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Strange Volume Effect with Echo Dot and Sonos


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I have an Echo Dot connected to a Connect via analog in...and the Connect connected from analog out to my speakers via a Sonance amplifier. I'm finding that, since starting the Sonos skill, when I talk to Alexa, her volume out of my Sonos/speaker setup is at such a low volume that it is barely audible. This lasts for about 10-15 seconds, and then volume goes up to normal. I have the volume control on the Dot set a maximum and the Sonos volume set at a normal listening level. Before setting up the Sonos skill, the volume was always fine...right where I set it. Interestingly, if I immediately invoke "Alexa" after she starts speaking (like if I ask for the weather), when I can barely hear her, and tell her to turn up the volume, her output immediately goes to the normal audible volume. Also, once the Sonos music starts, volume is normal, based on my volume setting in the Sonos app. However, if I again invoke "Alexa", her volume is low again.
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Best answer by jgatie 7 October 2017, 16:48

That is because of the "ducking" feature which lowers the Sonos volume so Alexa can hear. I'm sure Sonos never figured people would continue to use the line-in function after the Alexa implementation was in place (and why would they?).
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That is because of the "ducking" feature which lowers the Sonos volume so Alexa can hear. I'm sure Sonos never figured people would continue to use the line-in function after the Alexa implementation was in place (and why would they?).
Interesting, I have observed a similar challenge - we used the echo dot not just for music but other short responses that are now lost! As the echo to play a radio station and all is fine, Ask echo to spell and the volume is reduced for too long to gain the response! It would be nice if this was better adjusted. Any idea how to create a long enough gap to be able to hear the response!
No, this is a feature of the Sonos skill. Disable the skill if you wish to utilize the line-in instead.
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The reason to continue to use the line in is because my Sonos is feeding all of my upstairs ceiling speakers. It's quite nice to be able to hear Alexa throughout my upstairs when I'm talking to her...not just from the little bitty speaker on the Dot. Additionally, It is Alexa that I can't hear...not Sonos. It is also occurring before playing any Sonos music...and without playing any Sonos music. So, jgatie, you are saying that if I disconnect the Dot from my line-in on my Sonos, my volume problem will be solved...is that correct? So, then the only other major change to my system would be that I would be hearing Alexa from the Dot speaker...is that right? So, then the "ducking" would actually now be taking place...so Sonos would be muted when I invoke the "Alexa" command...right?
Same here. Echo plugged in to sonos 5. Volume for music fine. Say "Echo, what is the weather for today?" Volume so low it's barely audible.
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Hi I’m having the same issue as well.. I’ve call Amazon and did some trouble shooting with them with hopes of getting the volume louder via my sonos play 5.. but they couldn’t really help.

I’ve check the Audio in-line on my sonos app that didn’t work. I’m for certain both volumes are at 100 percent which I never do for the Sonos and I still can make out what the amazon Alexa is saying.
I think there is a bug that Sonos needs to fix.. I’m alittle upset cause I just traded in my echo for the Dot, only to find out I can’t hear what she is saying cause her volume via the speaker is very low..
Hi I’m having the same issue as well.. I’ve call Amazon and did some trouble shooting with them with hopes of getting the volume louder via my sonos play 5.. but they couldn’t really help.

I’ve check the Audio in-line on my sonos app that didn’t work. I’m for certain both volumes are at 100 percent which I never do for the Sonos and I still can make out what the amazon Alexa is saying.
I think there is a bug that Sonos needs to fix.. I’m alittle upset cause I just traded in my echo for the Dot, only to find out I can’t hear what she is saying cause her volume via the speaker is very low..


It is not a bug. it was designed that way. It is known as "ducking" and it allows the Echo device to be able to hear over the music playing on Sonos. You are seeing a problem because I'm not certain Sonos foresaw the number of people who would keep their Dots connected via the line-in, for it is a bit redundant. However, since this is a beta release. perhaps they will make the ducking optional, or (more unlikely, but you never know) they will play all the Alexa audio wirelessly over the Sonos, eliminating the need for the line-in connection. Whatever they do, it is not a bug, it works as designed. But your input will be noted.
The reason to continue to use the line in is because my Sonos is feeding all of my upstairs ceiling speakers. It's quite nice to be able to hear Alexa throughout my upstairs when I'm talking to her...not just from the little bitty speaker on the Dot. Additionally, It is Alexa that I can't hear...not Sonos. It is also occurring before playing any Sonos music...and without playing any Sonos music. So, jgatie, you are saying that if I disconnect the Dot from my line-in on my Sonos, my volume problem will be solved...is that correct? So, then the only other major change to my system would be that I would be hearing Alexa from the Dot speaker...is that right? So, then the "ducking" would actually now be taking place...so Sonos would be muted when I invoke the "Alexa" command...right?

Yes. Though at this time, all Sonos speakers will duck. Not the optimum, because who needs the living room muting when you are talking to the bedroom Dot? But as said above, it is a beta, and new features like assigning a Dot to a single room could happen any day.
That is because of the "ducking" feature which lowers the Sonos volume so Alexa can hear. I'm sure Sonos never figured people would continue to use the line-in function after the Alexa implementation was in place (and why would they?).

