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What you need to know about Chromecast Audio groups

Chromecast Audio
Chromecast Audio (Image credit: Android Central)

Google's audio-only addition to the Chromecast lineup this year seemed a little lackluster at first, but a recent update adding higher quality audio and the ability to group multiple Chromecast Audio together has elevated the accessory to a must for folks with multiple speaker setups in the home.

As is often the case with new software, there's a few things you need to know in order to get everything up and running in your home or office.

Everything needs to be up to date

Chromecast Audio Firmware

The first thing you need to do with Chromecast Audio is make sure everything is on the right software and firmware. The Chromecast app will update to 1.13.13, which you can confirm by tapping Help & feedback in the side menu of the app. Much like their video counterparts, Chromecast Audio dongles are supposed to check for a firmware update every time they are power cycled. The Devices tab of your Chromecast app lists each Chromecast on your network, with a submenu indicated by three dots on each connection. That submenu includes a Device settings option, and when you scroll to the bottom of that page you'll see the firmware number for your Chromecast Audio.

You need to have Firmware version 1.17a.49061, and if you don't have that you'll need to reboot your Chromecast Audio so it checks for an update when it powers on. Once everything is on the correct version number, you'll be able to create a group. If you try with just one Chromecast Audio on the correct firmware version, you'll see the ability to create a group but not the ability to add any Chromecast Audio dongles that aren't on the correct version.

Creating a group doesn't mean everything can see the group immediately

Chromecast Audio Group

Each Chromecast Audio in the Chromecast App has the ability to create a group. Tap the menu button and you'll see "Create Group" button, and tapping that will create a prompt where you can add whatever available Chromecast Audio devices you can see. You name the group, tap save, and the group has been created.

Immediately, everything with Chromecast functionality on your phone will see the group and be able to play audio on the speakers selected in the group. Everything else is going to have to wait a little while. In our tests it took nearly 30 minutes for other Android phones and tablets to see the group, but Chromecast functionality in a PC or Mac browser took significantly longer to recognize the group as a viable option for casting.

Your mileage may vary, but if you create a group and don't see it right away all you usually need to do is wait a bit.

Individual speaker controls are a little hidden

Chromecast Audio Volume

Once you've created a Chromecast Audio group, and are casting audio to it, that group gets a single speaker control line in your phone's audio control system. It gets treated like a single Chromecast, and your volume rocker will increase and decrease as a group. This is alright for most situations, but not ideal if you have one speaker system significantly more capable than another or you have a room where the audio needs to be a little quieter.

To address individual speakers within a group, head to the speaker icon on the group in the Devices section of the Chromecast app. You'll get a prompt for each speaker, which includes a traditional slider. This is the only place you'll see individual speaker volume controls, which unfortunately means there's no quick way to access this feature.

If you detect some latency in the different Chromecast Audio connections in your home or office, you can adjust the latency manually from the individual speaker connections. To do this, head to the Devices tab in the Chromecast app and select Device settings from the menu on the Chromecast Audio you want to address. Scroll down to Advanced and tap Group Delay Correction, where you'll see instructions and a slider for making the adjustments necessary to address latency between speakers.

