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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Blackberry had an inferior product and could not keep up with the competition. In the world of multi-room audio, Sonos is still far ahead of the competitors. Sonos has never taken new tech for granted. They started with their own remote and transitioned to the smart phone app when it became the norm. They are doing the same thing with voice control by partnering with Amazon (and soon Google). Sonos didn't have to create their own phone in order to deliver their ideal experience on the mobile app and they don't need to create their own voice assistant to control your speakers.





But BB was a superior product at one time. Sonos is ahead of the competition in many areas, but is behind in other areas...name recognition, costs, and size (of company). Those factors are very important to a lot of consumers, more so then sound quality, multiroom functionality, and HT capabilities. I agree that Sonos has made a lot of good decisions over the years, but that doesn't mean they're in a better position then Amazon/Apple/Google. I don't think they have to be in a better position, they just need to be relevant to a significant part of the market.







For users who want a single speaker the choices are infinite. There's no problem having a product that fulfills this market (like the Sonos One) but the last thing Sonos should do is lower their quality standards to capture the lowest end market. It would be like Apple creating a flip phone because the iPhone wasn't capturing 100% of phone sales.





But a $200 dollar options doesn't really fulfill that market. Yes, Sono is better sound quality than other many/most other options, but why is a customer going to spend $200, when they can get an good enough Echo for half the cost? Heck, the $50 dot is the besting selling smart speaker their is. I love Sonos products myself, but when I think of friends and family as potential customers, Sonos doesn't fit what many of them want and need. I'm not saying that Sonos definitely needs a cheaper speaker, just that there clearly is a rather large market for speakers of a quality below what Sonos sells.





Rather than compete in the single speaker market, Sonos is trying to capture the simple home theater market. This makes more sense to me. It's a harder challenge but it falls in their wheelhouse. This also allows a customer to start with a cheap(ish) sound bar, then add some rear channels and then save up for a sub.





I agree that Sonos should not lose sight of their strengths. They definitely need to make sure that they remain strengths. Hopefully, the can find a way to add a few more strengths to give consumers more reasons to chose Sonos.
Everything here are individual opinions that will be validated only in 2022 or some such. Fortunately, we have no skin in the game, and can watch it without any tension. Except for those that have bought Sonos stock. Or that of Amazon.
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For Sonos' sake, you had better not be right with the above. Blackberry deja vu, if so, down to the supposedly tight user base.



Blackberry had an inferior product and could not keep up with the competition. In the world of multi-room audio, Sonos is still far ahead of the competitors. Sonos has never taken new tech for granted. They started with their own remote and transitioned to the smart phone app when it became the norm. They are doing the same thing with voice control by partnering with Amazon (and soon Google). Sonos didn't have to create their own phone in order to deliver their ideal experience on the mobile app and they don't need to create their own voice assistant to control your speakers.



For many customers, they really don't have much need for a multi-room system

For users who want a single speaker the choices are infinite. There's no problem having a product that fulfills this market (like the Sonos One) but the last thing Sonos should do is lower their quality standards to capture the lowest end market. It would be like Apple creating a flip phone because the iPhone wasn't capturing 100% of phone sales.



Rather than compete in the single speaker market, Sonos is trying to capture the simple home theater market. This makes more sense to me. It's a harder challenge but it falls in their wheelhouse. This also allows a customer to start with a cheap(ish) sound bar, then add some rear channels and then save up for a sub.



These are just my opinions.
I don't think Sonos is too worried about the competition. They are still a relatively small company with a very tight user base. This multi-room audio craze will only be a good thing for Sonos.





They definitely need to take the 'threat' seriously, and I think they have. I think the addition of voice assistant support as well as lower priced entry points kind of shows that. They still need to be the higher sound quality option, but they cannot afford to pretend Amazon's actions won't effect their sales.





Nothing that Amazon announced is making me question my use of Sonos. The major missing component for Amazon is a good user experience. Having Alexa start a specific room or skip tracks is nice but controlling an entire home would be painful through voice commands. Even with smart groups. The Alexa app is one of the worst apps I have the privilege of trying to use. For me the greatest thing about Sonos is the app (and maybe the sub). I just do not understand the appeal of casting or airplay unless you live in a dorm room with a single speaker.





For many customers, they really don't have much need for a multi-room system, and a set of good speakers in one room is enough. I imagine a lot of Sonos customers are like that as well. They aren't building their dream sound system, just an upgrade (in quality or ease of use) over what they currently have.