One reason why people (including me) continue to use the line-in function, is to have a working solution for working with streaming sources that are not yet supported by the Alexa/Sonos integration (in my case - the primary reason is Spotify)
That is because of the "ducking" feature which lowers the Sonos volume so Alexa can hear. I'm sure Sonos never figured people would continue to use the line-in function after the Alexa implementation was in place (and why would they?).

One reason why people (including me) continue to use the line-in function, is to have a working solution for working with streaming sources that are not yet supported by the Alexa/Sonos integration (in my case - the primary reason is Spotify)


Spotify works via Sonos/Alexa integration. "Alexa, play Wheels on the bus from Spotify in master bedroom". (Master bedroom is a room on Sonos). Make sure Spotify skill is enabled on Alexa.
Big thanks to @jgatie for explanation on this issue. Now that I know why my Play:5 is behaving this way I can live with it. I will deactivate the skill since it is easier (in my case) with the line-in solution than commanding the skill (you additionally have to name the room etc.)
is there anyway to disable this 'ducking' on individual or all speakers? If somebody talks to Alexa upstairs, the speakers downstairs 'duck' - it's quite annoying!
@jgatie will know better but I guess not.
Not currently, no, but there's a better than average chance they're working on something in conjunction with Amazon, I'd bet.
Have 3 Echo Dots connected to 3 Play 5s via line input cable and have same volume problem. Music volume is fine but ask Alexa for the weather and you can barely hear the response.
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Have 3 Echo Dots connected to 3 Play 5s via line input cable and have same volume problem. Music volume is fine but ask Alexa for the weather and you can barely hear the response.

The only way to fix this for now is to disable the Sonos skill on Alexa.
Hi. I've just ordered a Dot. How do I connect it to my Sonos 5? Do I need a cable or jack? Thank you!
Hi. I've just ordered a Dot. How do I connect it to my Sonos 5? Do I need a cable or jack? Thank you!

The Dot is now able to control the Play:5 wirelessly. See this link:

https://en.community.sonos.com/announcements-228985/alexa-now-playing-on-sonos-6791301
Hi. I've just ordered a Dot. How do I connect it to my Sonos 5? Do I need a cable or jack? Thank you!

The Dot is now able to control the Play:5 wirelessly. See this link:

https://en.community.sonos.com/announcements-228985/alexa-now-playing-on-sonos-6791301


Wonderful, thank you! 🆒
@jgatie - this is definitely a bug, for a few reasons:
1) It eliminates a function that people liked and is now not possible - asking the alexa a QUESTION and having sonos answer. Sure - you will tell me to eliminate the skill and problem solved. But that's the issue, the skill is the bug.

2) If I eliminate the skill, I can no longer use the Play One. So basically my choice is to get the full functionality of my Play 5 or the Play 1. I can't have both.

3) Sonos/Alexa integration doesn't support Spotify, the most popular music streaming service in America.

4) There is zero help content on this, just a bunch of people in comment threads running around in the dark with flashlights. They didn't anticipate this at all. It was a screw up. Full stop. Period.
Sorry to get into semantics, but a feature is not a bug when it works as designed. It is simply incompatible with your desired configuration. Not a big difference, but it was not a mistake to make it that way, it was an intended design.

Spotify was announced as coming by Christmas.

I'll not comment on the last thing. My Alexa skill experience is that it works pretty good for a beta. YMMV.
Sorry to get into semantics, but a feature is not a bug when it works as designed. It is simply incompatible with your desired configuration. Not a big difference, but it was not a mistake to make it that way, it was an intended design.

Spotify was announced as coming by Christmas.

I'll not comment on the last thing. My Alexa skill experience is that it works pretty good for a beta. YMMV.


I see what you're saying. It wasn't a bug, it was an intentional design choice that sucks. Of course customers will want to use their Play 5 for more than music - like interacting with Alexa (the main use case for the entire device). You are saying Sonos knew they were taking this away from customers, and did it anyway.. Whether a bug or an intentionally poor design choice, I hope they fix it.

Sounds like the sonos skill is still in beta and will improve over time - until then I'll just have a limited function $500 speaker in my bedroom OR a Play 1 that doesn't work. Thanks, Sonos. Awesome customer experience.
Sonos probably never thought people would keep the inferior line-in method in place after the Alexa functionality was implemented. I must say it surprised me that people still want it, it seems quite redundant to me. Then again, having been in software for 30 years, nothing should surprise me. People like what they know.

Either way, Sonos has stated they are looking into improving this for those who still want the line-in connected.
Sonos probably never thought people would keep the inferior line-in method in place after the Alexa functionality was implemented. I must say it surprised me that people still want it, it seems quite redundant to me. Then again, having been in software for 30 years, nothing should surprise me. People like what they know.

Either way, Sonos has stated they are looking into improving this for those who still want the line-in connected.


Hi, I don't use the line-in method but I still get the volume dipping in the kitchen (play1 not the new version) when someone talks to the echo upstairs

Is this behaviour expected for my set up?