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Intermittent Alexa Voice Assistant.. Sonos Voice Control all OK!


Userlevel 2

Hi there!

Treated ourselves to a new Sonos Era 100 for Xmas and have been experiencing a frustrating issue with Alexa Voice Assistant as follows:

  • Issue the wake up call ‘Alexa...’ and intermittently she will function as expected
  • Every now and then she wakes up, performs the task all OK
  • However randomly she will not let me respond and instead returns to the resting state
  • I can’t replicate this behaviour using the Sonos Voice Control only with the Alexa Voice Assistant, so can only assume this issue is specific to Alexa & Sonos and is not a hardware issue..

Also to confirm I have Amazon Echo products in the house working 100% fine with Alexa.

I have a video recording of the issue here:

Any ideas please?

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Best answer by Corry P 16 February 2024, 10:27

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143 replies

My initial thoughts are either …

  1. That a (very sensitive) Amazon echo product(s), even located in other rooms of your Home, are hearing the Alexa ‘wake’ word and taking control and waiting for you give an instruction, but meanwhile the Era is ignoring the wake word as it believes another device is handling the voice request. … so perhaps as a quick-test, just temporarily switch off the mic on all your echo products around the Home and leave just the one mic enabled on your Era and see if the issue you are seeing then goes away.
  2. Or… that you are ‘perhaps’ not waiting long enough between using the Alexa ‘wake word’ - maybe just wait a short while longer until the status LED has dimmed before using the wake word again.

Thats just a bit of a guess, of course, but it might be worthwhile rebooting your local router and perhaps power-cycling the speaker too, or even removing and reinstalling the Alexa assistant on your Era device to see if that might fix things. 

Userlevel 2

Thank you Ken!

Just to let you know what I have done so far..

  1. Changed the wake name on all Amazon Echos in the house
  2. Disconnected all Amazon Echos from power / wifi
  3. Disconnected all devices from my home wifi expect for my phone and the Sonos itself
  4. Factory reset / repaired the Sonos to the app / removed & readd the Alexa voice assistant

With regards to your 2nd point.. when this issue occurs there is no ability to wait for the response as the unit has gone back / returned to a state where it is awaiting the wake command.

This is is a very frustrating issue as the Alexa voice assistant is almost unusable for us. :/ The Sonos Voice Control works 100% all the time.

Any other ideas or suggestions?

This is is a very frustrating issue as the Alexa voice assistant is almost unusable for us. :/ The Sonos Voice Control works 100% all the time.

Any other ideas or suggestions?

It maybe best to reproduce the issue and then submit a Sonos system diagnostic report from within the Sonos App, note it’s reference and then contact/chat with Sonos Support Staff via this LINK and see what the Staff can perhaps suggest to resolve the matter.

Userlevel 2

Thanks Ken. I did already chat with the team and to be fair it wasn’t a great experience.. I reproduced the issue, passed the diagnostic report on and was told my network was ‘busy’ and to speak to Alexa Support.. :/ (I have 50Mbps broadband and around 12 WiFi clients)

Thanks Ken. I did already chat with the team and to be fair it wasn’t a great experience.. I reproduced the issue, passed the diagnostic report on and was told my network was ‘busy’ and to speak to Alexa Support.. :/ (I have 50Mbps broadband and around 12 WiFi clients)

I can only say I’m not personally seeing the same issue with the Era-100, and there doesn’t seem to be (m)any similar complaints in the community here, but certainly if you’re not happy, then either Sonos (or ‘perhaps’ Amazon) Customer Support are likely still your best available options here, going forward.

I’m not sure where else to go with it, unless you want to try a factory reset, but that’s something which is usually only ever done as a very last resort on the advice of Sonos Staff and even then, it still may not resolve your issue if it’s network-related. 

Userlevel 2

Yea I assumed (wrongly) that I would stumble across something on Google but no such luck.. it is a very odd issue indeed.. IMO I’ve tried everything I can.. but can’t resolve it.

I might try again with Sonos or maybe Amazon support..  as I say I have Amazon Echos in the household all working 100% with Alexa on the same Wifi, Router and ISP etc.. Also the fact I can’t replicate this using the Sonos voice control seems to indicate the Sonos hardware is good and something specific between Sonos & Alexa.

