Discussion in 'Digital Sources' started by Gnesen, Mar 3, 2016.
I believe you have been stung by the Echo. Enjoy
They do more every day
Still not a Sonos equivalent by any means (extremely limited services, no NAS support, no ADC, etc) but new users will have a much more difficult time justifying a Sonos Connect now, given all that the Dot can do. Amazon has just today opened the Alexa device API and Multi-room API for developer preview. Sonos, Denon, Bose and Samsung are all on board.
What a huge update! Thanks for the info. I tested it with my 3 dots and it works great.
As you mentioned, the main shortfall is the inability to play music from your own drives and I don’t like the lack of a digital output, so I will still be using my Airplay devices, but it is so convenient to simply say “Alexa Play Sinatra Everywhere” and have music playing all over the house. It beats the heck out of jumping through hoops like you have to do with AirPlay and multiroom (at least for now). The fact is that if I am listening in multiple rooms, I am not listening critically, so I expect that I will use Alexa for that most of the time. With the songs I have loaded up to Amazon, Amazon Prime, Pandora, Tune In and SiriusXM, there will be no shortage of music options, so not being able to play local files is less of an issue. I just wish Amazon supported Apple Music or Google Play and I would be all set.
I did a quick test to see if it would send a Bluetooth signal from my phone to multiple speakers and I wasn’t able to get that to work, which is another shortfall.
That being said, if I used multiroom, the current capabilities are plenty. I do wonder how this affects their Amazon Echo Music subscription that only plays on one device for 3.99 a month? I expect it would not be able to take advantage of multiroom, but I would be curious to know for sure.
Open the pod(cast) doors, Alexa...
Google Home has had the multiroom and grouping plus voice control for some time now, plus far more available services (via Chromecast), casting from your NAS, digital out, etc. However, their far-field voice control is restricted to their $129 air freshener. Hopefully they will come out with a $50 CCA with far-field mics soon. Would be hard to beat.
I think there is room in the market for multiple companies. They all seem to have some advantages depending on whether you use Amazon, Android, or iOS. I am surprised Google hasn't made their music service available on the Echo, but that could be Amazon blocking them.
With the Dots, you get discounts during special events if you order something via the Echo versus ordering it online. You get notifications when something from Amazon is delivered or out for delivery. It also has their free Amazon Music Prime service for people that aren't subscribed to a service. In other words, it has features unique to Amazon.
I doubt that I will ever have Google's Home device in my house even though I use Youtube Red and have a few casting devices. I just feel they are too close to the "creepy line" to open my home to them. I know some people will appreciate the advantages (and there are plenty) of having Google know their every move, but that doesn't appeal to me.
Apple also announced a lot of vendors that would be adding Airplay 2, so I am curious to see what that entails. I am not a fan of the price of the HomePod, but I am curious to see how they approach this growing segment in the next year or so. As it is I will stick with the Dots, which I am pretty happy with despite a couple shortfalls I mentioned above. I mainly use them for background listening and for controlling lights in the house and they are great for that.
It is funny, I replaced an Airport Express in the master bath because I rarely use multiroom audio and I prefer the ability to use voice to connect to my phone versus needing to go through the Control Center. I thought I was giving up multiroom audio completely, but with this update, it is back and so easier to use than ever. Still don't know that I need music coming from rooms I am not in, but if I am cleaning the house or something, it might come in handy.
I am curious, for those that are big fans of multiroom audio, when do you use it? I typically just have my iPhone (or watch for Airplay) on me and have it connect to the Echo/Airplay device in the room I am in rather than playing music all over the house.
Staples has the Dot for $35 right now, after Ez rebate.
That is the other great thing about the Echo Dot, it is comparably cheap for $50, but it is also often on sale.
That's me. I guess the multi-room bug has yet to grip me as such a game changing feature. I'm sure it's nice & handy but it's no where as desirable and practical as the Alexa remote.
That said, after many years of flawless service, my 2nd gen Airport Express in the garage is beginning to act a bit flaky. So I see yet another Dot coming in the mail soon. Maybe then multi-room may make me giddy on certain social occasions. And with the remote in my shirt pocket....the feature is there...so why not.
As for Sonos, like Chicks said, their Connect is toast. This field has been Moore's Lawed and deep pocket bankrolled into a dog eat dog realm; and Sonos connect is wearing Milk-Bone underwear.
I will probably use the other new features like telling the Echo in the kitchen to play Clapton in the office more often than multiroom. I often grab a drink before heading into the cave, so it would be able to start up some music before I ever entered the space.
