Sonos Now Playing with Alexa Groups



Show first post
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.

257 replies

@MiDe72

I'm new to this, I thought i read that you need to Group your other Dot (or all Dots) as their own group even if there is only is one device in the group. That way every device is in a group (even if only a single device). Try that


Doing this will help with ducking, or lowering the volume of a speaker temporarily so Alexa can hear you better. When an echo is an an alexa group, it will duck whatever speaker is listed as a smart device in that same alexa group. If there is no Alexa group, it will default to ducking to all Sonos speakers without microphones (everything but Sonos One or Beam). So if you don't want any ducking when you speak to a specific echo, create a group for it, and don't put any speaker in the smart device section.

At least, that's my understanding. We're all new to this.


That's fine. But when I ask another Dot to stop (when it is not doing anything) it stops playback on the Sonos even though it is not grouped.

I actually like this functionality. I typcially only have one stream of audio going in the house at a time. So if I want to turn it off, it's conveniet to be able to turn it off from anywhere without having to target where it's currently playing.

[...]

I get why you may look at this as a bug, since it's not doing what you thought it would do, but I imagine people are going to have different expectations based on thier own habits and intuitions.


Wow, I tried the same with two Dots, starting playback on one and stopping it on another and it does the same. I never realized it worked that way, so it has always been there.

I still consider this at least an inconsistency since if I don't specify a speaker explicitly the Echo will always use the one I am talking to for playback, so why stopping all streams of all Echos if I just say "stop".


I still consider this at least an inconsistency since if I don't specify a speaker explicitly the Echo will always use the one I am talking to for playback, so why stopping all streams of all Echos if I just say "stop".


To clarify, I don't think 'stop' will stop all streams, it will just stop one stream if you only have one stream playing. But I get your point. I think with voice commands to control multiroom audio, there's going to be a conflict between being consistent and very robotic ( a good thing) and being intuitive and adapative to the situation like a human (also a good thing).

As an example, you're absolute right that giving the same voice command, 'Alexa, stop' to a specific echo should do the same thing every time. No doubt about what it's going to do. It's clear and concise.

On the other hand, if you were talking to a human and ask them to turn off the music, you'd expect them to consider what's currently playing around the house and stop the music in a different room, because it's the only thing playing. You'd expect them to interpret and adapt your command to the scenario at hand. The person would know that you don't want to turn off the music in the room you're talking to since nothing is there, and you obviously wanted to stop something.

So there is this conflict between following strict conscise rules and being intuitive and doing what you likely mean to say, or what makes sense given the current situation. I think the goal is that you'll eventually be able to give commands to alexa devices the same as you would give to a human, so you don't have to know the rules of how it works, but we are along way from that.
Just like to second this! Works a treat - many thanks!!



Goto the Amazon Alexa App and log out your Amazon account. Also close the App (slide up screen etc. depending on the type of device you use).

Then wait a minute, or so, before logging back into the Alexa App and re-entering your Amazon credentials. Give the App a few minutes to rebuild the existing groups and refresh all devices etc.

Close the Alexa App once again (slide up screen etc) one more time.

The next time you open the Alexa App and go to the main Groups section and select to edit a group. You should now see all your Sonos Alexa devices, (Sonos One etc.) as being 'Alexa Enabled' devices for use in the first section of the Alexa Groups.

Hope that proves useful for those currently waiting to receive the update.
More clues and/or problems -- I have a pair of old Sonos One speaker (the non-Alexa variety) that are stereo-paired in Sonos but Alexa sees them as two different speakers. Trying to use them in a multi-speaker room inside of Alexa seems to scramble her brain. Won't play any music there at all, even if I just ask Alexa to play directly to those speakers. Probably a bug.This is how it should be.. the Sonos One speakers maybe 'paired, but the two Alexa parts of the hardware are still separate entities, so they will be seen twice in the Alexa App.

Edit.. I should briefly mention here that Sonos Speakers do not work with the Amazon’s own 'Multi-Speaker Groups' .. those are for grouping together Amazon Echo devices only. The Sonos hardware works with a different section in the Alexa App, called quite simply 'Groups'. Hope that helps to makes a bit more sense of things too?
Badge
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! This is all I really wanted for Christmas!!
Userlevel 2
Badge +2
This generally works well for me EXCEPT for playing BBC radio stations. If I say "Alexa play radio 2" to my Echo Dot then it comes out of the tiny Dot speaker. I still need to add "... in the kitchen" to have it come from Sonos. If I disable the BBC skill then Alexa just prompts me to re-enable it.

