Tune HomePod's sound using equalizers in iOS and macOS

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 16
From multi-array microphones for far-field listening to beamforming tweeters and dynamic audio processing powered by a beefy A8 processor, HomePod is a compact marvel of technology. Despite its smarts, users are unable to access audio output settings as they would a traditional speaker or even Bluetooth devices marketed by companies like Sonos.




There is, however, a way to tweak incoming audio signals through Apple's first party apps. To do so requires AirPlay, which isn't the most elegant or convenient of options, but the results are worth it for users who want a bit more control over HomePod's sound.

As with other AirPlay speakers, HomePod accepts connections from both Mac and iOS, meaning host devices can fine tune output signals to suit user needs. HomePod will adhere to these frequency settings when connected to an AirPlay source, providing a workaround for a distinct lack of built-in equalizer controls.

The Mac offers a more granular set of customization options than mobile, as users can tweak individual frequency settings via iTunes equalizer.

First, open iTunes and connect to HomePod by clicking on the AirPlay icon located to the right of the volume slider. Select HomePod and begin music playback.

Next, navigate to Window > Equalizer in the menu bar and either select a preset or drag the frequency sliders to increase or decrease volumes of individual frequencies. The Preamp slider controls adjustments to overall volume of all frequencies, but these modifications can come at a cost to fidelity.

Users can also save customized presets from the Equalizer window.




In addition to its equalizer, iTunes offers a Sound Enhancer capable of expanding the "wideness" of a virtual stereo effect by modifying bass and treble response. To enable the feature, navigate to iTunes > Preferences > Playback and switch Sound Enhancer on.

The effect is not immediately apparent with a single HomePod, but Sound Enhancer could come in handy once Apple activates HomePod synchronization in a future software update.




Adjusting sound output from an iOS device can be accomplished through Apple Music or similar content playback apps that feature software equalizers. While HomePod features built-in Apple Music accessibility, playing music from Apple Music on an iPhone or iPad over AirPlay will allow users to access audio settings.

In Apple Music, tap on the AirPlay icon at the bottom of the Now Playing pane and select HomePod. Next, close Music and open the Settings app, navigate to Music > EQ and select from Apple's list of presets.

Other apps offer similar or even more robust options. Spotify, for example, allows users not only to select from predefined presets, but also adjust frequencies by manipulating a graphical equalizer.
jahbladelolliver
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 84
    chasmchasm Posts: 564member
    Interesting article, thanks for that. I think I’d be inclined, however, to allow the HomePod to self adjust the EQ on a song-by-song basis. This is undoubtedly what it was designed to do, hence the lack of manual controls, and judging from early reviews it sounds like the HomePod doesn’t need any fine-tuning to impress.
    bluefire1Rayz2016randominternetpersonjahbladeNotsofastlolliverequality72521
  • Reply 2 of 84
    chasm said:
    Interesting article, thanks for that. I think I’d be inclined, however, to allow the HomePod to self adjust the EQ on a song-by-song basis. This is undoubtedly what it was designed to do, hence the lack of manual controls, and judging from early reviews it sounds like the HomePod doesn’t need any fine-tuning to impress.
    Fully agree. The default sound is exceptional and HomePod will self-adjust if/when needed.
    Love this baby!
    lolliverequality72521
  • Reply 3 of 84
    jdwjdw Posts: 586member
    Gee.  And I thought the HomePod was so great sounding a device one no longer need to resort to an EQ!
  • Reply 4 of 84

    Well after all the hype and excellent reviews, I must say I disagree, the HomePod sounds ok but not great, there is too much bass, I think there is a real need to be able to make adjustments.,  but after reading several forums I seem to be on my own here , so do I have a faulty HP or am I doing something wrong? is it the position / placement in my room or what it is placed on affecting it.,, because the rumbling / droning Bass is overpowering 

    By the way I like bass on my Bose speaker and BW Zeppelin but must say I am not liking it so much the Homepod 

    larrya
  • Reply 5 of 84
    jdw said:
    Gee.  And I thought the HomePod was so great sounding a device one no longer need to resort to an EQ!
    Who’s talking about a need?
    Rayz2016jahbladelolliver
  • Reply 6 of 84
    jdw said:
    Gee.  And I thought the HomePod was so great sounding a device one no longer need to resort to an EQ!
    So optional tweaking tools means it doesn’t sound good without? Interesting, uh, “logic” you have there...
    Rayz2016Notsofastlolliver
  • Reply 7 of 84
    As of today, I am mentally preparing to drive myself in the self-steering Apple vehicle.
    edited February 10
  • Reply 8 of 84
    jdwjdw Posts: 586member
    matrix077 said:
    jdw said:
    Gee.  And I thought the HomePod was so great sounding a device one no longer need to resort to an EQ!
    Who’s talking about a need?
    LOL.  Well, the article is...

