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With the rise of smart speakers and digital assistants, we’ve all become much more comfortable using our voices to tell our gadgets what to do—whether that’s queueing up songs or asking about the weather forecast.
This kind of functionality is expanding to more and more devices, and Sonos speaker voice control is now a reality. This feature is only available on the most recent Sonos models specifically the Sonos One, the Sonos Move, the Sonos Roam, the Sonos Arc, and the Sonos Beam (Gen 2). So, if you have an older version, you may be out of luck.
To enable voice control on your Sonos speaker of choice, open the Sonos app on your phone, tap the settings cog (bottom right), then pick Services & Voice and Add a Voice Assistant. You can then pick from Sonos Voice Control, the Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa, though you can only use one service at any particular time.
Instead of using the Sonos app to pick what music you want to listen to, you can use voice commands instead. But there’s so much more you can do with your voice-enabled Sonos speaker, and you won’t even need to lift a finger.
Sonos Voice Control
A lot of what you can do through the Sonos app you can control with your voice—all you need to say is “Hey, Sonos” to get the speaker to listen to you. After that, there’s a whole host of commands you can use.
Try saying “play…” followed by an artist, song, or album. If you want to specify the streaming service you want to use, you can name that too, otherwise the speaker will just use the one you’ve set as default. You can also say “play music” to pick up where you left off in a playlist, and “play something else” to let Sonos choose something for you.
Note that in terms of picking specific songs, artists, and albums, at the time of writing Sonos Voice Control only works with Sonos Radio, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Deezer, and Pandora, but the platform might also add the likes of Spotify and YouTube Music over time. If you use these unsupported services, it doesn’t mean that you can’t control music coming through them, but you’ll not be able to request specific tracks.
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All the basic music commands are supported across all services: You can pause or resume just by saying those words, and move between tracks by saying “previous song” or “next song”. The commands “turn on/off shuffle” and “turn on/off repeat” work as well. Saying “volume up” and “volume down” is also helpful, and you can specify exact volume levels if you need to. You can also just say “play quietly” to drop the volume down.
If you have a convoluted setup of Sonos voice-enabled speakers around your home, you can get a bit more ambitious with your voice commands, and swap music playback between rooms. If you say “also play it in the kitchen” for example, what you’re listening to will head to the kitchen speaker group as well. More complex commands work too, like “stop playing in the kitchen and play in the living room”. Just make sure that every gadget is properly identified with sensible names for each speaker group.
For a full updated list of voice commands, head to the official Sonos support page.
When it comes to the Google Assistant, once you’ve added it through the Sonos app, you can say “Hey, Google” to get speaker’s attention. It’ll work just like the Google Assistant on any other device, so as well as controlling your music, you can also ask about the weather or the upcoming events on your Google Calendar.
As with Sonos Voice Control, you can say “play…” and then whatever you want to start listening to. You can name songs, artists, or albums, and pick out playlists on particular music streaming services as well—just about every service out there works with the Google Assistant.
All of the commands that you would expect to have access to are available, as well. You’ll be able to say “volume up” or “volume down” for example, or “volume 50 percent” if you have an exact volume setting in mind. Commands like “next track” and “previous track” work for navigating through playlists as well, and you can often use a variety of words and phrases to get the same result, so “next track” and “skip” do the same job, for example.
As this is the Google Assistant, your commands are not limited to your Sonos setup, which effectively turns into a Google Nest speaker. If you have other devices connected through the Google Home app on your phone, like smart lights or a smart thermostat, you’ll be able to control them through your Sonos speaker, as well.
You can also use the Google Assistant to specify a particular room or a particular speaker for your music—just add the name of the speaker or the speaker group to your request.
Keep in mind that there are a few advanced commands that you get with Sonos Voice Control that are not supported by the Google Assistant. These include the ability to group and ungroup speakers using your voice.
If you want to speak to Alexa through your Sonos speakers, then just as on an Echo Show speaker, saying “Alexa” will wake up the device. You get access to all the Alexa commands, from shopping lists to historical facts.
You can add music services through the Alexa app on your smartphone, and as you would expect, the platform supports just about all of them. The Alexa app will ask you to specify one to use as a default, but you can also name the service you want to use when you’re requesting music through your speakers.
Playing music works the same as it does with Sonos Voice Control and the Google Assistant. You can simply say “play…” followed by the name of an artist, an album, a track, or a playlist on a specific service. You can also just say “play some music” to get a bespoke mix made up from your listening history.
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All the commands you need to control the music on your Sonos speakers are available through Alexa. You can skip forward and backward through tracks, pause and resume your music, and turn the volume up and down, or set it to a specific level. The voice commands for all those functions are exactly what you would expect them to be.
In terms of advanced functionality, it’s the same as it is with the Google Assistant. When you request music, you can tell Alexa which speaker or speaker group you want to hear it on, but you can’t group and ungroup speakers using your voice through Amazon’s digital assistant.
If all the voice control features on your Sonos don’t do it for you and you want to turn them off, you can do so on the same menu where you turned the feature on. Tap on your currently enabled voice assistant, then go through to the speaker it’s set up on to remove it.