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Microphone sensitivity for the “Alexa” wake word is low


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So, I received my Sonos One this morning, loving the sound quality. Problem is, I’m coming from a regular Echo, which I’ve owned since release, and the microphones are nowhere near as sensitive as the regular Echo. Standing 3-4 feet from it, I have to be facing it directly to get it to hear me at normal speaking volume. If I’m facing even slightly off center I have to raise my voice. No problem ever with the Echo at that distance. If I’m at my kitchen table about 15 feet away my Echo will hear me in a quiet room with just a raised voice. The One I have to literally shout at. Is anyone else seeing this that’s moving from an Echo to a One? The One is in the same spot in the same room that the Echo has been.
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Best answer by Ryan S 25 October 2017, 00:17

Thanks for the feedback everyone. The microphone sensitivity is entirely software, in the early stages test players would pick up just about anything. It's something that'll get better over time too. So you can count on that improving.

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I still have to use either, but here is the Stuff magazine take on this, from their review:
"Finally, Alexa seems to be less responsive on the Sonos One, at least compared to the Echo, meaning you have to speak a little bit louder for it to hear you. Considering my Echo will sometimes pick up an unintended ‘Alexa’ reference while I’m chatting in another room, this probably isn’t as significant a shortcoming as it sounds.
Read more at https://www.stuff.tv/sonos/one/review#RDh9IciKOQwAQ2K0.99

But something that is a concern that Sonos ought to look at, if what you say is more applicable.
Hi, received mine aswell today and having exactly the same issue. My Echo about 15 Meters away answeres, as I have to raise my voice with the Sonos One. Also, using the Touch on the One somehow really messes up my App and deletes my Playlists etc. Spending 35 Minutes on the helpline and then giving up tells me, were not the only ones having issues... why are the products released if there are so many problems????
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I'm definitely finding the Sonos One to be much less responsive than my Echo or Echo Dots. I was downstairs in the family room yesterday where my Sonos One is and I issued a command to turn off the lights. The Sonos One ignored me, but I heard my Echo Dot upstairs, around two corners, in the master bedroom try to answer me.
Exact same issue here. The Sonos One voice activation is simply weaker than the Echo. It requires more direct focus and louder amplitude.
I too am a little disappointed with Sonos One mic pickup level. If i would have known about this and the incompatibility to pair Sonos Play:1 with the new Sonos One as a stereo pair, I would not have purchased the new Sonos One as a voice service solution. Hope there will be a firmware solution to these two negatives issues, otherwise I will reconsider purchasing additional Sonos One for my other rooms and perhaps return the one I purchased, for the purpose of evaluating voice serve functionality.
Add me to the list of those disappointed with the voice activation. My dots are more sensitive and more natural to close. Is this something that can be fixed with an update or a hardware limitation? Other than this issue and minor issues with setup, I'm really impressed. This is my first Sonos purchase and if all goes well, I may be upgrading all my speakers in the house.
Same here. Often can't hear me if I'm more than a few feet away. And if I have music playing I have to be almost as close to a foot away for it to hear me. They look great and sound great but if this issue doesn't improve I might have to return them and go back to my dot as they're useless if they can't hear me.
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Thanks for the feedback everyone. The microphone sensitivity is entirely software, in the early stages test players would pick up just about anything. It's something that'll get better over time too. So you can count on that improving.
Just received my Sonos One today. I found Alexa to be very hard of hearing. I have Echo Dots placed around the house. I gave a command to Alexa standing about three feet from the Sonos One and got a response from a Dot two rooms away instead of the Sonos One. If this can't be resolved I will probably consider returning the Sonos One.
Ryan S wrote:

The microphone sensitivity is entirely software, in the early stages test players would pick up just about anything. It's something that'll get better over time too. So you can count on that improving.


This feature of the mic sensitivity should be reassuring to those expecting to see this fixed ASAP.
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Ryan S wrote:

Thanks for the feedback everyone. The microphone sensitivity is entirely software, in the early stages test players would pick up just about anything. It's something that'll get better over time too. So you can count on that improving.



