Public Beta - My Feedback

  • 16 October 2017
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36 replies

Userlevel 1
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It seems both mine and Jacob's problems are caused, at least in part, by location awareness. He get's the BBC Radio 1 Cardiff feed, I get the BBC Radio 2 Edinburgh feed.

I think this must be Alexa adding this. If I do a search in the Sonos app for "BBC Radio 2" ONLY the national feed, and BBC Radio 2 Country, show in the results. In fact, BBC Radio 2 Edinburgh doesn't even show when I search local radio in TuneIn via the Sonos app. But somehow, when initiated via Alexa, the location becomes a factor and it finds stations / feeds I can't find via the app even if I wanted to!
Userlevel 2
Hooked up Alexa to Sonos last night and while I can see where this is going, the Amazon music stream is Sooooo bad it sounds like Sonos has been put in a damp sock - closed Beta MUST have picked this one up. Net result is Sonos is going to get bad mouthed for sound reproduction which is entirely unfair. @Sonos Really need to accelerate this Spotify integration and give me access to my own library as at the moment its a little like Apple trying to ditch Google for maps and finding out they are really bad at it!

Come on Sonos team, don't compromise your quality for commercial benefit as it will get you into trouble.
Userlevel 5
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Hooked up Alexa to Sonos last night and while I can see where this is going, the Amazon music stream is Sooooo bad it sounds like Sonos has been put in a damp sock - closed Beta MUST have picked this one up. Net result is Sonos is going to get bad mouthed for sound reproduction which is entirely unfair. @Sonos Really need to accelerate this Spotify integration and give me access to my own library as at the moment its a little like Apple trying to ditch Google for maps and finding out they are really bad at it!

Come on Sonos team, don't compromise your quality for commercial benefit as it will get you into trouble.


All Alexa does is tell Sonos what to do. Sonos then goes and gets the music. Ergo Alexa has nothing to do with the sound.
Have you compared the sound between Alexa and direct with the app?
Net result is Sonos is going to get bad mouthed for sound reproduction which is entirely unfair.
If Spotify has different masters for a song in its library like Apple/Google do, this problem will continue because Alexa will pick pick any one of these in some apparently random way; the way to force it to use a specific version is by using playlists that contain these.
IMO, the road to consistency is via access to the local NAS that rarely contains more than one version of a song, but I don't see that coming in a hurry, so the present answer to this if it is important is using voice to control just subsequent actions of stop/restart and volume level changes.

All Alexa does is tell Sonos what to do. Sonos then goes and gets the music. Ergo Alexa has nothing to do with the sound.

See above: in a controller one can pick a specific mastered version from those offered by the service by the finger tap; Alexa will influence sound in a way that isn't controlled, by the version it chooses between the many available ones.
Userlevel 2
Hooked up Alexa to Sonos last night and while I can see where this is going, the Amazon music stream is Sooooo bad it sounds like Sonos has been put in a damp sock - closed Beta MUST have picked this one up. Net result is Sonos is going to get bad mouthed for sound reproduction which is entirely unfair. @Sonos Really need to accelerate this Spotify integration and give me access to my own library as at the moment its a little like Apple trying to ditch Google for maps and finding out they are really bad at it!

Come on Sonos team, don't compromise your quality for commercial benefit as it will get you into trouble.


All Alexa does is tell Sonos what to do. Sonos then goes and gets the music. Ergo Alexa has nothing to do with the sound.
Have you compared the sound between Alexa and direct with the app?


Hi BoredofBalham - Perhaps I made my point badly. The Alexa integration only directs sonos to connect to Amazon music services. The stream quality of those services is very poor and it is this that then puts Sonos in a poor light because of the subsequent reproduction. once Spotify can be selected through the Echo the quality will be improved.
Userlevel 2

If Spotify has different masters for a song in its library like Apple/Google do, this problem will continue because Alexa will pick pick any one of these in some apparently random way; the way to force it to use a specific version is by using playlists that contain these.
IMO, the road to consistency is via access to the local NAS that rarely contains more than one version of a song, but I don't see that coming in a hurry, so the present answer to this if it is important is using voice to control just subsequent actions of stop/restart and volume level changes.


I'd not thought of that becoming a problem of the future, but at least I could then influence the quality of reproduction by only holding good masters. I like the idea of a playlist as a quality selector though. Roll on Spotify integration to improve the stream quality.
Userlevel 4
Badge +8
Thanks for the feedback, and great discussion everyone! There shouldn't be a performance difference between audio started via Sonos vs Alexa. But in any case, there shouldn't be any audio dropouts anyway.

