Amazon Alexa amplifier, receiver, subwoofer


This is getting very interesting. With the addition of Alexa Cast, which IME works better than Chromecast, and certainly better than AirPlay, Amazon is building quite a system. Obviously they don’t have SonosNet, but with lots of mesh WiFi systems on the market now, they may not need it.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/09/17/amazon-planning-8-new-alexa-devices-microwave-amplifier.html

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I think the Microwave is the biggest threat because there is no "Sonos enabled" microwave to compete with the Amazon offering. It wouldn't surprise me if Sonos stock takes a hit as a result of the Alexa Microwave announcement.
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As far as the speakers go, a lot is going to depend on the quality of the products. I would bet that they aim below the quality of Sonos to sort of catch a market they see as under served.

I had kind of hoped that they wouldn't go any deeper into the speaker market, instead letting various partners, like Sonos and others cover the market. It's not that I don't think competition is good, it's that I really think the customers suffer if Amazon tries to get enough marketshare so that it can revoke access to Alexa to third parties.

Overall, I'm becoming disenchanted with Google/Amazon/Apple being the only real players in the voice assistant market. I'd really like to see Microsoft and Samsung get their respective assistants moving, or a dark horse enter the market.
As far as the speakers go, a lot is going to depend on the quality of the products. I would bet that they aim below the quality of Sonos to sort of catch a market they see as under served.

I had kind of hoped that they wouldn't go any deeper into the speaker market, instead letting various partners, like Sonos and others cover the market. It's not that I don't think competition is good, it's that I really think the customers suffer if Amazon tries to get enough marketshare so that it can revoke access to Alexa to third parties.

Overall, I'm becoming disenchanted with Google/Amazon/Apple being the only real players in the voice assistant market. I'd really like to see Microsoft and Samsung get their respective assistants moving, or a dark horse enter the market.


The problem with the whole "partner" route is that it isn't working out to get customers what they really want. Folks want all of the features of a an Echo with the sound quality of a Sonos system... not the limited subset of features that comes with "Alexa Enabled" devices. The legacy whole house audio manufacturers are doing a pretty good job of accomplishing this with clever integrations of a Dot in each room plus wired speakers and amps but at the cost of simplicity. If Amazon and Google are going to limit the functionality of what their integration partners can do with their platform then maybe some higher fidelity Echos and Google Homes are the best way forward to get the features folks are asking for. I think many people are tired of betas that last 10 months and more, as well as the constant speculation and finger pointing as to who is responsible for blocking their system from working the way they really want it to. It would be interesting to see if a "High End" Echo could really compete with Sonos or not.
I find that with the Dot, and now the Spot, wired to the line in on my Connect Amps, I get a cheap and easily replaced smart front end for a quality legacy system that addresses the SQ issues very well. And the Dot/Spot are surprisingly stable without anything like IP address reservations or a Sonosnet equivalent. If I were to change my aging router to a mesh set up, stability should only get better. And obviously, I am using the Connect Amp only because it is there - any other 2 channel amp would serve just as well. In this approach, there is no need for a high end Echo; indeed it is better to get the cheaper front ends because they can then be replaced without a qualm even every couple of years. Wiring these to an amp/active speakers is not as inconvenient as it is sometimes made out to be.

The universe of people who get told - Sonos isn't for you - is expanding rapidly because they now have perfectly good, and often better/cheaper options.

I had kind of hoped that they wouldn't go any deeper into the speaker market, instead letting various partners, like Sonos and others cover the market.

I suspect the big three and other big players will make nice with partners like Sonos only as long as it takes them to build their portfolio of hardware, while also allowing another outlet for the assistant to seed more markets. The assistant version that is released to partners may then be always the older version or be crippled in some way - like the engine suppliers in Formula 1 racing do. My concern would be if they stop offering line out jacks on their front ends, to prevent the simple addition of better quality audio kit so as to force the sale of their own "high end Echos".
I find that with the Dot, and now the Spot, wired to the line in on my Connect Amps, I get a cheap and easily replaced smart front end for a quality legacy system that addresses the SQ issues very well. And the Dot/Spot are surprisingly stable without anything like IP address reservations or a Sonosnet equivalent. If I were to change my aging router to a mesh set up, stability should only get better. And obviously, I am using the Connect Amp only because it is there - any other 2 channel amp would serve just as well. In this approach, there is no need for a high end Echo; indeed it is better to get the cheaper front ends because they can then be replaced without a qualm even every couple of years. Wiring these to an amp/active speakers is not as inconvenient as it is sometimes made out to be.

