First Contact — Alexa and Sonos

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I’ve had a SONOS One for a few years now. I picked it up frantically at a Best Buy outside of LA on my way to a demo in Santa Barbara. At the time, I was disappointed that it didn’t have an aux input. At the time of the demo, I had wanted to demonstrate the power of using voice to control music.

First, I had to set up my SONOS One after years of not being connected. I already had the SONOS app and had spent 10 minutes and three attempts to setup WiFi about 2 months earlier. When I started at this point, I was able to connect but the device needed about five minutes to download new firmware. OK. However, it seemed to work.

Next, was connecting the SONOS speaker to Alexa. My first attempt was to go to Smart Home in the Alexa App and try to discover new devices. That came up short handed. Then, I had to look online and discovered you need to first enable the SONOS Alexa Skill. The first attempt to link to my SONOS account threw back an error. On the second attempt, it worked.

Finally, 20 minutes in, I was able to say “Alexa, play Candida in the living room”. “Streaming a station you might like”. Uggh! No. Second attempt worked.

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The “In living room” gets tiring after the 3–4 attempt, so hopefully there is some learning to make it a default after awhile.

I did like that the audio gets ducked when an Alexa device is trigger or during a response. That said, there were a few occasions when the device didn’t hear or would not respond to the “stop” command. It also announced that the song was playing and then offered up silence. It’s not as solid an experience as playing music through the first gen Amazon Echo.

What I did like? The experience for music playback, when it works, seems faster than through the Echo and it’s like Alexa is introducing the song. Similar to this from the Ubi:

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