Sonos volume dims on all speakers when Alexa is activated

  • 24 November 2017
  • 16 replies
  • 1961 views

Userlevel 1
A little bit of background..
I have speakers in different rooms, and have set them up to reflect this. We have an echo dot in the living room, which is connected via the Sonos skill.
I often listen to music in my study while the kids are in the living room.

I began to notice the volume on my speakers started to occasionally dim for no seemingly reason, then would go back to normal a few seconds later. Typically it was worse when the kids were home.

After a lot of troubleshooting, I figured out that Alexa isn't Sonos room aware. This means whenever she is activated (be it on purpose or by accident), she will dim the music on ALL speakers in the house to allow you to hear her.

I have logged a call with Sonos support, who have requested I post on the community forum to explain the problem I've found, while they pass it onto their development team.

The other down-side to having multiple rooms setup is that you have to stipulate 'Alexa - play SONG on SPEAKER'. She also isn't aware of my music library and will only play songs from Amazon. Has anyone else found a way around this?

This topic has been closed for further comments. You can use the search bar to find a similar topic, or create a new one by clicking Create Topic at the top of the page.

16 replies

Userlevel 2
I'm surprised Sonos support haven't passed this on but these are known limitations/features of the Alexa integration. The volume dimming is what the Sonos folks refer to as 'ducking' - the idea being that it reduces the volume so Alexa can hear your request (I think). As you have found, it ducks the volume on ALL the speakers as there is no current way to group a particular dot with a particular speaker.
Alexa app currently allows you to group an echo/dot with certain smart devices e.g. lights so you can say 'Alexa turn lights on' rather than specify the light name. At the moment it does not allow you to assign Sonos speakers to a particular dot, altho the speakers are recognized in Alexa as a 'smart device'. I'm hoping this means it can be done at some point.
(And probably the only advantage of a Sonos One over a Play1 + dot currently is that there is no ducking to other speakers and you don't have too specify room name)
Wrt to music library - at this time Alexa cannot access your music library. I'm hoping I'm wrong but I wouldn't hold your breath for this either - despite many people asking for this I have not seen any response from Sonos on this (as opposed to flash briefing and/or Spotify that they responded to on the forums when people complained they were missing). From the techno speak I've read on here, it's something to do with how Sonos and Alexa work together and that everyones music index would have to be stored on the Sonos cloud (apologies to you techies if that's not quite right, I'm not really into that stuff I just want a system that works!)
Man...this is a problem (you know, in the scheme of "technical problems that is"). I've got Alexa everywhere, and I've got Sonos everywhere in the house. The voice control is kludgy enough, but I'll deal with that. This audio ducking as much as my family uses Alexa and Sonos, really sucks though. It's not even a quick pause. The thing I was really surprised at, is even if I use the Sonos app to initiate and control the music, the audio STILL ducks when Alexa is called on (why??). Sonos - PLEASE fix this!!! To have this stop happening, I guess I'd have to completely disassociate my Sonos from all of the Echo devices?
PLEASE fix this!!! To have this stop happening, I guess I'd have to completely disassociate my Sonos from all of the Echo devices?
This happens by design as of now, which isn't to say it won't change in future, but the answer at this time is Yes. Or leave it associated with just one via the Alexa app.
Userlevel 1
Badge
Quick fix would be for them to give us all an option to turn ducking on or off as they decided it was mute all or none; common sense approach for all us people that have invested thousands in multiple room Sonos set up's >>> whilst they do what they should have done in the first place and supply a proper software solution !!!
Hi,
I figured out that this "ducking" was the result of the Echo devices not being room aware.

I must say, like many other things with this Sonos-Echo integration, for two technology leaders I am not impressed that this has not been thought through. I agree with the above, the smart devices are there we just need to be able to link them to the Echo's in the room.

Come on Sonos, Fix it, pleaseeeee. Voice activation and control is the future and you need to get the implementation right !! You are also letting me down, this is so annoying with my sons constantly using Alexa, that I am considering playing music another way throughout the house.