The universe of people who get told - Sonos isn't for you - is expanding rapidly because they now have perfectly good, and often better/cheaper options.


I am doing the same with half a dozen of my Connect Amps. The problem with using Sonos amps this way is that the line-in feature does not automatically switch back to whatever was playing via Sonos after the line-in signal stops. You have to go into the Sonos app and fiddle with things just to get the amp to resume playing what it was playing before you asked Alexa the weather or responded to an Alexa call. To resolve this I am in the process of replacing the Connect Amps with dual input signal sensing amps. These power on automatically when a signal is sensed at either source and off again when there is no signal for several minutes. The two sources can be an Echo Dot on the priority channel and a Sonos Connect (or Google or AirPlay or whatever) on the other input. In practice this gives you a hi-fi version of an Echo with all Alexa features including calling, changing the wake word, lyrics display, etc. while still providing access to Sonos or whatever additional product you like. You can even have the Sonos Connect playing as part of a group of Sonos players and if you ask Alexa a question or take a call it will switch instantly to the Dot while the other rooms continue playing unaffected (no whole house ducking) and then switch back to the Sonos music as soon as you are finished with the Dot. The amps run between 20% to 40% of the cost of a Connect Amp and this solution gives the best user experience I have found so far.
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The universe of people who get told - Sonos isn't for you - is expanding rapidly because they now have perfectly good, and often better/cheaper options.


Not true at all. The latest Sonos products have actually expanded the demographics that Sonos reaches, not shrunk it. The Sonos One fit a target market who wanted better than echo quality sound in all in one device. It is also is the cheapest speaker that is airplay 2 compliant. The Beam was targeting a market that Sonos hadn't really hit before. The Sonos:amp is a good replacement/upgrade to the Connect:amp and should increase the market share in the professional install space.

You are correct in that there are cheaper options than Sonos, but there always have been. If you're referring to the CR100 and the dock going away, they haven't been sold for years, and there really aren't alternative products that other vendors are selling that do the same thing.
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I am doing the same with half a dozen of my Connect Amps. The problem with using Sonos amps this way is that the line-in feature does not automatically switch back to whatever was playing via Sonos after the line-in signal stops. You have to go into the Sonos app and fiddle with things just to get the amp to resume playing what it was playing before you asked Alexa the weather or responded to an Alexa call. To resolve this I am in the process of replacing the Connect Amps with dual input signal sensing amps. These power on automatically when a signal is sensed at either source and off again when there is no signal for several minutes. The two sources can be an Echo Dot on the priority channel and a Sonos Connect (or Google or AirPlay or whatever) on the other input. In practice this gives you a hi-fi version of an Echo with all Alexa features including calling, changing the wake word, lyrics display, etc. while still providing access to Sonos or whatever additional product you like. You can even have the Sonos Connect playing as part of a group of Sonos players and if you ask Alexa a question or take a call it will switch instantly to the Dot while the other rooms continue playing unaffected (no whole house ducking) and then switch back to the Sonos music as soon as you are finished with the Dot. The amps run between 20% to 40% of the cost of a Connect Amp and this solution gives the best user experience I have found so far.


There are a few issues with this plan though. First the switch over is not instantaneous. You'll find that part of Alexa's response is likely to be unheard as your amp is decided to switch over.

Second, since your echo dot isn't 'feeding' your Sonos devices in anyway, you won't be able to make a music request in hear it over the Sonos system. You could utilize the Sonos skill, but you would need to remember to target all your requests.

Third, you're going to have issues with volume control. I have a similar setup (my inputs are a TV and a Connnect) and getting the volume correct is a pain. I don't want to set the Connect to fixed volume as I want to control by phone. When using TV audio, I need to be in IR range of the amp in order to control the volume.

