Why Should You Place an Amazon Echo in Every Room in Your House?

Why Should You Place an Amazon Echo in Every Room in Your House?
pic credit: Dale Smith/CNET

I’m sure you have an unused Echo Dot tucked away in a forgotten drawer or closet at home. And perhaps an Echo Show or Amazon Echo speaker in an unnoticed corner of your living room. I’m here to tell you to put your devices up and follow my lead.

I had two Echo Dots, both white third-generation devices that I’d since upgraded to better-sounding fourth-generation “orbs.” But those old hockey pucks still slapped, especially when combined with my black Echo Show 8, so I dug them out and found their new homes. One third-generation Dot went in my half-bath, the other in my upstairs hallway, bringing my Alexa collection to 11 smart speakers and smart displays, including an Echo Flex (see the below photo for how ridiculously small those are). That means I now have one Alexa speaker or display for every 122 square feet of space in my house, give or take.

Amazon Echo
The Echo Flex is the smallest Alexa speaker, with sound quality that’s not great.
Chris Monroe/CNET

Is that excessive? Without a doubt. Should you still install an Alexa device in your bedroom, bathroom, and garage (you get the idea!)? Without a doubt. Once you’ve done it, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. That’s because there are some distinct advantages to having a slew of Alexa devices in your home. Read on to learn about all of the cool tricks you can do with the Amazon products you currently own, as well as how to keep everything in order.

Why so many Alexa devices? Because more is better

Some Alexa functions simply perform better with additional Amazon Echo speakers and displays in your home. For example, if you’ve never heard whole-house audio before, it’s a fairly stunning experience – even if the majority of your speakers are Echo Dots (and you don’t have an Amazon Echo Subwoofer). On days when you’re traveling from room to room a lot – say, cleaning the house or holding a party – it’s amazing how nice it is to have music playing everywhere you go.

Alexa devices

There are, however, other creative uses for a slew of Alexas. Apart from multiroom music, these are some of my other favorites:

Announcements: “Alexa, declare that dinner is ready,” or “…announce that it’s bedtime,” and see what happens (hint: Alexa adds some audio “color” to the message).

Drop-In: You can have an intercom-style discussion with someone in a single area – “Alexa, drop in on the kitchen” – or with the entire house – “…drop in everywhere.”

Multiroom audio (but in the same room): Although you can only pair similar speakers together in stereo, you can set any two, three, or more speakers together in the same room, despite the feature’s name “Multi-room”.

But, before you get started on any of this, the first thing you’ll want to do is limit the number of Alexas that may respond to you inadvertently (up next).

Choose your wake words carefully

Approximately half of the Amazon Echo speakers and screens in my home are intended to be one-way-only speakers. In other words, they are here to play audio rather than to listen for directions. I’ve assigned a wake word other than “Alexa” to those speakers.

In my bedroom, for example, I have two Echo Dots on either nightstand, connected as a stereo pair (i.e., right and left channels — I’ll show you how in the next section). I only need one of them to be on the lookout for directives (the one on my side — duh). I left “Alexa” as the wake word on that one, but changed it to “Echo” on the other.

That way, when I yell, “Alexa!” I won’t have two neighboring speakers competing for my attention. Here’s how to customize the wake word on each device:

  1. Start the Alexa app, go to Settings, and then tap Device Settings.
  2. Select the device whose wake word you wish to change, then scroll down and select Wake Word.
  3. Select a wake phrase that is not Alexa (you may want to stick with just one alternative, lest you forget which is which).
  4. When a popup tells you that the transition may take a few minutes, tap OK, then exit the menu or close the app.

You have the option of changing the wake word at any moment. While Amazon’s standard wake words for your voice assistant are Alexa, Computer, Amazon, and Echo, there are a few other wake words you can use, such as Ziggy and Hey, Disney. Unfortunately, you cannot give it a unique name of your choice, so you must select one of these preset possibilities.

The second-gen Amazon Echo
The second-gen Amazon Echo is still a formidable smart speaker, so don’t shove yours in a drawer and forget about it.
Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Alexas should be paired for stereo and multiroom audio groups

If you have two similar (or functionally identical) devices (the same generation Echo Dot, Echo Dot with Clock, and Echo Kids are all interchangeable), you can couple them so that audio is separated into left and right channels, just like a real stereo system. When controlling audio in a routine or constructing a larger set of speakers, that pair will show as a single speaker in the Alexa app (more on that shortly).

Before you begin, ensure that both speakers are in the same virtual “room” in your Alexa app and are connected to the same network. Then do the following:

  1. Open the Alexa app, then select Devices from the bottom menu bar, followed by the addition sign (+) in the upper right corner.
  2. Select Combine speakers, followed by Stereo pair/subwoofer. Hit one of the speakers you want to utilize, and the app will show appropriate speaker options for you to choose from. Tap one, and then tap Next.
  3. The software will assign the right channel to one and the left channel to the other, but you can swap the selections by tapping Swap Speakers, then Next.
  4. Give your new stereo pair a name (I usually stick with the name of the room, i.e., “Master Bedroom”).

Multiroom audio functions in the same way as stereo audio, but without stereo separation. You can also mix as many unalike speakers and previously matched stereo pairs as you want. And, once again, although the feature is termed “Multi-room,” the speakers do not have to be in different rooms. Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Open the Alexa app, then select Devices from the bottom menu bar, followed by the addition sign (+) in the upper right corner.
  2. Select Combine speakers, followed by Multi-room music. Tap Next once you’ve selected all of the speakers you wish to include in the group.
  3. The software will assign the right channel to one and the left channel to the other, but you can swap the selections by tapping Swap Speakers, then Next.
  4. Select a name from the list or input your own at the bottom, then hit Save.

Also Read:

Amazon’s New Eero Mesh Routers welcome in the Wi-Fi 6E Era

How Much Does It Cost to Set Up an Amazon Smart Home? Explained

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