Alexa Multi-room Audio and Bluetooth

Amazon finally added the ability to pipe audio to groups of Alexa devices, and ever since I’ve been getting questions and comments about Alexa Multi-room audio and Bluetooth connectivity. Specifically, about dropped Bluetooth connections.

 

So Ends Another Week

 

First, I’d like to encourage everyone to say the wake word followed by “good morning” to their Alexa devices to get an extra-special daily Easter egg today only, 9/8/17.

With that out of the way…it’s not your imagination and it’s not a bug, Alexa does drop all active Bluetooth connections on grouped devices when you use the multi-room audio feature to play audio through all the devices in that group.

Amazon hasn’t kept this a secret so I’m not sure why so many consumers are feeling caught off guard. From Amazon’s help page about the Multi-room Audio feature (boldface emphasis mine):

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However, Multi-Room Music does not support:
– Amazon Tap or 3rd party Alexa devices

– Non-music content such as Flash Briefings, books, or skills such as Sirius

– Any Bluetooth connections whilst streaming, such as to external speakers. Wired connections to external speakers (i.e. from the Echo Dot) will not be affected.

– Fast-forward and rewind are not supported during group playback

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So connections to Bluetooth speakers and headphones won’t work during multi-room audio playback, though those connections should work just fine when using the grouped devices individually.

Most people who use Bluetooth speakers with Alexa have them connected to a Dot, and the Dot also allows for connectivity via an audio out cord. Less convenient, yes. But still a totally workable solution.

Alternatively, the true audiophiles might want to wait for the arrival of Sonos whole-home Alexa integration, which has been in beta test since last fall and is reportedly going to be released to all consumers any day now.

 

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Get the Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote (UK visitors – click here) to take advantage of the recently added Alexa device control capabilities. Currently rated 4.5/5 stars and currently on sale at $34.99.

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