And yes, you probably can get an amp cheaper then a Connect:Amp, but when you factor in the cost of a Connect + 3rd party amp, you're going to be paying more.

These may not be problems for you, and people have different scenarios and different priorities though.
I probably did not say that bit right. What I meant was that for someone that needs what Sonos can provide, but prefers to not buy Sonos, there are now many more options than what there were 5 years ago. The Sonos market reach may be increasing, but they have lost a lot more market than that to Amazon and Google. Indeed, Echo was the first product in Sonos' history to put the frights into them.

At the same time, prices for alternatives that can match Sonos sound quality AND ease of use are dropping; which is slightly different from " there have always been cheaper options than Sonos." I can get a 5 pair experience of ease of use and sound quality for half their price via a Dot connected to a pair of active speakers like JBL LSRs.

And yes, you probably can get an amp cheaper then a Connect:Amp, but when you factor in the cost of a Connect + 3rd party amp, you're going to be paying more.

Why would one even need the Connect? I would just wire the Dot to the third party amp/active speaker. And even where the Dot is connected to my Connect Amp, the sound drops when I speak to the Dot, and I don't have to use targeted commands either. The only downside of this route is access to NAS based music; the set up works well with streamed music from Amazon/others.
I think the Microwave is the biggest threat because there is no "Sonos enabled" microwave to compete with the Amazon offering. It wouldn't surprise me if Sonos stock takes a hit as a result of the Alexa Microwave announcement.

"Alexa, nuke my leftover chili fries." Definite selling point there.
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I probably did not say that bit right. What I meant was that for someone that needs what Sonos can provide, but prefers to not buy Sonos, there are now many more options that what there were 5 years ago. The Sonos market reach may be increasing, but they have lost a lot more market than that to Amazon and Google. Indeed, Echo was the first product in Sonos' history to put the frights into them.

Yes and no. I'd argue that a rather large portion of the market that Amazon and Google took did not really exist before voice assistants. Put a different way, the typical person who bought up and echo or google home was never going to buy a Sonos to begin with. At the same time, I think that perhaps Sonos was able to gain more market as customers who were now onboard with voice assistants were now seeing that they could upgrade sound quality for a little bit more, and opened up to the possibility of a multiroom system.


At the same time, prices for alternatives that can match Sonos sound quality AND ease of use are dropping; which is slightly different from " there have always been cheaper options than Sonos." I can get a 5 pair experience of ease of use and sound quality for half their price via a Dot connected to a pair of active speakers like JBL LSRs.


Maybe. I would guess that most of the people with that kind of setup already had their JBL LSRs, then added the dot. I don't see too many people get the dot first, or at the same time, as the JBLs. And again, were those customers going to buy Sonos products anyway? While I agree with you that a component approach is a smart approach, I don't think most people think that way. They'd prefer an all in one setup.

That said though, I do think these new Amazon products could be good competition for Sonos, as is the Homepod, and some other multiroom type products with built in voice assistants.
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And yes, you probably can get an amp cheaper then a Connect:Amp, but when you factor in the cost of a Connect + 3rd party amp, you're going to be paying more.

Why would one even need the Connect? I would just wire the Dot to the third party amp/active speaker. And even where the Dot is connected to my Connect Amp, the sound drops when I speak to the Dot, and I don't have to use targeted commands either. The only downside of this route is access to NAS based music; the set up works well with streamed music from Amazon/others.


You'd only need the Connect if you intended to use Sonos multiroom functionality. If you have no interest in multiroom, or are going to have dots connected to all your amps and use Alexa for multroom, then the Connect isn't needed. And of course, you also wouldn't need a amp with multiple inputs or auto-switching features.

And yes, you probably can get an amp cheaper then a Connect:Amp, but when you factor in the cost of a Connect + 3rd party amp, you're going to be paying more.

