Amazon Echo gets new Adaptive Volume controls so Alexa can cut through the noise

Alexa Hunches can now be automated
(Image credit: Amazon)

Amazon has added yet another adaptive feature to its Echo smart speakers. By saying “Alexa, turn on Adaptive Volume” users might finally be able to hear what Alexa is saying even when everyone else is being too loud.

When turned on Adaptive Volume should allow the Alexa to detect if it’s in a noisy environment so it can respond more loudly if necessary. The noise could be from any source too like a vacuum cleaner, music from another speaker, or people talking nearby. Thanks to the feature you won’t have to constantly turn Alexa up and down to be able to hear what it has to say.

For now, the feature is only available in the US and while Amazon could not confirm any launches outside of that region, they did say that internationalization of all their services was incredibly important. So UK and Australian Alexa users might want to keep an eye out for an Echo update in the future.

What else can my Amazon Echo do? 

Amazon has added several audio-related features over the years, some you might not know about, so here’s a quick rundown of other functions you might want to use.

If you’re wanting to make Alexa quieter instead of louder, you’ll want to turn on Whisper Mode. You’ve probably already seen adverts for this online, but with Whisper Mode switched on Alexa will respond in hushed tones when you whisper to it yourself, making it less disruptive if someone’s trying to sleep or if you want to privately ask it a question.

Alternatively, if you want a better music experience from your smart speaker, some versions of Amazon’s smart speakers - like the Amazon Echo (2020) - implement adaptive sound. While it has a very similar name to Adaptive Volume it functions a little differently, by instead tweaking the speaker’s audio to suit the acoustics of the space it is placed in. However, it won’t really impact the volume, more just the general sound of what is playing.

Finally, if you want to keep the house quiet after your kid’s bedtime or need loud music to pump you up and get the day started right, you can include volume controls in Alexa routines. With this setup you won’t have to worry as much next time you accidentally request some music late at night, it shouldn’t disturb anybody.

Hamish Hector
Senior Staff Writer, News

Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.