How do we create awareness on this and get a case logged or verification that this is being worked on?
I have really loved the Sonos integration with Alexa, but had to turn it off just now for this reason. My youngest daughter and her friends are constantly using the echo in her room, and it dims the music throughout the house every time. I checked to see if Sonos had added a setting to turn off the feature. Since they have not yet, I gave in and disabled the Sonos skill. I will miss the skill, particularly voice volume control.
Userlevel 2
Ryan S (from Sonos): "If you have an active family using Alexa ducking can be a bit of a bear in other rooms. We're working on it to find a good solution."
This was 2 months ago! I work in database development for drug trials and our build time for any system is < 8weeks staring from nothing. Different industry admittedly but me and my team would be fired if we took this long to fix an issue on an already developed system.
Please Sonos provide some update on this issue that is affecting many users.
Ryan S (from Sonos): "If you have an active family using Alexa ducking can be a bit of a bear in other rooms. We're working on it to find a good solution."
This was 2 months ago! I work in database development for drug trials and our build time for any system is < 8weeks staring from nothing. Different industry admittedly but me and my team would be fired if we took this long to fix an issue on an already developed system.
Please Sonos provide some update on this issue that is affecting many users.


It is assumed that this is Amazon's responsibility, specifically a function of the new AVS Multi-Room Music SDK that will allow grouping and assigning of Echo devices and 3rd party speakers. Amazon has announced an early 2018 release for this new SDK.
Userlevel 2
Badge
This is so annoying. When you have a houseful of Alexa and Sonos's and people instructing Alexa to do something in their part of the house, it's infuriating when your speaker is constantly adjusting volume!
Badge +1
I have exactly this problem. I've got Echos everywhere (8 of them) and the kids use them in their bedrooms all the time. If we're in the garden listening to music it's really annoying to have it keep dimming the sound. I have two Sonos devices, a One in the kitchen and an amp:connect withe garden speakers connected. Even the suggestion of disabling the primary feature we bought the One for isn't an option any longer. Since the last Sonos app update it now says that voice services are not available in my region. I have my echos setup in English but I live in Mexico. I was able to setup voice services in Mexico but now don't have the option to disable it.

To be honest I can't see why everyone raves about Sonos. To launch a product where the primary USP doesn't work unless you only have one (and let's face it, if you are buying a Sonos with Alexa integration there is a good chance you have other Alexa devices) is very poor form indeed. To then fob your customer base off for months shows utter contempt for your customers.

I'll be returning my devices and buying Denton instead.
Denon would suffer from the same problem. It is an Alexa thing, not a Sonos thing. It is supposed to be solved when the "promised for early 2018" Amazon AVS Multi-Room Music SDK finally arrives.
Badge +1
Denon would suffer from the same problem. It is an Alexa thing, not a Sonos thing. It is supposed to be solved when the "promised for early 2018" Amazon AVS Multi-Room Music SDK finally arrives.
Maybe, overall. it is. But the Connect:Amp doesn't even have voice control. It's not connected to Alexa and dimming the sound on this device is completely pointless. It's as though the Sonos implementation is an all or nothing scenario. As the "all" option means that every speaker goes quiet to wait for a response to a command that it cannot respond to, then it is a poor implementation. What testing did they do before releasing this? It seems that they did little to none. This must have come up if they tested it properly, and that should have been a hard blocker for the development. It's not a multi-room system if they all respond to a command from elsewhere. The definition of multi-room is that each room is independent. What is independent about speakers all responding to a command on a different device 100 yards away? It's another case of a company jumping on a bandwagon without understanding how the customer actually uses the product. It's similar to the online shopping debacle of the late 90's. No company wanted to be the one without an online shop, regardless of how terrible and badly thought out it was. Sonos should have stayed away if the SDK didn't support their brand concept, not shoehorn it in and hope no one complains too much. All they've managed to do is taint their brand.
Badge
Yup, same issue here. Super annoying. I am not shocked to see that this is just being blamed on Amazon.
Badge
Getting same thing here too (just hooked up Alexa -- using multiple Echos throughout the hosue - to my multiple speakers / Sonos system yesterday)... I thought it was only if I was using Alexa to initiate the request to play music on Amazon music but it happens even if I'm using the Sonos app to initiate the music request from Apple Music. Doesn't matter what speaker or what echo is involved ... it happens everywhere. I'm guessing no fix as of yet - I'm wondering if the Sonos Alexa skill is worth it at this point if you have multiple people in the house.
It has been fixed. See this link on how to configure Alexa groups:

https://en.community.sonos.com/announcements-228985/sonos-now-playing-with-alexa-groups-6817588
There is a fix. You need to create Alexa Groups in the Alexa app. Put an Echo device and one or more speakers into a group. Only those will 'duck' when you use Alexa through that Alexa device, provided your other speakers are in other groups. In each group set the 'preferred speakers' to be the Sonos speaker(s) that you want to play by default (i.e. without having to name a Sonos room).