Question

Will voice commands ever work ok or should I get another Google Mini?


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I think the answer will be that voice commands will never work as advertised in which case this is more of a vent post. I had a Sonos surround setup (Play:1, Playbar, Sub) with a Google Mini connected and decided that it would be nice to get rid of the Mini and also add Airplay2 to my setup as Sonos advertise adding a compatible speaker to a group enables this functionality, so I bought a pair of One (Gen 2) speakers.

Shortly after replacing my Play:1 speakers (inc. installing new wall mounts, filling the holes of the old ones) I found Airplay2 would not work, after reading forums found that as part of a surround controlled by a Playbar it will not work, even though neither of the two official Sonos blog posts cared to mention this… I was a bit annoyed but the main reason for the swap was to get rid of the Google Mini.

I then started to try simple commands using the voice assistant and it is awful, the wake command works flawlessly but then most of the time whichever command I use will result in the speaker sitting silent, rarely it will say there is a probem but usually it will say nothing and do nothing. The same commands work perfectly on any Google device, and if I persist I can get the commands to work on the Sonos so it is obviously compatible with the commands but just struggles somewhere with the voice recognition or communication with Google servers.

I have since read up on forums and found that this is ‘normal’, I contacted Sonos support who sent a canned response as usual without addressing any issues I raised. So I may end up putting the mics on mute and getting a Google Mini which is frustrating as I have spent time and money upgrading from the Play:1 to have the same functionality, and could even have got the One SL if I am not using the voice commands. 

Has anyone heard from Sonos about this and is it being worked on? What setups are you using if you are in the same boat as me?

Thanks


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I think the answer will be that voice commands will never work as advertised in which case this is more of a vent post. I had a Sonos surround setup (Play:1, Playbar, Sub) with a Google Mini connected and decided that it would be nice to get rid of the Mini and also add Airplay2 to my setup as Sonos advertise adding a compatible speaker to a group enables this functionality, so I bought a pair of One (Gen 2) speakers.

Shortly after replacing my Play:1 speakers (inc. installing new wall mounts, filling the holes of the old ones) I found Airplay2 would not work, after reading forums found that as part of a surround controlled by a Playbar it will not work, even though neither of the two official Sonos blog posts cared to mention this… I was a bit annoyed but the main reason for the swap was to get rid of the Google Mini.

 

 

I think you meant airplay2 here, not the Google Mini.  And yes, although it would be nice if Sonos made it clearer that airplay2 does not work when used as surrounds with the playbar.  I can understand why Sonos, and any company, doesn’t want to put too much emphasis on what it can’t do, but it’s a logical assumption.  That said, I haven’t looked at Sonos ads around this recently, don’t know if it’s changed.

 

I then started to try simple commands using the voice assistant and it is awful, the wake command works flawlessly but then most of the time whichever command I use will result in the speaker sitting silent, rarely it will say there is a probem but usually it will say nothing and do nothing. The same commands work perfectly on any Google device, and if I persist I can get the commands to work on the Sonos so it is obviously compatible with the commands but just struggles somewhere with the voice recognition or communication with Google servers.

 

 

I don’t use GA very often, but I have not had any trouble with mine.  I actually feel like it responds a little faster than Alexa.  Not sure why your experience has been different.

I have since read up on forums and found that this is ‘normal’, I contacted Sonos support who sent a canned response as usual without addressing any issues I raised. So I may end up putting the mics on mute and getting a Google Mini which is frustrating as I have spent time and money upgrading from the Play:1 to have the same functionality, and could even have got the One SL if I am not using the voice commands. 

Has anyone heard from Sonos about this and is it being worked on? What setups are you using if you are in the same boat as me?

Thanks

 

Regardless of whether Google or Alexa responds well on Sonos One, Beam, etc, it makes sense to use the mini’s.echos or whatever directly from Google/Alexa.  The reality is that Sonos is never going to keep up with new features that may come with voice assistance, and will primarily stick with music related tasks.  I personally, use echos in around half my rooms/spaces, two with Shows, just because it makes more sense.  Bedrooms and bathrooms tend to get Sonos only.

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I think the answer will be that voice commands will never work as advertised in which case this is more of a vent post. I had a Sonos surround setup (Play:1, Playbar, Sub) with a Google Mini connected and decided that it would be nice to get rid of the Mini and also add Airplay2 to my setup as Sonos advertise adding a compatible speaker to a group enables this functionality, so I bought a pair of One (Gen 2) speakers.

Shortly after replacing my Play:1 speakers (inc. installing new wall mounts, filling the holes of the old ones) I found Airplay2 would not work, after reading forums found that as part of a surround controlled by a Playbar it will not work, even though neither of the two official Sonos blog posts cared to mention this… I was a bit annoyed but the main reason for the swap was to get rid of the Google Mini.

