Alexa’s pleasant, feminine voice has filled the homes of millions over the past few years, but now Amazon has finally released a masculine counterpart for it. Amazon is late to this — both Apple and Google have offered different voices, both feminine and masculine, in their virtual assistants for years. But late or not, it’s nice that Amazon is finally giving some choice for Alexa.
In addition to the two main Alexa voices, Amazon also has celebrity voices (right now you can choose between Samuel L. Jackson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Melissa McCarthy). These are programmed to work with certain phrases and answer select questions — mostly alarms and timers, jokes, or weather reports. They also cost $5 each. Any query to an Echo device that’s not supported by the chosen celebrity voice will get a response from the native Alexa voice.
There are two ways you can change the voice of Alexa on your Echo devices: through the device itself or through the Alexa app. Note that changing the voice through the device was less reliable for us — the surest way to do it is through the app.
Changing the voice only applies to the Echo device you’re currently using — if you want to switch to the masculine voice on multiple Echo speakers or displays in your home, you’ll have to do it one at a time. It’s also not possible to change the Alexa voice used by the smartphone app itself; that remains the original, feminine voice. Hopefully, in the future Amazon will add a way to change it globally for all the Echo devices on an account.
Without further ado, here’s how to change Alexa’s voice on an Echo device:
On an Echo or Echo Show:
- Say the command “Alexa change your voice.”
- If you have more than one Echo, Alexa will ask you to specify the device.
- Say the name of the device you want to change the voice on.
- If it is successful, Alexa will respond with the new voice and confirm that is how it will sound going forward.
- If it doesn’t work, Alexa will say something to the effect of “Sorry, [name of your device] doesn’t support that.”
In the Alexa app for iOS or Android:
- Tap on the Devices tab at the bottom.
- Tap on the Echo & Alexa button in the top left.
- Tap on the device you want to change Alexa’s voice on.
- Tap the Settings cog wheel button in the upper right.
- Scroll down to the option for Alexa’s Voice and tap on it.
- Choose either Original (the feminine voice) or New (the masculine voice).
- The Devices tab is the fourth one over from the left in the Alexa smartphone app. Screenshot: Dan Seifert / The Verge
- Once you’ve selected the device you want, tap the settings button in the upper right. Screenshot: Dan Seifert / The Verge
- Scroll down until you see Alexa’s Voice options, tap that. Screenshot: Dan Seifert / The Verge
- Choose either the Original (feminine) voice or the New (masculine) voice. Screenshot: Dan Seifert / The Verge
How to use a celebrity voice:
- Say “Alexa introduce me to [name of celebrity].”
- Alexa will switch over to the celeb voice you’ve selected and explain the things you can do with it. If you want to purchase the voice, you will be asked to confirm the charge to your Amazon account.
- Once enabled, you can say “Hey [celeb name]” to wake the Echo device. You can also enable the voice on each Echo you want to use it on. The standard Alexa voice is still available if you use the Alexa wake word.