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Sonos just launched their first voice-controlled smart speaker, the Sonos One (not to be confused with Sonos Play:1). Currently, the speaker works only with Amazon Alexa but Sonos plans to add other voice assistants including Google Assistant soon.
Sonos, it seems, has finally woken to the reality of smart homes. While perhaps late to the scene, their combination of high quality audio and voice control gives them an edge.
But what if you already have a Sonos speaker? Does it mean you miss out or you have to shell out $200 for the Sonos One?
Thankfully no. Sonos has made sure that existing Sonos owners can still enjoy Alexa voice control without having to buy the Sonos One.
The company announced that it was rolling out Alexa integration to all its existing speakers.
But how they will be integrated will be slightly different from how Sonos One works with Alexa.
With the Sonos One, you simply talk directly to the speaker since it has a built-in microphone. Other Sonos speakers lack microphones. So to control them with Alexa, you have to connect your Sonos speaker to an Echo speaker.
If you don’t already have an Echo speaker at home, click here to read our Amazon Echo review. You can opt for the smaller Echo dot, the average sized Echo or Echo Plus or the screened Echo Show or Echo Spot.
With your Echo ready, here’s how you go about setting up Alexa voice control. Note that this does not apply to the Sonos One which can be voice controlled without connecting it to an Echo.
If you are short on time, just watch this short video by Sonos explaining the whole process.
Step 1: Make sure everything is up to date
Before you start the process, make sure your Echo and Sonos speakers as well as any related software are up to date.
You also need to have the latest versions of the Sonos and Alexa apps on your smartphone. Both apps have versions for iOS and Android. You can also use Sono’s desktop app and Alexa’s web portal.
If you already have the apps installed, check that they are updated.
Step 2: Sign up for Sonos public beta
The Sonos-Alexa integration is currently in public beta. You need to opt in before you can begin enjoying it.
Using the Sonos app, go to advanced settings, tap on ‘Beta Program’ and select “Join the Beta Program”. You not only get access to the Alexa integration but to any other new features Sonos releases for public testing.
if you have already signed up, you’ll just need to login.
Step 3: Add the Sonos skill
Alexa’s equivalents of apps are called skills. You’ll need to add the Sonos skill to connect your Sonos speaker with an Echo speaker.
Open the Alexa app on your phone and tap on skills in the app menu. If it’s not already highlighted in the skills area, use the search bar to search for it. Tap on the skill and select Enable.
You will be asked to sign in to your Sonos account using your email address and password. These are the same credentials you used when you registered your Sonos speaker. Tap okay when the Sonos skill requests for permission to control your Sonos system.
Then you also have to sign in to your Amazon account. Use the same email and password you use when logging in to other Amazon services.
And that’s it. You have successfully added the Sonos skill to your Alexa. Close the window and move on to the next step.
Step 4: Connect your Sonos system
Tap ‘Discover Devices’ on the next prompt to allow Alexa to discover your Sonos.
Important: make sure you have given your Sonos a good name, one that you can pronounce. Otherwise, Alexa may have trouble finding it later.
When the search, which takes around 20 seconds, is over, you will see a list of all available Sonos devices that Alexa has found.
Your integration is now ready.
Step 5: Enjoy voice control with your Sonos
You can now talk to any Echo speaker and tell Alexa to play music on your Sonos system. You have to specify which Sonos you want the music to play on. That’s why I recommended you rename your Sonos a pronounceable name.
For instance you can name one speaker ‘Living Room’ and another ‘Bedroom’ and another ‘Kitchen’. If you want some music when preparing dinner, you just say, “Alexa, play Jazz in the Kitchen”.
It doesn’t even have to be music. You can request weather reports, calendar updates and news briefings over your Sonos speakers.
Sonos is not exactly clear on how you can play music on multiple speakers. Some users suggest creating device groups in the Alexa app but most people say it doesn’t always work. You can try the command “Alexa, play music everywhere” to play music on all your Sonos speakers.
Adding Music Services
There are various music services you can use with both Alexa and Sonos. Spotify is not on the list though Sonos is promising compatibility soon. The compatible ones are Amazon music, SiriusXM, Pandora, iHeartRadio and TuneIn Radio.
If you already have a music service linked to Sonos, you’ll need to add it to Alexa too. Go to the Alexa app, go to settings under the main menu and select Music and Media. Select a service from the list and set it up. You’ll need to sign in to your account on that service.
If you are adding a completely new music service, first add it to Sonos using the Sonos app then add it to Alexa using the Alexa app.