From what I've observed on the boards, people like casting/airplay because it allows them to use the same apps at home that they use when they're away from home, and because it's easier for guests to use. Companies push casting type features because it gets customer used to using their services all the time in all scenarios.





If Amazon is doing one thing right it's capturing the entry level market with these cheap products and letting people grow their system organically. A Sonos mini sub would help those entry level users expand their Sonos One systems.




I don't know that the size of the sub is as big of a problem as the price. The need a quality sub below $400. It the can sell the existing sub at that price and still make a profit, then I think that could work almost as well as a new product.


I may be missing something, but I can't see the Link or Link Amp as anything but direct competition with the Connect and Amp/Connect:Amp. Adding digital inputs just makes it even better at a lower price.




My point was I don't think Amazon decided it needed to make these products in order to complete with Sonos. Sonos just isn't that big of a threat to Amazon. I actually think these products are more about their goal of dominating the voice assistant market and reaction to what Google and Apple has done. Before these products, Amazon didn't have their answer to the Google Max and Apple Homepod. Now they do. The link products, while definitely an option for anyone considering Sonos Connect products, are more about keeping customers from going with Google or Apple systems over keeping them from going Sonos, IMO.



I suppose it doesn't really matter, as the effect is the same for Sonos.
I don't think Sonos is too worried about the competition.

For Sonos' sake, you had better not be right with the above. Blackberry deja vu, if so, down to the supposedly tight user base.
Same thing most of us have been through with Sonos.

Because at that time, the Echo portfolio as it is starting to assume shape, was missing as an option. For someone starting down that road, where does Sonos fit with these products at one end, and a Dot fronted high end stereo system on the other? That space between the two is rapidly getting narrower, I suggest. From both a sound quality as well as price points view.
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I don't think Sonos is too worried about the competition. They are still a relatively small company with a very tight user base. This multi-room audio craze will only be a good thing for Sonos.



Nothing that Amazon announced is making me question my use of Sonos. The major missing component for Amazon is a good user experience. Having Alexa start a specific room or skip tracks is nice but controlling an entire home would be painful through voice commands. Even with smart groups. The Alexa app is one of the worst apps I have the privilege of trying to use. For me the greatest thing about Sonos is the app (and maybe the sub). I just do not understand the appeal of casting or airplay unless you live in a dorm room with a single speaker.



If Amazon is doing one thing right it's capturing the entry level market with these cheap products and letting people grow their system organically. A Sonos mini sub would help those entry level users expand their Sonos One systems.
The first quick review I have seen of the Sub holds promise for customers and concern for Sonos. At USD 250 for an Echo pair+ Sub bundle, the price is compelling and if the sound is good as the review suggests, I can see many takers:

https://www.digitaltrends.com/smart-home-reviews/amazon-echo-sub-review/




Reviews will reveal whether it will kick the HomePod to the curb, as a pair of Sonos Ones easily does. Doubtful, unless they really up the SQ of an Echo stereo pair. A stereo pair of HomePods is $700. A Black Friday 2.1 Echo setup would be far cheaper, but I'm betting a Sonos One pair will still sound better, requires just two outlets, and no ugly, bulky wall warts. Plus, of course, the ability to add the Sonos Sub to the Ones pair makes for a system that simply can't be matched by Apple or Amazon, except with the upcoming Link setup with external amp, speakers and lots of wires; different category altogether.



What Amazon is doing, though, is duplicating one of Sonos' most compelling features. The "building block" approach. Start with one speaker, add a stereo pair, later on add a sub, maybe a Link to the old stereo... Same thing most of us have been through with Sonos. Apple has nothing similar. Google does, but theirs isn't nearly as compelling, thus far, IME. The Play:1 and now the One are foundational to this. The Echo doesn't offer good enough SQ for me, but many others have obviously found it to be good enough.
For those that are a little out of date about the India story, some interesting and perhaps little known facts about the Indian market:

1. The largest market in the world already for Whats app, with 200 million users.

2. The second largest market in the world for smartphones, after China.

3. The biggest future market for Amazon; China doesn't figure here because it was lost to Chinese players some years ago. Amazon has invested some 5 billion dollars till now in developing the Indian market because having lost China, it cannot afford to lose India. And their biggest local competitor was recently bought by Walmart for 16 billion dollars for a 77% controlling stake.

