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Microphone sensitivity for the “Alexa” wake word is low


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.
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Best answer by Ryan S 20 December 2017, 23:30

Sonos version 8.2.3 is now available for the Sonos One (other Sonos devices will stay on 8.2.2). This update improves Alexa responsiveness for Sonos One users in US, UK, Germany, and Austria.

You should find that Alexa is getting better at listening, with a decrease in the times Alexa speaks up when not called. Alexa on Sonos One is now more likely to carry out your desired action when requested; especially when it’s noisy, when the speaker is further away, or when speaking quietly.

Update within your Sonos app by going to More > Settings > Online Updates.

We’re continuing to work with Amazon and the Alexa team to improve Sonos One voice control. You can expect to see more developments as we go. Let us know what you think of the changes. We’d love to hear from you.
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262 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +26
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.
Userlevel 3
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!
Userlevel 1
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.
Userlevel 7
Badge +26
Sonos version 8.2.3 is now available for the Sonos One (other Sonos devices will stay on 8.2.2). This update improves Alexa responsiveness for Sonos One users in US, UK, Germany, and Austria.

You should find that Alexa is getting better at listening, with a decrease in the times Alexa speaks up when not called. Alexa on Sonos One is now more likely to carry out your desired action when requested; especially when it’s noisy, when the speaker is further away, or when speaking quietly.

Update within your Sonos app by going to More > Settings > Online Updates.

We’re continuing to work with Amazon and the Alexa team to improve Sonos One voice control. You can expect to see more developments as we go. Let us know what you think of the changes. We’d love to hear from you.
Userlevel 5
Badge +9
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.
Userlevel 1
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.
Userlevel 1
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.
Userlevel 5
Badge +9
The change really is quite significant. RonOnThePond might want to give this update a go before packing up those units for a return.
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????
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.
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.
Now that Alexa works so well on the One, I grabbed another one, open box at Best Buy for $165. Perfect condition, probably returned by someone frustrated with the (vanquished) Alexa issue. Score! Now have a stereo pair of Ones in the dining/kitchen area. Sound fantastic together, highly doubt that the upcoming $350 Apple widget will compare, especially in stereo imaging.
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.
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.
I hope an update for the sensitivity comes quite soon. It was just curious at first but after 2 days of use it's genuinely becoming quite irritating. I have to repeat my wake-word more than once more often than I do not. Sometimes 3 or 4 times and always must raise my voice considerably approaching a shout depending where I am relative to the ONE.

Though the microphones work great in the majority of homes and setups, we're at that point where we're collecting more and more samples and fine-tuning the microphones.


I wonder, though, if your analytics will capture the dozens of times that “Alexa!” fails to trigger? I find myself having to shout up to three times to finally trigger a response from the One, while speaking in a normal voice would ALWAYS trigger the Echo, which was placed in exactly the same location. This is a serious issue, which needs to be resolved.
It took me ages to to get the wife to agree to get the Sonos. the amount of flak I've taken since getting it is not worth the hassle. telling everyone that you are getting the best speaker out there and with Alexa to boot which then turns into a new sport of the wife showing all her friends just how useless me and Alexa are is not much fun. If you can't get the shouting issue sorted can I suggest you get Alexa to understand swear words instead ? let me know if you need help with the words as I am fast becoming an expert !!!!!!
Userlevel 1
Same mic sensitivity issue for me. I bought four. One is exactly where the original Echo was in the kitchen. I have to face directly it and practically shout at it, when before I was easily heard by the Echo. SONOS: the most important issue here (assuming that it's indeed a software fix) is to give us a time frame. I like the One, but I will regrettably have to send them back within the refund window because the mic sensitivity renders them unacceptable. You say "no worries, it'll improve over time." I say, "how much time, and how much improvement?" After all, it's my kitchen, my money, and my time. I'd love to keep them, but I need info!!! It's a BIG issue, and I urge you to email all Sonos One owners with a definitive update on this. Please.
Cool! Does appear to work better now... Don't have to shout, even when music is playing, to get Alexa's attention. Will see if it self-triggers when playing NPR over the next few days. Fingers crossed.
Faith in Sonos is restored! I still think there's room for improvement (and it's still early days) but this update improves things massively for me.
I also updated to the latest software and am experiencing much better Alexa response. It is significantly better than before. I’m now able to remove the Dot I was using.

Faith in Sonos is restored! I still think there's room for improvement (and it's still early days) but this update improves things massively for me.
Userlevel 7
Badge +26
We're working on it Nick. I'll make sure to post in here when the final fix is out. They've been making some changes to improve things, but it's not quite ready yet.
Userlevel 3
Badge +2
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....