Sonos Now Playing with Alexa Groups


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We're excited to share that Alexa is getting smarter again on Sonos. Available today through an automatic cloud update, you can create Alexa Groups that include Sonos speakers as the Preferred Speaker within the Alexa app. 

Alexa Groups, controlled by Alexa-enabled devices (including the Sonos One and Beam) are linked so that all of the devices within that Alexa Group work together, allowing for easier, more natural commands and a smarter and clearer experience. These groups will add some highly requested features and improvements to the Alexa and Sonos integration.

Highlights and Features:



Set up Alexa Groups with Sonos speakers as the Preferred Speaker
Configured this way, you'll be able to talk to the microphone enabled device that runs the group and have it perform actions using your Preferred Speaker(s) without needing to name them.

Commands now implied to the Alexa Group if not explicitly stated
"Alexa, play some music," will have the music start playing on all Sonos speakers that are selected as your preferred speaker in the Alexa Group your device is in. 

You can also adjust the volume without having to name a room, so long as you're speaking to the microphone enabled device set up in that Alexa Group. "Alexa, turn it down/up," is all you'll need to say to adjust the volume on the Preferred Speaker.

Volume lowering done smarter using Alexa Groups
We've been listening, and are happy to say that with Alexa Groups, saying "Alexa" to any device with a microphone will only lower the volume of speakers in the same Alexa Group. Every Echo device you have will need to be in an Alexa Group to take advantage of this fully. Echo devices not part of any Alexa Group will still make all Sonos players drop in volume.

Group Sonos speakers using Alexa Groups
Using Alexa Groups will cause Sonos players to group together. If you have an Alexa Group created already in the Alexa App, calling out for it to play music will group all Sonos speakers that have been selected as the Preferred Speaker for that Alexa Group and will play what you've requested.

If you only ask for one Sonos room to play music by name, just that room will play music.

Setting up Alexa Smart Home Device Groups:



Using the Alexa app, you can go into the Devices tab (last one on the right) and select the + at the top to make an Alexa group. Just assign it a name, an Alexa-enabled device, and then the other smart home devices that are part of the group, including Sonos speakers. Once the group is made, tap on it from the main Devices page to set your Sonos speakers in it to be Preferred Speakers. 

Please note, microphone enabled Sonos speakers can only be in one Alexa Group at one time for now, but the non-microphone enabled ones can be in multiple groups.

For more details, check out the Amazon article here or on our support page here.

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257 replies

Thanks Ryan.
Hey guys, yes, you will be able to use the Sonos One and the Sonos Beam as the Alexa enabled device to control a group. It's not available for everyone at this time, currently rolling out to users, so you might not see it as available just yet. Thanks Ryan and I guess Thanks to Amazon too!

You have made my Hue Lights and Smart Plugs very happy with that announcement. ?

The Sonos/Amazon smart-home features, just get better and better with each new update!
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I created an Alexa group called downstairs with no Alexa device in it (4 Sonos speakers) and said "Alexa, play XXX downstairs.'
It just said "I can't play music on the group yet..."
I created an Alexa group called downstairs with no Alexa device in it (4 Sonos speakers) and said "Alexa, play XXX downstairs.'
It just said "I can't play music on the group yet..."


Did you make the Sonos speaker(s) the Preferred Speaker for the group?
Did you make the Sonos speaker(s) the Preferred Speaker for the group?
I think this might turn out to be the thing that will resolve yizzung's 'group' issues too, mentioned earlier in this thread.
Weirdly I just happened to open Alexa on my iPad and I can see the Sonos as an Alexa device now and can set it as the Alexa device for a room.

On my iPhone and Android phone though it still wouldn’t allow it.

I signed out on both and then back in again and this seems to have done the trick ...... so may be worth trying?
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I'm still not see any Sonos Ones or Beams listed in the "Alexa Devices" section for Alexa groups. Still rolling out I guess. I'm not in a big hurry for this, just informing in case anyone else is looking for this.

I can confirm this is now working on my Beam.
I have 2 Hue bulbs in the same group and can now just say ‘alexa, turn on the lights’ where previously I had to mention the light name. Same with the TV.

