echo dot / alexa with sonos lounge setup including playbar - pro/con for others thinking of using this setup

  • 8 October 2017
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I took the plunge to move Alexa out of the kitchen and into the living room - so purchased an additional Dot.
I have playbar, 2x Play 3 and Sub setup in a 5.1 surround group. And a Connect that I was using with Record Deck.
I've tried Echo Dot setup two ways. They both seem to have the same fatal flaw - namely that the TV sound does not restart when you stop music or in the case of using Sonos speakers to hear Alexa, every time you ask Alexa something.
I've documented what I see the Pro/Cons are, both are quite unideal TBH - I wonder if anyone has some smart workarounds. Also bit disappointed Spotify isnt working "yet" although apparently promised.

1. Firstly standalone. Sound only comes from Echo Dot. Sonos connected via Alexa skills only.
Pros
- doesnt mess with Sonos as much.
-you can ask Alexa to play "artist" in "room name on Sonos". Mute, pause etc all work well. Radio stations work well too.

Cons
- you may not hear the little Dot speaking above your music/tv very easily
- you cannot use spotify yet - so forget asking for your playlists from there.
- if you stop the music using stop or mute command, the TV sound from playbar takes quite some time to restart if you left the TV on. Pressing volume up on your remote doesnt work for about 10 seconds.

2. Secondly through a Connect via a 3.5mm to RCA input section on back of connect.
Pro
- you can hear Alexa much better, and the delay in reply coming via Sonos is pretty short (I was suprised).
- obviously the Sonos switches from whichever audio source so you can hear Alexa clearly.
Con
- the Connect only has one set of RCA inputs. So you have to unplug whatever else you had. Would you really buy a Connect just for this purpose?
- you need to setup autoplay on the Sonos player settings page for CONNECT so you can hear Alexa when you ask a question.
- the last and biggest gotcha - every time you ask Alexa anything, or stop playing music it takes about 10 seconds to be responsive, and you need then to turn up volume on TV as it resets to a low volume. Or go into SONOS app and chose TV from Browse menu and again turn TV sound up.

All in a bit disappointing so hopefully some of these kinks can be ironed out.

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