For me, I use Apple Music mainly by talking to my HomePods, but I also send audio from my iPad or Mac to them if it’s not Apple Music.
For example, I get the Dark Noise app going, then send the audio to the HomePods at night. Same for podcasts, YouTube etc.
This was my routine as well but I now have Siri play ambient sounds without going through Dark Noise. I tell Siri to “play rain sounds” each night before retiring. It plays all night with no gaps. Very relaxing.
I considered that, but we have our own mixes in Dark Noise that we like!
My wife seems to find adding a typewriter is soothing, possibly because I’m often tapping away when she drops off.
But, I’ve been using the “Set playback destination” Shortcut and found it a bit unpredictable (hence resorting to manually setting playback destination).
I’m going to try the Handoff option instead when I get home.
Are you aware you can play audio from most apps to your HomePods? You can use Control Center on your iPhone/iPad to send most audio via Airplay to your HomePod minis. And some apps like YouTube (see below) have the controls built in. (Front Room TV is Chromecast)
Google Hub can do the same and better. Before I go to sleep, I say “Hey Google, bed time”, then Google Assistant’s standard routine will tell me tomorrow’s weather, then ask me what time do I want to set up the alarm, turn off the bedside lights, then start playing the cricket sound (customizable)
I have similar discussion in the Automator Forum and was told that Siri or Apple Shortcut would not allow me to replicate the same routine, as shortcut would not run voice command (at least for now)
can’t agree more, I thought Apple bought some AI companies to make Siri smarter, have not seen any performance improvement yet. May be they are spending more money to make Apple Maps better as a priority.
You want to use Airplay. It’s built in to recent Apple devices.
In Safari, or many other macOS apps if you have the volumed control speaker icon diplaying in the Menu bar (See System Preference/Sound/Click the checkbox on the bottom of the panel to Show Sound in menu bar and select Always from the pop-up) once you have an audio source playing:
click the speaker icon in the menu bar
Select the Homepod you want
In iOS start the sound
Select the little Aiplay icon on whatever sound is playing (looks like a mall mountain with rings of sound waves emanating from it)
Choose the Homepod