My guess, having looked at no diagnostics from your systems, is that the audio started via Sonos is picking a different radio stream for the same station than the one your Alexa is picking. That would be two different streams from the same station, one might be higher quality, and therefore more susceptible to a poor wireless environment, or another local issue.

I'd love to take a closer look though. Can you submit a diagnostic from your Sonos system and reply back with your confirmation number when you're playing from Alexa and get an error? Also, please send a diagnostic when playing the same station, started from a Sonos app. I'll let you know what we're seeing.


Hi Ryan,

I tried to play both BBC Radio 1 and 2 this morning via voice command to my Play 5 but i could see it trying and failing to connect to the "Cardiff" stream of both and subsequently giving up. Diagnostic is 7999207

If you could have a look id appreciate it.

Cheers

Jacob
Userlevel 7
Badge +26
Thanks Jacob. Other than some wireless interference to sort out, I don't see much on that diagnostic I'd consider a red flag. I think it might be best to give us a call and take a look at this with the team live.
Userlevel 2
I can't find anywhere to give 'official' feedback on Alexa/Sonos One so am posting here:

A few days ago I posted on another thread how pleased I was with the integration (within its current limitations). I have now played with it since the delivery and set up of my Sonos One (kitchen) on 24th October. (My current set up is Play 5 2nd gen, 3 x Play 1's and a Sonos One. I also have 2 echo dots and an Echo (gen 1)):

- Microphone sensitivity - the Sonos One is not as sensitive to the wake word as my Echo dots, as others have pointed out. But it does the 'I'm awake' ding sound numerous times while we are just talking in the kitchen. It appears to be very sensitive to other words apart from 'Alexa'!
- The Sonos One appears as 2 devices in the Alexa app. A personal thing but it puts my OCD on edge! It's one 'thing' so should appear as such. (I realise this may be an Amazon thing, not Sonos)
- Alexa has real problems recognizing 'Aimee's Room' yet has no problems with 'Megan's Room'. I'm thinking it may be the spelling as I asked Alexa how to spell Aimee and she replied 'A. M. Y.' I'm, going to try renaming speaker to 'Amy's Room' to see if this works - but it will annoy my 10 yr old as it won't be her name! (Again I realise this is probably an Amazon problem but it adds to the frustration. And I can't do it yet as the recent Alexa App update causes my ipad to crash every time I go into the smart home menu. Amazon are aware of this issue and expecting to release a fix.....)
- No queue when when ask Alexa to (for example) 'Play album Sonic Boom by Kiss'. Plays the music but just shows ' Session started by Alexa' in Sonos App. Why does it not show the whole album as a queue?
- On that note I'm not sure I understand what the 'End Session' button is for in the Sonos when opening music with Alexa? I don't need to do that when I play music using the App.
- Intermittent failure of voice stopping of music. Sometimes 'Alexa stop the music in the Lounge' (for example) works, sometimes it doesn't and I have to use 'Alexa pause the music in the Lounge'. There seems no rhyme or reason. On the positives I like that you do not have to specify room name when wanting to start music on the Sonos One.
- Intermittent failure of voice to skip tracks. Sometimes 'Alexa next track' works, sometimes it doesn't and I have to use 'Alexa skip track. On checking the Alexa app it has heard both requests.
- Ducking causes great frustration. I can be happily listening to the radio in the lounge (Play 5 2nd gen) and then the music volume lowers as the kids have asked the hallway dot to turn the stairs light on. Then it happens again when they come back down and turn the light off. Then again when the wife has to go upstairs and again when she comes down....you get the picture..... I haven't noticed this issue on the Sonos One, so I don't think ducking affects it.
- App shows 'Unknown' in room list even though radio is playing if play is started by Alexa. Radio station icon is there though. If you start through Sonos App it shows station name. Just seems odd!


All in all I'm pretty happy with what I've got - there just appears to be some tweaks made. Whether these are on the Sonons or Amazon side I'm not sure but as it is a public beta I'm hopeful improvements will some.
I’ve had an echo dot for about 3 weeks and am also experiencing the same drop-out issues as above when using Alexa to play TuneIn radio. When I play TuneIn direct from the sonos app there are no issues. Sonos support have confirmed that using Alexa to play TuneIn radio to Sonos uses the Alexa feed rather than the Sonos feed. They’ve now asked me to feedback to Amazon who have certainly recognised the issue. I’m now waiting a reply from Amazon.