Soundscape Skills Not Functioning

  • 22 November 2017
  • 38 replies
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I call them "Soundscape Skills" - like "Relaxing Nature Sounds", "Ambient Sounds: Cricket Sounds", "Rain Sounds", etc. There's hundreds of them. On my Sonos One, perhaps only one in ten works properly. If a Soundscape Skill doesn't work properly, the symptom is that I hear nothing at all. Evidence seems to point to the fact that Alexa thinks that the Soundscape is playing, but nothing whatsoever is audible at any volume level. I tried dozens upon dozens of these late last night, and only found a handful which worked properly. Alexa otherwise seems to be performing perfectly well.

I am working with Sonos tech support on this, but since the diagnostic reports look absolutely fine, it's difficult for support to troubleshoot this problem. My question is, am I the only one with this symptomatology?

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38 replies

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I've tested this and I think the issue may be that some are playlists (Which will only work when the word 'Playlist' is added to the command) and other are Albums (Which won't work with the word 'Playlist' added to the command). Can you test your Soundscapes again, with 'Playlist' included and omitted?
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Ok, UKMedia, I acted upon your suggestion on about a half dozen or so Soundscapes, all with a consistent result. If I leave off the word "Playlist" as I have been doing, Alexa blinks a bit (as if complying with my request), then nothing. If I use the term "Playlist" at the end of the command, Alexa's response is always the same - "I can't find a playlist with that name". A good thought, but it doesn't look like it's going to be my particular solution. Do you sometimes have the same symptoms I'm experiencing? Does adding the word "playlist" produce a desired result for you?
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Yes but normally it is fixed by the approach I described. Is this problem only encountered on this genre?
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@UKMedia, yes, it seems to be only this genre. Alexa otherwise seems to function perfectly - at least as good as Alexa gets. I put this question out to determine the possibility that I might have a dysfunctional Alexa device. This purchase is less than a week old, and I'm considering the arduous task of sending it back for a replacement - in fact, leaning in the direction, because no one is citing similar problems with their Sonos Ones. As they say, always check the physical layer.
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Ok, it's a "wrap". I've just made arrangements to return it as defective.
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I have been in multiple contact with both Sonos and Amazon on this.

I believe it’s an across the board lack of support for third party audio (with the exception of flash briefing and the Sonos skill)

Guided meditation will introduce the meditation but the meditation never plays.

I hope this is adressed as something that will be fixed or they simply do not plan to support and if they don’t plan to support it they really need to work on their marketing rebate that says the Sonos with Alexa can run all the skills, etc.
Just bought and none of the ambient sound skills are working
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Just bought and none of the ambient sound skills are working

Hi sarjeah

What source and voice command syntax are you using?
Using Sonos one. Skills Sleep and Relaxation.. command Alexaopen sleep sounds. It shows up that it's open and acts like it will but nothing plays
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Just sent the following to Sonos Support after working with them unsuccessfully for the better part of the past week. I've changed the tech's name - he was great, actually, and I don't have any problem with him directly. His management let him down:

Ok, well, Ivan, it's a perfect storm of badness. You can see here [I linked this Sonos chat page] that I put out a question to the Sonos forums soliciting information from anyone who was having the same problem (standard Alexa skills not responding correctly). I waited for several days, and as you can see I got no response from the community - that is, until I posted that I just made return arrangements for my Sonos One. Then, suddenly, I find that this *is* a known problem shared universally and ostensibly on all Sonos Ones. Now a question for you - this obvious glaring known problem wasn't discussed among the support team? Don't answer that - I probably won't like what I hear.

So anyway, I've got a new one coming today, only to finally find out that it's going to have the exact same problem. Which means *another* return, unless you can assure me that Sonos is on the problem. I'm less than pleased - can you blame me? What's not working is *core* functionality for an Alexa device. It's pretty much the sort of thing you buy an Alexa device *for*. I'm gobsmacked that Sonos has released this product, and this core functionality doesn't work.
So do the routines not work either ?
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Sry, not sure what "routines" are. Do you mean skills?
No routines is another thing. My skills work for most things except what I want it to work for:(. None of the sleep or meditation skills work. None
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Routines are different than the soundscape skills, but, I am also having issues with routines which i might start a different post about. It's struggling to execute some lighting commands with some words to start a routine but not other words. I simply changed the names of the routines. Dot downstairs does not have the same issue.
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@sarjeah - Ok, it looks we're talking about the same thing. I call them "Soundscapes" - sleep and meditation apps, and many others that are similar. Here's what I sent my Sonos service tech about those three days ago:

Ok, here's the latest - I'm calling these "Soundscape Skills" by the way, just to synchronize our vocabulary. I must have tried fifty or sixty of these kinds of skills last night, and only met with success in about one out of every ten or so. The rest demonstrated the usual symptom - evidence indicates that Alexa thought that the app was running properly, but I could hear nothing at any volume.

I also posted a question on the forums - I'm curious to see if I'm the only one who's experiencing this. Meanwhile, anything new on your end? What's the next step in the process?
@thenekkidtruth. Yes Soundscape skills . we are having the same issue. No update so far. I sent a ticket so hopefully I can get a response back sooner than later. I just want it to be able to play rain , waterfalls and etc when I ask it to. Which skill did you get to work ? It's doing Spotify and games like jeopardy but not Soundscape Skills
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@lesliegolf - I might have something for you about that, although it looks like you've solved your own problem already. This guy does a great YouTube video concerning potential problems with rooms-in-the-home naming conventions: https://youtu.be/PpF9F3-OQUE
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@sarjeah - Yeah, I want to get those to work too. Well, I tried dozens and dozens of these "Soundscapes" that day, so I really don't remember, but in a sense it doesn't matter, and let me tell you why. So some of these which initially worked ok at first became broken before the end of the day - they *no longer* worked. So the problem got worse instead of better.

