Author Topic: Tell me about smart speakers  (Read 956 times)

PaulF

  • "World's Scariest Barman"
  • It's only impossible if you stop to think about it
Tell me about smart speakers
« on: July 24, 2019, 06:24:01 am »
Considering a smart speaker to act as an alarm clock and play streaming radio services. Don’t need it to control my home or do the shopping list but Apple Music would be a nice to have. [/size]The Echo Dot and Google Home Mini come up at the right price; any thoughts on them? Or alternatives?I know that a DAB radio would do the job but there’s no reception in the room. And phone is outThanks [/color]

Re: Tell me about smart speakers
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2019, 07:46:57 am »
Mrs Pcolbeck is very happy with her Amazon Echo Spot. It works as a clock with a choice of faces and also an alarm. It also plays music surprisingly well for such a small thing. Don't know if it does Apple Music as we dont subscribe to that but probably not as it's an Amazon device. It does Amazon Music though which we do subscribe to. Also plays all the Internet streaming radio stations with no fuss.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

PaulF

  • "World's Scariest Barman"
  • It's only impossible if you stop to think about it
Re: Tell me about smart speakers
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2019, 08:09:45 am »
Thanks

Re: Tell me about smart speakers
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2019, 09:16:02 am »
An Echo dot would do exactly the same as the Spot by the way but you wouldn't get the nice screen that works as a clock (can also do video calling etc). We have an echo and an echo dot as well. The echo is a pretty good speaker. The dot is connected to the HiFi for when we want more umph so cant comment about its speaker really.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Re: Tell me about smart speakers
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2019, 09:20:12 am »
It seems there is a new Echo Show designed to be a bedroom clock / smart speaker. Its cheaper than the spot as well:

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/jul/24/amazon-echo-show-5-review-smaller-cheaper-alexa-display

I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Re: Tell me about smart speakers
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2019, 09:56:20 am »
if a DAB radio is a good solution but you are put off by signal strength issues, a suggestion is to try a top quality radio.  I had similar issues and only tried a better radio because I could do so easily.  It (a top of the line Roberts) was so much better at making sense of the weak signal available I found it hard to credit.

cheers

PaulF

  • "World's Scariest Barman"
  • It's only impossible if you stop to think about it
Re: Tell me about smart speakers
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2019, 10:16:20 am »
We've got a Roberts but doesn't work in that room. A lot to do with 2' stone walls and being in the lee of a hill

Re: Tell me about smart speakers
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2019, 10:30:41 am »
ah!   I wonder if there are models which can use a remote antenna?  (I just checked and mine doesn't have that socket...)

FWIW when I was a kid I had an old valve radio with short wave and 'trawler' bands.  The antenna was about 100' of old cable trailed around the attic, and when atmospheric conditions were good, you could pick up stations broadcasting on the other side of the globe. It did sound a bit like the 'sub-ether' radio on "the Hitch Hiker's guide to the galaxy" though....

cheers

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Tell me about smart speakers
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2019, 11:39:19 am »
Surely internet streaming clock-radios that don't record your every word and send it to $evilco's minimum-wage employees are a thing?
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Tell me about smart speakers
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2019, 11:42:18 am »
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Tell me about smart speakers
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2019, 11:47:02 am »
I'm very happy with the fleet of Sonos speakers I have. No clock, of course, though you can ask either Alexa or Google Assistant the time, set alarms etc. I use internet radio or AirPlay to play music and they sound a lot better than the tinny little speakers (we have an Amazon Dot in the bedroom, if they want to listen to my bedroom noises, they're welcome). Works with all the subscription music services (Apple, Spotify, Amazon, etc.)
!nataS pihsroW

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: Tell me about smart speakers
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2019, 06:35:13 pm »
I've got a Google Home Mini. I quite like it, handy for streaming radio, or Spotify. Can also upload your own MP3s to Google Play, then play that for free. Sound quality is not too bad, so long as you don't need it too loud.
And pretty small and neat, can be wall mounted with a cheap bracket off Ebay.
Though no display or clock, and not many buttons. So using voice commands for everything. It would be nice if it had some sort of shortcut buttons, for radio stations etc.
Or you can use it like a Chromecast, ie cast music from your phone/tablet. Can be useful for some apps, or if you want to find a specific album/song etc.

Not sure how well it works as an alarm clock. You can set an alarm for specific time, just a beeping noise. Don't know if you can set a radio alarm, or repeating alarms for different days etc? Should be able to setup a scheduled routine, but that doesn't seem to work for me.

I also have an Onkyo speaker with Google Home. It is basically just a bigger version, so better sound quality, louder with more bass (maybe a bit too much bass for some things).

Re: Tell me about smart speakers
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2019, 07:23:45 pm »
We have 2x Echo dot and 2x Echo. The Dot is surprisingly good quality and we have replaced 2 x radios with it, acceptable quality and takes up minimum space. Bluetooth is good too and they can play from Spotify.

We also borrowed a Sonos Play1, this is very good quality and can play from a NAS, much more expensive, but we'll probably buy one, especially for the NAS.

It's worth noting that Spotify can easily substitute for all the music stored on a NAS, but I've spent that time & money already.

PaulF

  • "World's Scariest Barman"
  • It's only impossible if you stop to think about it
Re: Tell me about smart speakers
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2019, 07:43:41 pm »
Thanks all!

