setting up multi-room music in Alexa app

  • 20 January 2018
  • 66 replies
  • 48562 views

I have 2 Sonos Ones (both have Alexa built in)n and a Sonos Play 5. I asked Alexa to play music in bedroom, dining room and family room, then Alexa tells me I need to set up multi-room music on Alexa app. I checked internet to see how to do that and it says to go to "Audio Groups" in Settings but there is no Audio Groups shown in my Alexa app Settings.

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66 replies

Userlevel 7
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Yes I can't think of a single reason Sonos would want to group their speakers in sync with an Amazon speaker.

New abilities that are already out now on Alexa side (Sonos just hasn't announced) allow Sonos speakers to become the default Music Playing speaker for any Echo device (bypassing the Echo device as the music player - making the Sonos a direct extension of the Echo) …. that is more in line with Sonos desire to sell speakers (not make them optional as you and many others want).
Really? You can’t think of a single reason why they might want to (or maybe not) do that? Not one? Are you surrrrrrre? [...]
Save your breath. It's in the works.

https://en.community.sonos.com/amazon-alexa-and-sonos-229102/alexa-now-breaks-up-groups-6813009/index1.html#post16293824
Really? You can’t think of a single reason why they might want to (or maybe not) do that? Not one? Are you surrrrrrre?

How about: If Amazon, who currently has the most market share with the home voice assistants, decides to make a really good multiroom speaker that is the equivalent to Sonos then people will buy that instead.

Why would I pay the Sonos premium if I can get deeper into Amazons ecosystem and do exactly the same thing?

Have you thought about this at all? And also if you “don’t know why” Sonos would want to do any of this then why the heck are they trying to embed Alexa into their products? Why are we even having this “conversation”? Sonos know the appeal of home automation being predicated on voice control systems and that there is already a market leader. I feel like you’re being obtuse on purpose.
Userlevel 7
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And it will do that.

Says otherwise "that Sonos can and should make their speakers able to sync and play as group with Alexa". I'm sure they could probably come up with a way to do it sure (probably not a perfect sync like at local level) …. but I certainly don't have any clue as to why Sonos would actually want to do it. Zero clue why that would be attractive to them.

And I personally have ZERO interest in grouping my Sonos speakers to play alongside any Alexa device.

"But I don't want to buy a Sonos speaker for a room I have Alexa device in" Yea well unfortunate for people in that group - Sonos actually is in the business of selling their speakers not making it easier for people not to purchase their equipment.
I’m not going to argue with you on a thread about USING ALEXA WITH SONOS. But the entire point of these posts over the last year and also spread across multiple threads and across to AVS and Alexa forums say otherwise. Nobody here cares about the technology or how it happens.

The only thing anyone here cares about is “Alexa play Spotify on all my Sonos speakers.”
Userlevel 7
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Well they aren't scr**** if people like the Sonos App and its many abilities to use multiple services. Sonos speakers do multiroom with Sonos speakers. Alexa is just a means of voice control for them. Voice control is nice for picking a song. But exploring music and creating playlists is far better in app.

Sonos does multiroom sync at a local level and does not use a cloud service to do the sync (I'm not even sure how good Alexa sync for mutli-room really is). Sonos has a lot going for it at the local network level vs. a cloud based system in Alexa. And Sonos I am sure has ZERO interest in maintaining sync with a cloud based service - they are in the business of selling Sonos units not Alexa units.
Yeah the part where you can’t use Alexa with multi room Sonos speakers is a deal breaker. Sonos is totally screwed when Amazon decides to make their own high end speaker system. I wonder what they plan on doing? Or in this case not doing.
I really cant believe that Sonos isn't supported in Alexa App as a MultiRoom device.
Without this it is a deal breaker.
Effectively Sonos isn't Alexa Compatible.
Amazon have released SDKs for.
The Sonos kit I have bought is going back.
Sonos if you don't get your act together, when the Amazon HiFi system / speakers comes out you will massively loose out.
Userlevel 7
Badge +20
Hi

This type of issue is normally down to one of three things:

1/ Duplicate device names - Alexa prefers that names for Devices, Groups and Scenes are unique,
1.1/ Please open up the Alexa App>Smart Home and make a note of any duplicate device names;
1.2/ You can then change them in the source app. e.g. Use the Sonos App to change the name of Sonos players. (I personally use the naming standard Room Name + Device type. e.g. Kitchen Sonos, Kitchen Echo Dot, Lounge Sonos, etc)
1.3/ Once you have changed any duplicate names then please open the Alexa App on a PC (https://alexa.amazon.co.uk or https://alexa.amazon.com)>Smart Home>Devices and select 'Forget All' followed by 'Discover'. NOTE: This will remove ALL Actions from ALL Alexa Routines! (Only the PC version has this functionality.)

