Alexa is one of the best voice assistants around, but shouting commands in their way isn’t always ideal. Fortunately, Amazon has equipped the assistant with Whisper Mode – a feature that makes it easy to get the morning news or weather forecast without waking your spouse or a sleeping child. Here’s a closer look at how Whisper Mode works with Alexa and why you might want to use it.
How to use Alexa’s Whisper Mode
Engaging whisper mode is pretty straightforward, but how does it work? Also, does it work like regular speech? We have another question, like does Alexa’s voice sound creepy when she whispers? Here’s how it works, why it works, and how to turn on whisper mode.
There are two different ways to start Alexa speaking very slowly.
The first method is simple. Just say, “Alexa, turn on whisper mode.” Alexa will respond with a confirmation that whisper mode has been enabled.
Activate Whisper mode
Another way to get Alexa to have a soft, conversation at night is to set the whisper mode setting in the Amazon Alexa app. Here’s how.
Step 1: Open the Amazon Alexa app.
Step 2: Tap on In addition tab located at the bottom right.
Step 3: pat Settings in the list.
Step 4: Scroll down and tap Voice Responses listed below Alexa Preferences.
Step 5: Tap the toggle next to Whisper Mode to do this part.
How does whisper mode work?
In order for Alexa to use whisper mode, the smart speaker needs to detect whether or not someone is whispering, understand the voice input, and respond in kind.
The problem is, when you whisper, you’re not really using your voice.
“Whispered speech is usually inaudible, which means it does not involve vibration of the vocal cords, and it has less energy in the lower frequency bands than ordinary speech,” Alexa Speech Group scientist Zeynab Raeesy explained in Amazon Alexa Developers Blog.
Whisper mode uses long short-term memory neural networks (LSTMs), which are used in speech recognition. Alexa’s end-to-end teaching process — how it detects when you’ve finished speaking a command and expects a response — is also important. Silence is part of the input for whisper detection as well.
In an effort to solve this non-voice problem, Alexa scientists analyzed the highest LSTM confidence data in speech frames and then made adjustments for optimal effectiveness. These improvements allow Alexa to understand and respond to different volumes, even whispers.
In our experience, some Echo devices are better at detecting whispers than others. We found the Echo Dot to perform very well, though your mileage may vary based on which product you use.
Is it good?
Alexa can recognize whispers as well as normal voices, with a distinct difference. You need to be close to the speaker when you’re whispering for Alexa to understand what you’re saying. That is especially true if there are any background noises.
If Alexa doesn’t quite understand what you’re whispering to her, she’ll let you know by whispering back to you: “Sorry, I didn’t understand that.”
Fortunately, Alexa’s human voice means her whispers aren’t distracting or robotic.