Amazon Echo speakers have a little-known capability: You can combine them to use Alexa for multi-room audio. They aren't set up for multi-room audio to start with, but it's not hard to do. Here's everything you need to know to transform the Alexa speakers throughout your home into a multi-room music system.
If you are thinking, "Gee, this sounds familiar" then we have two comments: 1) Nice pun! and 2) Yes, this multi-room functionality is not unlike the way Sonos works.
What Is Multi-Room Audio?
Multi-room audio is becoming pretty popular. In a nutshell, it's simply the ability to play the same audio source on speakers in different rooms, in perfect synchronization, so you can go from room to room and hear the music play seamlessly. All this can be controlled from a single app or controller, giving you the ultimate control over music in your home.
This used to be difficult to do and required specialized hardware. Sonos was one of the first relatively affordable multi-room solutions, but in recent years both Amazon Echo speakers running Alexa and Google Home speakers have added multi-room capabilities as well. (Currently, Sonos is suing Google for infringing on its multi-room audio patents.)
How to Set Up Alexa Multi-Room Music
To set up multi-room audio, you need to use the Amazon Alexa mobile app to create groups and assign speakers to those groups. You can make as many groups as you like, and any Alexa speaker can be in more than one group. In this way, you can group all the speakers upstairs into a single group called "Upstairs" but also include those same speakers in a group called “Whole House.” You can then tell Alexa to play music in the group of your choice. You can only play one group at a time, though, so you can't play music in both the Upstairs and Downstairs groups at once.
To get started, you need two or more Amazon Echo speakers. Virtually all Amazon-branded Echo speakers are compatible. The exceptions: You can't use the Echo Tap or third-party speakers which happen to have Alexa built in. All the Echo speakers need to be set up and on the same Wi-Fi network.
Start the Amazon Alexa app on your phone or tablet and tap the house-shaped Devices button at the bottom right of the screen.
Tap the plus sign at the top right corner and then, in the pop-up, tap Set Up Multi-Room Music. If you see an introductory welcome screen, tap Continue.
Start by creating your first group. Choose a group from the list. When you choose a group name, tap Next.
You can modify the name of your group by selecting Edit Name. Then, choose the speakers you want to include in your group. You can tap some or all of the speakers. When you're done, tap Save.
After you save your first group, you can go back and create more groups.
How to Control Multi-Room Music with Alexa
After you set up one or more groups, it's time to have fun playing music in more than one room at a time. You can command Alexa to play music by saying “Alexa, play music [group name].” In other words, you can say “Alexa, play music downstairs.”
Multi-room music works with all the usual Alexa commands as well. You can ask for specific artists, albums, specific songs, genres, and more. Here are some examples:"Alexa, play Moving Pictures by Rush downstairs.""Alexa, play The White Stripes upstairs.""Alexa, play blues everywhere.""Alexa, pause the music everywhere."