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This story is part of Top tipsCNET’s collection of practical tips for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.

Did that title make you do a double take? It is understandable. what kind of person has an Amazon device in every room? Well, call me weird, but don’t judge before you hear me out, because there are a lot of neat things you can do with that unused one. Echo Dot: stuffed in a forgotten drawer or it Amazon Echo speaker which is slowly gathering dust in the corner of your living room, or soon in one corner of Amazon new Echo Dot speakersnext was recently announced A number of other Alexa devices.

I had two Echo Dots – both white third generation models which I have since replaced with better sounding fourth generation ‘balls’. But those old hockey flakes still rock, especially when paired with my black Echo Show 8:00, so I dug them up and found homes for both. One third-generation moth entered my half-bathroom, another in my upstairs hallway; Turned my arsenal of Alexa devices up to a massive 11! smart speakers and: smart screens. That means I now have one Alexa speaker or display every few feet throughout my house.

Is that an exaggeration? Yes, you can say that. Do you still need to put an Alexa device in your bedroom, bathroom, and garage (get the point)? Well, absolutely. Once you do, you’ll wonder why you never did it before. That’s because Alexa devices have a number of distinct advantages.

Here are all the neat tricks you can do with the Amazon gadgets you already own, along with some tips on how to keep things organized. And if you’re looking to get your hands on some new Echo devices, Amazon is hosting event next week to introduce new products and services. (You can always check the best Alexa devicesis best cheap alexa devices and the best smart screens already on the market as well).

Why so many Alexa devices? Because more is better

Some Alexa features simply work better the more Amazon Echo speakers and displays you have in your home. For example, if you’ve never experienced whole-house audio before, it’s a surprisingly immersive experience, even if most of your speakers are Echo Dots (and even if you don’t have an Amazon Echo Subwoofer). On days when you’re moving from room to room a lot, like cleaning the house or hosting a party, it’s remarkable how nice it is to have music playing everywhere you go.

Three Amazon Echo Dot 3rd generation speakers sitting on a table

These old third-generation Echo Dots make perfect speakers for your garage, hallway, or other less-used spaces.

Ry Crist/CNET

But there are other nifty ways to use home Alexas. Besides multi-room music, here are some of my other favorites:

AnnouncementsSay, “Alexa, announce dinner is ready” or “announce it’s time to go to bed” and see what happens (Alexa adds audio “color” to the message).

Sign inYou can have an intercom conversation with someone in a specific room. “Alexa, enter the kitchen” or with the whole house at once. “Enter everywhere.”

Multiroom audio (but in the same room)You may only be able to pair identical speakers in stereo mode, but you can place any two or three or more speakers together in the same room, although the feature is called Multi-Room.

But before you get started with any of this, the first thing you’ll want to rule out is any Echo devices that might be responding to you by mistake (next).

Aerial view of the white second-generation Amazon Echo smart speaker

The second-generation Amazon Echo continues to be a formidable smart speaker, so don’t throw yours in the drawer and forget about it.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Assign wake words other than “Alexa.”

If you’re like me and have multiple Echo devices in the same area, you already know how annoying yelling “Alexa” can be. and let every device compete for your attention. If you have two or more devices in the same vicinity, it is better to give each one its own review.

For example, I have an Echo Show in my kitchen and an Echo Dot just a few feet away in the living room. I use the Dot mostly to play music, not necessarily to listen to commands. I gave that speaker (and the other speakers I just use for audio) a wake up word except for Alexa.

While Amazon’s traditional options for calling a voice assistant are Alexa, Computer, Amazon, and Echo, there are: additions of several new wake-up words you can use like Ziggy and: Hey, Disney!. Unfortunately, you can’t name it anything other than these, so you’ll have to call your device “Buddy” or something special.

Here’s how to change the wake word on individual devices.

1:. Open the Alexa app, navigate to Devices.

2:. Tap Echo & Alexa: from the top row of icons.

3:. Click on the device name with the word you want to change. You must change the wake word for each device separately.

4:. Choose Settings icon in the top right corner, then scroll down and tap Wake Word:.

5:00. Choose a wake word other than Alexa (see above for your options).

6:00. Tap ok when a pop-up window lets you know that it may take a few minutes to change, then either exit that menu or close the app.

You can also change the wake word with voice commands. Just say, “Alexa, change your wake word.” Alexa will prompt you to choose from a list of suggested wake words. Then select the word you want.

Now you are all set. And you can always go back and change the wake word at any time.

read more: All the Amazon Echo Wake Words That Aren’t Alexa and What They Do

Three round Echo speakers sitting on a table

When creating a stereo pair, Echo with Watch, Echo Kids and Echo Dot are all interchangeable.

Julie Snyder/CNET

Pair Alexas for stereo and multi-room audio groups

If you have two identical devices (or functionally identical: same-generation Echo Dot, Echo Dot with Clock, and Echo Kids are interchangeable in this sense), you can pair them so that the audio is split into left and right channels : like a bona fide stereo system. That pair will then appear as a single speaker in the Alexa app when routing audio normally or creating a larger speaker set (more on that soon).

Before setting this up, make sure both speakers are in the same virtual “room” in your Alexa app and that they’re both on the same network. Then do this.

1:. Open the Alexa app, tap Devices in the bottom menu bar, then tap the plus sign (+:) in the upper right corner.

2:. Tap Connect the speakersthen tap Stereo pair / subwoofer. Tap one of the speakers you want to use, and the app will highlight compatible speaker options; tap one, then tap Next.

3:. The app will assign one to the right channel and the other to the left channel, but you can tap Swap speakers to change the options, then tap Next.

4:. Name your new stereo pair (I usually stick with the room name, like “Master Bedroom”).


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Multiroom audio works the same way, but without stereo separation. In addition, you can combine identical speakers and previously paired stereo pairs, as many of them as you like. And, again, speakers don’t required be in different rooms. Here’s how to do it.

1:. Open the Alexa app, tap Devices in the bottom menu bar, then tap the plus sign (+:) in the upper right corner.

2:. Tap Connect the speakersthen tap Multi-room music. Tap all the speakers you want to include in the group, then tap Next.

3:. The app will assign one to the right channel and the other to the left channel, but you can tap Swap speakers to change the options, then tap Next.

4:. Either choose a name from the list or enter your personal name below, then tap Save.

Protect the privacy of your Amazon Echo

With all these Echo devices scattered around your home, you’re probably thinking: Is Alexa always listening? Good question, considering no one wants Alexa to be privy to our private conversations.

Echo devices have raised a number of privacy concerns. Although they only record and transmit to Amazon’s cloud when the blue light is activated, Echo devices are widely known to can be activated without you knowing it if one of them hears something similar to their wake word (for example, if you say “choice” or “I’d like some” instead of “Alexa”). That is also worth understanding Amazon employees can listen to your Alexa conversations unless you take certain precautions.

Fortunately, there are settings and other hacks to keep Amazon out of your business.

First, you can turn off the device or mute the microphone by pressing the mute button on the microphone to make sure Alexa isn’t always listening. You can also update the settings delete your Amazon audio transcripts immediately so that they cannot be reviewed by Amazon employees. You can read our full summary privacy tips here.

For more cool Alexa tricks, take a look six useful Amazon Echo tips you’ll want to use every day, some funny things you can ask Alexa and more commands you can try tonight.

More tips for Alexa

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