Below the screenshot to show the beam (named Sitting Room’ in the top section.
Weirdly I just happened to open Alexa on my iPad and I can see the Sonos as an Alexa device now and can set it as the Alexa device for a room.

On my iPhone and Android phone though it still wouldn’t allow it.

I signed out on both and then back in again and this seems to have done the trick ...... so may be worth trying?
Danny and I were only mentioning this here in the thread yesterday too:

https://en.community.sonos.com/announcements-228985/sonos-now-playing-with-alexa-groups-6817588/index2.html#post16295274

It seemed to me to be the way to go, as Alexa is now on mobiles, tablets, fire-sticks etc. aswell as speaker hardware.

It makes sense to include such software based assets as 'Alexa Enabling' devices for grouping purposes, as the devices the software runs on are stored/registered in a users Amazon Account online as a 'device' in the same management section of the echo and Sonos speaker devices.

I don't have chance to test this new feature at the moment, but will do first thing tomorrow.

Thanks very much for the early 'heads up' on this martynwendon.?
I'm still not see any Sonos Ones or Beams listed in the "Alexa Devices" section for Alexa groups. Still rolling out I guess. I'm not in a big hurry for this, just informing in case anyone else is looking for this.

I can confirm this is now working on my Beam.
I have 2 Hue bulbs in the same group and can now just say ‘alexa, turn on the lights’ where previously I had to mention the light name. Same with the TV.

Below the screenshot to show the beam (named Sitting Room’ in the top section.
nicka99,

Yes, that's the first Alexa group I have seen with a Sonos device 'Alexa Enabling' the group.. you have the exclusive honour of being the first here !

It certainly shows just how quickly these features, involving grouping/ducking etc. are now moving and being rolled out to Sonos users. Great Stuff..!
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I created an Alexa group called downstairs with no Alexa device in it (4 Sonos speakers) and said "Alexa, play XXX downstairs.'
It just said "I can't play music on the group yet..."


Did you make the Sonos speaker(s) the Preferred Speaker for the group?
I created an Alexa group called downstairs with no Alexa device in it (4 Sonos speakers) and said "Alexa, play XXX downstairs.'
It just said "I can't play music on the group yet..."


Did you make the Sonos speaker(s) the Preferred Speaker for the group?
I did Devices, + sign, selected a name and Next. It then asks for Speakers and I selected the speakers I thought I wanted. And SAVE - and the Group is created. I'm not asked for a Preferred Speaker. If I then select the Group, I see the speakers I selected - and a Preferred speaker option. This says Setup with a + sign. Why isn't that asked in the group creation part - do you need to do the process twice? If I select the + option it says 'Downstairs speaker devices' and lists all my speakers. What is the difference between this section and the Devices I add when creating the group (that have ticks)?
Once I play music 'Downstairs', do I need to ungroup them in Sonos app?
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In the Alexa app, the first part when you're making an Alexa Group can be done with all sorts of smart home devices, not necessarily just speakers, so the workflow there doesn't include setting a preferred speaker. You have to do that after the devices that belong in the group are selected. I know it's a bit tricky sometimes. You can find more details on the process here on Amazon's page.
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So for this use case do you include the speakers you want in the first part and then edit the group and add the same speakers again as Preferred Speakers.?
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So for this use case do you include the speakers you want in the first part and then edit the group and add the same speakers again as Preferred Speakers.?
Yes, exactly. You add all the speakers you want into the group, then you add them as Preferred Speakers.

Using the Alexa app, you can go into the Devices tab (last one on the right) and select the + at the top to make an Alexa group. Just assign it a name, an Alexa-enabled device, and then the other smart home devices that are part of the group, including Sonos speakers. Once the group is made, tap on it from the main Devices page to set your Sonos speakers in it to be Preferred Speakers. 
sjw,

Sonos/Alexa Groups... three very quick and simple things:

1. The speakers added to an Amazon Alexa Group will 'duck' their playing audio when speaking to a controlling Alexa device held in the group.

2. When the user has 'preferred' the speakers added to a Group, they will group together automatically and play the requested audio when the user includes the 'Group Name' in their Alexa instruction.