2/ Some form of Account Linking or Authorisation has not completed successfully. There are a number of causes for this and it's best to try these steps 1 at a time and test before moving on to the next step if the problem persists:
2.1/ Open the Alexa App>Skills>Your Skills>Sonos and 'Disable' followed by 'Enable';
2.2/ Ensure that you don't have multiple Amazon accounts logged into different Apps on your device, as this can confuse the Amazon Authorisation. If yes, then please log out of the other accounts and then complete step 2.1 again;
2.3/ If the problem still persists, please logout of all Amazon accounts then select the Alexa App>Skills>Your Skills>Sonos and 'Disable. Now power down all Sonos devices for 10 secs, allowing for any wired devices to boot before booting the remaining Sonos players. Now log back into the Alexa App>Skills>Sonos and 'Enable'

3/ If the problem persists then an entire reset of the Authorisation & Account Linking process is required:
3.1/ In the Alexa app, select Skills>Your Skills>Sonos and then 'Disable';
3.2 In the Alexa app (Web version), select 'Smart Home>Devices'. Now select 'Forget All' at the bottom of the screen;
3.3/ In the Sonos app (Android or iOS), select Settings>Room Settings and for each of the Sonos One's sign into 'Voice Services' and select 'Remove Amazon Alexa from this Room';
3.4/ If you have any wired Sonos devices, please power down for 10 secs and then switch on and wait for it to boot;
3.5/ Now power down all other Sonos Players for 10 secs then switch them back on and wait for them to boot;
3.6/ In the Sonos app, Select Manage>Add a player or sub' and add the Sonos One's again. This will complete the set-up process again;
3.7/ In the Alexa app, select Skills>Your Skills and ensure the Sonos skill is 'Enabled', if not please 'Enable';
3.8/ In the Alexa app , select Smart Home>Devices>Discover. Ensure that your Sonos One's are displayed correctly and not shown as 'Off Line'.
3.9/ Also check one last time that there are no devices with the same name. Remember, if there is a need to rename any then you'll need to select 'Discover' again.

Let us know how you get on.
Ok - if you have a Sonos One you should be able to say "Alexa Play Bruno Mars" to it without a room name and it should start playing along with any units paired or grouped to it.

What happens in your case?


If I walk in and say, "Alexa, play Bruno Mars", Alexa says, "Hmm, to do that you must first enable the Sonos One skill in the Alexa app and then (ask me?) to discover devices." That may not be the exact quote, but pretty close.

If I go to the Sonos skill in my Alexa App (on my iPhone) the only option is a button to "disable skill" and a button for "settings."

In settings, Account Linking has a green, "Linked" and advanced settings, which brings me back to Devices. The (2) Sonos One's show up in both Alexa & Echo and All Devices.

By the way, thank you for your time today.
Userlevel 7
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You installed the Sonos skill in Alexa app correct?

https://en.community.sonos.com/amazon-alexa-and-sonos-229102/new-to-sonos-or-alexa-how-to-set-up-6791327
Userlevel 7
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Ok - if you have a Sonos One you should be able to say "Alexa Play Bruno Mars" to it without a room name and it should start playing along with any units paired or grouped to it.

What happens in your case?
As far as walking in room now say Living Room - what device are you using as the Alexa?

You should be able to walk in room and say "Alexa play Bruno mars in Living Room" where Living Room is the name of the Sonos zone.


Not sure which device is being used as the Alexa, I assume (1) of the Sonos One's. I didn't know I needed to specify a device.
If I just walk in and say, "Alexa, play ___ radio", it tells me I have to add the Sonos One skill, which is installed. Unless there is a separate "Sonos One" app. I searched for Sonos One app and only the Sonos app showed up.