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter

38 Comments
  • Any way of making a group with Sonos and Chromecast audio?
  • Nope.
  • Don't know why you would need to, but the play 3 and play 5 have inputs so you could plug in a chromecast audio into a sonos. as far as using 2 play 5's and 2 of your own speakers with a chromecast, and expecting to get the same stream to play without latency on all four speakers, you are expecting too much of each platform.
  • Spending that king of money on a Sonos system only to plug a Chromecast into it is kinda funny. :-)
  • Can a regular Chromecast join the group?
  • Not right now, no. Posted via the Android Central App
  • That's what I want/need, too. It's silly for Google to think people wouldn't ever want to listen to music both through their TV via a regular Chromecast and in other rooms with a Chromecast Audio. They just created YouTube Music which is just begging for this functionality!
  • On my Onkyo home theater system I have both a Chromecast and a Chromecast Audio. That's the beauty of the low price for these devices.
    I get a side benefit: I can watch something on TV and then switch to Chromecast Audio for music. It lets the football game be seen on TV while we listen to Christmas music. I don't know if all receivers can do this but the Onkyo certainly does.
  • I do something similar with my home theater system. I can have the game with Christmas music like you. Or, I could also have Christmas Songs from the FiOS (cable TV) music channels and the Yule Log video (sans audio) from YouTube playing on the TV through Chromecast. I ordered a few Chromecast Audios and I'm going to use them for streaming outside also. Chromecast has been by far, my favorite Google product.
  • The fact that you essentially have two of the same device hooked up to your AV receiver is what I'm annoyed with. Why couldn't your regular Chromecast send audio to your speakers while the TV displays the game? I know the device is $35 (or less), but why do I need multiple devices connected to the same receiver, Google?!
  • freakin this... yes I get it, they are cheap as hell, but I shouldn't have to buy two just got the same exact same system... get your **** together Google.
  • Heh, glad I bought Terri by mistake... I kept the second because I figured it'd be handy by the patio or when I move, but it's going right into the home theater now... Just need to go order optical cable, would much rather have my AVR doing DAC functionality.
  • Chromecast audio speakers like the denon heos can those be grouped with the chromecast audio dongle? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Built in Chromecasts of third party products will get an update in the coming weeks to be able for multiroom.
  • The latency issue is a huge concern. Looks like my sonos system is safe.
  • No issues with latency for me. All speakers are in sync and works well. Sonos is nice but just costs way too much, glad I never bought into it.
  • Are you using it thru a AV receiver that has any music dsp's/DD/DTS applied? I think once you start doing that in one room, other rooms become out of sync
  • No latency here. I have four 2.1 speakers plus an Onkyo 7.1 receiver. I've connected the Chromecast Audio to the Onkyo via the "TV/CD" RCA inputs. It just works and works beautifully.
  • I'd like to hear the results if you were using the optical inputs rather than the analog for 2 reasons- first the pretty much unanimous feedback I've read is that the optical sounds significantly better than the analog from the CCA. And also, some older receivers (pre 2006ish) don't have any ability to apply dsp's to analogs anyway. FWIW, I would like the CCA to be viable, I just know that having applied a music dsp to my AVR for the family room, then have my patio hooked up to zone 2, getting perfect sync (which sonos has) was a bit like playing wack a mole. And yes I could "fiddle" to get the sync correct, but then that is not what sonos is all about.
  • Does it work with a standard optical cable or do I need a special one?
  • There's an optical cable that has what looks like a headphone jack on one end. It's called a TOSLINK optical cable (there are also adaptors for regular optical cables to convert one end to a headphone-esque plug). My TOSLINK cable cost $6.49 on Amazon.
  • adapter like this http://www.amazon.com/Recoton-Fiber-Optic-Toslink-Adapter/dp/B0002MQGRM?...
  • That is the receivers issue then not Chromecast. Hook up a Sonos Connect:Amp and you will have the same issue. If the receiver is causing a delay you just need to set the delay on the other Chromecasts so the are in sync with the receiver Chromecast.
  • I have the same question like ebocioj. Is it possible to group every google cast (audio) enabled device?
  • Yes. I have multiple groups for my 5 Chromecast Audios. One has all of my CA devices. Another has all but excludes the master bedroom in case the wife is sleeping. And yet another is just for the first floor.
  • This sounds very good, but i meant the possibility to combine other google cast enabled devices, too. I.e. the LG Music Flow H3 which supports google cast. Sorry the vague question! ;)
  • This third party products with Chromecast ability will get an update in the coming weeks. I hope this is also guilty for the thirst Chromecast generation.
  • Thanks! Now, i've found the corresponding FAQ, too. Question "Can I add my Google Cast speakers to a group?" on https://support.google.com/chromecast/answer/6329016?hl=en
  • This has still not happened :( come on Google. I have ChromeCast Video and Audio plus a number of LG Chromecast Audio enabled speakers and I cant group them all together :(
  • Thank you very much for the write up! I just got my 2 chromcasts last night and this helped me get things set up correctly. Make sure everything is up to date and you should be good to go.
  • I have 5 Chromecast Audios throughout the house and simply love the group feature. No latency issues and the sound is superb.
  • What kind of speakers are you using them with?
  • I know your post is a year old but I can't seen to find a answer and since you have of these devices I thought to just ask. Can two devices play different music on different chromecasts in different parts of the house.
    Such as my wife from her phone to the chromecast in the bedroom and me from my phone to the chromecast in the kitchen .
  • Yes. We often do that in my house. You can have as many devices playing to as many Chromecasts (or groups of Chromecasts) as you like. You can be in the bathroom listening to your music and your wife be in the living room listening to her music.
  • I just tried this out tonight and it works great. I have a soundbar upstairs and another downstairs and I tested music from both my PC and Moto X through Google play and it worked like a charm. Thanks Google. Can't beat 2 for $55.
  • Great article. For those who live outside US like me, you can access Netflix, Hulu and similar media stations on your Chromecast by using UnoTelly or similar tools.
  • Anybody try this with groups ? . I have two sonos speakers a play 1 and a play 3. I can cast from google play music to both as long as they are groped in the sonos app. I also have three Korus speakers which all have 3.5 input. I already ordered three chromecast audios it would be awesome to synch all them together using google play music. I like the Korus speakers and they are super cheap when they run sales on them v600 less than 100 bucks.
  • If I have my pc hooked up to the tv and speakers in my living room, can I play music via google play on the pc and then group in the bedroom speakers that have a CCA attached? Or do I need another CCA connected to the living room to do this?