It's a pity because during the day we listen to BBC radio stations more than anything else.
This generally works well for me EXCEPT for playing BBC radio stations. If I say "Alexa play radio 2" to my Echo Dot then it comes out of the tiny Dot speaker. I still need to add "... in the kitchen" to have it come from Sonos. If I disable the BBC skill then Alexa just prompts me to re-enable it.

It's a pity because during the day we listen to BBC radio stations more than anything else.
Yes, these groups are currently for the 'general' music services that we see in both the Amazon App and the Sonos App ..and therefore some Alexa skills, like the BBC skill, are not currently supported as mentioned earlier, but we also have to bear in mind these are all brand new futures to Sonos devices and I’m quite certain things still need to catch up and hopefully we will see further improvements over time.

I love the new grouping features though, it’s made a huge difference to the general voice control around our home and it’s far easier to play to groups without having to resort to the Sonos App.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
This generally works well for me EXCEPT for playing BBC radio stations. If I say "Alexa play radio 2" to my Echo Dot then it comes out of the tiny Dot speaker. I still need to add "... in the kitchen" to have it come from Sonos. If I disable the BBC skill then Alexa just prompts me to re-enable it.

It's a pity because during the day we listen to BBC radio stations more than anything else.
Yes, these groups are currently for the 'general' music services that we see in both the Amazon App and the Sonos App ..and therefore some Alexa skills, like the BBC skill, are not currently supported as mentioned earlier, but we also have to bear in mind these are all brand new futures to Sonos devices and I’m quite certain things still need to catch up and hopefully we will see further improvements over time.

I love the new grouping features though, it’s made a huge difference to the general voice control around our home and it’s far easier to play to groups without having to resort to the Sonos App.


I have 2 Echo Dots and a goodly number of speakers dotted around the house. I created some groups eg Downstairs and Upstairs. When I say "Alexa, Play Radio 2 downstairs" or "Alexa, Play BBC Radio 2 downstairs" then it groups my speakers and plays Radio 2 (or Radio 4 or Five Live). I also have the BBC skill enabled on Alexa so I'm not sure why Simon isn't getting the results he wants.

Also, I really like this new feature too. Also just discovered the Alexa Routines. Set it up so I can just say "Alexa, I'm home" And it starts playing Radio 4 in the kitchen. It doesn't let you select a group for playing the action, maybe Amazon will make an improvement there.
Userlevel 3
Badge +2
Just need the Sonos Beam/One to be listed as one of the devices Alexa can respond from in a routine and I think they’ll have all the features I need. Hoping this will be added at some point in the future?
Just need the Sonos Beam/One to be listed as one of the devices Alexa can respond from in a routine and I think they’ll have all the features I need. Hoping this will be added at some point in the future?

This is available now. If you're aren't seeing the Beam or One currently, Ken has some steps to get them to show up.

https://en.community.sonos.com/announcements-228985/sonos-now-playing-with-alexa-groups-6817588/index3.html#post16295607

Worked like a charm for me.
Userlevel 2
Badge +2
therefore some Alexa skills, like the BBC skill, are not currently supported

I don't mind the BBC skill not being supported, in fact I'd prefer not to use that skill at all and to fall back on TuneIn. If I say "Alexa play Radio 2 in the kitchen" she answers "BBC Radio 2 from Simon's TuneIn playing on Kitchen" and everything works fine. No BBC skill needed or involved as the stream is being played from TuneIn. However, if I drop the ".. in the kitchen" then Alexa seems to only know what to do via the BBC skill, and this isn't compatible with the group's default speaker, hence it comes out of the Echo Dot. Why doesn't she use TuneIn when the BBC skill is not activated?

If I say "Alexa play Radio 2 from TuneIn" then it plays via the group's default speaker (Sonos). So it works fine by saying either "Alexa play Radio 2 from TuneIn" or "Alexa play Radio 2 in the Kitchen" but not the more concise "Alexa play Radio 2" which is a shame.
Userlevel 2
Badge
More clues and/or problems -- I have a pair of old Sonos One speaker (the non-Alexa variety) that are stereo-paired in Sonos but Alexa sees them as two different speakers. Trying to use them in a multi-speaker room inside of Alexa seems to scramble her brain. Won't play any music there at all, even if I just ask Alexa to play directly to those speakers. Probably a bug.This is how it should be.. the Sonos One speakers maybe 'paired, but the two Alexa parts of the hardware are still separate entities, so they will be seen twice in the Alexa App.

