Amazon Echo Dot on Sonos Play:5

How to use the Amazon Echo Dot with Sonos

The Amazon Echo Dot is a tiny gadget that acts as a digital assistant for your home. What makes it special is that it doesn’t have any screens  it’s controlled entirely with your voice. If you have a Sonos sound system, you can connect the Echo Dot to it, giving you reliable voice control of music, web searches, and a lot more. You get the best of both worlds: Amazon’s excellent voice interface and the great sound quality of Sonos.

Let’s get this out of the way in the beginning:

If you only have the Sonos PLAY:1 or the Sonos PLAY:3 speakers, there is no easy way to connect them to the Echo. Neither feature a line input, which is required for an easy connection. However, if you’re technically inclined, and you have a home server that you’re capable of programming, you can set up this solution from github.

NOTE: The Github solution also works with the larger Amazon Echo.

If you only have a PLAY:1 or a PLAY:3, you can buy a used Sonos Zone Player 90 from eBay, and be able to integrate an Echo Dot into your system. Currently, they sell for around $275 to $300. This isn’t ideal, but it’s the cheapest way to go if you can’t get the Github solution running.

Another option for PLAY:1 and PLAY:3 owners is to buy a used Sonos PLAY:5 speaker. It’s easy to connect the Dot to a PLAY:5, and doing so will integrate it with any other Sonos speakers in your home. The first generation of the PLAY:5 works perfectly with the Dot, and they can easily be purchased on eBay for around $340 USD as Buy It Now items, or from $200 to $300 in auctions.

You can easily connect the Amazon Echo Dot to these Sonos products:

  • PLAY:5 wireless speaker
  • Sonos Connect
  • Sonos Connect:Amp

If you have older Sonos equipment, you can also connect the Echo Dot to the ZonePlayer 120 and the ZonePlayer 90.

When you have your Amazon Echo Dot connected to a Sonos, you can wirelessly stream the audio from the Dot to any other Sonos speakers in your home.

This is how it’s done…

Sonos Play:5

Using the Echo Dot with the Sonos PLAY:5

The easiest way to integrate the Amazon Echo Dot into a Sonos system is with the PLAY:5 wireless speaker. Why? It features a mini-plug line input (which the PLAY:1 and PLAY:3 sorely lack). Unfortunately, the Dot doesn’t come with the cable you need to connect. But, this cable is inexpensive. This 3.5mm male-to-male cable from AmazonBasics will do the trick. Just get a cable like that, plug them in and you’re done. Well… almost.

After the two devices are connected, you need to launch the Sonos app on your phone or tablet, tap the hamburger menu in the top left corner, and select Line-In from the menu in the app. Now you can start talking to Alexa and hear her respond with full, rich sound.

A better way to go is to turn on the Autoplay feature on your Sonos, so you don’t have to fiddle with your mobile device at all. Clearly written instructions for how to do this can be found in my 5 important tips for using the Amazon Echo Dot with Sonos post. And, as the title implies, there are 4 more great tips in that post.

Sonos PLAY:5 line input

If you have additional Sonos speakers in other rooms of your home, you likely won’t be able to control the Echo Dot if it cannot hear you clearly. A work-around is to use the Amazon Voice Remote. It was designed to work with the Echo. You speak into a microphone in the remote, and it has additional buttons for volume control and song playback. It connects via Bluetooth, so it could get out-of-range if it gets too far away from your Echo.

Sonos Connect

Using the Echo Dot with the Sonos Connect

It isn’t terribly complicated to connect the Amazon Echo Dot to the Sonos Connect. If you’re not familiar with the Connect, it’s a device that enables you to use Sonos with powered speakers or an existing sound system (such as a home stereo system). You plug the Sonos Connect into your powered speakers or your stereo system just as you would plug in an external CD player. Then you can open the Sonos app on your phone, and stream music to it.

The Sonos Connect features a dual RCA line input. This is where you need to plug in the Echo Dot. A brand new Sonos Connect is supposed to come with an included stereo mini-plug to dual RCA male cable. This is what you need to connect the output of the Echo Dot to the input of the Sonos. If you don’t have this cable, this is the one you need.

You simply connect the Dot with that kind of cable, then launch the Sonos app on your phone or tablet. Tap the hamburger menu in the top left corner, and select Line-In from the menu in the app. Providing that you have the outputs of the Sonos Connect plugged into a speaker system, you can start talking to Alexa. If you get too far away from the microphones on the Dot, you can control it with the separately available Amazon Voice Remote.