 

 

I think you meant airplay2 here, not the Google Mini.  And yes, although it would be nice if Sonos made it clearer that airplay2 does not work when used as surrounds with the playbar.  I can understand why Sonos, and any company, doesn’t want to put too much emphasis on what it can’t do, but it’s a logical assumption.  That said, I haven’t looked at Sonos ads around this recently, don’t know if it’s changed.

 

I meant the main reason for me changing over was to get rid of the mini so I ‘got over’ the lack of Airplay2 (although was a bit annoyed still). 

I appreciate that a company would not want to focus on its weaknesses but I would argue in this case it is misleading as I would say a surround setup is a group of Sonos speakers and they say “entire home sound system” and “even non-AirPlay compatible speakers like Playbar or Play:1 can reap the sonic benefits of our AirPlay 2 integration, provided they’re grouped with one of our newer, AirPlay-friendly devices in the Sonos app.” (https://blog.sonos.com/en-gb/airplay-is-here/). I would expect there to be an asterisk with smallprint at the bottom to explain the exclusions.

“When you group one of these Airplay-enabled speakers with older Sonos devices, you can bring AirPlay capabilities to your entire Sonos system.” https://blog.sonos.com/en-gb/airplay2-coming/

The above two links appear at the top of Google searches, only on the third link does it mention it will not work on surrounds - https://support.sonos.com/s/article/1230?language=en_US

It doesn’t take much to update two blog posts as I would imagine other people would read one or two official blog posts from Sonos and make the decision to buy. Hopefully Sonos can update those to stop others making posts like this.

 

I then started to try simple commands using the voice assistant and it is awful, the wake command works flawlessly but then most of the time whichever command I use will result in the speaker sitting silent, rarely it will say there is a probem but usually it will say nothing and do nothing. The same commands work perfectly on any Google device, and if I persist I can get the commands to work on the Sonos so it is obviously compatible with the commands but just struggles somewhere with the voice recognition or communication with Google servers.

 

 

I don’t use GA very often, but I have not had any trouble with mine.  I actually feel like it responds a little faster than Alexa.  Not sure why your experience has been different.

 

 

Having searched online to try and resolve my issues I found a load of similar complaints on here and external forums. I would love for it to be an issue with my setup so that I could fix it but it doesn’t seem to be.

 

I have since read up on forums and found that this is ‘normal’, I contacted Sonos support who sent a canned response as usual without addressing any issues I raised. So I may end up putting the mics on mute and getting a Google Mini which is frustrating as I have spent time and money upgrading from the Play:1 to have the same functionality, and could even have got the One SL if I am not using the voice commands. 

Has anyone heard from Sonos about this and is it being worked on? What setups are you using if you are in the same boat as me?

Thanks

 

Regardless of whether Google or Alexa responds well on Sonos One, Beam, etc, it makes sense to use the mini’s.echos or whatever directly from Google/Alexa.  The reality is that Sonos is never going to keep up with new features that may come with voice assistance, and will primarily stick with music related tasks.  I personally, use echos in around half my rooms/spaces, two with Shows, just because it makes more sense.  Bedrooms and bathrooms tend to get Sonos only.

 

I just find it annoying that Sonos tends to be a pretty polished product, very good sound quality, build quality, nice design and then they add a feature that is the opposite. I didn’t expect it to work with the latest innovations from Google/Amazon but thought it would be able to answer simple questions, check news etc. as all of this is listed on the product page when buying from Sonos. Most of the time I have to ask the same question multiple times and even then it often misunderstands even though there is no ambient noise.

 

I meant the main reason for me changing over was to get rid of the mini so I ‘got over’ the lack of Airplay2 (although was a bit annoyed still). 

I appreciate that a company would not want to focus on its weaknesses but I would argue in this case it is misleading as I would say a surround setup is a group of Sonos speakers and they say “entire home sound system” and “even non-AirPlay compatible speakers like Playbar or Play:1 can reap the sonic benefits of our AirPlay 2 integration, provided they’re grouped with one of our newer, AirPlay-friendly devices in the Sonos app.” (https://blog.sonos.com/en-gb/airplay-is-here/). I would expect there to be an asterisk with smallprint at the bottom to explain the exclusions.

“When you group one of these Airplay-enabled speakers with older Sonos devices, you can bring AirPlay capabilities to your entire Sonos system.” https://blog.sonos.com/en-gb/airplay2-coming/

The above two links appear at the top of Google searches, only on the third link does it mention it will not work on surrounds - https://support.sonos.com/s/article/1230?language=en_US

It doesn’t take much to update two blog posts as I would imagine other people would read one or two official blog posts from Sonos and make the decision to buy. Hopefully Sonos can update those to stop others making posts like this.

 

 

Part of the confusion is Sonos terminology, as ‘Group’ has a specific meaning.  Speakers used as rear surround are not grouped with your playbar, they are bonded.  Speakers in another room that you temporarily ‘group’ with a different room to play audio in another room is a group.  Sonos statement is about airplay is accurate, but understandable that people not familiar with Sonos terms would not get the correct meaning.