Out of curiosity how do you think this is network related? Wifi or ISP? Any advice on what to do?

If I can’t find a fix then I think I will return the unit as using the Alexa voice assistant is a ‘must have’ for me. A new out of the box product shouldn’t be this problematic to get working.. I appreciate it is a 3rd party integration but still it should be working & stable.

Yea I assumed (wrongly) that I would stumble across something on Google but no such luck.. it is a very odd issue indeed.. IMO I’ve tried everything I can.. but can’t resolve it.

I might try again with Sonos or maybe Amazon support..  as I say I have Amazon Echos in the household all working 100% with Alexa on the same Wifi, Router and ISP etc.. Also the fact I can’t replicate this using the Sonos voice control seems to indicate the Sonos hardware is good and something specific between Sonos & Alexa.

Out of curiosity how do you think this is network related? Wifi or ISP? Any advice on what to do?

If I can’t find a fix then I think I will return the unit as using the Alexa voice assistant is a ‘must have’ for me. A new out of the box product shouldn’t be this problematic to get working.. I appreciate it is a 3rd party integration but still it should be working & stable.

I completely agree with your expectations here, but as mentioned, for me the Alexa VA is stable and working fine on the Era 100s here and presumably that’s the case for most other Sonos users too, otherwise I would have expected to read a good many reports from other users highlighting the same issue. 

The only reason I mentioned your network, was because you stated Sonos Support had highlighted it as being ‘busy’ and perhaps related to the cause. So to perhaps help sort that out, you could try using ‘fixed’ non-overlapping WiFi channels 1, 6 or 11 on your routers 2.4 GHz band and setting a channel-width of 20Mhz only and even try the 5Ghz band on 20/40Mhz channel-width, but I can’t ’hand on heart’ say whether those things will fix your issue. There is also this Sonos Support link that mentions other things to reduce network interference…

https://support.sonos.com/en-us/article/reduce-wireless-interference

That might even involve trying the speaker at a different location around the Home, or even trying a different DNS server with your local router, such as the Google public DNS servers 8.8.8.8/8.8.4.4, or Cloudflare servers 1.1.1.1/1.0.0.1

Like I also mentioned earlier, a factory reset might be the solution to this too.. but it’s best to speak to both Sonos and Amazon Customer Support first. 

As another Sonos user, I can only suggest things for you to perhaps try, but I’m still not sure what the issue is here, personally speaking, but it’s not an issue that I’m seeing with my own ‘Sonos Era’/‘Amazon Alexa’ integration and so my own thoughts are it’s likely something local to yourself.

Userlevel 2

Thanks Ken for all the help so far. Everything above I have done with no luck.. very frustrating overall and all that is left is Sonos / Amazon support or I return the item. Thanks again.

Userlevel 2

Hi there,

Jumping on the wagon as I do experience the exactly same issue. I also have found a Reddit thread which seems to reference it as wellyl, so maybe not a wide spread issue but definitely you are not alone:

https://www.reddit.com/r/sonos/comments/18tkeap/sonos_era_100_alexa/

I now spent 2h debugging, factory resetting everything but nothing super conclusive but a couple of potential things to check:

I disabled adaptive listening and follow-up mode in the Alexa app in the settings for the 'sonos Alexa' (called name era 100 in the Alexa app) which seems to help a bit.

I played with the sound settings in the Alexa app as well (start request sound and stop request sound) in some cases I get the feeling that it doesn't stop listening properly in some cases and then the next request runs into the issue. 

This can also be made debugable by playing some music and then asking it to do something else (e.g just saying hi) in some cases the music stays muted/lower volume as if it would be listening or doing something in top even after it has finished. In my experience when I then wait till the music is fully back (assuming it fully stopped listening) and then  say the wake word again the chances of getting a correct answer are much higher (but not perfect unfortunately).

In addition in the Alexa voice history I see some audio records which could not be understood and contain background noice.

Also this to me only the behaviour started in the last week's and was working quite well before. So hopefully some one from Sonos looks into it, I will engage with support as well after the holidays.