    "Despite its smarts, users are unable to access audio output settings as they would a traditional speaker"

    So is its title...

    "
    Tune HomePod's sound using equalizers in iOS and macOS"

    Sometimes we cannot see the forest for all the trees!  :-)
  • Reply 9 of 84
    jdwjdw Posts: 586member
    jdw said:
    Gee.  And I thought the HomePod was so great sounding a device one no longer need to resort to an EQ!
    So optional tweaking tools means it doesn’t sound good without? Interesting, uh, “logic” you have there...
    Yeah, it does IMPLY that.  But not everyone reads and interprets English the same way.  These are indeed "strange days" in which we live!
    edited February 10
  • Reply 10 of 84

    jdw said:
    matrix077 said:
    jdw said:
    Gee.  And I thought the HomePod was so great sounding a device one no longer need to resort to an EQ!
    Who’s talking about a need?
    LOL.  Well, the article is...

    "Despite its smarts, users are unable to access audio output settings as they would a traditional speaker"

    So is its title...

    "Tune HomePod's sound using equalizers in iOS and macOS"

    Sometimes we cannot see the forest for all the trees!  :-)
    I guess English is not your strength? Because I don’t see a word “need” there. 

    In fact, from those quotes it’s natural to assume the opposite.. that we’re unable to do it because it’s not needed?
    it’s really weird to jump to the conclusion like you just did. 
    edited February 10 randominternetpersonStrangeDayslolliver
  • Reply 11 of 84
    jdwjdw Posts: 586member
    matrix077 said:
    I guess English is not your strength? Because I don’t see a word “need” there. 

    In fact, from those quotes it’s natural to assume the opposite.. that we’re unable to do it because it’s not needed?
    it’s really weird to jump to the conclusion like you just did. 
    Ha!  The exact word "need" need not be in the article text to be INFERRED.

    Why are you making my opinion to be exclusive to me?  Did you even care to read the comments of similar nature from the two gentlemen who posted prior to me; namely, "Chasm" and "BlueFire1"?  My post was but a mere extension of theirs.

    Everything I've read about the HomePod says it sounds great out of the box and one need not fiddle around with manual settings like an EQ.  That thinking is VERY APPLE, and nothing to do with me or you.  It fits Apple perfectly to have designed it this way.  And that is precisely why I have been rather sarcastic toward the premise of this article, seeing that I personally see no need to tweak it via EQ.  People who like to tweak tend to use products that aren't Apple branded.

    And there you have it.
    edited February 10
  • Reply 12 of 84
    scafe2 said:

    Well after all the hype and excellent reviews, I must say I disagree, the HomePod sounds ok but not great, there is too much bass, I think there is a real need to be able to make adjustments.,  but after reading several forums I seem to be on my own here , so do I have a faulty HP or am I doing something wrong? is it the position / placement in my room or what it is placed on affecting it.,, because the rumbling / droning Bass is overpowering 

    By the way I like bass on my Bose speaker and BW Zeppelin but must say I am not liking it so much the Homepod 

    This why you can not trust internet reviewers of audio equipment. Everyone has their own presence of what sounds good. Some people actual like tinny sounds over heavy bass some people do not like how the bass feels on their body. My wife is one she does not like heavy bass music in my car. However the homepod seems to balance this she did not seem to mind it's bass. But just another set of opinions.
    jahblade
  • Reply 13 of 84
    maestro64 said:
    scafe2 said:

    Well after all the hype and excellent reviews, I must say I disagree, the HomePod sounds ok but not great, there is too much bass, I think there is a real need to be able to make adjustments.,  but after reading several forums I seem to be on my own here , so do I have a faulty HP or am I doing something wrong? is it the position / placement in my room or what it is placed on affecting it.,, because the rumbling / droning Bass is overpowering 

    By the way I like bass on my Bose speaker and BW Zeppelin but must say I am not liking it so much the Homepod 

    This why you can not trust internet reviewers of audio equipment. Everyone has their own presence of what sounds good. Some people actual like tinny sounds over heavy bass some people do not like how the bass feels on their body. My wife is one she does not like heavy bass music in my car. However the homepod seems to balance this she did not seem to mind it's bass. But just another set of opinions.
    We are starting to see objective (i.e., not based on preview units) reviews now, and this one agrees with scafe2.

    https://www.kirkville.com/homepod-review-when-it-sounds-good-its-great-but-it-doesnt-always-sound-good/ 

    "...sometimes this speaker sounds really great, sometimes it really doesn’t. I did find that, playing music from iTunes, with the Bass Reducer setting on the Equalizer, much of the music sounded better. There was less booming bass, and more subtle sounds. But no matter what, the midrange is weak on a speaker like this.