That’s great news, really happy to hear it’s not a hardware limitation, thanks Ryan. Are you thinking of boosting the sensitivity across the board for everyone, or is there a possibility of a sensitivity setting in the app?

Also, any chance of an ETA for the fix? My wife doesn’t care about audio quality, all she knows is the thing I bought is more of a PITA to use than thing it replaced and it’s not going over well!
Same here. The echo devices in other rooms will hear me and execute the command but the One will not even wake even though it is only feet away....hopefully they adjust the sensitivity soon. Won’t be worth keeping if it can’t respond. You’d think the mics would be even more sensitive than echo given the sound production capabilities comparatively...love it otherwise except for the removal of the mounting hole. I’m going to have to get a new wall mount for my bathroom to accommodate it.
mjgunn wrote:

all she knows is the thing I bought is more of a PITA to use than thing it replaced and it’s not going over well!


If a significantly louder voice is needed as you say, I am not surprised that it isn't going down well; this isn't just a feature one can get to learn, but a permanent irritation. Perhaps a short term workaround can be placing it a little closer to users. Or, use it with a Echo/Dot as if it was a play 1 - can that be done?
PS: Does it help if you change the wake word to an available alternate?
Oops; I just read that unlike with Echo, there is only the one word available for Sonos One. Another thing that needs changing in any case.
I second that. I could speak nice and quietly to my Echo Dot, but have turned to aggressive yelling to get Sonos One to wake. I feel this will get old pretty fast.
retboell wrote:

have turned to aggressive yelling to get Sonos One to wake.


I am surprised there aren't many more complaints about this than the ones on this thread. This is a deal breaker that Sonos needs to fix ASAP if it as bad as this thread says it is.
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Just voicing my support of this. The Echo at my folks' house, even though it doesn't "know" me, is far far more responsive. Even in my very small living room here I've had to nearly shout and repeat the wake word sometimes 3 or more times. Good to hear this will improve.
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I agree....this needs fixing...I thought this product would hear better than the £50 dot but it does not!
An ETA would definitely be really helpful, to help me decide whether this needs to go back during the return period. My One is positioned only 2 feet behind where I usually sit, but doesn't pick up the wake word unless I turn round and speak loudly at it, whereas the Echo would immediately respond to my normal voice without me needing to turn round.

My tech-resistant other half is already asking why I've bought something that doesn't work as well as the old one....
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Agree with all here that the mic sensitivity is a little too low on the One compared to my Echo devices.
Good to hear it’s fixable via software - thanks Ryan S for your input on this forum :-)
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I really hope the solution ends up being an adjustable setting for mic sensitivity. It's not hard to imagine there being scenarios where you want both high and low settings. For example, if you have a stereo pair setup, you may want them set lower so they don't 'compete' with each other. Or perhaps set one high and the other low.

I don't have the One yet, but I currently have issues with my dots for similar reasons. The dot in the kitchen/family room will sometimes have trouble hearing. If I speak too lould, a dot in another room will hear me. particulaly annoying when you're trying to set an alarm.
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Interesting... I've had the opposite experience. I was having issues with my Echo Dot hearing me. I had the dot placed right next to my Play:1 (which may have been part of the issue) on a shelf in the kitchen. I replaced the Dot and the Play:1 with the Sonos One and I find that the Sonos One can hear me better than the Dot could.
My one seems to be going off at the slightest thing ?! It is close to the TV though so could that be a problem, it went off when someone said “makes a ...” on the Tv earlier. Would love it to be a sensitivity setting if it’s software based.
I have my Sonos One installed just below my TV and everything sets it off, heaven forbid an Alexa commercial comes on.
Until Alexa includes effective voice recognition protocols in it, keeping the One near things like TVs/radios isn't a good idea. For such uses, an Echo/Dot is a better idea, with the mic on the One turned off. I haven't checked but I assume that the One will work just as a play 1 will in that configuration.

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