HOW TO USE VOICE COMMANDS TO CONTROL STREAMING MUSIC TO CARY AUDIO PRODUCTS
Nowadays, one can find a plethora of “smart” speakers in all sorts of price ranges. No doubt the attraction to a smart speaker continues to grow as the artificial intelligence (AI) continues to get better and better. The only problem is that most of these smart AI voice activated speakers are either closed or proprietary networked devices, or implemented directly into a speaker, which can be limiting. So, how do we get this fantastic and fun functionality into a high-quality audio system such as AiOS or even our SI-300.2d?
For the money, the sweet spot is the Amazon Echo Dot. At just $49.00 (watch Amazon for even better pricing) it has the same AI as its bigger and more expensive siblings and competitors. Although the Echo Dot includes um, a “speaker,” we’re more interested in integrating the Echo Dots voice AI to the AiOS and SI-300.2d, thereby adding some pretty nifty voice control via the very affordable Echo Dot.
There are two ways to do this:
Once you own an Echo Dot, you’ll have to download the Echo Dot app on your phone/tablet. Once that’s done, you’ll need to pair the Echo Dot to AiOS or the SI-300.2d. Turn on AiOS or the SI-300.2d and set it to Bluetooth. Open the Echo Dot app and go to the Bluetooth setting and pair the Echo Dot to AiOS or the SI-300.2d. That’s it!
To operate, make sure AiOS or the SI-300.2d are turned on and set to the Bluetooth input. As a reminder, you can set AiOS to always turn on into the Bluetooth input (AiOS app, Settings>>Startup>>Bluetooth), and the SI-300.2d will turn on the last input used.
- Use Alexa as you like, listen to internet streaming music services, audio books, news, and add tons of fun “skills” all with your voice. AiOS already includes some built-in internet streaming music services, but the Echo Dot can expand this. The SI-300.2d does not include any built-in internet music services, so incorporating the Echo Dot can really open up the world of Bluetooth and internet music all with your voice. As for more about “skills,” see further down. There’s also a lot of information on the web about this.
- To transfer the signal to AiOS or the SI-300.2d, simply say, “Alexa, Bluetooth,” or “Alexa, connect.” Now any function you ask Alexa to do will transmit through AiOS or the SI-300.2d.
- To stop the transmission, simply say, “Alexa, disconnect.”
Now you have an extremely high quality digital ecosystem and playback system within AiOS and the SI-300.2d, which can exploit Bluetooth to very high quality. Since Bluetooth is a digital signal, feel free to use AiOS’ and the SI-300.2d’s upsampling features while listening. The nice thing about Bluetooth is that the Echo Dot does not need to be located next to AiOS or the SI-300.2, only within Bluetooth range!
3.5MM AUDIO CABLE (ANALOG)
This will transmit an analog signal to AiOS’ LINE 3 input (must use a 3.5mm to stereo RCA adaptor on SI-300.2d) from the Echo Dot using the Dot’s own digital to analog converter. The upside, there’s nothing to setup or pair. Simply plug into AiOS or the SI-300.2d and talk away to Alexa. What’s more? AiOS can convert the analog input to digital, upsample, and convert back to analog which can enhance a simple analog connection.
ECHO DOT COMPETITORS
I’m not holding my breath, but let’s hope that someday the Echo Dot includes an optical or digital output. When/if that happens, it’ll be a big leap forward for even higher quality audio enjoyment. The Google Chromecast Audio does have a digital output, but no cheap or easy way to include voice control. Not even the Google Home Mini, as that has no output whatsoever, not even Bluetooth. For now, the Amazon Echo Dot’s Bluetooth or 3.5mm audio cable provides a fun, cheap, quick and simple good quality solution to adding voice control AI to products like AiOS and the SI-300.2d.
For advanced users of the Echo Dot, there are “skills” you can add. One is called “House Band,” which allows you to control your JRiver via Alexa. It adds some really cool JRiver functionality to your music listening experience all via simple voice commands. With AiOS, JRiver would have to be setup as the music server since AiOS is a network device. With the SI-300.2d, JRiver would be setup as an USB media player connected to the SI-300.2d’s computer USB-B input.
Have fun exploring all the great features and skills of the Amazon Echo Dot while tying it into AiOS or the SI-300.2d.
“Alexa, please send me a Cary Audio AiOS or SI-300.2d!”
If you are located within the United States and Canada, you can purchase directly from our factory.
If you are located outside the United States and Canada, you can find your local dealer/distributor here.