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Groups and Alexa

  • 5 October 2017
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I have 3 Sonos speakers in my living room/kitchen/dining room area that I always group. I had them grouped from the Sonos app when I tried out the mute/unmute Alexa commands. The command worked on only one of the speakers. How can I get commands to apply to the entire group?
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Best answer by jgatie 7 October 2017, 17:46

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Found the answer - Device groups in Alexa
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@ FinallyInSeattle: Care to share what you learned, or provide a link to the specific thread in which you found your answer? TIA.
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Open the Alexa app and select Smart Home on the menu. Clicking on Groups allows you to name the group and select the Sonos speakers you want.
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I found that this worked the first time it was used but since then Alexa doesn't recognise the group name.
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I have found that Alexa will automatically understand and play "rooms" that you have set up in the Sonos app. So if you have 2 speakers in your living room set up as "Living Room" in the the Sonos app then Alexa will automatically know to play to those two speakers when you ask her to "play X in Living Room".

However I have found that if you have different rooms currently grouped in the Sonos app, then Alexa is unable to separate them. For instance, if you currently have the bedroom, dining room and living room grouped in the Sonos app and playing the same music then when you tell Alexa to play in the living room she will actually start music in all three of those rooms since they are currently grouped in the Sonos app. To play in separate rooms you will have to ungroup them all in the Sonos app first. Then commands for individual rooms can work.

Responding to the above/earlier suggestion that you can group the devices in the Alexa app...I don't think that will work as well as you may think. I have tried it myself. It ends up confusing Alexa in the following way: Say you had programmed a group including your dining room and kitchen speakers in the Alexa app (not the Sonos app) and called it "downstairs". Earlier in the day you had been playing a podcast only in the kitchen while making breakfast. You then turned that off and went to the dining room to eat your breakfast and decided to play some Megadeth in that room as you enjoyed your eggs. Once done you turned that off. Now its lunch time and you want to listen to NPR in both the kitchen and dining room. You call out to Alexa using your programmed group and say "Alexa, play NPR downstairs". What happens? The speakers in the kitchen and dining room do indeed turn on. But they play the last thing asked of them individually. NPR plays nowhere, rather the podcast starts up in the kitchen and Megadeth returns to the dining room. So it would seem, I think, that the Alexa group would only work if you only played the same live content last (ie the same radio station).

That being said if the original poster always has them all grouped, it should work fine so long as he/she doesn't isolate one speaker to play its own thing and then try to regroup them using Alexa. Always regroup them using the Sonos app. Same for if you want to play music in every Sonos speaker that you have simultaneously. Just group them all in the Sonos app and then tell any individual speaker to play a song and it will play everywhere. Kind of takes away the magic that the Alexa connection brings but I guess we are still just in Beta so I for one am just psyched we can finally do any of this!

Please let me know if I am wrong here. I am only a day into playing with this and I would LOVE it if it is possible to make this work the way we all want it to.
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Well ... Device Groups worked for about a day. Now Alexa doesn't recognize the group name. Oh well!
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I have 2 rooms in the Sonos app that are pretty much always grouped (Living Room and Dining Room). Because of this I had considered putting them all in the same Sonos room. However having them in separate rooms is working very well. I can say "Alexa play X in Living Room" or "Alexa play X in Dining Room". Either way all the speakers in the group start playing. Same if I want to stop/pause playing. They all stop together. However by having them in separate Sonos rooms I can say "Alexa raise volume in Dining Room" and only the speakers in that room change. I can also say "Alexa set volume in Living Room to zero" and those speakers are muted so that I only hear the Dining Room speakers.
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C-wag you wrote..

However I have found that if you have different rooms currently grouped in the Sonos app, then Alexa is unable to separate them. For instance, if you currently have the bedroom, dining room and living room grouped in the Sonos app and playing the same music then when you tell Alexa to play in the living room she will actually start music in all three of those rooms since they are currently grouped in the Sonos app. To play in separate rooms you will have to ungroup them all in the Sonos app first. Then commands for individual rooms can work.

I think this would indicate that when Sonos eventually implement voice control for grouping it will be very basic, ie all or nothing. The concept of forming a selective group or voice controlling different groups is a very long way off.
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DarkClown- the volume control is an added perk I never thought of. When you say you are grouping them you are doing so in the Sonos app though, not in an Echo device group, correct?
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I don't see Alexa being able to create groups as it is because Alexa doesn't really understand Sonos. It would probably fall on Amazon to add this functionality to Alexa rather than anything Sonos can do. But as the two companies are apparently working together on this I like to thing something will be worked out one way or another. Of course with the new Play One having its own microphones I see no reason Sonos couldn't add their own voice commands separate from Alexa.
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C-wag, that is correct. I have pretty much always had my Living Room and Dining Rooms grouped in the Sonos app.

I believe the grouping feature in the Alexa app that people are trying to use for Sonos Rooms is only intended for gouping Echo devices, which in my testing didn't work very well.
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Open the Alexa app and select Smart Home on the menu. Clicking on Groups allows you to name the group and select the Sonos speakers you want.

I tried this but Alexa refuses to understand what I’m talking about. (Eg I’ve set up my ‘living room’ & ‘kitchen’ speakers as ‘living room kitchen’).
I have one speaker each in 3 separate rooms. They are not in any permanent groups within sonos. I group & ungroup as I need to in sonos. I had assumed I would be able to do this in Alexa but I cannot get it to work.
Can anyone confirm whether I’m doing something wrong or if this functionality doesn’t actually exist?
Alexa groups are not supported at this time, and combining Sonos speakers into Alexa groups can give unpredictable results. The proper way to play to groups is to group via the Sonos app and tell Alexa to play to any one of the individual grouped speakers.
I have 2 rooms in the Sonos app that are pretty much always grouped (Living Room and Dining Room). Because of this I had considered putting them all in the same Sonos room. However having them in separate rooms is working very well. I can say "Alexa play X in Living Room" or "Alexa play X in Dining Room". Either way all the speakers in the group start playing. Same if I want to stop/pause playing. They all stop together. However by having them in separate Sonos rooms I can say "Alexa raise volume in Dining Room" and only the speakers in that room change. I can also say "Alexa set volume in Living Room to zero" and those speakers are muted so that I only hear the Dining Room speakers.

This is really good for a one person house, without any playbar/base that will remove itself from group everytime tv i turned on at nights.