

I doubt this is Sonos problem to fix. Obviously Alexa is telling Sonos to drop the volume when 'ducking'. Sonos can't ignore that command, because the command is probably identiical to 'lower volume'. If you turn off volume, you probably turn off volume control.


I have three Echo dots connected to Sonos either through line-in jacks or Connects. This was originally done to work around the Audible issue. The bonus of doing this was that all output from the Dots sounded great going through the Sonos speakers. Even, simple things like: "Alexa, what is the weather?" sound very good. Well, they don't with ducking, because you can't hear them at all now.


I agree that the 'echo line-in' solution and the Alexa integration solution are not compatable. I'd argue that even if the ducking issue is fixed, you're probably going to run into issues with not hearing Alexa, or audible, because you're not set to line in, and so on.


Perhaps the long-term fix is to assign Alexa devices to specific Sonos products. A short-term fix would be to add the option of turning ducking off. I would be willing to accept that Alexa might not be able to hear me with this option.


Agreed that configuring a sonos zone to a specific echo or Alexa enabled device is the only real solution, which has several other benefits. As I said before, I doubt Sonos can turn off ducking without turning off all volume control.
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I doubt this is Sonos problem to fix. Obviously Alexa is telling Sonos to drop the volume when 'ducking'. Sonos can't ignore that command, because the command is probably identiical to 'lower volume'. If you turn off volume, you probably turn off volume control.

I hope you are wrong and Sonos can quickly provide a fix. Otherwise, ducking, along with Audible, will be at the mercy of Amazon and Sonos will continue to be blamed while we wait.
Userlevel 7
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I doubt this is Sonos problem to fix. Obviously Alexa is telling Sonos to drop the volume when 'ducking'. Sonos can't ignore that command, because the command is probably identiical to 'lower volume'. If you turn off volume, you probably turn off volume control.

I hope you are wrong and Sonos can quickly provide a fix. Otherwise, ducking, along with Audible, will be at the mercy of Amazon and Sonos will continue to be blamed while we wait.


The integration here isn't done by one side or the other, so there's definitely work on both parties. Ducking is one of the things at the top of the list that's being worked on. And we're going to be constantly working on improving the whole Alexa integration. I'll make sure to pass on your feedback so the team can add it to the list of expected behavior.
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The integration here isn't done by one side or the other, so there's definitely work on both parties. Ducking is one of the things at the top of the list that's being worked on. And we're going to be constantly working on improving the whole Alexa integration. I'll make sure to pass on your feedback so the team can add it to the list of expected behavior.

Thank you. I have high hopes for voice control of Sonos.
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Please do whatever you can about the ducking issue, Ryan.

The Alexa integration seemed great to begin with – the wife understandably never liked Sonos because she just wants "to walk into the kitchen and turn the radio on". I can understand that. It's not exactly convenient to have to find a phone, start an app, hit Rooms > Kitchen, then My Sonos > BBC Radio 2 or some similar sequence just to hear Steve Wright (and none of the sequences are intuitive, sorry). She actually brought an old portable radio into the kitchen and put it next to the Sonos speaker "because it's so much easier".

After a few days of persevering with the Echo Dot, she's agreed that saying: "Alexa, Play Radio 2 in the Kitchen" is a reasonable compromise, even if it does take about 10 seconds for the music to actually start (will it happen? Won't it? Such a thrill).

But there's a problem. I'm in the office with Tangerine Dream playing through Sonos off the Mac library. My son is in his bedroom, practising guitar with Led Zep on Spotify. And every time the wife turns the radio on, or changes the volume, using Alexa, our music ducks out for 5–10 seconds. Aaargh! At least we know Mum's home, I suppose. But now she gets unwarranted stick for doing what we moaned at her to do. It's all a bit irritating and unfair.

(#firstworldproblems of course)
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I'll pass the word on for you, CherryHintonBlue. Just a note, if the radio that your wife likes listening to was the last thing played on that kitchen speaker, she should be able to hit the play/pause button on it to restart the music at any time. If you tend to move things around and play different music on that player, you could set a silent alarm for 10 minutes on that player at various times during the day to put the station back into the most recently played slot. That is assuming it's always Radio 2 she's looking for.
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Add me to the list, Ducking is great when you only have one Sonos and Alexa in one room, but when you have it all around the house and Alex all around the house it is most annoying when someone in another room asks Alexa to do something and the whole house Sonos Ducks, is there a way to configure it so that Sonos only ducks in the room that Alexa is in??? SONOS support, please look at this and respond. Thanks
@SONOS - Just for your records: We also have six SONOS and some Alexas in use. Ducking is just plain useless when its not just happening to a specific device. Please disable ducking in general or give us a disable function.

Btw: I guess there is nearly no time at all when a SONOS is that loud that Alexa won't understand me. So what's ducking good for anyway?

Please, PLEASE turn it off. At the moment the whole Skill is disabled - what a pity 😠
Ryan/ @SONOS

I have multiple Sonos speaker rooms, Echo/ Alexas, and people in my house.