If you have the older Sonos ZonePlayer 90, it works exactly like the Sonos Connect. Follow the same instructions above and you’re good to go.

Sonos Connect:Amp

Using the Echo Dot with the Sonos Connect:Amp

As you can see from the picture above, the Sonos Connect:Amp is extremely similar to the Sonos Connect. What makes them different is that the Connect:Amp has a built in amplifier, so you can connect passive, unpowered speakers to it. Why would you want to do this? It’s a simpler setup. Powered speakers need to plug into AC outlets, unpowered speakers just need to plug into the Connect:Amp.

The way you connect and use the Echo Dot with the Sonos Connect:Amp is the same as is explained above in the section about the Sonos Connect.

If you have the older Sonos ZonePlayer 120, it works exactly like the Sonos Connect:Amp. Go ahead and follow the instructions above for connecting the Echo Dot to the Sonos Connect.

Thanks for checking out this post. If you found it helpful, you can help me by using the purchase links below. Thanks!

Purchase links:

Amazon Echo Dot - Amazon USA, Amazon.uk, Amazon.de, there are some interesting bundles available at B&H Photo
Cable required to connect Dot to PLAY:5 - Amazon USA, Amazon.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr
Amazon Echo (larger model) - Amazon USA, Amazon.uk, Amazon.de, B&H Photo
Sonos Play:5 - Amazon USA, Amazon.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr
Used Sonos Play:5 - eBay USA
Sonos Connect - Amazon USA, Amazon.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr
Sonos Connect:Amp - Amazon USA, Amazon.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr

ALSO… check out my post about the All-New Amazon Echo Dot (2nd Generation), listen to this podcast where we review the Amazon Echo Dot, and definitely check out my 5 important tips for using the Amazon Echo Dot with Sonos post!

Published by

Sam

Writer, musician, photo taker and video maker. When not writing somewhat longish articles for this blog, I write incredibly short things on Twitter: @SamMallery

21 thoughts on “How to use the Amazon Echo Dot with Sonos”

  1. Thanks very much for taking the time to research and write this. I was wondering if it was possible to connect a Echo Dot ot my Sonos PLAY:5

    One question : Once connected to the Play:5 – do you ALWAYS have to use the Sonos app to select Line-In to talk to Alexa – or will it always be listening ? Or – to put it another way – once configured – will Alexa mute the volume of music and respond when asked – or do you always have to ‘wake’ her using the Sonos app (the latter approach seems far less spontaneous and more clumsy) So maybe better getting the full Echo ?

  2. Hi Jim!

    Thanks for commenting. You don’t need to always use the Sonos app to select the line-in. You only need to do this after powering the Sonos off and on again. I have the PLAY:5 and an Amazon Dot in my home, and it does get powered off occasionally, so I find myself going into the Sonos app a couple of times a week, but it’s not an nuisance. Once it’s configured, the Dot continues to listen, so if music is playing, you can still speak to it, it will pause the music and respond, no fiddling around with the Sonos app is necessary.

    I wish I didn’t need to use the Sonos app at all. It would be better if the PLAY:5 detected that a jack was plugged into its line-input and just switched automatically. But, even the way it is, the Dot and the PLAY:5 make a nice combo.

  3. Sam, thank you for explaining this. After reading it I ordered 2nd generation Echo Dot. The new one does not come with an audio cable, but Amazon suggested an Amazon Basics 3.5mm Male to Male Stereo Audio Cable – 4 ft, and that works well. Amazon suggests putting the Echo Dot at least 3 ft from the speaker, so consider a longer cable if you don’t have a straight run.
    By the way, the new Play:5 line-in setup lets you choose an “Autoplay Room,” so you can cast the Echo Dot audio output to any Sonos speaker you have, without having to use the Sonos app to select line-in. Seems to work best (in terms of turning on right away) to the speaker it’s plugged into.
    This is a lot of fun! Thanks again for explaining it all.

  4. Thanks for letting me know that the new Dot doesn’t come with an audio cable. I have since updated this post with that information.

    I currently use my Echo Dot right on top of my PLAY:5 speaker. We do end up hollering at Alexa to get her attention. Perhaps I’ll move it a few feet away to see if it helps. Thanks for the tip!