Cheers,

Matt

Userlevel 2

Adding two things:

One video showing the issue (led directly goes out again) 

 

In addition I now swapped the location of my ERA 100 and the Sonas Roam (same wifi, same accounts, same system) and the Roam works perfectly. So this points more to an issue in the ERA 100 (either hardware or software).

 

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I have exactly the same issue, see my video on reddit ; https://www.reddit.com/r/sonos/comments/18v976u/need_to_repeat_alexa_several_times_on_era_100_to/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

What is odd, is I’m not seeing the same issue here🤔? ..but that said…

In your video @Hirsel (and @Minsou), you each seem use the ‘Alexa’ wake word really quickly/repeatedly, in close succession, almost giving the device no opportunity to respond - what happens if you slow things down a little and actually ask Alexa a question, something like this…

  • "Alexa, what’s the time” - wait for response, then after the feedback is complete, say…
  • “Alexa, what’s the weather today” - again wait for response, then after the feedback is complete, say..
  • "Alexa, what’s the time” - wait for response, then after the feedback is complete, say…
  • “Alexa, what’s the weather today” - again wait for response, then after the feedback is complete, (rinse and repeat the above)…

…rather than repeatedly keep saying ‘Alexa, Alexa, Alexa, Alexa… as the device is probably (still) listening, but you’re just not asking her a question, but looking for an LED light instead.

Just see what happens when you slow things down a little and ask Alexa a question, after using the ‘Alexa’ wake word. In my case the Era works every time and Alexa always responds.

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What is odd, is I’m not seeing the same issue here🤔? ..but that said…

In your video @Hirsel, you seem use the ‘Alexa’ wake word really quickly/repeatedly, in close succession, almost giving the device no opportunity to respond - what happens if you slow things down a little and actually ask Alexa a question, something like this…

  • "Alexa, what’s the time” - wait for response, then after the feedback is complete, say…
  • “Alexa, what’s the weather today” - again wait for response, then after the feedback is complete, say..
  • "Alexa, what’s the time” - wait for response, then after the feedback is complete, say…
  • “Alexa, what’s the weather today” - again wait for response, then after the feedback is complete, (rinse and repeat the above)…

…rather than repeatedly keep saying ‘Alexa, Alexa, Alexa, Alexa… as the device is probably (still) listening, but you’re just not asking her a question, but looking for an LED light instead.

Just see what happens when you slow things down a little and ask Alexa a question, after using the ‘Alexa’ wake word. In my case the Era works every time and Alexa always responds.

I have no chance to say the entire phrase because when i speak “Alexa what’s time” i have the same result randomly with the led that turn on and immediatly turn off after.

I have no chance to say the entire phrase because when i speak “Alexa what’s time” i have the same result randomly with the led that turn on and immediatly turn off after.

Have you tried removing/reinstalling the Alexa voice assistant and perhaps also removing/reinstalling the Sonos skill? I see a few users are reporting the issue here now, but it still maybe worth trying that, perhaps?

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What is odd, is I’m not seeing the same issue here🤔? ..but that said…

In your video @Hirsel, you seem use the ‘Alexa’ wake word really quickly/repeatedly, in close succession, almost giving the device no opportunity to respond - what happens if you slow things down a little and actually ask Alexa a question, something like this…

  • "Alexa, what’s the time” - wait for response, then after the feedback is complete, say…
  • “Alexa, what’s the weather today” - again wait for response, then after the feedback is complete, say..
  • "Alexa, what’s the time” - wait for response, then after the feedback is complete, say…
  • “Alexa, what’s the weather today” - again wait for response, then after the feedback is complete, (rinse and repeat the above)…

…rather than repeatedly keep saying ‘Alexa, Alexa, Alexa, Alexa… as the device is probably (still) listening, but you’re just not asking her a question, but looking for an LED light instead.

Just see what happens when you slow things down a little and ask Alexa a question, after using the ‘Alexa’ wake word. In my case the Era works every time and Alexa always responds.

You can deny the issue Ken but it really exists, see this new example : 

 

Userlevel 6
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Hello @all from the german Sonos community. Some other users there including myself can confirm exactly the same behavior. And only Era 100 is affected… the problem first occurred about 2 weeks ago. Imho after an Alexa or a Sonos update. 
I also tried everything mentioned above but nothing changed. All my other Sonos devices including an Era300 work fine with Alexa.