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I meant the main reason for me changing over was to get rid of the mini so I ‘got over’ the lack of Airplay2 (although was a bit annoyed still). 

I appreciate that a company would not want to focus on its weaknesses but I would argue in this case it is misleading as I would say a surround setup is a group of Sonos speakers and they say “entire home sound system” and “even non-AirPlay compatible speakers like Playbar or Play:1 can reap the sonic benefits of our AirPlay 2 integration, provided they’re grouped with one of our newer, AirPlay-friendly devices in the Sonos app.” (https://blog.sonos.com/en-gb/airplay-is-here/). I would expect there to be an asterisk with smallprint at the bottom to explain the exclusions.

“When you group one of these Airplay-enabled speakers with older Sonos devices, you can bring AirPlay capabilities to your entire Sonos system.” https://blog.sonos.com/en-gb/airplay2-coming/

The above two links appear at the top of Google searches, only on the third link does it mention it will not work on surrounds - https://support.sonos.com/s/article/1230?language=en_US

It doesn’t take much to update two blog posts as I would imagine other people would read one or two official blog posts from Sonos and make the decision to buy. Hopefully Sonos can update those to stop others making posts like this.

 

 

Part of the confusion is Sonos terminology, as ‘Group’ has a specific meaning.  Speakers used as rear surround are not grouped with your playbar, they are bonded.  Speakers in another room that you temporarily ‘group’ with a different room to play audio in another room is a group.  Sonos statement is about airplay is accurate, but understandable that people not familiar with Sonos terms would not get the correct meaning.

 

I thought this was probably the case, but I would say I am pretty familiar with Sonos products having owned numerous different devices over the years yet this is the first time I have used the terminology of “bond” in the context of Sonos speakers. Also when they specify grouping a Playbar which is predominately used for TV sound then it is very likely it will be as part of a surround setup, all they need is a footnote to clarify for new and old Sonos customers or for the blog post to be pulled/de-indexed so the FAQ page is the top hit on Google with the valid info.

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If Sonos sell the service as a feature, it should work, and it doesn’t.

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@Usernamewhatever Very helpful this. For future reference: GA does work on Sonos, though not perfectly.

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@Usernamewhatever Very helpful this. For future reference: GA does work on Sonos, though not perfectly.

I think “GA occasionally works on Sonos” would be more accurate ;) I reinstalled my Google Mini this weekend and disabled voice services in the Sonos app as I had enough of repeating myself.

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@Usernamewhatever Very helpful this. For future reference: GA does work on Sonos, though not perfectly.

Hm. If it takes 4 attempts to turn my bedroom lamp on, each time turning on a lamp in another part of the house, at least once turning a lamp on in my sleeping child’s room, and each time having to instruct Sonos to turn it off again, that’s 7 voice commands, I would argue that it really doesn’t do what it is advertised to do and therefore does not “work”. Imperfect I could handle. 

I think "occasionally works" is an AT BEST scenario.

 

"Hey Google, play #songname on Spotify"

"Sorry I don't know how to help with that yet"

(50% of the time there's no reply at all)

 

Or

 

"Hey Google, turn on the lounge Lamp"

"Ok, turning on TV"

 

SMH! This is the most botched implementation in history.

 

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If I learn anything from this thread about GA and Sonos, it is that it might be very personal if the speaker works okay with GA or not. Apart form a rather major glitch last week (that was acknowledged and resolved by Google or Sonos) I find GA works rather well with my Philips Hue set up. Yes, I have to phrase my commends right: “Dining room lights out” works better than “Turn off the lights in de dining room”. And for some reason “Turn off the lights on the patio” turns them on, even though I can see on my phone that Google understood me OK. However “Patio lights out” does the trick. “Hey, Google, good morning” brings me the news bulletins (national and regional), it tells my kids silly jokes when asked. I can turn my Samsung TV on and off. Is it perfect? No. Do I like it? Yes.

I think for the most part, the considerable premium that Sonos charge to be part of their ecosystem, having an "it works sometimes" scenario is just poor on their part. Why even bother offer it if you can't offer properly. 

If a Google home speaker, puck, or competitiors GA integrated  speaker can understand and complete basic tasks 95% of the time, why should Sonos be so poorly done. 

Honestly it just ruins the entire experience and, if going by all the threads on here and elsewhere, this isn't just a few isolated issues, it's a clear majority who have issues with it. 

Anyway. This is a rant of a post 

Yes I'm upset that GA is absolutely rubbish in my SonosOne (s)

Will I keep using it, yes probably for now.

 

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I'm not sure the implementation Sonos has done is very much worse than the Google Mini's my children use  - I do not use those enough to make a clear comparison. My system understands what I/my family members say 90% of the time so I cannot relate to your experience at all. I do hope Sonos expands the experience to the full GA experience by allowing multiple Google accounts and voices in future.

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