I may grab one of those remotes. That would come in handy for Plex control since it could be right next to my usual place on the couch. The Plex control pretty much gives you the ability to play music or movies just by asking for it. I don't think the feature is as smart as Siri. I have an album called "A1A" and there was no way to get Plex to play it from the many demands I tried. Siri gets it right on the first try. However, if I am watching a movie on Plex and want to just quickly switch to an album/artist in the collection, it is nice to just tell it to play (most) albums and have them automatically play. The problem right now is that I have to yell across the room over the music to select something else. The remote would fix that.
I agree that the Connect is dead because the price doesn't make any sense at all. Sonos is supposed to get an update to work with the Echo in the future and I saw an article that said they were working on a Sonos speaker with a microphone array. It definitely makes sense for Sonos to team up with one (or more) of the popular assistants. It would give them an advantage over everyone else that has a very limited group of speakers and only Apple is concentrating on audio quality.
Funny thing is, Yamaha just introduced a $350 Connect clone for its system. Doesn't make sense, except that it and the Connect enable legacy analog, like a tuner or turntable via a phonograph preamp, into the system (via ADC ). I guess there's a market, though it must be tiny compared to the wifi speaker market.
When I spin records, which I enjoy on the weekends, I want to be in the same room as the turntable, so don't need a Connect. But then, I have a receiver with phono inputs (actually several, lol), which the kidz with their new turntables don't, so maybe the Yammie / Connect make sense for them.
My parents use a Dot with a bluetooth speaker when they want to listen to music somewhere other than the living room where the big system is. The Dot also took the place of using their phones as the source and the convenience of voice command is also appreciated.
Their main system does have a bluetooth output which can link with the bluetooth speaker so they can listen to vinyl in another room, but personally I think having to go to a completely different room to flip over a record kind of kills the 'convenience'.
Do you have a link? I think it makes more sense if it had a DAC and worked with digital. $350 to add an analog input seems pricey considering the limited use case for analog and multiroom audio.
Oops, thought it was new, but now see the article is a year old.
Their WXC-50 "preamp" adds a couple of things the Connect doesn't offer, but it's functionally the same thing.
The relatively high prices are due to their limited market appeal.
I have a WXC-50. While it has some overlap with the Connect, it works as a DAC (optical input) and supports higher resolutions and DSD, so it appeals to more audiophiles than Sonos. Of course, it has analog inputs and works with MusicCast, but I suspect many have bought it for its flexibility (Bluetooth, Airplay, DLNA, Optical in & Analog inputs, subwoofer out, DSD, 24/96, etc.).
I think the higher price of the WXC-50, when compared with something like the Chromecast or Airport Express, is its DAC, build quality, inputs, outputs, and other features that aren't available in these cheaper devices. As I mentioned in a past post, I didn't pay for mine (other than taxes), so I can't say whether it is worth the money for everyone, but I replaced an Airport Express with it and I am happy to have it because of its flexibility. It gives me one audio device that can handle Bluetooth, Airplay, DLNA, optical input and analog. I use it to feed a headphone setup and my vintage Marantz. I use the Dot to turn on the receiver and send audio via Bluetooth when I am casually listening and if I am listening over headphones, I can listen to music from my network or Airplay.
I actually think Sonos and Yamaha are going for different consumers, even though there is obvious overlap. The one thing Sonos Connect has going for it is that if you are already in the Sonos ecosystem and if you want to have Sonos available on non-wifi speakers, it is the only option. It is ecosystem lock-in. The Yamaha works in the MusicCast system, so it has that advantage (though that ecosystem is not very mature compared to Sonos), but I bet more people are buying it as a stand alone audiophile device that works with many different services and has an ESS SABRE DAC for the optical input and networked files.
As a side note, CNET has reported that Amazon and Microsoft were teaming up so that the Dot will soon control Cortana. I have Cortana turned off on my Windows computers, but it might come in handy for some people.
I just read this whole thread. Very cool! My Dot will be here Tuesday. This thread prompted my order. I think the enhancements will arrive even faster than they have to this point. Digital out would be nice.
They are nice little devices. I have two, plus the original Echo (which Amazon is discounting heavily right now, I'm guessing a new generation will be out b4 Xmas). Enjoy!
Looks like Yammie will be Alexa-enabling in October (like everyone else in this space), now that Amazon finally has the Connected Speaker API semi-finalized. Took a year, with the participation of many hardware manufacturers, so should be pretty well polished. Look forward to it.
This little solid wood Dot case from Amazon.com looks pretty nice with vintage gear.
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