Do I have any option other than to disable the Sonos skill for Alexa?

Right now, it seems like nobody can do anything with Sonos in one room without being interrupted by anybody using Alexa in any room.
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Ryan/ @SONOS

I have multiple Sonos speaker rooms, Echo/ Alexas, and people in my house.

Do I have any option other than to disable the Sonos skill for Alexa?

Right now, it seems like nobody can do anything with Sonos in one room without being interrupted by anybody using Alexa in any room.


If you have an active family using Alexa ducking can be a bit of a bear in other rooms. We're working on it to find a good solution. For now, disabling the skill really is the best option since forgetting rooms won't last. Alexa automatically re-discovers rooms every couple hours.
My son and daughter begged to have alexa in their rooms when they learned they could control their sonos. They love their sonos.

But ducking led them to fall seriously out when either one tries to use it.

So, to restore family unity, I beg please sort it out! (and provide some context between echo dots and associated sonos)
What's more to say, the duration of "ducking" pretty much renders the Echo Dots as useless as a feedback device. perhaps if the ducking duration was settable from zero upwards you could get a meaningful response. my wife just had me disable the skill though I'd be happy to still have it on my regular echo! (which by virtue of its own speakers, doesn't suffer the same challenge.)
We have 4 Sonos speakers and 3 echo dots throughout our house... the "ducking" of the volume of music on our speakers has been a huge issue in our house. Unfortunately, like others have said here, we have had to disable our sonos skill. We would LOVE to have an option to turn the Ducking feature on or off.

Here's hoping for some update or change that addresses this.
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Hopefully Sonos and Amazon figure out how to link Sonos units so only the one closest to the dot ducks.

If you would like a certain speaker to be Alexa controlled. You can enable the skill but delete all the other speakers from the Smart Home section. Then only the one speaker will have alexa control but only that speaker will duck.
Userlevel 4
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It is very disappointing that no progress has been made on this issue yet. It is a complete show stopper for houses with existing multi-room systems and echo devices. It's also disappointing that Sonos don't keep a sticky here while the skill is (still) in Beta so we know what issues are being worked on and when we might see resolution.

If you would like a certain speaker to be Alexa controlled. You can enable the skill but delete all the other speakers from the Smart Home section. Then only the one speaker will have alexa control but only that speaker will duck.


Is that true?! That helps a lot as a temporary solution for me. I'm looking forward to trying that when I get home today!
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If you would like a certain speaker to be Alexa controlled. You can enable the skill but delete all the other speakers from the Smart Home section. Then only the one speaker will have alexa control but only that speaker will duck.


Is that true?! That helps a lot as a temporary solution for me. I'm looking forward to trying that when I get home today!


It is true and i tried it which worked great but the Alexa app now auto discovers every few hours so you need to keep deleting the speakers! I thought i was going mad but Ryan explained in another thread ( and above in this one).
Oh 😞. Thanks for the additional info. I missed that earlier discussion. I assume that both disabling and deleting have been tried and have the same issue?
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Oh 😞. Thanks for the additional info. I missed that earlier discussion. I assume that both disabling and deleting have been tried and have the same issue?

Disabling doesn't work at all which would solve it for now. I've had to delete the skill as a workaround 😃 which is a shame as it was really handy.
Same problem in our house. Talking to a remote Alexa ducks the entire multiroom system.

Here’s the weird thing: before a Sonos system I had a multiroom Alexa system set up. With this “poor man’s Sonos” only one Alexa would duck (the one I am talking to) while the others continue to play music at the normal level. So, it seems strange to me that a cheap multiroom system with Alexa’s works better than the premium Sonos system.
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Has there been any progress on fixing ducking?
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We are awaiting there next update to Alexa integration. I would be hard pressed to believe a ducking fix would not be coming with the next Alexa update.
Really, really waiting for this fix.

My son has an Echo in his room which he uses to control music at night, read him things, make bodily noises, etc. It's physically locked in another room from where our sonos players are.

When he's in his room playing with Alexa, I can't listen to music. I had the Skill disabled for a while, but it really makes having purchased Sonos:Ones completely pointless, because then you can't voice control even that one device.
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Sonos ones should not duck when another rooms alexa is utilized. When using Sonos One also it shouldn’t duck other rooms other than itself.

You can leave Sonos ones enabled and disable the others by going into alexa app and deleting from smart home the speakers you don’t want to utilize for voice control.
Except it does.

Using an Echo (not a One) anywhere in the house mutes every non-Sonos:One speaker until Alexa has finished talking. In order to stop this, you have to disable the Sonos Skill in Alexa. If you disable the Sonos Skill in Alexa, than you can't control the One with voice commands because Alexa doesn't have permission to control the speaker.

You can temporarily forget a speaker, but Alexa automatically re-probes the network to identify devices periodically so they're rediscovered and the problem starts over again.

So, we have to either live with the ducking, or live with being unable to use voice commands on the devices we bought.