Question

Tipping Point - Sonos vs. Voice


I'm at a tipping point - I absolutely love Sonos - first and foremost because of it's ease of use - listening to your favorite music in less than a minute out of the box, the ease of searching and playing content in the app is so simple anyone can do it... second because of the flexibility to control room by room differences or just grouping... and third because the sound quality is pretty good. But it feels like we're at a tipping point between the next gen of ease of use, voice. I have an Echo in my kitchen and my kids have all but completely abandoned Sonos simply because they can tell Alexa what to play in a couple seconds. I want to add a playbar and sub to my system. I've seen Sonos CEO comments about doubling down in voice and experience. But I'm struggling to drop $1400 without voice control... I'm sure whatever voice control Sonos builds, with Amazon or other, will be superb, but it would be a whole lot easier to keep on the Sonos train if I knew I could use it with my current Sonos products (meaning I could upgrade my existing speakers at whatever future point it was available) and that voice would not obsolete everything I have and I'd be out $1400 for the latest purchases not to mention the Play 5, 3, 1's, connect. Any view on whether the Sonos voice solution would work with existing speakers - because of an add on mic or software update or ????

15 replies

Userlevel 2
Badge +1
Hope Sonos do feedback on this. I am in a similar position. I did submit an email to CEO directly but that was ignored. Won't hold my breath but i hope you get a positive response.
Userlevel 7
Badge +25
We completely agree that listening to music at home should be super easy. We strive to make the time between when you think of music to when music starts playing to be as quick as possible. For these reasons, we are also big believers in the future of voice to control your music (and other stuff) at home.

We are hard at work on a bunch of different projects to make this future a reality. However, we are also big believers that you shouldn’t have to throw away all of your speakers and buy new gear every time we come up with something new. You can see this in the way our early ZonePlayers still give you access to the newest music services even though they can be over 10 years old now. And, you can see this commitment to supporting our current listeners with new features when we brought out Trueplay last fall along with a new PLAY:5, but we made sure that everyone with the discontinued gen1 PLAY:5 would also receive the same benefit of artist-intended sound in their homes.

Based on our track record, you should expect us to bring you ways in the future to continue using your older Sonos speakers with new technologies like voice…because that’s just the way we do things around here.


From over five years of experience at Sonos, I think it’s safe to say that when voice control comes to Sonos all the existing Sonos systems out there already won’t be forgotten.

From over five years of experience at Sonos, I think it’s safe to say that when voice control comes to Sonos all the existing Sonos systems out there already won’t be forgotten.


Well said:-)
Thank you for the quick and confident response in the Sonos ecosystem. Am excited to see how simple and awesome the Sonos voice control solution is and use across in all my Sonos equipped rooms! And I wouldn't underestimate the meaning of "super easy" today. Sonos was, by far, the easiest system in the world from out of box to song/artist/play list of your choice... voice control is beginning to trump this but still a window to regain this title as the workarounds thru Alexa are not for the average listener and advanced voice functionality like "add X to my shopping list" is not there yet in a music world like "add Maroon 5 Sugar to my party playlist". Can't wait for the Sonos voice solution! And I'm going to move forward purchasing my Playbar and Sub 🙂
Userlevel 2
Badge
If we are going to voice control all existing Sonos systems, then that gives 2 choices. Either a new piece of Sonos hardware or some integration with an existing Voice control device.

The fact that there are mikes in the new P5 suggests that Sonos is probably going it alone in VR and that the new P5 will run alongside a new piece of VR microphone kit that both run the same new VR software.

Once the VR technology is sorted, the output should be straight forward because it simply has to duplicate the commands sent to players by the existing app controllers

Even assuming they buy or have bought in the VR technology, I cant see this being super quick. Maybe Xmas 2016 ?

Other thing is that as most people will need 2 or more of these, we can only hope of a reasonable price point !!!

Integration with Alexa would be nice, but I don't see it in Amazon's interests
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
Integration with Alexa would be nice, but I don't see it in Amazon's interests
I don't think it needs to be in Amazon's interests though. I haven't looked, but I would be surprised if Amazon doesn't have an API that allows third-parties to add support for their devices or services to Alexa. Just as Apple does with Homekit/Siri. And in a way, it's still potentially in Amazon's interest, since Amazon's Music service (with Prime Music, if subscribing to Prime) can be accessed through Sonos, just as it can be through Alexa.
I don't think it needs to be in Amazon's interests though. I haven't looked, but I would be surprised if Amazon doesn't have an API that allows third-parties to add support for their devices or services to Alexa. Just as Apple does with Homekit/Siri. And in a way, it's still potentially in Amazon's interest, since Amazon's Music service (with Prime Music, if subscribing to Prime) can be accessed through Sonos, just as it can be through Alexa.

Indeed they do:

https://developer.amazon.com/public/solutions/alexa/alexa-voice-service
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LWugpZ9wkA
That is neat install, although I am still not sure of its value to me!

How do you "train" Alexa though, in terms of voice commands that Sonos understands? Is there a list/template of such? For instance, can you group rooms? Or change volume levels of individual rooms in groups? What commands still need the usual input?
Userlevel 7
Badge +17
That is neat.
Can you teach Alexa with voice command sentences, that it then repeats mouse clicks?
As someone mentioned yesterday,would be useful for grouping and ungrouping as you move around the house and have same music follow you.
That is neat.
Can you teach Alexa with voice command sentences, that it then repeats mouse clicks?
As someone mentioned yesterday,would be useful for grouping and ungrouping as you move around the house and have same music follow you.


Alexa doesn't know mouse clicks, she is completely independent from any PC or app based interface. What she does understand are "Skills". These are things you can ask her to do like "Alexa, tell me the weather." or "Alexa, turn on the bedroom lights." Many skills are built in (like the weather and Hue light control), others are imported from Smart Home control hubs (like Harmony Remote skills from Samsung SmartThings) and others can be custom made using the Alexa Skills Kit from Amazon.

If you are interested, there's more info here:

https://developer.amazon.com/public/solutions/alexa/alexa-skills-kit/getting-started-guide
If you're interested in SOTA speech recognition, install Hound. Leaps and bounds beyond Alexa, Siri and Google Voice. I was hoping Sonos would use the Houndify API, but apparently they're going to use Amazon's.

http://www.soundhound.com/hound
@chicks - sorry, I don't get it. Is the youtube demo for real or a simulated future? If the former, is this achieved without any release by Sonos for their interface? Could you list out the broad steps you used to get this to happen?
Not mine, just grabbed an example from the web. Probably using this integration:

https://github.com/rgraciano/echo-sonos
Thanks, I get it now. I think I will wait for Sonos to do the necessary work to avoid getting into these waters that are above the level of my head.

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