Edit.. I should briefly mention here that Sonos Speakers do not work with the Amazon’s own 'Multi-Speaker Groups' .. those are for grouping together Amazon Echo devices only. The Sonos hardware works with a different section in the Alexa App, called quite simply 'Groups'. Hope that helps to makes a bit more sense of things too?

I'm not sure I agree that "this is how it should be". Sonos lets you take two speakers and create a stereo pair, that is virtually a single speaker. When you have that configuration and you add that (virtual) single speaker into a room, it breaks everything.

In my case, the inclusion of that (virtual) single speaker in the room resulted in the unhelpful error from Alexa, "Sorry, Downstairs is offline", referring to the Alexa Room I had set up called "Downstairs". That error makes zero sense, and the minute I removed the (virtual) single speaker from the room, everything worked as intended.

In the Sonos app, I then unpaired the stereo pair (creating two physical speakers), added the second speaker back to Sonos because it drops one of the two from the system, renamed them "Living Room 1" and "Living Room 2" and then added both of them back to the Alexa Downstairs room. Then everything worked.

For everything to work "as it should", there should be some mention that Alexa rooms are 100% incompatible with Sonos stereo pairing. This doesn't seem to be mentioned anywhere. Also, the error messages, if you mistakenly try to use them together, should be a little more informative than telling you that your Alexa room is "offline".
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
It does seem to be a bit flaky. I created an Alexa group with my 3 downstairs room grouped and called it downstairs. Yesterday and this morning if I said "Alexa, Play Radio 2 downstairs" then the rooms would be grouped and radio 2 would play.

Following Ken's suggestion that logging out of the app and closing then logging back would allow me to set an Alexa group as he output of a routine the above no longer happens - It just plays on on the current playing room.

Update:- Actually. If I start with nothing playing on any of the rooms in that Alexa group then it works as expected - ie plays correct station and groups the rooms. If any of the rooms are playing or a sub-set combination of the Alexa group only those playing will play the new choice. So it doesn't add the missing room.

Oh, and routines still don't give the option to play to a group - the only options available are my two Dots.
Userlevel 3
Badge +2
Just need the Sonos Beam/One to be listed as one of the devices Alexa can respond from in a routine and I think they’ll have all the features I need. Hoping this will be added at some point in the future?

This is available now. If you're aren't seeing the Beam or One currently, Ken has some steps to get them to show up.

https://en.community.sonos.com/announcements-228985/sonos-now-playing-with-alexa-groups-6817588/index3.html#post16295607

Worked like a charm for me.


That’s a different feature, I’m talking about it playing the result of a routine, not being able to be grouped with other devices as the Alexa enabled device. Check out my screenshot for the menu I’m talking about. For instance, what I’m looking to do is have Alexa announce that my front door has been opened through my Beam but I can only have it announced through one of my two dots.
Userlevel 3
Badge +2
Oh, and routines still don't give the option to play to a group - the only options available are my two Dots.

Yeah, this is what I’m seeing too, it’s a shame and I’m hoping it will be added soon.

I'm not sure I agree that "this is how it should be". Sonos lets you take two speakers and create a stereo pair, that is virtually a single speaker. When you have that configuration and you add that (virtual) single speaker into a room, it breaks everything.


Sonos refers to a stereo pair, a single speaker not bonded to anything else, a 5.1 setup...as a 'room'. This is what you'll see when you view these entities in the Sonos app. However, you're correct that that 'room' is now called a 'speaker' in the Alexa app. It does make communication rather strained.

As far as a stereo pairing breaking everything, that's not true. I'm able to use stereo pairs and 5.1 setups in Alexa groups without issue. The Alexa group really doesn't know that the 'speaker' is really a pair or something else. No reason it should be treated differently. I would say what you're seeing is more of a coincidence that a cause.

From what I've seen, these voice commands will have different outcomes based on current conditions. By condition, I mean, is the Sonos room currently grouped with other rooms? Is it currently playing music? Is there music in the que? Is it playing TV audio? How long has it been since something was played on that group (there seems to be some sort of timeout). Did you just setup the group, and more time is needed for things to be configured in the cloud correctly?

