Link an Echo Dot to an existing Sonos speaker

  • 30 October 2017
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Are there any plans to allow pairing of an Echo Dot to a particular Sonos speaker?

For example, I would like to move my Play:3 to the garage and put an Echo Dot out there with it, so that I can talk to the Dot and have all responses come through the Play:3.

Is this in the works at all?

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16 replies

Userlevel 7
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There has been no indication from Sonos that they can/will do this with Amazon
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Agree with Stuart, and from what I understand of how the integration work, it would be a cumbersome task to have it work like that. Your echo doesn't 'talk' to Sonos directly, as it would if Bluetooth was used, it all goes through the cloud. So this would be a rather big change, for a not all that useful function. I imagine Amazon believes that if you are close enough for the echo to hear you, then you are close enough to hear the echo.

I do think there will be a pairing of echo of an echo device to a sonos zone in a future enhancement though. Not for Alexa to respond from, but for all music to play through the sonos zone by default. It's just too useful of a feature to be ignored. As well, Amazon would will surely want to pair other smart devices with specific echo's as well.
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It is technically feasible to pair an Alexa device with its nearest Sonos player. Once an Alexa user permits a Skill to obtain "location information", every request includes an id for the Alexa device that received the request. The Skill author would have to have some way for the user to assign each id to a "nearby" Sonos device, but it is entirely feasible.

(I haven't done this as its a bunch of work and no-one has requested it).
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I agree that pairing is possible, but not for the functionality brik is asking for. For your skill to work, it has to be invoked. That means that there is no way for all Alexa audio to be passed to the Sonos speaker.

No, such a pairing would need to be configured on the Amazon side of the house. Let's assume for a moment they do that. In order for everything that Alexa says to be passed to Sonos. So Echo hears you, passes it to the Alexa cloud, which then passes the response to the Sonos cloud, which passes it to your Sonos speaker. I can seeseveral problems with that.

First, that's a lot of traffic going through the Sonos speaker. It may seem minor but probably not something Sonos wants to deal with.

Second, I don't think the Sonos cloud is built to send and receive audio files. I assuming that Alexa speak is audio file, and not something else. Therefore, Alexa cloud would need to generate it, pass it to Sonos cloud, and so on. It's completely dfferent than just passing on commands.

Third, Sonos doesn't have functionality to play an audio file, like Alexa speaking and then resume what it what it was playing before. The echo is built to do this. It will even duck the music it's playing in the background, and play Alexa over it. I'm sure Sonos could technically get that to work, but it would take a lot of effort, and may not be possible with older models.

Fourth, error handling would be a pain. What happens if you're Sonos speaker is unplugged or off the network for some reason? Alexa is supposed to speak through the speaker, and the speaker isn't there...how does it tell you there's a problem. I'm sure you could do it, but it would make a relatively simple process that much more complicated.

If echo spoke directly to a sonos speaker, no cloud involved, then I don't think it's a big problem. But that isn't how it works so it's not that simple. And although some customers would like it, I doubt it would drive enough sales on either side to be worth the development effort.
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I don't mean to be one of THOSE people, but I honestly can't believe this ability was left out. We can buy a Sonos One and have Alexa talk through it but we can't use our existing equipment (Echo Dots and existing Sonos speakers) to achieve the same result?

Just a little annoying.
Userlevel 7
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This probably won't make you feel better, but I personally don't want that feature. Well, at least not in every room. It makes sense for your garage scenario, I can see it working for my bedroom, but I would not want it in my living room. I just don't want the sound cutting out on the tv every time someone speaks to Alexa. And I don't want Alexa speaking at the same volume that I've got the tv either.

Maybe some day we'll get the option to pick it either way. Like I said either though, despite that fact that it may seem to be a no brainer easy thing from the surface, I don't think it's quite that easy behind the scenes. Maybe I'm wrong about that, or maybe it comes in future release. This is still really a product market in it's infantile stages. This is some what of non-standard new market in that the consumer can imagine desired features way faster than companies can deliver.
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At the very least it could be nice to be able to select a default speaker for music.
If you are using an echo dot, I can’t think of any scenario where you’d want the music to come out of the tin can. Therefore, instead of having to add « ..in kitchen » or « ..in living room » the default action should be to play from a preselected speaker with the short command « play  »
Won't help with this Play3 situation but a brute force workaround would be to use an S5 (Play5 Gen1) in the garage with a Dot plugged into it. This will accomplish everything that you are looking for.
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At the very least it could be nice to be able to select a default speaker for music.
If you are using an echo dot, I can’t think of any scenario where you’d want the music to come out of the tin can. Therefore, instead of having to add « ..in kitchen » or « ..in living room » the default action should be to play from a preselected speaker with the short command « play  »


Agreed, I don't think there is much downside to adding this functionality.

Won't help with this Play3 situation but a brute force workaround would be to use an S5 (Play5 Gen1) in the garage with a Dot plugged into it. This will accomplish everything that you are looking for.

It works for that scenario, but because of ducking, you pretty much need to turn off the Sonos skill. If you have other zones and want to use the Sonos skill to control those zones, well then you have a problem.
Good point. The wired input option only works right if you don't use the beta Sonos skill.
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Sonos say this will be coming in the near future:

Call Out the Room Name
Currently the name of the speaker will need be called out specifically to play and control your music. “Alexa, play Lorde in the living room.” ‘Alexa pause in the kitchen.” This is temporary. We are working to make Alexa + Sonos smart enough to know where to start sound without you having to tell her all the time.
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Im confused by people objecting... if you didnt want the functionality... just dont enable it??

Fir my part, i would love this. I dont care for the sustem messages to come out if the paired sonos speaker but i definitely want the music from sonos. Yes, you can get it to do this but, after 6 months with alexa/sonos, the single biggest irritation is that alexa misses “... in the kitchen”. If nothing is playing, it now plays music through the dot speaker. If music was already streaming, it then tells me that anazon is already streaming from another... argh!!

For occasional use, maybe this isnt a big deal but we use alexa/sonos all day, every day. For this use, the inability to get alexa to default to outputting to a chosen sonos speaker is darned annoying!
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I'm rather more synical I'm afraid. Do you honestly think Amazon are going to allow full integration with Sonos? That would simply mean potential loss of revenue for Amazon. They want to sell their own speakers, not Sonos ones.
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Whilst i appreciate that, they allow you to pair with bluetooth speaker. They have a line out for external speakers. So why not sonos?

In any case, the functionality discussed basically exists with the newest sonos offering, where alexa is built in. The amazon offerings cannot compete on sound. At this time, id happily put a dot in every room that has sonos, we would have a family unlimited music sub and we’d have spent a bunch more on amazon products and would be locked in. At the moment this would result in a tangled mess so i wont do it and leave myself free to swap to another voice assistant.
I'm rather more synical I'm afraid. Do you honestly think Amazon are going to allow full integration with Sonos? That would simply mean potential loss of revenue for Amazon. They want to sell their own speakers, not Sonos ones.

No, Amazon wants to sell you stuff. Any stuff. All stuff. The way they do that is to get you to buy into their entire ecosphere, via Alexa in any form she takes.
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I'm rather more synical I'm afraid. Do you honestly think Amazon are going to allow full integration with Sonos? That would simply mean potential loss of revenue for Amazon. They want to sell their own speakers, not Sonos ones.

No, Amazon wants to sell you stuff. Any stuff. All stuff. The way they do that is to get you to buy into their entire ecosphere, via Alexa in any form she takes.


Don't agree I'm afraid. The calling and messaging function is disabled in the Sonos One. Can't see Amazon allowing it unless a financial deal is brokered.