Why would one even need the Connect? I would just wire the Dot to the third party amp/active speaker. And even where the Dot is connected to my Connect Amp, the sound drops when I speak to the Dot, and I don't have to use targeted commands either. The only downside of this route is access to NAS based music; the set up works well with streamed music from Amazon/others.
I am using the myMedia skill to play NAS based music locally via my Echos and it works fine. The Connect still maintains the ability to integrate with Sonos which most folks on this forum would likely want.
I'd argue that a rather large portion of the market that Amazon and Google took did not really exist before voice assistants.
Why then did Sonos panic the way they did? I submit it was because they saw the market they were in also being taken away rapidly by Amazon/Google because the latter were soon expected to offer to that market voice control AND all else that Sonos was offering. Sonos was not confident that what they offered minus voice was unique enough to withstand a voice control based competitor.
I concede that this is speculation on my part, but it is clear that Sonos are not out of the woods yet. All this partnering thing can equally easily backfire.
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I think the Microwave is the biggest threat because there is no "Sonos enabled" microwave to compete with the Amazon offering. It wouldn't surprise me if Sonos stock takes a hit as a result of the Alexa Microwave announcement.

"Alexa, nuke my leftover chili fries." Definite selling point there.


Sounds cool, but it probably isn't going to be that useful. Since you have to put your food in your in the microwave first, you're going to right where the buttons are convenient to use. Now, if the microwave has a camera inside, and knows you just put in food, then asks you how long you want to run it for...that could be something. Or if it even recognizes that you put in chili fries and knows how long that should cook without asking....

The thing I wonder about this is how they'll be able to cover the market. Microwaves come in various sizes these days, with many built in. I haven't bought a microwave in a decade or so, as every place I've lived had an existing built in.
The Connect still maintains the ability to integrate with Sonos which most folks on this forum would likely want.
Why? What's then the benefit of integrating with Sonos? I recently gave my surplus Dot away to my daughter who has a Connect driven Rotel amp+KEF speaker set up being used with Apple Music as a source. For now, I have wired the Dot to the Connect line in, but if it wasn't already there, I would have just wired direct to the Rotel and switched service providers from Apple to Amazon.
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I'd argue that a rather large portion of the market that Amazon and Google took did not really exist before voice assistants.
Why then did Sonos panic the way they did? I submit it was because they saw the market they were in also being taken away rapidly by Amazon/Google because the latter were soon expected to offer to that market voice control AND all else that Sonos was offering. Sonos was not confident that what they offered minus voice was unique enough to withstand a voice control based competitor.
I concede that this is speculation on my part, but it is clear that Sonos are not out of the woods yet. All this partnering thing can equally easily backfire.


Agreed that they were in a panic and stated that they felt they were late to the game, but I saw that concern that other competitors, not really Amazon, were going to take advantage of voice assistants and take away Sonos market. And as well, that they were missing out on an opportunity to gain customers.

But you are also correct that there were customers who were chosing to use an echo over their Sonos speakers, knowingly sacrificing sound quality, in preference to ease of use. Sonos definitely needed to get a voice assistant to stay relevant.

And Sonos is not out of the woods. Agreed. Getting google integration will help stabilize them to some degree, but there is still fierce competition and will be for many years to come. Sonos does have some advantage over it's competitors though, and I think will leverage those well. Time will tell.
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BTW, I'm willing to bet that one of those other 8 products is a soundbar. Hard to imagine Amazon would come out with a receiver, amp, sub woofer, but no soundbar. I wouldn't be too surprised if they built in firetv to the unit as well. If it's using an HDMI-ARC connection, that actually would be very slick.


There are a few issues with this plan though. First the switch over is not instantaneous. You'll find that part of Alexa's response is likely to be unheard as your amp is decided to switch over.

Second, since your echo dot isn't 'feeding' your Sonos devices in anyway, you won't be able to make a music request in hear it over the Sonos system. You could utilize the Sonos skill, but you would need to remember to target all your requests.

Third, you're going to have issues with volume control. I have a similar setup (my inputs are a TV and a Connnect) and getting the volume correct is a pain. I don't want to set the Connect to fixed volume as I want to control by phone. When using TV audio, I need to be in IR range of the amp in order to control the volume.

And yes, you probably can get an amp cheaper then a Connect:Amp, but when you factor in the cost of a Connect + 3rd party amp, you're going to be paying more.

These may not be problems for you, and people have different scenarios and different priorities though.