Sonos products are on version 15.11 and Alexa app (iOS) also is on latest version. 
Maybe it’s an regional Alexa problem because an user from Austria also can‘t confirm or reproduce the problem. 
I stay in contact with german Sonos support but there the problem wasn’t known yet. But the last two days the are several users having the same problem. 
 

Perhaps it would make sense to mention the region we are using our Sonos/Alexa systems. 
For Germany I definitely can confirm the problem. 
I there are news on our side or fron german support team, I will share over here. 
 

Best Regards 

Ralf

 

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My issue occurs in France

Userlevel 2

I have no chance to say the entire phrase because when i speak “Alexa what’s time” i have the same result randomly with the led that turn on and immediatly turn off after.

Have you tried removing/reinstalling the Alexa voice assistant and perhaps also removing/reinstalling the Sonos skill? I see a few users are reporting the issue here now, but it still maybe worth trying that, perhaps?

Hi Ken,

Thanks for the ideas. I did indeed perform a full factory reset on the ERA  and removed also manually all the remains of it in the Alexa app and disabled the skill. 

Also usually I do the commands slower in normal use but the light going out means to me it stops listening so for the demo I just tried to keep prompting it every time I see the light going off...

 

Also when using exact same software and location setup with a Sonos Roam it works perfectly so I would actually nearly rule out the software and wifi related debugging branches.

Maybe there is really some bad batch of ERA 100 around? (Which would also explain the relatively small number of users and others who have it fully working)

@all maybe it makes sense to share serial numbers here to allow Sonos to check if we all belong to some kind of group on the manufacturing side? Mine is

A100 2212CP F0-F6-C1-A0-F1-AA:G (found on the bottom)

And region is Germany as well

Cheers,

Matt

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I assume if many users return the product the issue will take into account seriously by sonos

Userlevel 6
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PS: and just to clarify… it’s NOT a problem of how you are speaking. Using and holding the micro on/off button on top does the same job as saying „Alexa“. And doing it that way produces the same problem. 
And I can also confirm that using SVC works absolutely fine. So it’s no hardware issue. 
Besides since a few weeks ago everything worked like it should. So imho it’s unlikely a hardware problem and a replacement won’t make sense. 

Userlevel 2

Good point on the SVc so the there is hope they can fix it without a hardware replacement.

 

But just to get this understood correctly: the button on top disables in my opinion the voice control completely (you can also do this in the app) and doesn't put it into 'listening' mode. (Where I think the issue is somehow related to)

So for any action to take place you need 3 things:

1 hardware switch to green at the back

2 voice in listening (faint white led)

3 wake word 

Right?

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@Hirsel

You have to HOLD your finger on the micro touch button while the micro/ LED is active. Then you can talk to Alexa while holding your finger on. After you release ist Alexa will answer. 
So this is an alternative for saying the keyword. But this only works for Alexa and not for SVC. 

Okay, I’ve just removed the Alexa Assistant from my Era 100 device (and the SVC assistant too, just for good measure). I also deregistered the Alexa component in my Amazon account and then reinstalled the Alexa assistant back and ‘initially’ it still all worked fine for me, but now I’m occasionally seeing the same issue where the Era 100 status LED lights up and goes out again and the device stops listening. I haven’t tried it repeatedly yet, nor have I tried removing/reinstalling Alexa on any other products, but it certainly is not working as well as it did before.. so something does seem amiss here. Just a software issue, I guess, as it was working fine before I removed/reinstalled Alexa.

Here’s a diagnostic report too: 1086485044

Userlevel 6
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@Ken_Griffiths 

Thanks for the „sacrifice“ and sadly welcome to the club. 😉🙈

I‘m sure it’s a software issue and hopefully this will be fixed soon by Amazon/Sonos. 
If not my daughter will kick Alexa to hell… I won’t tell the names she gave her the last days when the problem occurred. 😅

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@Ken_Griffiths 

Btw… does EN support still use diags from the community? Sadly german support stopped this about 2 years ago and diags only can be used for chat or phone support. :-(

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