Read what I had to say in my post which starts, "Just sent the following to Sonos Support after working with them unsuccessfully . . ." I'm *not* happy. This is core, fundamental functionality we're talking about here, and Sonos Tech Support wasn't even told that there were known problems with this sort of thing? I feel I've been mislead as a consumer, so I'm refusing delivery the new one due to arrive today, and accepting the full refund instead. I've had enough - this is simply unacceptable - these products cost $200 but they simply don't work. Not even close.
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@thenekkidtruth. Yes Soundscape skills . we are having the same issue. No update so far. I sent a ticket so hopefully I can get a response back sooner than later. I just want it to be able to play rain , waterfalls and etc when I ask it to. Which skill did you get to work ? It's doing Spotify and games like jeopardy but not Soundscape Skills

This was a reply to me from Amazon. Please keep in mind this was before the last software update so some of these things are now working:

**** As of now, Flash Briefings, Sports Updates, Audible, Audio skills and eBooks are not supported. This is the reason that the Ambient Noise skills are not working on your Sonos speaker with Alexa built in.

So..... Any Audio Skill that is not the Flash Briefing or the Sonos Skill will probably not work.

Download Guided Meditation. It's the perfect example. Alexa introduces it with her voice and even says "here we go" then it's silence. All of the noises not her voice simply are not delivered even though she thinks it is.
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@sarjeah - yes, I get the same symptoms. Sometimes the "soundscape" skill doesn't have an Alexa introduction like you mention, but Alexa still responds normally - her light blinks a few times and she doesn't announce any kind of error. But nothing plays.

What they still didn't tell you was an expected time frame within which they anticipate that the problem will be solved. Based on your interaction, there's no telling whether they even intend to fix the problem at all. At least Amazon had a pretty cogent response for you - they literally just gave up on me at the third escalation point, although this was perhaps about a week ago. The third level escalation tech read through the history, then literally just told me, well, sorry, there's nothing we can do. Contact Sonos Tech Support - and that was that.

Meanwhile, on Sonos' tech side, I'm not getting any answers and they just unilaterally closed my ticket a few days ago without consulting me. Like I said, I feel like a mislead consumer - I'm just going to refuse delivery on the new one due to arrive today and investigate a possible purchase from one of their competitors.
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IMHO Sonos had no idea this was an issue. It surely sounded like that when I talked to them. When I mentioned third party audio being an issue in general they seemed surprised.

Also IMHO Sonos poorly prepped their staff to handle this introduction. They also have borderline misleading advertising on their website as well.

While I can understand how things can happen unexpectedly (I was also part of the Frontier Fios changeover mess) I lack to understand how they are not at least trying to address issues, etc.

One person told me they cannot look into a known bug list because there were so many bugs.

This thing was simply rushed to the market too soon, advertised incorrectly and is being supported poorly but a group of nice people I feel were not educated enough to support it nor educated now to handle it's issues or simply told not to address them publicly.

It's listed as a Beta. So, I know what I signed up for. I however as you have also said would like to find out if they plan to support this.

When I am back home from the holidays I plan to test a Dot set up to a Play 3. If third party audio does not play to the Sonos Play 3 then I know this might be something a little bit more interesting.
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@lesliegolf - Dot --> Sonos Play:3 should be a good workaround, and it should function that way. Personally though, I'm just a little too disenchanted with Sonos to continue the relationship. Too bad, because, man, did it sound good! But they've got competition that's not far behind, and might just cost a little less. I'll soon find out.
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Well, this is listed as a Beta product and while I feel it shoulld not have been released or supported more effectively if they realized it was released with more issues than expected I plan to hang in for now and hope for the best. I’m just glad more and more issues are being documented by the user base to hopefully help those that run into the same thing and find these posts via a Google search.
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@lesliegolf - that's interesting what you have to say about the Sonos One being a Beta product. Because it wasn't so indicated on the Sonos website, I wasn't aware of that, but if that's indeed the case it doesn't make the situation any better - it makes it worse.

1. Beta or not, there's no substitute for basic functionality. To make up for a fork which is missing the two center tines by calling it a "Beta" product still doesn't cut it. It's still gotta be a working fork.
2. I've been a Beta tester, and I would have been a Beta tester for Sonos if I was offered the upfront opportunity. But sorry - I don't work for free. Only slaves do, which makes that point of view rather insulting to their customer base, yes?
3, Where is the online form to fill out with our perceptions of the Sonos One product in its Beta form? Or is it maybe actually *not* a true Beta product after all?
4. What I think I'm seeing is a turkey that wasn't cooked yet, and a company which couldn't help themselves from foisting it half-baked on consumers anyway - just in time for the Black Friday cash registers. Not ethical enough for me.
5. We are in perfect agreement that future Sonos customers can learn from our misfortunes by means of our conversations here, and I hope that happens.
Interestingly, if I ask Alexa to play Soundscapes via the Sonos One, but in another room on a standard Sonos Play One it works fine. For example, On the bedroom SonosOne I ask, "Alexa, play Rain Sounds in the Office" and it works.

If I request it to "play Rain Sounds in the bedroom (Sonos One)" from my Alexa Show, it plays!

It just won't play on the SonosOne itself when I request it from there.

So what is the resolution plan for this? I can't find that in here. Will Sonos support these functions or not? Not sure why I need a SonosOne. I could just use a Sonos PlayOne and an Echo Dot.