You can set the Spot to play a sound before speaking and that is what gets cut when the amp wakes up. Subsequent commands will have the sound which may be an annoyance.. probably the biggest drawback of this setup. Also with class D amps and modern switching circuitry the response is much faster than you might think.

I use the spot for playback of all streamed or local files so voice request works fine. The purpose of the Connect is for syncing a group that includes a Play1 pair or to stream from a source that Echo does not support. (I don't but somebody might)

I can see TV being tough to work with but I have been testing for months using Connects and Squeezeboxes as sources and have not had any real volume issues. I'll probably test with a few more sources before switching everything over.

Connect Amp $500. Connect plus dual source Amp $450 - $530 for the models I have been testing. (Same power range as the Connect Amp).
I think the Microwave is the biggest threat because there is no "Sonos enabled" microwave to compete with the Amazon offering. It wouldn't surprise me if Sonos stock takes a hit as a result of the Alexa Microwave announcement.

"Alexa, nuke my leftover chili fries." Definite selling point there.


Sonos stock just dropped below $14... the Alexa microwave announcement hit them hard!

Agreed that they were in a panic and stated that they felt they were late to the game, but I saw that concern that other competitors, not really Amazon, were going to take advantage of voice assistants and take away Sonos market.

As I recall, the panic was driven by the sale of Echo/Dots in the preceding 12 months.

Moving on to the subject of this thread, the question is if people would prefer the all singing/dancing integrated Amazon music system or a Dot wired to a third party audio system. I know which way I would go, and that route for others does not have to be the audiophile one either; there have been many that bought the Bose Soundlink Mini as a partner for the Dot, to obtain better sound than from the Echo, if not still as good as Sonos. But Sonos will now have two competitors from Amazon - the all in one Amazon one and the Dot/Spot wired to the Bose/equivalent one that also includes those that will go the JBL LSR kind active/Amp+passive speaker route. Not counting the Echo itself, which is also decent sounding.

And I am pretty sure that the Amazon integrated solution will incorporate a Spot type of display as well.

The thing I wonder about this is how they'll be able to cover the market. Microwaves come in various sizes these days, with many built in. I haven't bought a microwave in a decade or so, as every place I've lived had an existing built in.


Amazon will most likely follow the same approach as with the Echo: develop a cheap product with just sufficient internal processing capabilities for basic functionality and a standard set of features and sell it at a ridiculously low price. Then make sure to enhance the product through regular future software updates. Once the product has been established on the markets, more high-quality varieties of said product will be released.

If their goal is to bring Alexa into every corner of our homes then starting by adding voice control to our most essential household appliances actually makes sense. Think long term.
I do like using the Echo Show for music in the kitchen. When I can’t remember the name of an album, “Alexa, show albums by xxx”. Then I just swipe through the list, and touch the one I want to play.

I have no doubt Amazon will enhance Show (or the next generation) to output to their upcoming amp via Alexa Cast. That would be a killer system; always see which song is playing, with lyrics if wanted.

This would also cast to a pair of Play:1s, which would certainly give Sonos a boost. There are still no self-contained, fully wireless speakers that beat a stereo pair of Play:1s for price, sound quality and functionality. Add a Show or Spot with Alexa Cast, sweet setup. And I’ll forgive Sonos for killing my Dock, lol.
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Amazon will most likely follow the same approach as with the Echo: develop a cheap product with just sufficient internal processing capabilities for basic functionality and a standard set of features and sell it at a ridiculously low price. Then make sure to enhance the product through regular future software updates. Once the product has been established on the markets, more high-quality varieties of said product will be released.

If their goal is to bring Alexa into every corner of our homes then starting by adding voice control to our most essential household appliances actually makes sense. Think long term.


I agree that that may be their strategy, but I don't see it working as well for microwaves. As an example, I had no issue bringing in my echo even though I had a Sonos setup in the same room. It wasn't a complete duplication of features. But a microwave? I'm not buying a new microwave until my old one is broke, and it certainly must be built in as mine currently is. That also means it has to be the right size and power. It might be neat to bring in 2nd microwave, but I don't have the space for a cheap microwave that I don't need.

Of course there are going to be plenty of folks that could use a new microwave and/or are willing to switch for the bargain pricing, but I can't see that as nearly a big a market as the echo was.