Returned Sonos one for google chromecast audio haven't looked back.

  • 30 November 2017
  • 28 replies

Userlevel 2
First let me say I have been a sonos user and supporter since my first system in 2006. I originally started with on amped box and then got another. I used these over 10 years without fail. I have allot of home automation in my house and waited patiently for sonos to get alexa support. I went out and immediately purchased the sonos one on release day and couldn't wait to use my existing alexa's. Then disappointment settled in quickly. Not only was the alexa integration not what I expected the ONE was beyond disappointing. We replaced the alexa in our bedroom with the one. After trying and multiple removed/re-add the entire ONE to get it working time and time again, the wife said it's got to go.

So with great disappointment I went to the store to return my one. I grabbed a play 1 for $50 less and figured we will just go back to using our phone. Then I heard about the google home integration with a google cast in the input of my amps. So yesterday I purchased two google mini's and to google cast for both my amps.....

WOW exactly what I expected voice controlled sonos to be like. We defaulted our outside amped zone to play on the inside play one from the input when detected and the other to play in our living room. We added this to google home in the desired virtual rooms for the mini's. Google letting you set a cast device as default audio is already leaps and bounds above alexa. I won't get started on the home integration except we are 100% happy with google home vs alexa.

I realize I could have gotten dots and gotten close to this behavior but buying a voice control box for amps in the ceiling didn't make sense and alexa grouping to rooms is way behind google especially for audio.

What I gained

Native "play" support no need to say play to this or play to that. Just automatically plays to the corresponding sonos assigned to that google room.

Can group through google home and play group easily add and remove with voice.

volume and playback control is natural. Google seems to remember better what I am doing and volume etc work spot on. (for this I turned my sonos volumes too 100% and let the chromecast control the audio up and down.)

Granted we still have to use our phone to play on patio (not a worry since it's winter) but another amp or a play 5 in place of the play 1 will fix this.

So my take away is alexa is pretty closed off and google is in some ways as well. Sonos needs to stick to what they do well and that's speakers.

PLEASE ADD AN AUDIO INPUT TO PLAY:1 / PLAY:ONE let amazon and google handle the home automation. The sonos ONE completely ruined my wife on alexa altogether for it's many shortcomings. (ask it to play music it does nothing...)

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28 replies

Userlevel 7
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Google have just enabled FREE uk landline and mobile phone calls this week. Bit of fun having handsfree conversations ;O)
Just ask it to "call" a number, if it recognises your voice it will use your contacts, so you can say "call xxx" (xxx=contact name)
I know this is 3 months old, but I found it interesting, and it looks like a question never got answered. So, why is it an android phone can cast to a Sonos speaker, but the Google Home Mini cannot?

I haven't really played around with this, but I noticed in Paul's link that the android phone casting requires that the Sonos app also be installed. Why? I would guess that it's needed because casting actually isn't done directly to Sonos speakers, but to the Sonos app, which then passes the command on to the speakers. If that's the case, that would explain why you can cast to Sonos on android, but not through the mini.

I don't quite understand why the sonos app is needed. Perhaps the communication protocol between the 'cast' and Sonos is different and the developers opted to make the exchange on your phone rather than add coding to the sonos devices themselves. Perhaps, if it was a direct cast, it would be a 'push', streaming through your phone, rather than a 'pull', allowing Sonos to go get the audio itself.

As far as the setup of using a chromecast audio dongle as a way of using google home voice control with Sonos, I'm not too crazy about it since it requires the Sonos zone to be on the line in. to work. It doesn't really give you the full control that you ideally want. Granted, the Amazon implementation doesn't either, and has other flaws. In the end, there is much work to be done.

Voice control development is still in infancy. Unlikely other new tech from the past, I think customers have a much better idea of what can be done with and where this will go...causing a lot of impatience. Other techs, such digital audio itself, wasn't so easy for customer to know where it was going. Thus, they were content to take their time getting there.
Sonos Alexa voice control is awful. Well, in Australia at least. Even with 2 Sonos Ones, and having had a modem change, and factory resets, Alexa voice control is still only intermittently useful. You either need to be very specific, or patient, waiting for Alexa to process commands. My dream is that Sonos come through with support for Google Home, which isn't perfect, but leaps ahead of what Alexa can offer. I've taken to using IFTTT as a workaround to use OK Google commands on my phone, to get the Sonos to do what I want.