If I walk in and say, "Alexa, play ____ radio in living room", it says there is no device called living room. It then goes on to say that I should specify a device or enable multi-room music in the app.

I'm going to try and unplug the Ones, the PlayBar and Sub and see if something resets.
Userlevel 7
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As far as walking in room now say Living Room - what device are you using as the Alexa?

You should be able to walk in room and say "Alexa play Bruno mars in Living Room" where Living Room is the name of the Sonos zone.
Userlevel 7
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You have to say Zone name except on Sonos units with alexa built in (since they default to themselves). However, Sonos has said they are working on more skills and much more robust Alexa ability coming.

IN the meantime, you can use https://www.speakerscenes.com/ to group rooms by voice.
I fully understand that Sonos "rooms" are different than Alexa "groups." I just want to walk into my living room and say, "Alexa, play ____ radio" and have music start playing in my living room. However, from what I have read in a few places, Alexa would only launch the (1) Sonos One that takes the command. I could "group" (in Alexa) the (2) Sono's Ones that are used for rear channels in my Sonos "Living Room", but the sub and Playbar can not be activated that way.

The only way to get the whole Sonos Living Room to play is from the Sonos app. Then, I can play my music service and ask Alexa to skip. control volume, etc. Is this correct? Is there no way to launch, by voice, a full Sonos "room?"

Perhaps I should add that when I try to launch music in this area by voice, I'm getting errors. If I just walk in and say, "Alexa, play ____ radio", it tells me that I need the Sonos skill, which is already installed. It seems to work fine if I launch from the Sonos app first. I just want to avoid this extra step, if there is a way around it.

While typing this, I noticed that in my Sonos app, in Room Settings, Living Room, Amazon Alexa had a red dot. It looks like one of my Sonos Ones was not fully working with Alexa, even though both showed up under devices in the Alexa app. I went through the process and Alexa, said that it would now be discover-able, but when I said to discover devices, Alexa found nothing new. But, I think I'm getting closer.

Let me ask another question. Will the Sonos "Living Room" show up in the Alexa app at all, or will the (2) Sonos Ones only show up as separate devices? From the setup in the app, it sounded like the "Living Room" should show up.
Userlevel 5
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I've read this a couple times and I'm still confused. I already have a Sonos group/room called, "Living Room." It has Playbar, Sub and (2) Ones. Can I walk into that room and ask Alexa to start playing music on/in that "room." I see a few replies that say it should work. However, from what I'm reading Alexa does not support Sonos' "rooms" as valid rooms. Can someone please clarify?

Your confusion is that groups and rooms are not the same thing. Assuming that your Ones are setup as surround speakers, then you have a single room. You do not have any groups. Alexa will do just fine.

If you want whole-home audio, then you will group multiple ROOMS together into 1 GROUP. Now you have to create that group using the Sonos App. Alexa cannot help you.
I've read this a couple times and I'm still confused. I already have a Sonos group/room called, "Living Room." It has Playbar, Sub and (2) Ones. Can I walk into that room and ask Alexa to start playing music on/in that "room." I see a few replies that say it should work. However, from what I'm reading Alexa does not support Sonos' "rooms" as valid rooms. Can someone please clarify?
Userlevel 5
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Its only been a couple months since amazon has released the sdk

https://developer.amazon.com/blogs/alexa/post/a9acaabd-d5a0-4fdf-b74a-c20cfe4d4ef9/deliver-whole-home-audio-with-alexa-multi-room-music-and-device-targeting

Hoping for multi room for the holidays. While I’ve got a few One’s, this support will decide whether I fill out the rest of the house & tv’s or start exploring ecosystems.


This SDK has nothing to do with grouping Sonos speakers. It's for grouping Alexa speakers. Amazon is developing its own whole-home speaker system (with voice grouping included) to compete with and beat Sonos. They're never gonna write Sonos grouping commands cause that would give away their advantage. If Sonos insists on sitting quietly and waiting for Amazon to do this, they are going to be waiting forever.
Userlevel 1
Its only been a couple months since amazon has released the sdk

https://developer.amazon.com/blogs/alexa/post/a9acaabd-d5a0-4fdf-b74a-c20cfe4d4ef9/deliver-whole-home-audio-with-alexa-multi-room-music-and-device-targeting

Hoping for multi room for the holidays. While I’ve got a few One’s, this support will decide whether I fill out the rest of the house & tv’s or start exploring ecosystems.