    It’s good to know that the newer PLAY:5 speaker has Autoplay functionality. I looked into it, and it’s actually available on the older PLAY:5 too! I needed to update the Sonos app on my iPhone, and then, using the app, I needed to update software on my PLAY:5. After that, I was able to go into the Settings on the Sonos app and enable Autoplay. Thanks for the excellent tip!

    I ended up writing clear instructions for how to get Autoplay working, along with four other helpful tips in this post. Thanks for commenting!

  5. I’ve followed your instructions with my first generation play5 and I can control that speaker via Alexa.

    But how do I control other sonos components? What are the step by step instructions to make that happen?

    Thank you!

    Jacques Habra

  6. I have an Amazon Echo and 2 Dots in my house. One of my Dots is in my kitchen and the second in my bedroom. I also have 2 Sonos Play:1, 1 in my bedroom and 1 in my basement. My question is, if I buy a Play:5 and put it in my kitchen and hook up my kitchen Dot, will my bedroom Dot recognize it when I ask Dot to play music on my bedroom Sonos Play:1? So, I would be asking a Dot that is not connected with a line in/out to play music on a Sonos that also is not connected to any Dot by line on/out, whIle having two other components connected, but not active during my request.

  7. Hi Brett! Thanks for commenting. I don’t think the Echo Dot can do what you’re asking. While Sonos speakers do create their own wireless network to share music from room to room, the Amazon Echo lacks a wireless communication system from unit to unit. However, back in August, Sonos announced that they will release an Amazon Echo skill that will enable you to do what you’re asking — without you needing to purchase a Play:5. However, the only release date they’ve published so far is “…in 2017.” So, whether that means January or December is anyone’s guess, but hopefully it will come sooner rather than later.

  8. The Sonos Playbar only has an optical audio input and Ethernet ports, so unfortunately you cannot plug an Echo Dot directly into it. The only way to get it would be to use the technically-challenging Github solution mentioned in this article.

  9. Unfortunately, I think you need to use the Sonos app to do that. The good news is that in August of 2016, Sonos announced that you will soon be able to control their speakers with an Amazon Echo. The release date “…in 2017,” so, hopefully it will happen soonish.

  10. Hi Sam,

    Thanks for all this info!

    I have a Sonos Play:1 and also have a Bridge and a Connect (connected to my traditional stereo so I can play my Sonos music library from iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, etc. and control my stereo with the Sonos App). My question – if I get an Echo Dot and wire it to the Connect, will I be able to tell Alexa to play music on the Play:1 speaker?

    Thanks!

  11. Hi Greg,

    Sorry about my late reply. If you plugged a Dot into the Connect, you couldn’t tell Alexa to route audio only to your separate Play:1 speaker. There currently isn’t an integration between the Dot and Sonos, although this is in the works and is supposed to be released sometime this year (in 2017).

    You could set up your Play:1 to play the same material that is playing in your Connect with the Sonos app, then tell Alexa to play something, and it should work. Not ideal, but this may be a decent compromise before the real integration comes along.

    Thanks for commenting!
    Sam

  12. Could you help? I have a stereo pair of play 5’s. Amazon Dot plays only one speaker. I have tried several things, to no avail. Surly I don’t need to buy another dot for the same room.

  13. Hi John! I read through much of the Play:5 manual, and it does not mention of how pairing speakers limits what you can do with the line-in connection. You should probably try asking Sonos technical support. Their number is 1-800-680-2345. If you use Twitter, they say tweeting will get you the fastest response: https://twitter.com/sonossupport

    Let me know how this turns out!

    Thanks,
    Sam

  14. Sam
    Your instructions are freaking brilliant. It was as easy as pie to follow the set up. But I am having one issue that perhaps you can help with — when I speak to Alexa while playing music (for example), and she responds by changing the music (for example), I lose the grouping among all my Sonos speakers, and then I only have audio from the single speaker into which the echo dot is plugged. I have to go to my computer and regroup the other speakers. Do you have a fix for this?

  15. Hi Chris,

    I’ve never encountered your issue because I only own a single Sonos Play:5. I want more, I just haven’t got them yet.

    Other people have commented with a similar issue where they have a pair of Play:5’s in a stereo group, and when they speak to their Echo Dot, they lose the stereo grouping.

    My advice is to contact tech support at Sonos. Their phone number in the US is 1-800-680-2345, and if you use Twitter, tweeting at them gets a fast response: https://twitter.com/sonossupport

    If you resolve this issue, it would be great to know the solution.

    Thanks,
    Sam

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