    What the HomePod needs, of course, is user access to settings like an equalizer..."

  • Reply 14 of 84
    larrya said:

    What the HomePod needs, of course, is user access to settings like an equalizer..."
    Yeah... I want to see the wave forms and have multi-touch sliders...
  • Reply 15 of 84
    larrya said:
    maestro64 said:
    scafe2 said:

    Well after all the hype and excellent reviews, I must say I disagree, the HomePod sounds ok but not great, there is too much bass, I think there is a real need to be able to make adjustments.,  but after reading several forums I seem to be on my own here , so do I have a faulty HP or am I doing something wrong? is it the position / placement in my room or what it is placed on affecting it.,, because the rumbling / droning Bass is overpowering 

    By the way I like bass on my Bose speaker and BW Zeppelin but must say I am not liking it so much the Homepod 

    This why you can not trust internet reviewers of audio equipment. Everyone has their own presence of what sounds good. Some people actual like tinny sounds over heavy bass some people do not like how the bass feels on their body. My wife is one she does not like heavy bass music in my car. However the homepod seems to balance this she did not seem to mind it's bass. But just another set of opinions.
    We are starting to see objective (i.e., not based on preview units) reviews now, and this one agrees with scafe2.

    https://www.kirkville.com/homepod-review-when-it-sounds-good-its-great-but-it-doesnt-always-sound-good/ 

    "...sometimes this speaker sounds really great, sometimes it really doesn’t. I did find that, playing music from iTunes, with the Bass Reducer setting on the Equalizer, much of the music sounded better. There was less booming bass, and more subtle sounds. But no matter what, the midrange is weak on a speaker like this.

    What the HomePod needs, of course, is user access to settings like an equalizer..."

    "Of course" is always a red flag.  It often means the person saying it does "get it."  Of course "everyone" knew that the iPhone needed a physical keyboard and the MacBook Pro needs a lot of legacy ports.

    Perhaps some people need graphic equalizers the way other people need fidget spinners...
    lkrupplolliver
  • Reply 16 of 84
    Most of us over 50 typically have varying degrees of high frequency hearing loss, so we need to boost the treble and/or reduce the bass response for the music to sound balanced to us. The ability to "equalize" the sound is a "make or break" feature to me personally.
  • Reply 17 of 84
    I'm a senior, and like most people, as we age the frequency response of our ears degrades.  My high frequency response is degraded from when I was younger, and in fact is worse in one ear.  The HomePod may be able to self-adjust to its surroundings, but how can it self-adjust to our individual ears?  There is no calibration step where it asks you if the treble is high enough, or clear enough.  In the past, we can adjust for our ears by using equalization controls.  HomePod has to either give us those controls, or include a personal calibration test.  Also, do the existing controls in iTunes or IOS adjust Siri's voice in addition to music response?  I think not.
    cropr
  • Reply 18 of 84
    jdw said:
    Gee.  And I thought the HomePod was so great sounding a device one no longer need to resort to an EQ!
    It is, and it doesn’t.   B)
  • Reply 19 of 84
    Slightly off topic but I'd love to have dynamic EQ on Apple Music!
  • Reply 20 of 84
    bobf4321 said:
    I'm a senior, and like most people, as we age the frequency response of our ears degrades.  My high frequency response is degraded from when I was younger, and in fact is worse in one ear.  The HomePod may be able to self-adjust to its surroundings, but how can it self-adjust to our individual ears?  There is no calibration step where it asks you if the treble is high enough, or clear enough.  In the past, we can adjust for our ears by using equalization controls.  HomePod has to either give us those controls, or include a personal calibration test.  Also, do the existing controls in iTunes or IOS adjust Siri's voice in addition to music response?  I think not.
    Do you have the speaker ?  I ask because it seems you already think you will need to make adjustments to Its sound signature because of your hearing, without even hearing it for yourself in home? 

    I understand the change in frequency response with age and wear and tear on the ears. My father is nearly 70 and has been a musician for over 50 years. To say his frequency response has changed is an understatement, and his right ear is particularly compromised.  I am having him over today to see what he thinks of the sound of the HomePod. 
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