Sonos now has its voice control assistant. Sonos speakers do not necessarily require Alexa or Google Assistant for voice control.
Not instead of saying Hey Alexa, you can say Hey, Sonos, and talk to your Sonos speakers way too remarkably.
Sonos Voice Control was announced a few months back in May 2023. Sonos made its voice control free to use with the help of a software update. Previously, Sonos speakers only had Alexa and Google Assistant as voice assistants to control Sonos speakers hands-free. Even with the Sonos Voice Control launch, you can still choose to use these options.
Here is a full review of Sonos Voice Control and our verdict.
What is Sonos Voice Control?
Sonos Voice Control is a voice assistant that works on Sonos speakers and was made by Sonos. It’s meant to let people control their Sonos speakers with their voices, which the company thinks is the most natural way to do it.
The Sonos Voice Control assistant is not trying to compete with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, so you can’t use it to check the weather or turn off your smart lights. Instead, the Sonos Voice Control assistant is all about making it easy to control your Sonos speakers without using your hands.
Is Sonos Voice Control better than Alexa and Google Assistant?
Sonos Voice Control isn’t meant to compete with or replace Alexa or Google Assistant completely. Sonos lacks the resources to develop a voice assistant as dominating as Alexa and Google Assistant. Thus, they developed Sonos Voice only to have better control over music, which Sonos is best at.
Here is a comment of Sonos CEO Patrick Spence on Sonos Voice Control, “We are not looking to replicate what general purpose voice assistants offer. Instead, we’ll be enhancing customer choice, ease of use and control, and privacy as we continue to differentiate the end-to-end Sonos experience.”
Through Sonos Voice Control, Sonos wants its users to play their favorite music within seconds. They want to make controlling music specifically fast on their Sonos speaker.
For this reason, they acquired Snips, a private voice assistant startup. As you know, popular voice assistants like Alexa always listen to your conversations, save the recordings, and send them to a remote cloud server. This is also one of the reasons Ikea does not sell Sonos speakers with mics on.
With Sonos Voice Control, Sonos smart speaker will still be smart and an always-listening speaker. However, it only stores music data locally.
For users, who want to enjoy limited voice assistant functionality, Sonos Voice Control would be an easier choice over Alexa. You can control your music with your voice and not worry about the always-listening conversation voice assistant.
So, though Sonos Voice Control won’t be as smart as Alexa and will tell you what’s the weather like but would perform fast responses otherwise. Ask Sonos to change the song, repeat or reshuffle songs, increase the volume a little or louder, and do it all with its fast performance.
Does Sonos voice work on all Sonos speakers?
With Sonos Voice Control, users can now control their Sonos speakers with their voice using Sonos own voice control assistant.
The good news is Sonos voice will work with all voice-enabled Sonos speakers. This means you can use Sonos Voice Control on Sonos Move, a portable smart speaker; Sonos One, a smart speaker; Sonos Arc, a premium soundbar; Sonos Roam, an ultra-portable smart speaker and Sonos Beam (Gen 2), a Smart soundbar.
Who is the voice of Sonos Control?
Sonos Voice Control has a voiceover of this amazing actor, Giancarlo Esposito, a Danish-born American actor, and director. His pleasant, soft-toned, and warm voice makes talking to Sonos worth it.
He is known for his roles in Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, the Mandalorian, and other movies.
Hey @Sonos users, I'm now taking your requests! I'm honored to be the first voice of Sonos Voice Control, a new kind of voice control that lets you play music and control your Sonos system completely hands-free. Just say "Hey Sonos". #HeySonos #SonosPartner pic.twitter.com/T5G5BZM0sK
— Giancarlo Esposito (@quiethandfilms) June 10, 2023
Does Sonos Voice Control work on Spotify?
Sonos Voice Control currently does not work with Spotify. You cannot use Sonos Voice Control when using Spotify. However, you can use it on other music streaming services like Amazon Music, Apple Music, Sonos Radio, Pandora, and Deezer.
You can use commands like Hey Sonos, play apple music in the kitchen or Hey Sonos, play my playlist in the bedroom.
How to set up Sonos Voice Control?
Setting up Sonos Voice Control is easy. All you need is a mobile device and Sonos S2 controller app download on such a mobile device.
- Update your Sonos device to the latest version. The Sonos system is made to update automatically; however, you can still check it and switch to S2 if your system is on S1 software.
- Sonos Voice Control is available in US-English only
- You can activate two assistants at the same speaker. Sonos and Alexa can be activated on the same speaker; however, Sonos Voice and Google Assistant cannot be. However, Google Assistant can be activated on other speakers.
- Open the S2 app on an Android or iOS mobile device
- Go to Settings> Services & Voice
- Tap on Add a Voice Assistant
- Tap on Sonos Voice Control amongst the options
- Follow in-app prompts to finish the process
A quick guide to using Sonos Voice Control
Here is a quick guide to starting using Sonos Voice Control:
- Start with Hey, Sonos
Once you have set up Sonos Voice Control as the default voice assistant using the S2 controller app, you can start using wake words like “Hey, Sonos” to allow the Sonos speaker to hear you. To know if the Sonos is listening, look for the bright white status light to glow. If the audio is playing, the volume will lower if Sonos listens to you. A confirmation tone will also play if you let the user know that Sonos understands your requests.