3. When a user 'Alexa Enables' (controls) the group with, for example, an 'echo dot', or a 'Sonos One, (or both) etc ... those (controlling) Alexa devices will auto-group the 'preferred' speakers and play directly to the preferred speaker group, without the need to mention the 'Group Name' and the same Alexa devices will also duck all the speakers in their group (both 'preferred' or 'non-preferred'). If there were any previously grouped speakers attached to the 'preferred' group, they will also play the audio too.

Note: You can have multiple 'Alexa Enabled' devices in the first section of an Amazon Group, but each one can only be used once only across all your Amazon Groups for that purpose.

I hope that helps to clear some of the mist, that appears to sometimes surround these new grouping features.
Sorry Ryan, my post to sjw crossed with yours.. my apologies. I was typing and not realising you had replied to him. I did not mean to interject here.?
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Sorry Ryan, my post to sjw crossed with yours.. my apologies. I was typing and not realising you had replied to him. I did not mean to interject here.?
Don't worry about it, your post is accurate 🙂 Thanks for trying to help!
I’ve just slightly edited the wording to hopefully make my post above slightly easier to follow.. I appreciate there are some complexities to these grouping features, but the three points mentioned, try to sum up what I personally see as being 'the basics'.
The Sonos Staff have mentioned here in this thread that they (and particularly Amazon) are rolling out the new Amazon Alexa Grouping features for Alexa Enabled Sonos devices over a period of time, but I think I may have found a way to perhaps get the updates slightly sooner, rather than later, for the community users, by going to the Amazon Alexa App on your main device and logging out the App and back in again with your Amazon Online Account credentials.

Here are the steps that worked for me (and some others), if anyone, in a hurry, would care to follow the simple guidelines below...

Goto the Amazon Alexa App and log out your Amazon account. Also close the App (slide up screen etc. depending on the type of device you use).

Then wait a minute, or so, before logging back into the Alexa App and re-entering your Amazon credentials. Give the App a few minutes to rebuild the existing groups and refresh all devices etc.

Close the Alexa App once again (slide up screen etc) one more time.

The next time you open the Alexa App and go to the main Groups section and select to edit a group. You should now see all your Sonos Alexa devices, (Sonos One etc.) as being 'Alexa Enabled' devices for use in the first section of the Alexa Groups.

Hope that proves useful for those currently waiting to receive the update.
Question, I have grouped two Sonos Ones as surround to my Sonos Beam as a home theatre setup. Can I group this setup as "Family Room" and also have one of the Sonos Ones as an independent group (ex. Kitchen). Reason would be to use one of the surrounds as a normal speaker (Kitchen) when listening to music and then as a home theatre speaker when watching a movie. This would make the speaker more versatile for usability and portability when needed.

So far I haven't been able to see how to use my Sonos One for multiple groups. It seems to be "locked" as a surround speaker. But I am brand new to Sonos and am trying to learn it all.

Other issue with this would be that my Sonos One now has Alexa muted because it is a "surround speaker" and not a "normal" speaker. Maybe I should have purchased the Play 1 instead for surround? Can it be a "non-Alexa" speaker when in movie/surround mode and a Alexa normal speaker when not...?

Thanks, Brian
Brian,

In the 'World of Sonos' there are a variety of different ways to use Sonos Speakers. Here is a brief overview...

'Standalone' ... A single speaker, not grouped or paired etc.
'Paired' ... Where two identical speakers are used to play the left/right stereo channels. This is usually a fairly permanent setup
'Grouped' ... Where two or more speakers/devices of any description (standalone, paired, bonded) are put together to play the same audio stream. This is often not a permanent setup and may change, either frequently, or automatically.
'Bonded' ... A setup which relates to Sonos 5.0/5.1 Home Theatre System, which involves a Beam/PlayBase/PlayBar/Amp and attached surrounds. Again this is usually a permanent type of setup and unlike all other pairings/groupings, will run on a faster 5ghz band wireless connection or a Ethernet cable connection. The other kinds of setup mentioned above run on the 2.4ghz wireless signal (or Ethernet).

All the above may, or may not, involve the Sonos Sub, which can be attached to a Sonos Room too.