Just found a good deal on an Amazon Dot so that’s on it’s way.

Valiant

  • aka Sam
    • Radiance Audio
Re: Tell me about smart speakers
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2019, 11:11:30 pm »
Get a bluetooth speaker and just using your phone is an option, also if you don't want to use Evilco you could use a service like jeeves and run it off a andriod device.
You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted, then used against you.

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Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Tell me about smart speakers
« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2019, 11:54:11 pm »
Nowadays Smart Speakers are required in parliament to deal with the self serving idiots that surround them.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Re: Tell me about smart speakers
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2019, 01:35:44 pm »
I'm very happy with the fleet of Sonos speakers I have

Yep, we're the same...a Sonos in almost every room, they just work.

IKEA's SYMFONISK collaboration with them has just launched; a speaker in a lamp for £150, or a subtle bookshelf-style speaker for £99...both can be used on their own or they can also merge into existing Sonos set-ups.

It'll be interesting to see what they bring into the range next, be nice to have a wireless speaker to take outdoors or use in the bathroom.
One Man and LEJOG : End-to-End on Two Wheels in Two Weeks (Buy the book; or Kindle it)

Re: Tell me about smart speakers
« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2019, 04:28:28 pm »
I'm very happy with the fleet of Sonos speakers I have

Yep, we're the same...a Sonos in almost every room, they just work.


Until they stop working. Well my Sonos One's decided to stop recognising Alexa, for no apparent reason, and as I'd bought them precisely because of the voice control (one in the kitchen for use when cooking, one in the shed for use when turbo'ing and fettling) this was rather annoying. They're now equipped with Google Assistant instead, which, touch wood, seems to be stable so far.
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Tell me about smart speakers
« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2019, 05:30:04 pm »
Alexa occasionally becomes unresponsive, but mostly a reboot works. You can check in the Alexa app or on Amazon that she's active on the device in question. You can order her to reconnect to all available devices.

My wife bought one of the Ikea lamp ones (she went to buy a floor mat). The bookcase ones look to be a bargain.
!nataS pihsroW

Re: Tell me about smart speakers
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2019, 07:12:43 pm »
I got her back on the speakers, but she still refused to connect to Spotify or tunein despite them being shown in the app, even after I de- and re-registered them on Amazon. In the end I went with Google and I’m back hands free. There’s nothing that I want Alexa to do for me that Google can’t. I still use Alexa to cast from an Echo Dot to the Sonos TV Playbase, as that’s a dumb speaker.

I should add that two Play Ones make an awesome stereo pair.
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

Wombat

  • Is it supposed to hurt this much?
Re: Tell me about smart speakers
« Reply #20 on: August 14, 2019, 10:34:06 pm »
ah!   I wonder if there are models which can use a remote antenna?  (I just checked and mine doesn't have that socket...)

FWIW when I was a kid I had an old valve radio with short wave and 'trawler' bands.  The antenna was about 100' of old cable trailed around the attic, and when atmospheric conditions were good, you could pick up stations broadcasting on the other side of the globe. It did sound a bit like the 'sub-ether' radio on "the Hitch Hiker's guide to the galaxy" though....

cheers

My personal belief if that any manufacturer who makes a radio without an antenna socket, or one which won't reliably pick up a signal in most of the UK deserves ritual disembowelment.  I'm looking at you, Roberts, purveyors of crap that a) doesn't work reliably in either Hampshire or Powys, b) the knobs go sticky and 'orrible after 5 years, c) has a charger that destroys eneloop batteries, d) loses its entire memory in not much more time than a hasty battery change takes, and e) has a battery retaining system that makes hasty changes almost impossible.  Oh, and f) uses more power than a Tesla doing 0-60 in 3.5 seconds.  Last Roberts to be purchased by us...
Wombat

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Tell me about smart speakers
« Reply #21 on: August 14, 2019, 11:51:04 pm »
I'm very happy with the fleet of Sonos speakers I have

Yep, we're the same...a Sonos in almost every room, they just work.

IKEA's SYMFONISK collaboration with them has just launched; a speaker in a lamp for £150, or a subtle bookshelf-style speaker for £99...both can be used on their own or they can also merge into existing Sonos set-ups.

It'll be interesting to see what they bring into the range next, be nice to have a wireless speaker to take outdoors or use in the bathroom.

"Hey, Simpfonesk, have I any chance of pronouncing your name right and getting you to switch the light on?"
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Valiant

  • aka Sam
    • Radiance Audio
Re: Tell me about smart speakers
« Reply #22 on: August 16, 2019, 12:50:06 am »
I'm very happy with the fleet of Sonos speakers I have

Yep, we're the same...a Sonos in almost every room, they just work.

IKEA's SYMFONISK collaboration with them has just launched; a speaker in a lamp for £150, or a subtle bookshelf-style speaker for £99...both can be used on their own or they can also merge into existing Sonos set-ups.

It'll be interesting to see what they bring into the range next, be nice to have a wireless speaker to take outdoors or use in the bathroom.

"Hey, Simpfonesk, have I any chance of pronouncing your name right and getting you to switch the light on?"

Sadly no smart features, just the ability to send music via the app or sonos.
You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted, then used against you.

Support Equilibrium