Ducking - Any progress?

  • 23 November 2017
  • 14 replies
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Userlevel 4
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Simple question, seeing as Spotify support came early, is there any progress being made on the whole ducking scenario for multi-room Sonos systems? It's driving me mad and ruins the whole experience.

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14 replies

Userlevel 4
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A stereo pair is a bonded set of speakers, not a grouped set of speakers. Just for clarification in your last paragraph. I have no idea how it works technically, but I am looking forwards to a single room ducking too. I am also sure it will happen eventually.
Userlevel 4
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Seeing as Alexa smart device groups let you place a 3rd party speaker in the same smart group I would beg to differ.
Interesting, that is not my understanding. Could you point us to an example of this, i.e., where third-party speaker ducking is selectively controlled and restricted to the speakers in the same device group? Thanks!
I'm not saying it works, merely that if you go into the Alexa app, and go to Smart Home and Groups, you can add a group, call it what you like, and then add one Alexa enabled device to that group. It allows you to also add Sonos speaker devices, however, clearly Amazon and Sonos don't use this information as even though if you talk to the Alexa device in that group, and it knows it's in a group with other devices, it can't yet instruct Sonos in just that device group to duck...

This is why I maintain it's nothing to do with audio grouping, of Sonos, Echo or any other speaker, as it's just a way for Alexa to know what devices it is co-located with. That though is very useful information....

This is how Alexa can be told simply to 'Turn lights on' and only turn on lights in the same group rather than all lights in the house... Surely it's not that hard for the Sonos and Alexa interaction to make use of this?

When the audio grouping comes along, it merely extends that functionality by allowing Alexa to recognise audio groups, which if they are using speakers in different rooms is irrelevant to ducking. However in the specific Sonos case, you could have speakers in a Stereo Pair or 5.1 setup, which would be better referred to in a device group as an audio group so that whole audio group could be ducked. Again useful in one room, no need for audio groups for single Sonos devices in multiple rooms....
Seeing as Alexa smart device groups let you place a 3rd party speaker in the same smart group I would beg to differ. As before you are confusing music grouping with device grouping. The two are different and not linked. So an Alexa device can see what audio devices are in the same smart group and *could* in conjunction with the 3rd party skill instruct only those devices to duck... It's nothing whatsoever to do with audio grouping of either Alexa or 3rd party speakers, unless you put an audio group into a smart device group. Then I would want Alexa to instruct that audio group to duck.

Beg to differ all you like, it doesn't change the fact that ducking of all Sonos speakers is going to continue until the new SDK arrives. Not here to argue, and you being correct and me being wrong is not changing anything. Enjoy the day!
Userlevel 7
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Seeing as Alexa smart device groups let you place a 3rd party speaker in the same smart group I would beg to differ.
Interesting, that is not my understanding. Could you point us to an example of this, i.e., where third-party speaker ducking is selectively controlled and restricted to the speakers in the same device group? Thanks!
Userlevel 4
Badge +1
Seeing as Alexa smart device groups let you place a 3rd party speaker in the same smart group I would beg to differ. As before you are confusing music grouping with device grouping. The two are different and not linked. So an Alexa device can see what audio devices are in the same smart group and *could* in conjunction with the 3rd party skill instruct only those devices to duck... It's nothing whatsoever to do with audio grouping of either Alexa or 3rd party speakers, unless you put an audio group into a smart device group. Then I would want Alexa to instruct that audio group to duck.

This may have changed recently, but my understanding of the Amazon Smart Home Device Groups API is that it does not yet provide support for third-party speakers, only Echo ones.


Nothing has changed, and you are 100% correct. You can group Sonos speakers in Alexa groups all you want, but they do not work like other grouped devices.
The Echo devices absolutely *do* know what room they are in, Amazon added this functionality months ago with Alexa enabled smart rooms. You can even put Sonos speakers or other recognised devices in the same group...

Echo's use this with other smart devices such as lights so that you don't have to specify the room all the time.

