After several leaks, Amazon has now added support for multi-room audio to the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show. The new feature allows you to group together multiple Echo devices and play music on all devices simultaneously. The feature is also being made available to 3rd-party speaker manufacturers so non-Echo devices can also sync music with Amazon’s own speakers.
To set up audio synchronization, go to the settings section of the Alexa app. Below your list of Alexa devices is a new option labeled “Multi-Room Music.” Selecting the option brings up a list of compatible devices that can have their audio synced together. You simply select two or more device and assign the group a name. The app suggests commonly used names, like “Downstairs” and “Everywhere,” but you can enter a custom name as well.
Once you have a group created, you simply add the group name to the end of your music request to Alexa and the same music will begin playing on all of your grouped devices. So if you make a group named “bedrooms” you would say “Alexa, play [music] in the bedrooms.”
As already mentioned, the feature only works with Echo devices, so it does not work with the Amazon Tap or other Alexa devices, like the Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick. Streaming services that support multi-room audio include Amazon music, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and Pandora. Amazon says support for Spotify and SiriusXM will be coming soon.
There are currently a few shortcomings of multi-room audio that you should be aware of. First off, each Echo device you own can only be part of one group of devices. So once you assign an Echo device to a group, it cannot be assigned to a second group. This is slightly inconvenient because most people probably want the option to play music on all devices while still being able to segment devices into separate groups. That is currently not possible.
The other limitation is that the multi-room audio feature is not compatible with external speakers connected via Bluetooth. If you have a Bluetooth speaker connected to any of your Echo devices, when you begin playing multi-room audio, the Bluetooth speaker will automatically be disconnected from the Echo device. Speakers connected to the Echo Dot via the 3.5mm audio jack will work with multi-room audio.
Amazon has made the new multi-room audio feature available for speaker manufacturers to integrate into their Alexa enabled products. While Amazon’s own three Echo products are the only ones to support the feature today, it will likely come to other connected speakers soon.
Multi-room audio should already be available on all Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show devices in the US, UK, and Germany.