Separate from the 4th Gen Echo’s adaptive audio, which adjusts sound output for music based on the layout of the room it’s in, Adaptive Volume centers on Alexa’s responses. The new feature is meant to automatically detect background noises, then adjust Alexa’s volume accordingly.
In theory, this makes Alexa automatically boost the volume for replies when your environment starts to get noisy. In practice, it seems a little spotty. When The Verge gave Alexa’s new Adaptive Volume a try with an Echo Dot, sometimes the volume stayed level despite nearby ambient noises. Whether this was due to the location of the Echo Dot, the nature of the ambient noises, or the Adaptive Volume’s performance remains to be seen.