So I would suspect that the conditions that were in play while you had your stereo pair setup was the issue. The act of separating the speakers into two different rooms had the effect of changing the conditions. For example, nothing was currently playing, nothing in the que, no timeouts in effect. Therefore your command worked, as the conditions were right

Unfortunately, I couldn't tell you what conditions matter, or what the if/than logic around these conditions is, or even if they will change tomorrow as bugs are fixed and functionality improved. I've tried a couple different groups and they've worked beautifully. Others not so much. I've somewhat decided that I'll use some of the more basic things that work consistently, and hold off on the more complicated things that don't seem to work as well.
[/quote]
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
Now this is interesting, fun and cool.

I have created a routine on Alexa to start Radio 4 when I say "Alexa: I'm Home". Decided to add Alexa app onto my phone. First thing is audio action won't run routine - says currently unsupported on the device. BUT, if I run the routine by pressing play nexuses to it then it worked! (I had disabled Wi-Fi so phone is connected via 4G). So this means you could run a routine onto Sonos from anywhere in the world!
therefore some Alexa skills, like the BBC skill, are not currently supported

I don't mind the BBC skill not being supported, in fact I'd prefer not to use that skill at all and to fall back on TuneIn. If I say "Alexa play Radio 2 in the kitchen" she answers "BBC Radio 2 from Simon's TuneIn playing on Kitchen" and everything works fine. No BBC skill needed or involved as the stream is being played from TuneIn. However, if I drop the ".. in the kitchen" then Alexa seems to only know what to do via the BBC skill, and this isn't compatible with the group's default speaker, hence it comes out of the Echo Dot. Why doesn't she use TuneIn when the BBC skill is not activated?

If I say "Alexa play Radio 2 from TuneIn" then it plays via the group's default speaker (Sonos). So it works fine by saying either "Alexa play Radio 2 from TuneIn" or "Alexa play Radio 2 in the Kitchen" but not the more concise "Alexa play Radio 2" which is a shame.
Yes this is my experience too. I think the BBC Skill somehow takes precedence over TuneIn ... I think this though is an Amazon issue rather than a Sonos issue... I’ve removed the BBC Skill too and that makes no difference to me either. It seems Stuart_W's experiencd is different to mine here and I cannot explain why that is either.

At the moment I have to add the words '..from TuneIn' to the end of my Alexa instruction to get BBC Radio 1 etc. to play on my preferred Sonos devices.
I notice this thread is now bringing in discussions around 'Alexa Routines', but this is really an entirely different feature to the main topic here. I’m just wondering if the discussion on Routines should perhaps be started in a new separate thread.

Sonos I think 'may' possibly say their devices do not currently fully support Alexa Routines at the moment and you may hear Alexa on the Sonos One or Beam say... “Audio Actions in Routines are currently not supported on this device” .. this is whether, or not, the routine created by a user has an audio action in it, or is a routine to simply switch on smart-lights or smart-plugs etc.

Despite what I will call the 'odd response' from Alexa to a 'routine' instruction, I am personally finding the Alexa actions in the routine will still run okay and will switch on lights etc.

I have reported the Alexa response issue to Sonos previously and I’m told the matter is being looked into (presumably by Amazon). My thoughts here is that the Alexa Routines and their use on Sonos devices may 'possibly' be 'a work in progress', but as we all know, Sonos rarely give out any information on such matters in case the feature does not later make it to the software generally released to the public.

I think it’s quite difficult to answer some questions about Alexa Routines at the moment, as it’s not clear what is going to happen, but I do think talking about Routines here in a thread mainly concerned with 'Grouping' and 'Alexa Enabled Groups' might lead to some degree of confusion for some (new) users of these recently released features.

Those were my thoughts, at least, when I read the last few posts above.
Now this is interesting, fun and cool.

I have created a routine on Alexa to start Radio 4 when I say "Alexa: I'm Home". Decided to add Alexa app onto my phone. First thing is audio action won't run routine - says currently unsupported on the device. BUT, if I run the routine by pressing play nexuses to it then it worked! (I had disabled Wi-Fi so phone is connected via 4G). So this means you could run a routine onto Sonos from anywhere in the world!
I think this could be highlighting the fact 'perhaps' that Alexa Routines and Sonos are possibly a 'work in progress'. I keep stumbling upon different issues too and things that were working one week, are not working a week later.. I’m guessing work is still going on in the 'Alexa Routines' section of the Amazon App. It has changed a lot in the last couple of months.

