The Yandex.Station audio system, with built-in “Alice” (developed by the company of the same name), allows you to control synchronized devices using voice commands. In this article, we will discuss connecting smart speakers to computers, and the process of setting them up to work together.
Features of Yandex.Station on a computer
Typically, Yandex Stations are used in conjunction with computers as classic wireless speakers that reproduce sound. But the possibilities of this device are much wider.
A smart speaker connected to a desktop computer or laptop can:
- search for queries on the Internet taking into account the context;
- inform the owners about the weather forecast, exchange rates, traffic jams, etc.;
- answer various questions based on information from the Internet;
- set timers and alarms, create reminders;
- turn on the necessary music on the PC, manage it (stop, rewind, resume playback);
- voice the news feed you are viewing;
- manage home appliances and Smart Home;
- turn on radio stations;
- find movies and series by title, genre or year of release;
- perform simple mathematical operations, etc.
Yandex.Station also has entertainment for children, including audio fairy tales, songs, puzzles, games, and more.
Yandex.Station can only be connected to a computer/laptop as a Bluetooth speaker. That is, a Bluetooth module is required for pairing. How to connect:
- Say “Alice, turn on Bluetooth” or press and hold the microphone button for five seconds until the backlight of the device starts blinking.
- Turn on Bluetooth on your computer and start searching for available Bluetooth devices.
- Select a Station from the list. Turn on the music to check if the connection is successful.
If your computer / laptop does not have Bluetooth, you can connect the speaker via an HDMI cable. But functionality will be limited.
Can you connect via hdmi?
The Big Station can be connected to a computer using an HDMI cable (Mini and Light do not have this bonus). This gives the user the opportunity to watch movies on video hosting sites from the screen of the device. While on these platforms, you can also give Alice voice commands – to search for content, etc.
HDMI cables are usually bundled with the computer and Yandex.Station itself. But the wire can be purchased separately.
How to connect:
- Insert the cable into the speaker’s dedicated connector.
- Insert the other end of the wire into the output of the computer.
- A new connection notification will appear on the PC monitor. You can start using the column.
Connection and setup
The process of connecting a smart speaker via Bluetooth differs depending on the version of the operating system installed on the computer.
For Windows 10
To pair Yandex.Station and a computer running Windows 10, you need to complete several steps. They are the following:
- Left-click on the Start icon on the taskbar and select Settings.
- Select “Devices” from the dropdown list.
- Click the “Bluetooth and other devices” tab. Set the wireless network slider to the On position. If the required item is not on this page, check for the presence of the Bluetooth module itself and drivers for it (how to do this is described below). Click the “Add Bluetooth or other device” block to search for the speaker. Next, select “Bluetooth” in the pop-up window and wait a couple of seconds.
- On the “Add device” page, select Yandex.Station from the list and click “Connect”. In most cases, no further action is required, but sometimes you will need a PIN code that is listed in the dealer’s documentation.
You can verify that the speaker and PC are successfully paired by checking the list of audio devices on the Bluetooth and other devices page.
For Windows 7 and 8
On computers running Windows 7 or 8, the pairing steps are slightly different from those described above. To perform a procedure:
- Go to “Device Manager” and open the “Bluetooth Radios” section. Right-click on the sub-item of this tab, and select “Enable” from the list. You have enabled the wireless network.
- Go to “ Control Panel ” in any convenient way and open the “Devices and Printers” page.
- Click “Add Device” on the top bar to automatically search. After that, Yandex.Station should appear in the window.
- Select a device from the list that appears.
Setting up the voice assistant
To open the Alice Assistant settings page, you must first display her panel on the screen. You can do this in three ways:
- Press the purple button to the right of the “Start”, and then click on the gear in the lower left corner of the panel that opens.
- Click on the icon with three horizontal dots in the upper right corner of the Alice panel, then select the last row.
- Using the context window – right-click on the purple icon with a microphone and select the top item with settings.
Let’s go through the options on the settings page. What we see first:
- Voice activation. Using the first paragraph, you can disable or enable the function that launches the Alice panel with your voice and the phrases “Listen / OK, Alice / Yandex”. When the option is enabled, your computer’s microphone will respond to these greetings.
