Exhaustive acoustical analysis demonstrates HomePod is '100 percent an audiophile-grade sp...

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in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV
The audiophile community now has their hands on the HomePod, and one Reddit user has thoroughly examined the device from an acoustical standpoint, calling it 'witchcraft" plus "100 percent an Audiophile grade Speaker."




Reddit user WinterCharm broke down his testing process on Sunday night. The HomePod was compared to the KEF X300A speaker set, with AirPlay used to connect to both devices.

Summarizing a very technical breakdown of the HomePod, well beyond the capabilities of most users, WinterCharm described the graph of the unit's reproduction of sound "near-perfectly flat" at all frequencies. The more flat the linearity deviation, the more perfect the sound reproduction overall.




Additionally, as volume increases, the speaker's characteristics aren't fluctuating much at all, meaning that the sound is reproduced with the same fidelity at low volumes, as well as high.




The user did not limit himself to quantitative examination of the sound from the HomePod. WinterCharm called the highs "exceptionally crisp" with very low distortion from the tweeters, and "Very true-to-life" vocals where Apple's tweeters doing an excellent job of reproducing the sound.

According to the examination, Bass reproduction is "incredibly impressive" with "such tight control on bass from within a speaker is unheard of in the audio industry" much less from a small package in the HomePod.

The review also praises the room correction feature. In a self-described "terrible environment" for listening, WinterCharm notes that the feature is "beyond impressive"

"What Apple has managed to do here is so crazy, that If you told me they had chalk, candles, and a pentagram on the floor of their Anechoic chambers, I would believe you," wrote the reviewer. "This is witchcraft. I have no other word for it."

All in all, the tester took 8.5 hours of measurement using a MiniDSP UMIK-1 USB calibrated microphone, specifically designed for measuring speakers. Apple hardware used to evaluate was a 2011 MacBook Pro, with software Room EQ Wizard.

"Unless you're steeped in the apple ecosystem, it's really hard to recommend this thing," wrote WinterCharm. "If you are, it's a no brainer, whether you're an audiophile or not."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 127
    Sounds like I have to get my hands on one after all. :)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 127
    Last paragraph is confusing. I think first sentence should read “Unless you’re *not...” I know it’s a quote so forgive me if I’m wrong. 
    edited February 12 JWSCanton zuykovbaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 127
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,453member
    "Steeped in the apple ecosystem" my ass. How could you not have an iPhone? Or an iPad? Or a Mac laptop? 

    Does that make me steeped? No, it makes me reasonable. I want the best.

    I'm getting this speaker. And I have never been interested in any (gag) "smart speaker."
    edited February 12 racerhomie3mwhiterob53StrangeDaysanton zuykovchiakuduargonautlolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 127
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 5,876member
    And of course this review will be dismissed as biased and probably paid for by Apple. Audiophile (or expert) opinions are welcomed only when they support the dominant narrative. In this case the HomePod has been pre-failed by the negative narrative so any support from an audiophile will be rejected out of hand. That’s how the Internet works.
    edited February 12 williamlondonjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 127
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,504member
    Last paragraph is confusing. I think first sentence should read “Unless you’re *not...” I know it’s a quote so forgive me if I’m wrong. 
    Yes, it’s a little confusing unless  you stare at it, but it does make sense. 

    If you’re steeped in the Apple ecosystem then buy it. If you’re not then the HomePod is not for you. 
    edited February 12 watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 127
    chasmchasm Posts: 563member
    This is why several reviewers have said this thing is bargain-priced if you prize great sound above all.

    As mentioned in the source report, I expect a fair number of users — maybe a majority — will not use Siri at all except to control volume and music playback, which all works fine. Which is exactly what Apple reckoned for the initial release.