Sonos has chosen to completely ignore this market till today, and there are no signs of this changing.


Alexa Cast already works on all Echo devices, including Sonos, so is a much bigger market for the likes of Tidal, Deezer, Pandora, etc. than is Direct Control. Amazon typically makes their APIs very easy to use, so even smaller players will be able to include Alexa Cast in their apps.


It was never going to be easy for Sonos to compete head on with the likes of Amazon. From aspects ranging from the above, to speed of product development to global rollouts. As to the last bit, witness how Sonos hasn't been able to release Alexa integration in India for over a year; Amazon has simply sidestepped their partner because they cannot afford to not have Alexa in India, or have it arrive only after Sonos is able to bring it there, and will release the new products in India within a month after their release in the US, at prices based on what the Indian market can support. Sonos never had a noticeable presence in India, and I doubt that now they ever will. Losing large growth markets overseas cannot usually be done without an impact in the long term on what happens at home - whether the competition is from overseas or from the home country.



Sonos may have found itself in a place where it is too small to compete globally with the Amazons of this world, and too big to continue as a niche player in select markets. It will take a remarkable series of successful steps to negotiate its way out of there, remaining as an independent company.



I don't know if business schools still use case studies the way they used to; this has the makings of a classic.
Will be interesting to watch adaption of Alexa Cast, once the API is published, vs Sonos Direct Control. I believe Pandora is so far the only Direct Control adopter, though don’t quote me. So, Sonos is having to support Direct Control, AirPlay, Spotify Connect, Alexa Cast and Google’s current protocol, whatever that is.



Alexa Cast already works on all Echo devices, including Sonos, so is a much bigger market for the likes of Tidal, Deezer, Pandora, etc. than is Direct Control. Amazon typically makes their APIs very easy to use, so even smaller players will be able to include Alexa Cast in their apps.


I may be missing something, but I can't see the Link or Link Amp as anything but direct competition with the Connect and Amp/Connect:Amp.


You are not missing anything. It is direct competition now in the arena that Sonos made its own for ten years - multi room wireless audio. Sonos has never been able to achieve quite the same position with its TV offerings, and I am sure that Amazon will add on TV as an apparent afterthought soon enough.

This is getting to look a lot like the BlackBerry story, where email was supposed to be the killer app, long after smartphones took that advantage away by offering a lot more in addition to doing emails just as well. There too the Samsungs were competing with the Apples and Motorolas, and that ended up sidelining and then marginalising BB. That Spence was in a leadership position there as well towards the end is an interesting coincidence, that could cut both ways for Sonos. On a personal note, I switched from BB to smartphones only a couple of years ago, thinking that the email conveniences of BB could never be achieved in smartphones, until my son who never had used BB, showed me that emails were just as easy on a Moto G. And the present generation does not even do as much emails as we did; they use whats app and the like.

It will now be a lot easier now to see how Sonos is faring - track the stock price, if following published financials every quarter is too much of a task.
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Although the media is setting the narrative that Amazon is now trying to compete with Sonos, I don't feel that it is. It does mean Amazon and Sonos are competing more than previously, but I don't think that was the actual intention.




I may be missing something, but I can't see the Link or Link Amp as anything but direct competition with the Connect and Amp/Connect:Amp. Adding digital inputs just makes it even better at a lower price.
One nice feature is the Ethernet port. This might provide better reliability as you build out your system and start battling Wi-Fi contention issue.



I'm speculating here, but I'd guess that's added so that professional installers will consider the link devices when setting up a whole house system. If you've 10+ devices sitting in a closet, I think you'd prefer to just hardwire it all rather deal with wifi and whatever interference may occur when having devices close together like that.



Another question is the implications for Alexa integration with Sonos. On the one hand Amazon appears to want to expand their Alexa partnership support with new APIs. On the other hand this is more direct competition with Sonos in the Link, Link Amplifier. and Sub. I can't figure out if this means the Sonos Alexa skill will finally come out of beta and provide all the features folks have been asking for? Or will Amazon pull back on supporting a partner who has announced their next big push is Google integration and reduce or disable what is already available?



Although the media is setting the narrative that Amazon is now trying to compete with Sonos, I don't feel that it is. It does mean Amazon and Sonos are competing more than previously, but I don't think that was the actual intention. The products release feel like they are more of a response to the Homepod and Google Max than anything else. For those customers that want to stick with one of these big 3 and don't want basic sound quality, Amazon now has some options.



