If you have multiple Amazon Echos, there’s a real advantage to configuring smart speakers in the Alexa app in virtual rooms in your home.
Amazon has been adding grouping for quite some time now and has improved it over time. You can now tell the app which room your Echo devices are in, grouping them with other smart gadgets you might have that work with Alexa like plugs, lights, and switches.
There are some benefits, but the main one is that you can more easily control those devices in those rooms. When you’re in your living room after setting this up, you can simply say “Alexa, turn on the lights” (or dim the lights) and she’ll know you mean the living room lights since they’re linked to the Echo that’s connected. assign to that room in the app.
It also allows you to say “Turn on the lights in the master bedroom” even if you are in another room asking Alexa on another Echo and all the grouped lights in that room will turn on. Same with music: you can say “Alexa, play kids music in daycare” or “Alexa, play jazz in the dining room”.
You can also choose in the app which Echo in a group is the priority for playing music. This is useful if you have a Fire TV Cube and an Echo in the same room as you may not want to play music from your TV, but instead from a better-sounding Echo.
Here, we will explain how to set it all up.
How to create a room in the Alexa app
Rooms are a type of Group and you can set them up as follows:
- Open the Alexa app
- Tap Devices at the bottom right
- Tap the + icon in the top right
- Select Add group
- Tap ‘Create room or device group’
At this point, you’ll begin a three-step process of naming the room, adding devices to it, and adding an Alexa device. This is a bit confusing if you want to see your Echo devices in the list: they appear in the last step, not the ‘devices’ list.
If you don’t have any smart devices in the room that you’re setting up, just tap SUBMIT at the bottom.
Note that you may not be able to add third-party devices with Alexa (those not made by Amazon) to a room. However, Sonos and Bose devices are supported.
Once you’ve set up a room, it will appear in the Devices section of the app in GROUPS.
In each room you’ll see controls for any lights, plugs and switches you’ve added to the ‘devices’ list, and they act as shortcuts to turn them on and off if you don’t want to ask. Alexa does that (useful at nighttime, for example, when everyone else has gone to bed).
Tap anywhere in the group rectangle, but don’t tap one of the device icons, and you’ll see the full list of smart devices you’ve added to the room: individual lights, plugs, and speakers and you can turn them on and off individually.
You can also tap the name of each device to see more settings, such as the brightness and color of the dimming lights, and different shades of white or color. However, this will largely depend on the level of integration the manufacturer has provided, and you can learn more in our separate guide to activating Alexa skills.
And if you later want to add devices to the room, just tap the room then tap Edit in the top right corner, which will allow you to change the name of the room as well as add any Echo (or other Alexa devices) and new lights, plugs and other gadgets in the room.
How to set which speaker plays music
In the Alexa app, tap Devices, then tap the room (in the GROUP list) that you want to set up. If you haven’t created a room yet, follow the instructions above.
In the SPEAKER section, click Select speaker to select the speaker that plays music.
This gives a somewhat confusing list, as it won’t show the Echo devices you’ve assigned to that group: they’ve been set as speakers for that room.
Instead, you’ll see a list of all the other Echo devices currently connected to Wi-Fi, which means you can choose any to play when you say “Alexa, play music in the Lounge” or whatever room you are configuring .
Note that this is different from Multiroom music, although it works essentially the same.
The other thing you can do here is scroll down to PLAYBACK OPTIONS and make sure it says “Only if you say the group name”.
If not, tap change and select that option, otherwise, music will always play on those speakers when you say “Alexa, play music.”
How to group rooms together
Another useful tip is that you can combine rooms. You may want to create a group called “Upstairs” and another group named “Downstairs” so you can turn your lights on or off more quickly. Sure, you can set up processes to achieve the same thing, but it’s easier to use the new ‘large area’ feature to do this.
The process is like creating a single room at first, so tap Devices, tap the + icon in the top right, then tap Add group.
Now you choose another option: Combine rooms or groups.
Tap Next and then choose a name for the large area. If it’s not in the matching list, you can scroll to the bottom (as you can for individual rooms) and tap Custom Name.
Now tap on the rooms you want to include in the large group and tap NEXT, DONE. That’s it. You can now ask Alexa to turn off all the lights downstairs.
Of course, there are other reasons to have multiple Amazon Echo speakers in your home, including playing announcements like “Dinner is ready,” having a private chat with a family member, the ability to listen to other music, and more. each other in different rooms and multi-room audio.
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