Answered

Play everywhere via individual Alexa groups?

  • 2 May 2019
  • 6 replies
  • 1376 views

I've been searching for the answer for this for a few days and I suspect it is simply "doesn't work like that", but hopefully someone can help me.

TLDR: Can I tell Alexa to play music on all Sonos speakers if the speakers are already in individual Alexa groups?

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I have a couple of Sonos speakers with Alexa built in, all works well, and I love that the integration keeps improving over time. I'm trying to get to grips with Alexa groups and it's not working how I expected.

I have a Beam in the lounge, and a One in the kitchen. They are in Alexa groups with other devices in each room, eg Alexa group "Lounge" has some smart lights and the Beam as the preferred speaker. I have it set up this way so that I can say things like "turn the lights on" without specifying the room.

I can request music in the same way "play blah" and it works, and I can say "play blah in the kitchen" from the lounge and that works too. So far so good.

What I want to be able to do is say "play blah everywhere", and have it play in the lounge AND in the kitchen. I can't get this to work, I have to go into the Sonos App and add the other speaker manually.

I tried following the steps in https://en.community.sonos.com/announcements-228985/sonos-now-playing-with-alexa-groups-6817588/ but when I create a group "Everywhere" I can't add any speakers, they are greyed out, and I suspect that's because they're already in use in my other groups (the bottom of Ryan's post in that thread says "Please note, microphone enabled Sonos speakers can only be in one Alexa Group at one time for now").

I guess I could change my setup so the speakers are not part of the current Alexa groups, then create a new group for the speakers, but that would mean I can't control the lights in each room without stating which room I'm in... that wouldn't be a popular change in this house!

So... is there any way to accomplish what I want?
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Best answer by bockersjv 2 May 2019, 12:24

Have a read of this excellent Guide by UKMedia. It may help

https://en.community.sonos.com/amazon-alexa-and-sonos-229102/an-overview-and-explanation-of-the-new-support-for-alexa-grouping-6817788
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6 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +19
Have a read of this excellent Guide by UKMedia. It may help

https://en.community.sonos.com/amazon-alexa-and-sonos-229102/an-overview-and-explanation-of-the-new-support-for-alexa-grouping-6817788
Aha! That's really useful, thank you, we're getting somewhere but it doesn't quite work how I expected.

I had already gotten as far as trying to create a new group but got stuck because it wouldn't allow me to add my speakers because they were already in use, and so I couldn't even save the group with nothing in it.

I had to create a new group called "Everywhere" WITHOUT an Alexa device (had to add a smart light to actually save the group) and THEN go in and edit it, and set both my Sonos speakers as "preferred devices". Now I can say "play blah everywhere" and it works.

The only problem is, it also plays everywhere even if I DON'T say "everywhere". ?

I know I can specify the room I want the music to play in every time but I'd rather not do that. I really don't want music from the kitchen to start playing in the lounge every time, so I'm deleting the "Everywhere" group for now.
Userlevel 7
Badge +19
I had different issues but in the end I removed the Sonos Skill and started all over again. All works now as I need but I rarely use Alexa fro grouping, instead I tend to use the Play/Pause button to move the playlist around the house to the room I am currently in.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21

I had to create a new group called "Everywhere" WITHOUT an Alexa device (had to add a smart light to actually save the group) and THEN go in and edit it, and set both my Sonos speakers as "preferred devices". Now I can say "play blah everywhere" and it works.

The only problem is, it also plays everywhere even if I DON'T say "everywhere". ?


That is likely because your two speakers were already grouped together before you made the command. So for example, if you first said "play XXXX everywhere", it will play in your kitchen and lounge as you've witness. A second command of play YYYY" to either speaker will not assume that you attend to break up the existing group and only play on the speaker you addressed the command to, it plays on the already established group you already setup (but may have forgotten about).

On the other hand, if you go into the Sonos app and ensure your speakers are not currently grouped, a voice command without specifying 'everywhere' will only play on the single speaker. As of right now, there isn't a great way to ungroup speakers by voice command. There are ways through 3rd party tools, but not ideal.

I see this as a somewhat of a catch-22 situation, as I think different people will expect different results intuitively, and depending on the situation. If I'm having a party for example, and I group 5 different rooms together, I don't want to have to specify the group I'm playing on everytime I switch up the music. On the other hand, when I wake up the morning, I only want the music to play in one room and at a reasonable volume. Perhaps one day we'll have some more advance group functionality that will factor in the time of day, day of the week, person making the request, etc, in the voice command.
Thanks both of you for the explanation and helpful replies! I might re-create the "Everywhere" group later and give it a go for a few days, see how we get on with it. Specifying the room for music isn't such a big deal as the lights (we're too used to just saying "turn the lights on"!) ??
Userlevel 4
Badge +11
We have five rooms set up as groups, with a mixture of dots, sonos, hue plus a couple of other things. In the Alexa app each device is named with the room - living room lights, living room dot, living room sonos etc. So we have groups for each room. We also have a group named as everywhere which contains all five of our Sonos zones. Asking any alexa device to play music on everywhere gives the right result. So it is possible to do what you are aiming at - I hope it doesn't take long to find the settings that achieve it!

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