Has Anyone Found A Way to Add A Denon Receiver to Alexa Multi-Room Audio?

sholling

sholling

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#1
It's easy to get Alexa to send music to my AVR-X4400 receiver via Heos but I'm not seeing a way to add it to whole house audio. Any suggestions? I'd like the same music from Echo devices throughout the house.
 
rojo

rojo

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#2
@sholling Have you looked into IFTTT? Not sure how you would trigger whole house audio manually, but maybe IFTTT could automate it. Example: say "Alexa, trigger house music" and IFTTT could trigger a Harmony remote activity, or trigger an Android device to play music, or many other activities. You could say "Alexa, trigger robot army" and IFTTT could play "Ride of the Valkyries" or "Night on Bald Mountain" while triggering your Roombas to clean the floors and make your guests very nervous. I need to get some Roombas....
 
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highfigh

highfigh

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#3
It's easy to get Alexa to send music to my AVR-X4400 receiver via Heos but I'm not seeing a way to add it to whole house audio. Any suggestions? I'd like the same music from Echo devices throughout the house.
Using Bluetooth? the Alexa app has Transmit and receive functions in the settings menu. You can also use the Echo Dot's 3.5mm jack to connect to one of the analog inputs. If you don't have one near the AVR now, you can add one and the others will communicate with it, to command it to play the music you want.

You need to pair the devices in the Alexa app- IIRC, you're using separate Echos with amplified speakers, right? I believe you need to Add A Device and give each one a unique name.
 
highfigh

highfigh

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#4
@sholling Have you looked into IFTTT? Not sure how you would trigger whole house audio manually, but maybe IFTTT could automate it. Example: say "Alexa, trigger house music" and IFTTT could trigger a Harmony remote activity, or trigger an Android device to play music, or many other activities. You could say "Alexa, trigger robot army" and IFTTT could play "Ride of the Valkyries" or "Night on Bald Mountain" while triggering your Roombas to clean the floors and make your guests very nervous. I need to get some Roombas....
Or, have a hoard of Roombas come out in formation and play a .wav file with 'One of us, one of us..." as they come out and move in unison.
 
sholling

sholling

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#5
@sholling Have you looked into IFTTT?
An interesting idea, but I don't think you could get the music to sync across rooms.

Using Bluetooth? the Alexa app has Transmit and receive functions in the settings menu. You can also use the Echo Dot's 3.5mm jack to connect to one of the analog inputs. If you don't have one near the AVR now, you can add one and the others will communicate with it, to command it to play the music you want.

You need to pair the devices in the Alexa app- IIRC, you're using separate Echos with amplified speakers, right? I believe you need to Add A Device and give each one a unique name.
Another interesting idea. Bluetooth and Alexa's multiroom audio function do not work at the same time. The 3.5mm jack to AVR idea does work and I've used it before however it's a pain. My new AVR-X4400 includes an Alexa music playback function that apparently does not work with Alexa's multiroom audio. I was just hoping that I'd missed some setting that someone else had discovered.
 
rojo

rojo

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#6
An interesting idea, but I don't think you could get the music to sync across rooms.
When you said multi-room audio, I thought you meant you already had a multi-room amplifier set up powering in-ceiling speakers (like one of these). If you're just talking about a speaker in each room where you want sound, have you looked into Sonos speakers?
 
sholling

sholling

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#7
When you said multi-room audio, I thought you meant you already had a multi-room amplifier set up powering in-ceiling speakers (like one of these). If you're just talking about a speaker in each room where you want sound, have you looked into Sonos speakers?
Thanks for your efforts! I think I'd better start at the beginning. Amazon offers a competitor to Sonos called Alexa multiroom audio. You can use the onboard speakers or better yet - external speakers (say JBL LSR305s and/or Edifier R1280Ts, Monoprice 8" studio monitors, etc) plugged into Echo Dots just as you'd use a Sonos setup but at a fraction of the cost to quality ratio to play the exact same music in every room of your house. For example, let's call one group "Everywhere" and say that it consists of a Echo Dots with good external speaker(s) in every room of the house and we command Alexa "Alexa play smooth jazz 'everywhere'", Alexa will then send the exact same music to every Dot in the group all perfectly synchronized. I have all of that already in place and it works perfectly.

Perfectly, except that I don't see a way to include the Alexa function built into my receiver. I can command Alexa to play smooth jazz through my receiver ("Alexa play smooth jazz on 'family room' (my receiver)") but I cannot include it in the group "everywhere". Yes I can command Alexa to play smooth jazz "everywhere" and command Alexa to play smooth jazz on 'family room' but they won't be synchronized and might not even be playing the same song.