So the basic mechanics to fix this have been there now for some time, so either Amazon don't expose this to anyone else which seems odd as it includes non-Amazon devices or Sonos don't want to make use of it which would be a mistake.

However because of Sonos's frankly poor communication on anything Alexa related we're left with no idea what's going on and just getting more and more pee'd off with the rubbish state of Echo+Sonos integration. How to turn happy customers into ones seriously fed up with the company. :@


Sorry, but you are incorrect. At this time, there is no way for an Echo to know it is in the same room as a 3rd party speaker like it does for lights or other smart devices. So though the Sonos device may be named "Living Room Sonos" and the Echo may be named "Living Room Echo", the Living Room Echo has no idea that it only needs to duck the Living Room Sonos. This will supposedly be addressed soon, in the new AVS Multi-Room Music SDK specifically created to address multi-room 3rd party speakers.

As to the bolded, have you ever tried to play to Sonos speakers in an Alexa group? It doesn't work. As stated, this should all be handled by the new SDK.
Userlevel 7
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So the basic mechanics to fix this have been there now for some time, so either Amazon don't expose this to anyone else which seems odd as it includes non-Amazon devices or Sonos don't want to make use of it which would be a mistake.
This may have changed recently, but my understanding of the Amazon Smart Home Device Groups API is that it does not yet provide support for third-party speakers, only Echo ones.
Userlevel 4
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The Echo devices absolutely *do* know what room they are in, Amazon added this functionality months ago with Alexa enabled smart rooms. You can even put Sonos speakers or other recognised devices in the same group...

Echo's use this with other smart devices such as lights so that you don't have to specify the room all the time.

So the basic mechanics to fix this have been there now for some time, so either Amazon don't expose this to anyone else which seems odd as it includes non-Amazon devices or Sonos don't want to make use of it which would be a mistake.

However because of Sonos's frankly poor communication on anything Alexa related we're left with no idea what's going on and just getting more and more pee'd off with the rubbish state of Echo+Sonos integration. How to turn happy customers into ones seriously fed up with the company. 😠
Yes. That is the way it works. The Echo has no idea what room it is in or what speakers are around it, so it ducks the whole system. The Sonos One knows exactly what room it is in, so it only ducks itself. Once there is a way to tell an Echo what Sonos room(s) it is in/near, then speaking to the Echo will only duck those Sonos devices. But that is not possible yet.
Let me Correct my last comment. When I group my SONOS one with ALEXA with my SONOS 3's and I ask an ALEXA Question using the SONOS 1... the SONOS 3's do NOT Duck... IF I use the AMAZON ECHO the whole system Grouped or not grouped Dips... "DUCKS"... so SONOS ALEXA plays well with other SONOS Speakers AMAZON Echo Does not. .. More R and D is in order.
Sonos has stated they are working with Amazon for a solution to the ducking issue. I'm sure they will come up with something as soon as you can assign an Echo to a specific speaker/room.
I have a sons one and 2 songs 3's set up for stereo pair. If I ungroup them and i ask the my sonos one alexa a question the living room volume does not "duck" lower in volume. IF I go to to use my ALEXA ECHO in the kitchen the SONOS 3's "duck". Of course its the one my wife uses and when i first heard the issue i was very confused but a little R and D and this is what I found. NOW if the SONOS one and the SONOS 3's are grouped then the whole system ducks. Unfortunate. Looks like I would have to buy a SONOS one to Replace my ECHO but then all the ALEXA Skills are not available on the SONOS ONE.... oh well...
While waiting for Sonos Skills to be released "officially" in India, I found a way of getting a taste of the experience via a workaround. While I was fooling around with some zones my son came out of this room - "Who is playing around with my Sonos??" I hadn't made the connection and told him it might be a fault we need to see about until he made the connection the next time this happened with my experimenting with an Echo being used even with no command linkage to Sonos speakers.

The only solution at this time to this distraction is to disable the Skills and disconnect Alexa and Sonos. Which I have promptly done.

There are a lot of bugs in this whole voice thing. I suspect it will take a year or even more for voice to be truly useful.