Multiroom Audio with Sonos, Alexa, and Apple HomePod

  • 15 January 2019
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So, I'm new to the Sonos brand, recently picking up the Sono's One's and a Beam because of the AirPlay2 integration (well done Sonos).

I've got Sonos in 3 rooms, the Breakfast room, the Game Room, and the Living Room. Alexa is enabled on all 3 devices. The Apple HomePod is in the Kitchen.

So I've read a crazy amount of posts and threads on trying to get Sonos Speakers Grouped using Alexa commands (Sonos you have really failed here pretty hard), and I've gone through the trouble of naming and grouping the speakers in the Alexa App, including creating a group called "Everywhere" containing all of them. I've also installed the "Speaker Groups" Skill and played with it (though you have to be incredibly specific with it, and I view it as a stop gap).

As you probably already know, one can't simply ask Alexa to Play music "Everywhere" - even having created such a group. Instead you first have to group the speakers in the Sonos App or using the "Speaker Groups" Skill - this is a pain in the ass, more so because it turns out that if I use Siri / Apple HomePod to command it, it just works. That is to say, if I say Hey Siri Play music Everywhere, it does independent of if the Sonos Speakers are grouped or not. Likewise I can command individual speakers from the HomePod as well. And that's all well and good, but the Apple HomePod has it's warts too though. For example I can't ask it to play Pandora Stations as I can Alexa via the Sonos Speakers...

So this is here to both inform people of the behaviors, and to encourage Sonos to bring Parity to Alexa in controlling the Speakers (Parity with Siri / HomePod) - though it also suggests that perhaps the issue is on the Amazon side of things?

P.S. The Speakers are also named in the Apple Home Kit, and this is how Siri controls them. Worth saying here, is that the HomeKit name overrides the Sonos naming in the App. So if you are like me, and named them poorly the first time and go to change them, change them first in the HomeKit App, or you will find they mysteriously change names a few hours later....

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I'll also add that I called Sonos support, and spent some time with them trying to get the Alexa & Grouping to work, and they eventually told me that Amazon didn't have it turned on for all regions yet and I should call Amazon and see what they could help with. 😞