If Amazon really were trying to compete with Sonos, you'd think they'd come out with a soundbar. That would really hurt Sonos I think. It seems like a natural fit for Amazon as well, since they have a lot of products and content on the video side. The also didn't come out with anything that would really compete with the play:5.



I feel like Sonos wants to dominate in several different markets, but they don't want create walled gardens as Apple is known to do, and they want to make sure they don't get caught in anti-trust issues. Their strategy of opening up Alexa to partners/competitors, but keeping many of the best features to themselves seems to be working. At the same time, I think a lot of their products are designed more to seed development around more products that use Alexa. They do want Alexa in Sonos, JBL, Bose, etc. They want it to be the defacto front end for everyone. They made a microwave in order to kickstart development of other kitchen gadets to use Alexa for control.



So as far as APIs, I do think we'll see more features coming soon. So docking will be fixed and you won't always have to target. But it wouldn't surprise me if some features always remain Echo only. For example, if the new Link products allow you to select one of the audio inputs by voice, but that feature isn't granted to Sonos products. I don't know, just guessing.
Another question is the implications for Alexa integration with Sonos. On the one hand Amazon appears to want to expand their Alexa partnership support with new APIs. On the other hand this is more direct competition with Sonos in the Link, Link Amplifier. and Sub. I can't figure out if this means the Sonos Alexa skill will finally come out of beta and provide all the features folks have been asking for? Or will Amazon pull back on supporting a partner who has announced their next big push is Google integration and reduce or disable what is already available?
As of now, Sub works only with the Echo of last year, and the one about to be released with the Sub. So it will do only what these Echoes can do. Going forward, we can only speculate.
The first quick review I have seen of the Sub holds promise for customers and concern for Sonos. At USD 250 for an Echo pair+ Sub bundle, the price is compelling and if the sound is good as the review suggests, I can see many takers:

https://www.digitaltrends.com/smart-home-reviews/amazon-echo-sub-review/


The question for me is will it work with the Link playing an external source like a turntable? Or does the Sub only sync with streamed sources?


I have about 1,000 jazz LPs that I quite enjoy spinning on occasion. The Link would work splendidly for an analog input to the system, along with the Echo Input. I imagine it will allow voice control of input selection.


What else would it do apart from such voice control? Unless the additional input is needed for the typical single input power amp.
One nice feature is the Ethernet port. This might provide better reliability as you build out your system and start battling Wi-Fi contention issue.
The first quick review I have seen of the Sub holds promise for customers and concern for Sonos. At USD 250 for an Echo pair+ Sub bundle, the price is compelling and if the sound is good as the review suggests, I can see many takers:

https://www.digitaltrends.com/smart-home-reviews/amazon-echo-sub-review/


I have about 1,000 jazz LPs that I quite enjoy spinning on occasion. The Link would work splendidly for an analog input to the system, along with the Echo Input. I imagine it will allow voice control of input selection.


What else would it do apart from such voice control? Unless the additional input is needed for the typical single input power amp.
As far as I can tell, the Link is for those that have a power amp, to use as a voice controlled pre amp, to which one can also cast via Amazon cast. A very niche application, and I am surprised to see an Amazon product for it.



But you could do that with the $50 echo dot (probably even echo input), and it doesn't explain why there are inputs on the Link.


Agreed. And the echo input is the minimum that would need suffice, so why the Link? Time will tell, I suppose.




I have about 1,000 jazz LPs that I quite enjoy spinning on occasion. The Link would work splendidly for an analog input to the system, along with the Echo Input. I imagine it will allow voice control of input selection.
As far as I can tell, the Link is for those that have a power amp, to use as a voice controlled pre amp, to which one can also cast via Amazon cast. A very niche application, and I am surprised to see an Amazon product for it.



But you could do that with the $50 echo dot (probably even echo input), and it doesn't explain why there are inputs on the Link.


Agreed. And the echo input is the minimum that would need suffice, so why the Link? Time will tell, I suppose.


How much privacy are we willing to give to Amazon for good and cheap hardware devices?


I think that horse has bolted a long time ago, if one lives in a modern civilisation.
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For sure Sonos needs to move with new products and integrations.



But Amazon is Amazon....

How much privacy are we willing to give to Amazon for good and cheap hardware devices?