Anyhow, I still wonder why Amazon have not introduced grouping/ungrouping of their own Echo speakers via voice control??... at the moment that’s done in their Alexa App using 'Music Groups', so perhaps grouping via voice is in the 'read difficult to do' category, particularly as the speaker/rooms can be given virtually any name and that alone must be a bit of a challenge to recognise and interpret correctly.


I believe their speaker API has no mechanism for referencing multiple speakers. Kind of mistake in hindsight if that's the case. Although, I wouldn't be too surprised if Amazon did this intentionally for some unknown reason. I can also think of some reasons why Sonos wouldn't want this...or perhaps they wouldn't want to do group control in this way as it would have some limitations. Sonos could be holding out for the 'right' solution, I don't know, totally guessing.
Userlevel 5
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Amazon has been promoting really hard lately its Amazon Music service, along with its Alexa multi-room speakers and now its Echo subwoofer. Let's be crystal clear here, Amazon wants to compete with Sonos. If Sonos' business strategy is to sit around and wait for their competitor to implement Sonos' own basic functionality for them, they are in VERY big trouble. Amazon is going to drag its feet on this forever while they build their own competing products
Danny,

That now makes sense to me, as Logitech have two skills on the UK Alexa site for Harmony Remote Support. One Skill is coloured Red and each voice command has to begin with “Alexa, Ask Harmony to...” The other is coloured Blue and the Skill does virtually the same thing, but there is no need to use the ”Ask Harmony to...”.

These two Logitech skills allow for two different Harmony Hubs (usually in different rooms) to be controlled by one single Alexa account.

Funnily enough, Logitech removed what I will call the 'Red Skill' from the Google Assistant a week or two ago ...and they have replaced it with the Blue one only, so whilst only one Harmony Hub can now still be used with that voice assistant, at least the user doesn’t have to say ”Hey Google, Ask Harmony to...” anymore and that’s made a difference in our house.

So I assume now that Logitech are moving things from their own servers back over to the Google side of things and it’s perhaps possible the same thing may eventually happen with Amazon... there needs to be a way though for these voice assistants to use multiple instances of a Skill, so that such multiple devices, like a Harmony Remote, can then be used in the home.

Anyhow, I still wonder why Amazon have not introduced grouping/ungrouping of their own Echo speakers via voice control??... at the moment that’s done in their Alexa App using 'Music Groups', so perhaps grouping via voice is in the 'read difficult to do' category, particularly as the speaker/rooms can be given virtually any name and that alone must be a bit of a challenge to recognise and interpret correctly.

Anyhow I feel a bit wiser having read your informative post above.?
Kirk33 isn't wrong. The 'tell sonos' method would mean that any text preceding the phrase gets passed on to Sonos servers for further processing. Sonos could then have could that could do grouping instructions If Sonos can't understand the text, it's supposed to return an error message. This would not be a smart skill though and would be a completely secondary way of controlling sonos outside of the current smart skill.

I personally don't care for this route. My pool control operates this way, and it's rather annoying to have to say 'Alexa, Ask Hayward to..." instead of just saying what I want to do. I also means that my pool control can't be integrated with any other smart devices in my home.

I would guess that Sonos management did take this under consideration and chose not to go this route. I would also guess that they believed that grouping capabilities would be possible through the smart skill by now. Not sure if they'd make the same choice again, hindsight being 20/20.


No waiting is required. Sonos simply needs to add grouping to its API, then Alexa can access those features. Alexa controls thousands of devices. Do you honestly believe that each of those thousands of companies just sat around and waited for Amazon to support them??? No! Each of those companies simply wrote their own API with the features that they need. Once that's done, Alexa is able to access those features.


I'm confident that this part is not true. Amazon isn't letting the tail wag the dog. They surely have a very generic interface where they pass text on to whatever skill was called, and it's up to the developers of that skill to know what to do with it. They are not going to call a different API for each skill you can use through Alexa.

Even with smart skills, Amazon sets up APIs for each object type they support, and everyone else must bend to meet Amazon standards. Amazon is not letting each lighter set a different API for controlling their lights.