about 7 years ago, I was introduced to the Sonus ecosystem. My dad got one and I was amazed. He didn’t get it all at once, and as it expanded to multiroom in time I continued to be more intrigued. The thing though, that always has been, and is, with the Sonos line, is the cost. It is hella expensive, and though expandable, not as expandable as I might like it to be, and the both of those things, have stopped me from investing in one.
I have had an Amazon Alexa for a few years now, and have always been impressed with it’s virtual AI, much more responsive than Apple’s Siri in my opinion, especially with the 4th gen Alexa devices.
I had heard that you could setup multiroom audio with Alexa, and that is how I have my master bedrooms etup, two Echo 4th gen, and there is 90% of the time no delays between speakers. Each speaker is stereo, and a very small spread at that, so it is almost true mono when you are between them, but oh well. My hesitation for experimenting in multiple rooms, was my want, to use the Alexa’s line out, into a receiver, and what if any DSP is running on the receiver or other speaker system that would cause millisecond delays.
I won’t take all credit for actually experimenting and testing my wonderments, my lady Robin suggested it, and I picked up one of the Echo’s took her in the front room and plugged her into my 8th inch cable. Guess what? No delay, between the two rooms, I was blown away. That day, we ordered two Echo dott 4th gen devices, set one up in the front room, the second, in the second bedroom/office into a pare of small computer speakers. Of course, there are fractional delays across the house from the time the audio leaves the device and hits your ears, but with multi-room audio, you do’t have one system cranked to compinsate for other rooms, so it really does work out.
Ok, a sub, in the bedroom setup. Amazon sells an Alexa sub, but it’s unfortunately not compatible with multi-room setups.
Another Echo Dot, wired out of the line out of the Echo to a small 6 inch woofer that is powered, and has good reviews. It, like the other speakers in the home, has no delays, and the sub is on the outside wall that on the flip side is our patio, so BT from that Echo dot wired to the sub, when the sub is not in use, BTT pared to my Ion Blockrocker works fine, doesn’t cut out on the Patio.
So, what can you listen to?
Through the Alexa all major music streaming services, just link your paid account.
There is an Alexa Skill, Mypod, which is quite amazing. It allows you to setup playlists to audio files from DB or streaming services, shoutcast Icecast. So, all I got to say is, Alexa, tell My Pod to play local, and I am listening to my in house radio that I have programmed streaming local 24-7.
I also have a second shoutcast server running on the same box, which I call, mobile. To this server, I stream from an old IPhone with a USB Audio Line-in DAC, which I can plug anything into, so, Vinyl, VRStream, TV etc, all through the house on my Alexa. So yes, you may listen to anything.
I know on the Sonos, you are able to have volume controls for each speaker in the house, I haven’t found that on the Alexa setup, but that isn’t at all a deal breaker for me.
All and all, I am very satasfied. If your looking for a multi-room system on a budget, Alexa may be way to go for you.
In summary, if you already have the main speakers you want to use Echo Dot 4th gen for $50 a pop isn’t bad to create a multi-room system, if you need to invest in other speakers, amps, for your wants, needs, that will increase the price, and that is up to the individual personally.
It is a system though, that you can build in time, which is really cool!