- Disable “Listen, Alice”. The parameter allows you to exclude the inclusion of the assistant using this phrase. If you enable this line, then it will be possible to call the assistant window only by referring to it as “Yandex”.
- Alice’s voice responses. If you disable the third line, the helper will only respond in text. The voice guide will turn off, but you will be able to use your voice to make requests yourself.
- Search hints. The parameter allows you to quickly enter text queries – Alice displays many possible options for what needs to be found on the panel.
- Alice notifications. Activating this line will help you be the first to know about new assistant abilities.
The next item is a drop-down menu with microphone options. If you have more than one audio input device, you can select the one you want. Following are the settings:
- Working with files. This option allows you to specify how the found documents will be launched – open the folder containing the file in Explorer, or use the default utility tool to immediately launch the document in the specified format.
- Hotkeys. Here you can change the composition of the buttons, when clicked, the assistant window will open. Initially, this combination is ~ + Ctrl. You can change it to another – Windows ~ + (you need to click on the button with the OS icon – a square divided by four). Then comes the “Appearance” section, which displays the design options for the “Assistant” icon on the taskbar, and you can choose the one you like:
- Full format. When this item is selected, the query set field will be displayed in its entirety on the Taskbar. Use it only if space on the panel allows (if there are no fixed icons of other programs on it).
- Microphone icon. One icon appears on the panel – a ball with a white circle inside. The format completely removes the icon from the panel, but activation by voice or using a circle will be possible in a new browser tab. In the second case, the Alice panel appears in the center of the new tab window.
- Compact format. It consists of two symbols: a circle with a microphone and a circle with a white triangle inside. The first is responsible for establishing a dialogue between the user and Alice, the second is setting up a panel with fixed tabs with sites and pages on the Internet.
Using the big yellow button, you can turn off the assistant: the icon disappears from the panel immediately and stops being activated when Windows boots, that is, immediately after turning on the PC.
Setting up broadcast music
Although you have successfully connected the Station via Bluetooth, you still need to manually go into Windows settings to use the speaker as an audio output device. The steps are exactly the same for different versions of the operating system and must be exactly repeated for each new connection:
- Right-click on the sound icon in the taskbar notification area to open the playback devices window through the menu.
- On the Playback tab, left-click anywhere on the screen and select the Show Disabled Devices checkbox. After that, Yandex.Station should appear in the available audio output tools.
- To activate, select the device, right-click and use the “Enable” option. All computer sounds will immediately start outputting from the speaker.
You can turn off other outputs to limit the sound on the Station, which is especially useful on laptops with built-in speakers. This is done in exactly the same way, but instead of turning it on, you should use the “Disable” item.
If you don’t have a connection between Yandex.Station and your computer, it’s possible that your PC simply doesn’t have the required module. How to check for Bluetooth on PC:
- Open the Control Panel and go to the Hardware and Audio tab. If there is an item “Add a Bluetooth device” next to the “Devices and Printers” section, then the module is configured and working. Click on this link and connect your device.
- If there is no “Add a Bluetooth device” option, your computer does not have a Bluetooth module or it is not configured (driver not installed/disabled).
It is possible that the module is there, but there are no Bluetooth drivers, in which case it is permissible to simply download them from the Internet upon request.
If Bluetooth is not found, you can purchase a special external module:
How to install Bluetooth using an external module:
- Buy an adapter.
- Insert the module into a free USB socket on the PC.
- Wait for the automatic installation of the drivers. If it doesn’t, perform the manual installation using the Toshiba Bluetooth Stack program.
Video tutorial: https://youtu.be/sizlmRayvsU If your PC has Bluetooth but still can’t connect, the problem may be in the Station itself. Reset it to factory settings and then set it up again. How to roll back Alice:
- Disconnect the power adapter from the speaker.
- Hold down the power button and reconnect the adapter to the device.
- Hold down the power key until the light ring turns yellow. Then release the button and wait for Alice’s greeting.
Connecting Yandex.Station to your computer is easy. This requires that the PC has a Bluetooth module. But even without it, the connection is possible: through a cable, only the functionality of the column in this case will be very limited.