How to set up multi-room audio with Google Assistant & Chromecast speakers

Turn the music up to 11 with a Google Home setup

How to set up multi-room audio with Google
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Think multi-room speakers and you might immediately think Sonos or high-end audio brands – but no longer. Both Google and Amazon let you hook up connected speakers to build a voice-controlled system around the house.

If you have a couple of Google Homes, third-party Google Assistant smart speakers or speakers with Chromecast built-in, you can get going with a Google multi-room system. Here's how.

What works with multi-room?

Any Google Home speaker will work with multi-room, as will many of the speakers with Google Assistant built in. Google's lineup of Smart Displays, including the Google Home Hub have it too. All Chromecast Audio speakers or speakers with Chromecast built-in will work together in a multi-room audio setup. Even better, Chromecast dongles can also now be added into speaker groupings.

Read this: The best multi-room wireless speaker systems

Here's a list of Google Assistant devices and a list of speakers with Chromecast built-in. Sadly Google killed the Chromecast Audio, a $35 accessory that you could plug into your existing speakers to bring them into your Wi-Fi connected, voice controlled multi-room system. However, if you do some hunting around you might still be able to find one.

If you are pairing a Bluetooth speaker to a Google Home, check out our guide to getting that up and running. You can still add the Bluetooth speaker to an Assistant-powered multi-room setup, you just might need to do things like correct the group delay if there is one.

In terms of streaming services, Spotify, TuneIn Radio and Google Play Music all support multi-room audio, but you can't play podcasts, alarms or timers on speakers simultaneously.

How to set up multi-room audio with Google Assistant & Chromecast speakers

1. Place your speakers around the house

To get going, you'll want to group together your speakers, or 'audio devices'. We'd recommend spending some time deciding where you want each speaker first – you can also set up a stereo pair if you don't want multi-room.

Maybe the kitchen or bathroom can make do with an affordable or portable model like a Polk Assist or TicHome Mini, while your main audio power will no doubt be concentrated in the living room – a Google Home Max, say, or Panasonic GA10. Or you could go all-in on JBL's Link series which comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and prices.

Also think about where the voice-activated smart speakers will sit for controlling the music if you have a mix of Assistant and Chromecast built-in speakers.

How to set up multi-room audio with Google Assistant & Chromecast speakers

2. Set up audio groups

Assuming you've already set up and placed the individual speakers, go to the Google Home app on your phone/tablet and make sure everything – all the speakers and your mobile device – is connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

Then go to Account - the right hand side icon along the menu at the bottom - and you'll see a plus icon - Set up or add.

In the list of options, you can hit Create speaker group which will then show you speakers on that Wi-Fi network to add to the group and name it. It's a good idea to have a group called 'All speakers' or 'Everything' for obvious reasons.

You need at least two devices for a group and you also need to link the group to your Google account to use voice controls and access your personal preferences – this ain't optional.

You'll also notice that on the Home screen of the Google Home app your speakers (and other devices) will be displayed in rooms e.g. 'Living room' and 'Bathroom' which is a handy way to glance at them.

How to set up multi-room audio with Google Assistant & Chromecast speakers

3. Control your groups with voice

Essentially, these are the same Google Assistant commands as for a single speaker – and obviously you need to speak to a speaker with far-field mics and Assistant built-in; you won't be able to speak to every device with Chromecast built-in.

  • "Hey Google, play Wine Goes In on all speakers"
  • "Hey Google, play Elton John on office speakers"
  • "Hey Google, set volume to 5 downstairs"
  • "Hey Google, play/pause/resume/stop/play next song on Home group"

If you want to mix and match voice and smartphone controls, you can control your music by hitting the Cast button in an app like Spotify and doing things from there. Once you've mastered the basics, you can also do things like set up a routine so that your multi-room speakers start playing music when you get home. You can now even schedule it so that your wake-up music starts playing at a certain time in the morning.

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