As you can perhaps see it is very easy to 'group' and 'ungroup' speakers, but it is not quite so easy to 'pair' and 'unpair' them and so the latter usually happens less-often ...and it is a little more difficult to 'bond' and 'unbond' a Home Theatre System, as that can often mean the wireless may need to switchover from a 5ghz connection to a 2.4ghz signal.

The things you are looking to do in your post, as you can perhaps now see, are at the slightly more difficult end of things to do and so my advice would be, rather than unbonding/bonding your HT system on a frequent basis, it would perhaps be much better to buy one or more additional Sonos Speakers instead and then use those as either 'standalone' or 'paired' alongside your 'bonded' HT setup.

For music purposes, you can then also go onto 'group' your HT setup with your other (new) Sonos Rooms for 'all around the home’ perfectly synced audio playback for all your family and friends.
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DarrenLink,

See this suggestion...

You could perhaps create an Alexa Group called something like 'Downstairs', with no 'Alexa Enabled' device (Note: you do not have any echo devices that you can use anyway, as it is one only per set of groups and you have used your echo dot already in the Living Room Group).

In the newly created 'Downstairs' Alexa Group (or whatever you may choose to call it) you could add both your Sonos One Speaker (Kitchen) and your Play 3 Speaker (Living Room) and then set them both as the 'preferred' speakers.

So when you speak to either your echo Dot, or your Sonos One and say ‘Alexa, play some music Downstairs', the two rooms will group together automatically and the music will then play on both your rooms. (Kitchen & Living Room) ... this should work now without the need for any further update from Sonos.

Exactly what I tried to do. This does not work, unfortunately. Only plays from one Sonos speaker and ignores all the others in the group... Disappointing.
There are a couple of things to say about this...

Firstly and perhaps importantly, the rollout of functionality is still taking place, or so I believe.
Second, A screenshot from your group might help me to see why you are possibly having a problem.
Finally, I can definitely say it works at home for me. It works too on my Son's Sonos system and is working in our holiday home too.

It is useful (in some instances) to have a different group name to the Sonos 'Room Name' but I doubt a Group called 'Downstairs' will play any part in this matter.

If you can very kindly post a screenshot of your Alexa 'group' I’ll be happy to try recommend things, to try to get it working for you.


I can confirm that this now sorta works. And the problem is related to the term "downstairs". I created two rooms: one for "upstairs" and one for "downstairs". Playing music upstairs works properly -- it groups together (or zones) my master bedroom and bathroom Sonos and plays just fine. Trying the same thing for downstairs gives me an error that "sorry, downstairs is offline." I'm guessing that this must be related to the fact that I had two Alexa Echos, one of which was called downstairs but has since been renamed to something else. But I can't seem to get Alexa to forget that device.

I'm going to try reverting the Echos to their original names (upstairs echo and downstairs echo) then deleting them from the system, then adding them back. Maybe that will fix Alexa's memory problem. IDK.
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DarrenLink,

See this suggestion...

You could perhaps create an Alexa Group called something like 'Downstairs', with no 'Alexa Enabled' device (Note: you do not have any echo devices that you can use anyway, as it is one only per set of groups and you have used your echo dot already in the Living Room Group).

In the newly created 'Downstairs' Alexa Group (or whatever you may choose to call it) you could add both your Sonos One Speaker (Kitchen) and your Play 3 Speaker (Living Room) and then set them both as the 'preferred' speakers.

So when you speak to either your echo Dot, or your Sonos One and say ‘Alexa, play some music Downstairs', the two rooms will group together automatically and the music will then play on both your rooms. (Kitchen & Living Room) ... this should work now without the need for any further update from Sonos.

Exactly what I tried to do. This does not work, unfortunately. Only plays from one Sonos speaker and ignores all the others in the group... Disappointing.
There are a couple of things to say about this...

Firstly and perhaps importantly, the rollout of functionality is still taking place, or so I believe.
Second, A screenshot from your group might help me to see why you are possibly having a problem.
Finally, I can definitely say it works at home for me. It works too on my Son's Sonos system and is working in our holiday home too.

