One Echo is good, but several Echos are better. Amazon’s Echo devices have multiroom audio support, which allows users to simultaneously stream music over multiple speakers, making it feasible for people to outfit their entire homes with Amazon’s smart speaker.
The feature lets you play audio from Amazon Music, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, Pandora, Spotify, and Sirius XM over multiple speakers. It even added Apple Music support last December. (Note: multiroom audio support only works if you’re listening to a single music stream over multiple speakers. If you want to listen to more than one stream over different speakers at the same time, you’ll have to use the Amazon Unlimited Family Plan.)
To set up multiroom audio, open the Alexa app and select “Devices” from the bottom right corner. Tap the + icon in the top right, and select “Set Up Multi-Room Music.” The app will then prompt you to create a group, making it easier to control music playback by saying things like “Alexa, play music upstairs” instead of calling out individual speakers. Once you’ve created your group(s), add your desired devices, and the setup is complete.
Using multiroom audio is as simple as everything else with the Echo — just say where you want the music to play. Saying “Play Justin Timberlake” followed by the name of your group will activate the music in your desired location, and so far, it’s worked flawlessly in my testing.
If you’re like me and you enjoy the ease of use that multiroom audio support provides but you would like to utilize it with better speakers — like Sonos, for example — you can do that as well. First, you have to use your Alexa app to add the Sonos Skill and to discover your Sonos devices. You should also add the music services that you are using with your Sonos system. (Any music services you want to use need to be on both the Alexa and Sonos apps.) You can then control your Sonos devices using Alexa and create groups of Sonos products within your Alexa app. (You can also associate Alexa with a single Sonos speaker and use your Sonos app to create a group associated with that speaker.)
Sonos may not be the only company rolling out an integration with Amazon. Amazon has released an API to allow third-party Alexa speakers to operate within the multiroom audio playback setup. At this rate, soon, Alexa will be the main operator of all the music in your home, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
Multiroom audio playback is available to Echo owners in the US, UK, and Germany on Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show devices.
Update January 15th, 2020, 11:37PM ET: This article has been updated to include current screenshots and link names and to clarify information about the Unlimited Family Plan.
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