Amazon Alexa now has a masculine voice to go with the premium celebrity options and the default feminine-sounding assistant. There's a new wake word option as well: Ziggy.
Alexa debuted in 2013 along with the original Echo smart speaker, so it's taken eight years for Amazon to add an alternative masculine voice. With smooth tones and clear diction, the voice sounds a little like a mid-morning radio host.
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Google and Apple have long offered multiple voice options for Google Assistant and Siri — as of iOS 14.5, in fact, Apple stopped making a female voice the default option for its assistant. It's good to see Amazon finally taking the leap as well. Amazon does offer some celebrity voices, such as Samuel L. Jackson, Shaquille O'Neal and Melissa McCarthy, but those each cost $5. Santa Clause is free, however.
Amazon wasn't exactly imaginative (opens in new tab) when it came to the names of the two core voices. The first one is called "Original" and the latest is named "New." Ziggy, meanwhile, is the most recent addition to a list of wake words. Along with that one and Alexa, you can opt to use "Computer," "Echo" or "Amazon."
How to change Alexa's voice
Switching between Alexa voices is a cinch. Just say "Alexa" (or whatever your wake word is), followed by "change your voice." To switch wake words, just ask the assistant to "change your wake word." Easy as pie.
Bear in mind that you might need to change the voice and wake word manually on each Alexa device. You can also make adjustments to the voice via the Alexa app settings.
It seems the latest Alexa voice is only available in the U.S. for now. It may be available in other regions later.
One big advantage of switching to the new wake word is that there will probably be fewer instances of a TV ad accidentally triggering your Echo devices. Just be careful whenever you're listening to some classic David Bowie tunes, though. Otherwise, Alexa (or Ziggy) might start playing some guitar music.