- Type of requests
Sonos Voice Control can take up a lot of requests, from controlling your music to grouping rooms. It can control your music, like play a song, stop a song, increase/decrease volume, change your music, group and ungroup your music, check battery levels, control home theatre, and more.
However, it may not answer commands like how’s the weather like Alexa can.
- Make additional requests
You can make two or more commands simultaneously without saying Hey, Sonos again and again. For instance, You can say Hey Sonos, play some music and then say Louder to increase the volume. Similarly, to fast forward, say, Hey Sonos, fast forward, followed by More.
Full list of Sonos Voice Commands
- Hey Sonos, play music/play something on [your favorite music streaming app]
- Hey Sonos, play music here
- Hey Sonos, music in the living room, please
- Hey Sonos, play music on [Sonos speaker] only
- Hey Sonos, play music in the kitchen instead
Playing music through supported music channels
- Hey Sonos, play music [song name/artist name/band name/playlist name]
- Hey Sonos, play romantic/Sufi/rockband/classic music
- Hey Sonos, play something uplifting
- Hey Sonos, play workout music in the basement except in the kitchen
- Hey Sonos, play Taylor swift music in the kitchen group
- Hey Sonos, play [artist/genre] really loud
- Hey Sonos, shuffle music by [artist/band]
Controlling music commands
- Hey Sonos, stop/pause the music in the kitchen
- Hey Sonos, stop/pause/resume music everywhere except in the living room
- Hey Sonos, stop/pause/resume on Move only
- Hey Sonos, raise volume a little
- Hey Sonos, raise the volume to the maximum
- Hey Sonos, play very quietly
- Hey Sonos, restart the song
- Hey Sonos, forward a bit ahead in the bedroom
- Hey Sonos, back it up in the kitchen
- Hey Sonos, play a different song
- Hey Sonos, Play something else [music service]
Grouping and ungrouping the music
If you have more than one Sonos speaker at your home, grouping and ungrouping music allows you to play the same song on all your speakers. Here are some of the commands you can use to group and ungroup music on your Sonos speakers:
- Hey Sonos, group everywhere
- Hey Sonos, also play in the kitchen
- Hey Sonos, play here too
- Hey Sonos, add the living room and bedroom
- Hey Sonos, ungroup the kitchen
- Hey Sonos, ungroup the living room
Moving your music
You can use moving your music commands when you want to move the music playing from one Sonos speaker to another. If you know about grouping your Sonos speakers, you know that each of your Sonos speakers has a room name. Naming your speakers on room name as they are placed is the easy way to remember them. Once you have set your different Sonos speakers as per the rooms, here are the commands you can use to move music from one speaker to another:
- Hey Sonos, move the music from the living room to the bedroom
- Hey Sonos, move this playlist from the kitchen to the bedroom upstairs
- Hey Sonos, move the music here
- Hey Sonos, stop the playlist in the kitchen and bedroom
- Hey Sonos, stop playing in the living room and play it in the kitchen instead
Some of the information questions you can ask through Sonos voice assistant include:
- Hey Sonos, what’s this song?
- Hey Sonos, what’s playing?
- Hey Sonos, what’s playing in the living room?
- Hey Sonos, what’s the roam battery level?
- Hey Sonos, what’s the battery level?
Home theatre controls
If you have a Sonos soundbar like Arc or Beam or a subwoofer like Move, you can connect them to your TV to turn it into a home theatre. If your Sonos device is connected to your TV, you can control your TV with the help of these commands:
- Hey Sonos, turn on/off the TV
- Hey Sonos, Turn on/off the bedroom TV
Switching to TV / Music mode
If you want to use the soundbar just for playing songs and disconnect from the TV and vice-a-versa, here are the commands to use:
- Hey Sonos, switch to music mode
- Hey Sonos, switch to TV mode
- Hey Sonos, TV mode on/off
- Hey Sonos, switch to speech enhancement mode in the bedroom
- Hey Sonos, turn on/off night sound mode
- Hey Sonos, back to default mode
- Hey Sonos, turn off music mode in the bedroom
Pros and Cons of using Sonos Voice Control at a glance
- Very fast processing when executing tasks
- Private processing i.e. listens and records only music requests
- Easy to group rooms and listen to music on the multi-room platform
- Controls your Sonos home theatre
- No cloud server used to record your requests
- Easy to setup using the Sonos S2 Controller app
- Supports a wide variety of music streaming services
- It doesn’t support Spotify yet
- Doesn’t identify many artists’ names
- Plays live tracks instead of studio
If you have a Sonos speaker, there is no harm in trying the Sonos Voice Control. As you can activate Sonos Voice on one speaker while continuing to use Alexa on another.
It’s also worth it as it runs directly on Sonos speakers and is not stealthily saving your data on a centralized cloud server. Sonos says, “The machine learning models are trained on scripted audio data and then deployed for inference on the smart speakers. Potential wake word false triggers are no longer a privacy concern because no audio data is sent to the cloud after the wake word is detected.”. This adds to its safety.
To top it all, you get fast responses to controlling music, which is the essence of Sonos smart speakers, to enjoy multi-room music flawlessly.