Speakers without Alexa please


Userlevel 1
I like the look of the new Beam, and await reviews. Pleae advise, is it is available without Alexa built in?
If so, I will get one, or two. If not, I will look elsewhere. This applies to to any speaker with built-in Alexa, or any other eavesdropping intrusive technology.

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18 replies

Userlevel 2
I'm with you Desmac!!
I'd buy a BEAM tomorrow, if it didn't contain a mic or Alexa bloat.
SONOS, Please release a version without spyware or gimmicks!!
Userlevel 2
Let me rephrase... without paying the £50 premium for something that I definitely do not want included.
@John B ; Being 'puter geek, I'm less trusting than most, and my cynicism is rarely proven wrong, over time.
Userlevel 2
Look, I understand what you're saying, but a BEAM with a microphone and Alexa is not something I would buy.

I've never had an issue convincing my wife that we need another SONOS speaker, in fact the last purchase (Play bar, Sub, 2x Play 1) was entirely her idea, but there's not a snowballs chance in hell that she'd ever allow an Alexa able speaker (enabled or not) into the bedroom :D
Not wishing to sound sexist, but the reality is SONOS can charge a premium because the wives love it. Wives also hate the idea of someone listening in on them or the kids.
I really hope that SONOS will take this into account, and consider making a microphone free BEAM.
Userlevel 2
What is the official SONOS position?
I understand that many of you are... let's say, "more trusting than I", but again, I'll like to by a SONOS enabled small sound bar WITHOUT Alexa, and without a microphone.
The thing I find odd is that responses mainly aim to say the concerns are wrong, the question is not actually answered, I still would like to know if any Sonos speakers do not have Alexa. Does every Sonos speaker have Alexa as an option? Are there sonos speakers without this feature.

This might be the future, but that future reminds me of Orwell. I can state for a fact that putting a piece of tape over the camera in laptops is something even tech CEO's do, if the hard ware is there it can be used, and indicator lights can be hacked, and it can be reconfigured, these are internet connected. I bet if you walk thru Sonos head offices quite a few of the laptops have tape over their cameras. Other figures doing this are Mark Zuckerburg and James Comey. Zuckerburg also covers his microphone port with tape. This isn't being paranoid, most experts do this, it is being aware that no matter what is said, there are bugs, exploits, and a speaker being taken over will be far less noticeable than an actual computer, and that activity light, even if its done deep in hardware, these features have been hacked to bypass that.

My wife wanted a Sonos speaker, the bar specifically, but the inclusion of alexa was a deal breaker. So I am wondering if there are any without Alexa as an option, not something which is configured via software, but not even capable of doing that.

Frankly this is based on her father buying an alexa device, and the inability to turn it off, it's interjecting into conversations when it was supposed to be off. This scared the entire family to death, they promptly got rid of the thing. Anything with the name alexa on it just loses any trust, and perhaps your customers don't care, but they probably don't really understand the issues involved.

I don't mind voice control, but when it's done via a internet services, not entirely self contained, that is huge potential problem. Even my remote ONLY listens when I push a button, but then I turn off the tv/receiver via a wall switch. I think its quite clear that silicon valley tech companies treat privacy as secondary, and some might not mind putting themselves on the net in return for convenience, but this should ALWAYS be a choice, and its not unreasonable to refuse to have always on recording or video devices in our homes.

The only way I would consider a Sonos with Alexa as an option, is if there is a physical on/off switch to the microphone, which interrupts the actual wire to the microphone. Perhaps using tape like Zuckerberg works? I would have to test this. The only other option is taking apart the Sonos unit and removing the microphone. Not sure if I want to go that far, but as of this moment I am looking at various other brands and hoping I can find something as somewhat good as Sonos, but without features that I have to worry about.
Userlevel 4
Badge +9
You do know that as long as you don't activate Alexa, or any other voice service on any voice-capable Sonos device the microphones are inactive?
1) You do not need to enable Alexa. Without Alexa enabled, it is just another Sonos unit.

3) In addition, Sonos designed the microphone to always light the LED when activated. It is actually hardwired to the mic power and cannot be defeated by software. They did this just for folks like you, who are worried about eavesdropping intrusive technology.

4) Voice is the future. Alexa had the highest level of beta requests of any feature ever offered, by far. I highly doubt you will see Sonos ever produce another speaker with no voice capabilities.
Spyware? Sigh....
I'd rate chances of a Beam without Alexa as zero, when it can already so easily be disabled.
I'm not sure where you're getting the $50 premium from. The difference between a Play:1 and Sonos One? That's not just due to voice control functionality, but also improved hardware in general.

And I'm guessing there isn't a big enough market of people who want the Beam, don't want voice control, and are absolutely unwilling to pay whatever premium in actually is. My guess that it's low enough that the cost of actually making and marketing this separate unit, plus lower volume sales, would end up push the cost of a hypothetical voiceless Beam to right around the cost of a regular Beam anyway.
Never enable the Alexa skill and presto! a Sonos speaker without Alexa. Bonus effect: The microphone is always off, so even if you are afraid of getting spied on, there is no way to power on the microphone.
What is the official SONOS position?
I understand that many of you are... let's say, "more trusting than I", but again, I'll like to by a SONOS enabled small sound bar WITHOUT Alexa, and without a microphone.


I think the fact that they do not sell the product you want demonstrates their official position pretty well. I would imagine that as trends change and if there is a larger pool of customers who want a small soundbar with no microphone, then Sonos will consider selling one.

When the Sonos One was first released, Sonos made a concerted effort to explain that the microphone and associated LED light were hard-wired together, and could not be modified through software.
Why not just get a PLAYBAR, then? They still sell them, and it doesn't have a microphone in it.
Once again, the LED is hardwired to the power for the microphone. If there is no LED, then there is no microphone, and there is no way for Sonos to listen. Never enable Alexa and the microphone stays off, like the microphones on the Play:5.

Bottom line, Sonos is simply not going to make you a Beam without a microphone. So you either accept the microphone will be disabled if you never enable it, or you go without a Beam.
I would like a Beam with Alexa please, but without Airplay as I hate Apple. And I only want it for TV so please get rid of all that costly multiroom tech.
Userlevel 5
Badge +6
Currently, there are only two Sonos speakers that have Alexa built in: The Sonos One and the Beam. No other Sonos speakers have Alexa.

Some non-Alexa options: Play:1, Play:5, Playbar, Playbase.
Correction, the microphone indicator light in Sonos devices cannot be hacked or reconfigured. They are not software, they are hardwired to the microphone power. In order to mess with them, someone would need to open your device and clip the wires.

Not that it will convince you, but I feel it should be corrected so others are not misled.

PS - The Playbar and Playbase will give TV audio and are not Alexa enabled.
The brand new Sonos amp does is not alexa enabled either, along with the Conect and Connect:Amp.

I my personal opinion, if you are a public figure, like Zuckerburg or Comey, then hackers have a darn good reason to spy on you for political or financial gain. They would be idiots not to steps to protects themsselves. The average person, like me, has considerably less to offer in terms of political or financial gain.
It's more accurate to say whether a Sonos speaker has a microphone array that can be active, than it is to say if it is "Alexa Enabled". All Sonos speakers can be controlled by Alexa, if you have an Amazon Echo device. Doesn't make any difference whether or not it has the microphone array or not.

I control Sonos PLAY:1s all the time using an Echo Dot. Those Sonos speakers have no microphones in them at all, and yet I use Alexa to control them.