Sonos and Alexa is it really any good?

  • 17 November 2017
  • 5 replies
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Hi I have 4 Connect Amps and was eagerly awaiting the support for Alexa but so far have been disappointed. For a start if I ask Alexa to change radio stations via Tunein it seems to take an eternity to do so, whats more a friend of mine has the same problem which suggests its not my setup. More importantly since I installed Alexa whilst listening to the radio the reception seems to on occasions cut out for just a very short time, by that I mean maybe a second if not less but enough to notice it, I end up disconnecting Alexa and going back to using my iphone to control Sonos. Has anyone else had these sort of problems, beginning to think that Sonos despite taking such a long time to support Alexa they haven't done a good job. Oh yes and I have Spotify which as we all know also isn't supported yet....not doing very well are we Sonos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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5 replies

Userlevel 7
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Hi Big Bull

Remember that the Sonos skill is still in Beta which means it has a few rough edges but is getting better by the week. Spotify support and Flash Briefings are due on Dec 21st this year and so the journey has started and the ride is getting interesting. I suspect that within 6 months, when Google Assistant is also available, and more Alexa capabilities have been deployed, the integration will be a lot smoother. Welcome to the world of being an early adopter! 🙂
Userlevel 3
I am sending 2 Ones back. Originally they would cut out after a random number of tracks - this was fixed by disabling alexa skill, forgetting devices and then connecting everything backup again. Frustrating but fixable.
But after a few weeks of use there are other issues that drive us crazy! The mics do not pick up 'Alexa' very well, we have to lean over it or shout (a software issue apparently being worked on). They do pick up and random words though and the 'ding' everytime is infuriating! I would say they do seem to hear 'Alexa' better when music is being played though which would seem odd - as if the mic sensitivity is turned up when the music is on!
We also find the 'ducking' laughable - ask the lounge dot to turn on lights and the play1's upstairs quieten for quite a lengthy period. I think I saw a thread that a future update will only do this for the speaker grouped with the dot? I do hope so. On a positive note the Ones do not do this and you also do not have to specify the room for playback either.
I do realise we are still at beta stage but to answer your original question 'Sonos and Alexa is it really any good?' - for me, No not yet!
I am probably going to disable the Alexa skill and try again in a few months when there has hopefully been improvement made!
Userlevel 7
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Originally they would cut out after a random number of tracks - this was fixed by disabling alexa skill, forgetting devices and then connecting everything backup again. Frustrating but fixable.
Then move on from this. This is the modern world with beta in public view.

We also find the 'ducking' laughable - ask the lounge dot to turn on lights and the play1's upstairs quieten for quite a lengthy period. I think I saw a thread that a future update will only do this for the speaker grouped with the dot? I do hope so. On a positive note the Ones do not do this and you also do not have to specify the room for playback either.
It is reasonable that the Ones make an assumption you are talking to them. They have the Mic built in so can hear and assume you only have one set of speakers in the room (although not guaranteed with Sonos bit perfect multi-room). So they hear and react. No zone name required, as they default to themselves.
In the case of the Dot, it has no clue where your speakers are, or that Lounge lights are not in the bedroom. This seems to be an Alexa limitation, and we are told will be resolved.

I do realise we are still at beta stage but to answer your original question 'Sonos and Alexa is it really any good?' - for me, No not yet!
I am probably going to disable the Alexa skill and try again in a few months when there has hopefully been improvement made!

I suspect you aren't cut out for open beta and the limitations this brings with functionality, and unexpected un-features. Should companies do open betas? Many love and embrace the idea of being in at that level, and go out of their way to sign-up for things that don't exist (see kick starter). It seems be the modern world. Not perfect.

But then again my journey with Sonos has been over 12-years and they still keep changing stuff so to some extent I have been in 'beta' for 12-years. And the thought of exiting beta leaves me a product that will be redundant in 3-years.
Userlevel 7
Badge +7
Hi I have 4 Connect Amps and was eagerly awaiting the support for Alexa but so far have been disappointed. For a start if I ask Alexa to change radio stations via Tunein it seems to take an eternity to do so, whats more a friend of mine has the same problem which suggests its not my setup. More importantly since I installed Alexa whilst listening to the radio the reception seems to on occasions cut out for just a very short time, by that I mean maybe a second if not less but enough to notice it, I end up disconnecting Alexa and going back to using my iphone to control Sonos. Has anyone else had these sort of problems, beginning to think that Sonos despite taking such a long time to support Alexa they haven't done a good job. Oh yes and I have Spotify which as we all know also isn't supported yet....not doing very well are we Sonos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The cut-outs suggest network issues as once Alexa has sent the instruction you could smash it and sonos would continue. So unless Alexa is killing the network then hard to see the cause. The radio transition time I agree is currently too laggy for my liking and no good for channel hoping, but fine to kick off stuff once and then listen.
Userlevel 3
Then move on from this. This is the modern world with beta in public view.

I have moved on - but it was frustrating at the time, other people are STILL having this issue, and the OP was asking about cutouts

It is reasonable that the Ones make an assumption you are talking to them. They have the Mic built in so can hear and assume you only have one set of speakers in the room (although not guaranteed with Sonos bit perfect multi-room). So they hear and react. No zone name required, as they default to themselves.

I think that's what I said.... and I stand by what I said the 'ducking' is laughable

In the case of the Dot, it has no clue where your speakers are, or that Lounge lights are not in the bedroom. This seems to be an Alexa limitation, and we are told will be resolved.

The dots do actually know which lights are where, as you can group a particular dot/echo with them and say 'Alexa turn lights on' rather than specifying the light name. I'm hoping this feature can be used the same way (in a future update) with Sonos speakers so we don't have to specify room name all the time.

I suspect you aren't cut out for open beta and the limitations this brings with functionality, and unexpected un-features. Should companies do open betas? Many love and embrace the idea of being in at that level, and go out of their way to sign-up for things that don't exist (see kick starter). It seems be the modern world. Not perfect.

You may be correct. I'm not very technical, which is why I loved the ease of set up of Sonos in the first place. But I just want a product that works and at the moment, for me, the Ones are not quite there. I suspect I am not the only one.