​How to set up multi-room audio on your Amazon Echo speakers

How to make Alexa do a Sonos impression

Guide to Alexa multi-room audio

If you own multiple Alexa speakers, you can create a Sonos-style multi-room audio system, which enables you to sync the same music across multiple Echo devices. That could mean seamlessly listening to music as you move throughout your home, or filling large rooms with multiple speakers working in tandem.

Multi-room audio systems have been big business in tech for the last few years, in no small part thanks to the success of Sonos. While Amazon’s Echo range of speakers can’t match Sonos for sound quality, or Apple's AirPlay 2 for versatility, the Alexa voice assistant has at least learned the art of playing music, in time, across devices on your network.

Which Echo speakers support multi-room?

When the feature launched a couple of years ago, it was only supported by a handful of the Amazon Echo range. However, now every Echo speaker is capable of getting hooked up. That means all the generations and variations of…

  • Amazon Echo (all generations)
  • Amazon Echo Dot (1st and 2nd generations)
  • Echo Show
  • Echo Plus
  • Echo Spot

You’ll notice that the Sonos One, which rocks Alexa, isn’t listed here. In fact, at present only speakers that have rolled off Amazon’s own production lines get multi-room audio support. That also applies to the ageing Amazon Tap.

Talking Sonos though and you can, if you wish, group Sonos speakers together and control them using Amazon's digital assistant, all within the Alexa app.

How to set up multi-room audio on your Amazon Echo speakers

How to set-up your multi-room

  1. First stop is the Alexa app – open and select Devices.
  2. Tap the plus sign in the top right cornerand then Add Multi-Room Music Speakers.
  3. Give your group a name, or you can choose from the pre-set ones. Keep it natural though, as you’ll need to use this name later.
  4. Select the Echo devices on your network and then choose Save.
  5. To begin multi-room playback, simply say "Alexa, play [music selection] on [group name]."

What music sources can you play?

Music support is pretty ubiquitous, if you’re already aware of Amazon’s list of supported services. You can take advantage of multi-room via Amazon Prime Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora and Sirius XM. In addition, TuneIn and iHeartRadio will play radio stations using multi-room, if you prefer.

Alexa multi-room commands

Once you’ve followed these steps, it’s party time. Just say “Alexa, Play [music] on [group name]” to start playing across your selected devices. To stop, you can say “Alexa, stop playing music on [group name]”.

Also, if you’re using music services that aren’t default, don’t forget you’ll also need to add the source and the group. For example, “Alexa, play rock music on Amazon Music downstairs”.

It pays to choose the 'preferred speakers' once you've set this group up. That way, all you'll need to say is, “Alexa, play the Killers”for example and Alexa will start playing music on your preferred speaker, no matter which one is closest or which group it's in. If you don't set a preferred one, the request will be carried out by the Echo that heard your request.

Amazon Echo stereo speakers

Great news - it's now also possible to pair a duo of Echo speakers as a dedicated stereo pair – i.e. one as the right output and one as the left output.

It's the same setup as the multi-room one described above, but choose Add Stereo Pair / Subwoofer after you've tapped that + button in the devices home screen.

Yep – Subwoofer. If you own an Echo Sub you can throw this into the mix, too, for a bit of extra bass.

More Amazon Alexa how-tos

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