I'm not sure I agree that "this is how it should be". Sonos lets you take two speakers and create a stereo pair, that is virtually a single speaker. When you have that configuration and you add that (virtual) single speaker into a room, it breaks everything.

In my case, the inclusion of that (virtual) single speaker in the room resulted in the unhelpful error from Alexa, "Sorry, Downstairs is offline", referring to the Alexa Room I had set up called "Downstairs". That error makes zero sense, and the minute I removed the (virtual) single speaker from the room, everything worked as intended.

In the Sonos app, I then unpaired the stereo pair (creating two physical speakers), added the second speaker back to Sonos because it drops one of the two from the system, renamed them "Living Room 1" and "Living Room 2" and then added both of them back to the Alexa Downstairs room. Then everything worked.

For everything to work "as it should", there should be some mention that Alexa rooms are 100% incompatible with Sonos stereo pairing. This doesn't seem to be mentioned anywhere. Also, the error messages, if you mistakenly try to use them together, should be a little more informative than telling you that your Alexa room is "offline".
it depends on which section of the Alexa Groups you are referring to here...

In the first section of a Group (Alexa Enablement) area... A stereo pair of Sonos Ones, for example, will show twice, because each speaker has an Alexa component that can be used to enable a group, for light control etc.

In the second section, where you actually add your Sonos speakers to the group, you will just see the Room Name of the Sonos One stereo pair once only. It you were seeing it twice here (with one device offline) that was an error on your system where by mistake the Sonos Room has been added to your Amazon Alexa device list twice. I (and some others) have occasionally seen this happen where a user disables and quickly re-enables the Sonos Skill and the old device (Room), for whatever reason, has failed to delete and so two devices incorrectly show in the Alexa device list. Obviously it’s then appropriate to delete the old Room, which often shows as being 'offline'.

In the third section of the Alexa Groups .. where we choose to set our Sonos Speakers as 'Preferred' .. you should again just see the Sonos 'Room Name' once only for the Sonos One 'Pair' .. again if it’s showing twice, then it is an incorrect offline 'duplicate' as mentioned above and should be removed from the devices section of the Alexa App.

I hope that explanation now helps you to make a little more sense of why you were possibly seeing your devices duplicated.
Userlevel 4
Badge +5
The Sonos Staff have mentioned here in this thread that they (and particularly Amazon) are rolling out the new Amazon Alexa Grouping features for Alexa Enabled Sonos devices over a period of time, but I think I may have found a way to perhaps get the updates slightly sooner, rather than later, for the community users, by going to the Amazon Alexa App on your main device and logging out the App and back in again with your Amazon Online Account credentials.

Here are the steps that worked for me (and some others), if anyone, in a hurry, would care to follow the simple guidelines below...

Goto the Amazon Alexa App and log out your Amazon account. Also close the App (slide up screen etc. depending on the type of device you use).

Then wait a minute, or so, before logging back into the Alexa App and re-entering your Amazon credentials. Give the App a few minutes to rebuild the existing groups and refresh all devices etc.

Close the Alexa App once again (slide up screen etc) one more time.

The next time you open the Alexa App and go to the main Groups section and select to edit a group. You should now see all your Sonos Alexa devices, (Sonos One etc.) as being 'Alexa Enabled' devices for use in the first section of the Alexa Groups.

Hope that proves useful for those currently waiting to receive the update.


I’ve tried all this on multiple devices and I’m still not able to see my Sonos devices under the Alexa-enabled device section. Ryan, is this still rolling out?
corrode,

What Sonos Speakers do you have in your setup? Only the devices currently listed in your profile are not Alexa Enabled devices. They must have Alexa built-in to work in that first area/section of Amazon groups. So you currently would need either a Sonos One (not a Play:1), or a Sonos Beam.

Does that resolve your problems here, perhaps?
Userlevel 4
Badge +5
corrode,

What Sonos Speakers do you have in your setup? Only the devices currently listed in your profile are not Alexa Enabled devices. They must have Alexa built-in to work in that first area/section of Amazon groups. So you currently would need either a Sonos One (not a Play:1), or a Sonos Beam.

Does that resolve your problems here, perhaps?


I have three Ones and Beam. Not sure why they’re not listed as options under that section.