Plugging a Dot into the receiver via 3.5mm to RCA works but is a pain. The cleanest way is to disable the microphone on the Dot plugged into the receiver but then you have an ugly bright red mute ring glowing on the Dot. I had been hoping that someone had found a setting that allowed 'family room' to be added to 'everywhere' but I think I'm out of. I hope that clears up what I'm trying to accomplish. I just think I'm a year early for the functionality to be in place.
 
rojo

rojo

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#10
Or use duct tape. Duct tape fixes anything. ;)
I understand the problem now, and I'm racking my brain unsuccessfully to think of a solution. I think unless D&M releases a firmware update for your AVR that directly addresses this problem, there is no good solution other than attaching an Echo Dot to your AVR, muting its mic, and hiding it away as you suggested; and even then you'll still have to issue a command to wake up your AVR and set it to the correct input (which could probably be done with a Harmony IR blaster). You could stock up on $20 Tracfones, one for each room, and have IFTTT trigger them all to play the same m3u playlist on your NAS, but that's basically kludging around Alexa's more sophisticated ESP and wouldn't sync Internet radio. I wonder whether an Echo Tap at the AVR would solve your red ring problem?
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Warlord
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#11
An interesting idea, but I don't think you could get the music to sync across rooms.


Another interesting idea. Bluetooth and Alexa's multiroom audio function do not work at the same time. The 3.5mm jack to AVR idea does work and I've used it before however it's a pain. My new AVR-X4400 includes an Alexa music playback function that apparently does not work with Alexa's multiroom audio. I was just hoping that I'd missed some setting that someone else had discovered.
Personally, I would rather use HEOS than Alexa for multi-room. It doesn't require us to guess and learn the usable phrasing, it works with other zones and devices and it sounds very good (I think better than the other main competitors, and I own a Yamaha MusicCast piece). It's synched, too. That alone makes me want to avoid using a $49 accessory in an expensive system.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Warlord
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#13
Perfectly, except that I don't see a way to include the Alexa function built into my receiver. I can command Alexa to play smooth jazz through my receiver ("Alexa play smooth jazz on 'family room' (my receiver)") but I cannot include it in the group "everywhere". Yes I can command Alexa to play smooth jazz "everywhere" and command Alexa to play smooth jazz on 'family room' but they won't be synchronized and might not even be playing the same song.

Plugging a Dot into the receiver via 3.5mm to RCA works but is a pain. The cleanest way is to disable the microphone on the Dot plugged into the receiver but then you have an ugly bright red mute ring glowing on the Dot. I had been hoping that someone had found a setting that allowed 'family room' to be added to 'everywhere' but I think I'm out of. I hope that clears up what I'm trying to accomplish. I just think I'm a year early for the functionality to be in place.
Why is using the 3.5mm to RCA a pain? If you don't like the light, you can hide that Dot.
 
sholling

sholling

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#14
Personally, I would rather use HEOS than Alexa for multi-room. It doesn't require us to guess and learn the usable phrasing, it works with other zones and devices and it sounds very good (I think better than the other main competitors, and I own a Yamaha MusicCast piece). It's synched, too. That alone makes me want to avoid using a $49 accessory in an expensive system.
I already own Dots and powered speakers so spending another $300-500 per room for HEOS speakers is not an option. Besides, as long as you are using Amazon Prime Music or Amazon Music Unlimited as your source there is nothing complicated about "Alexa play smooth jazz/country/rock everywhere". Or "Alexa play country in kitchen, Alexa play rock in garage, Alexa play pop in master bedroom". The only downside is that until a future software update, while you can have lots of groups, any given Dot can only belong to one of them.
 
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sholling

sholling

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1,212
#15
Why is using the 3.5mm to RCA a pain? If you don't like the light, you can hide that Dot.
It's not a major pain as long as you can dedicate a Dot to playing music (not taking commands) only, and don't mind covering the bright red mute light-ring. I'll probably wind up doing this now that I have enough Dots to dedicate one to exclusively playing multiroom audio.

What you don't want is a Dot outputting to your AVR and listening for commands. The reason is that you don't want that Dot trying to answer to commands like "Alexa, weather report?" while the AVR is tuned to another source because you won't hear the answer. This is also why you don't want to use powered speakers with a startup delay (like KRK Rokits) unless you can dedicate that Dot to music playback. By the time the Rokit powers up (5 seconds) Alexa has silently answered your question.
 

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