It is useful (in some instances) to have a different group name to the Sonos 'Room Name' but I doubt a Group called 'Downstairs' will play any part in this matter.

If you can very kindly post a screenshot of your Alexa 'group' I’ll be happy to try recommend things, to try to get it working for you.


I can confirm that this now sorta works. And the problem is related to the term "downstairs". I created two rooms: one for "upstairs" and one for "downstairs". Playing music upstairs works properly -- it groups together (or zones) my master bedroom and bathroom Sonos and plays just fine. Trying the same thing for downstairs gives me an error that "sorry, downstairs is offline." I'm guessing that this must be related to the fact that I had two Alexa Echos, one of which was called downstairs but has since been renamed to something else. But I can't seem to get Alexa to forget that device.

I'm going to try reverting the Echos to their original names (upstairs echo and downstairs echo) then deleting them from the system, then adding them back. Maybe that will fix Alexa's memory problem. IDK.


More clues and/or problems -- I have a pair of old Sonos One speaker (the non-Alexa variety) that are stereo-paired in Sonos but Alexa sees them as two different speakers. Trying to use them in a multi-speaker room inside of Alexa seems to scramble her brain. Won't play any music there at all, even if I just ask Alexa to play directly to those speakers. Probably a bug.
I have an Echo Dot grouped with a Sonos Play 5. Requesting playback on that Dot starts playback on the Sonos instead of the Dot and talking to another Dot does not lower music volume on the Sonos anymore. That's fine. But when I ask another Dot to stop (when it is not doing anything) it stops playback on the Sonos even though it is not grouped. When I ask the other Dot to stop while it is playing anything it just stops playback on that Dot as expected and does not interfere with the Sonos. Sounds like a small bug to me.
I have an Echo Dot grouped with a Sonos Play 5. Requesting playback on that Dot starts playback on the Sonos instead of the Dot and talking to another Dot does not lower music volume on the Sonos anymore. That's fine. But when I ask another Dot to stop (when it is not doing anything) it stops playback on the Sonos even though it is not grouped. When I ask the other Dot to stop while it is playing anything it just stops playback on that Dot as expected and does not interfere with the Sonos. Sounds like a small bug to me.

I'm not sure I follow your setup exactly, but this sounds like expected setup to me.

I have an Echo Dot grouped with a Sonos Play 5. Requesting playback on that Dot starts playback on the Sonos instead of the Dot and talking to another Dot does not lower music volume on the Sonos anymore.

So you have an alexa group (Call it 😵 with an echo dot (call it A) and a Play:5 as the preffered speaker. A music request on Dot A will automatically play on the play:5 as expect. The request to lower volume on anther Dot (call it 😎 doesn't work. I think you will have to explicting target Alexa group X for that command to work.

That's fine. But when I ask another Dot to stop (when it is not doing anything) it stops playback on the Sonos even though it is not grouped.

I actually like this functionality. I typcially only have one stream of audio going in the house at a time. So if I want to turn it off, it's conveniet to be able to turn it off from anywhere without having to target where it's currently playing. For example, I may have music playing in the bedroom, as I'm about to walk out the door. I can tell the nearest alexa device near the garage (which happens to be the thermostat) to just stop and it will kill the music in the bedroom without me having to think about where I started music in the house.


When I ask the other Dot to stop while it is playing anything it just stops playback on that Dot as expected and does not interfere with the Sonos. Sounds like a small bug to me.


I believe that has to do with that fact that you have two streams going at that time. Since you didn't specify which room, it will stop the current room/echo if there is anything playing. If nothing is playing on the alexa you're talking to, it will kill a stream elsewhere if that's all that's playing. If there are more than one, i think it will ask you to be specific.

I get why you may look at this as a bug, since it's not doing what you thought it would do, but I imagine people are going to have different expectations based on thier own habits and intuitions. It's difficult to design voice control that is intuitive and easy to use for everyone. Maybe at some point, we'll be able to configure the setup to match your intuition, or perhaps AI can be incorporated to learn your habits over time and sort of self configure.
@MiDe72

I'm new to this, I thought i read that you need to Group your other Dot (or all Dots) as their own group even if there is only is one device in the group. That way every device is in a group (even if only a single device). Try that