    If you are primarily interested in talking to household objects all the time (but with decent sound), get the Sonos One. If you want incredible sound, get a HomePod.
    edited February 12 gilly33baconstangradarthekatargonautlolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 127
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,453member
    Last paragraph is confusing. I think first sentence should read “Unless you’re *not...” I know it’s a quote so forgive me if I’m wrong. 
    I think it's meant the way it's written. I agree it's confusing, but that's because he has to pay obsequious lip service to the left-brained anti-Apple geeks, probably heavily represented in the audiophile community.
    StrangeDaysradarthekatargonautlolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 127
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,453member
    chasm said:
    This is why several reviewers have said this thing is bargain-priced if you prize great sound above all.

    As mentioned in the source report, I expect a fair number of users — maybe a majority — will not use Siri at all except to control volume and music playback, which all works fine. Which is exactly what Apple reckoned for the initial release.

    If you are primarily interested in talking to household objects all the time (but with decent sound), get the Sonos One. If you want incredible sound, get a HomePod.
    Exactly.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 127
    I have used HomePod in my office and at home. The audio at all levels is very impressive. I would concur that this unit produces great sound. Only issue I have found is in a party setting. I had 20 people over Saturday night (yes it was a good time) and HomePod had trouble listening to commands with all the ambient noise...I hope they can somehow figure this out...I just simply switched to iPhone control of the music and was fine. In a quite setting it works great.
    JWSClukeisaltyzipradarthekatstanthemanargonautlolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 127
    Last paragraph is confusing. I think first sentence should read “Unless you’re *not...” I know it’s a quote so forgive me if I’m wrong. 
    AppleInsider left out part of the quote. The original reddit post said “Speaking of inputs, you have one choice: AirPlay. which means, unless you’re steeped in the apple ecosystem, it’s really hard to recommend this thing.”

    They’re saying the speaker sounds great, but it’s hard to recommend unless you plan on using AirPlay from another Apple device or Apple Music directly on it. 
    gilly33randominternetpersonStrangeDayssaltyzipcgWerksradarthekatbestkeptsecretadm1argonautviclauyyc
  • Reply 11 of 127
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,212member
    I have used HomePod in my office and at home. The audio at all levels is very impressive. I would concur that this unit produces great sound. Only issue I have found is in a party setting. I had 20 people over Saturday night (yes it was a good time) and HomePod had trouble listening to commands with all the ambient noise...I hope they can somehow figure this out...I just simply switched to iPhone control of the music and was fine. In a quite setting it works great.
    Thats interesting because I was at the Apple Store playing with one this weekend and it was working perfectly fine with Siri commands, even with the music playing fairly loud and also with all of the other noises and voices you hear in an Apple Store. I was actually amazed at how it could continuously pickup Hey Siri with all of the surrounding noise. 
    edited February 12 watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 127
    I have just installed mine.

    I have to concur - the only way they made it sound this good has to be total witchcraft.

    The bass response on the speaker is phenomenal, the clarity is utterly out of this world. 

    I bought it yesterday mainly because I am 'steeped' in Apple technology and I had some spare cash to splash... I wasn't particularly expecting hearts and kisses from the thing but I have to say I'm overjoyed that I did buy it. I can't wait until the functionality to link two together in one room is available - I won't hesitate for a second to get a second one at that point. I can imagine the sound that two of them together will produce will be completely immersive.


    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 127
    chasm said:
    As mentioned in the source report, I expect a fair number of users — maybe a majority — will not use Siri at all except to control volume and music playback, which all works fine. Which is exactly what Apple reckoned for the initial release.
    I also tend to think HomePod will be successful in getting more users accustomed to actually using Siri, even if it is for more basic uses. I know I fall into the category of non-user for Siri previously, but the HomePod has made me reconsider my prior lack of interest just through the music interactions. It may even nudge me toward updating my Hue bridge to a model that supports HomeKit. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 127
    joe28753 said:
    Last paragraph is confusing. I think first sentence should read “Unless you’re *not...” I know it’s a quote so forgive me if I’m wrong. 
    AppleInsider left out part of the quote. The original reddit post said “Speaking of inputs, you have one choice: AirPlay. which means, unless you’re steeped in the apple ecosystem, it’s really hard to recommend this thing.”

    They’re saying the speaker sounds great, but it’s hard to recommend unless you plan on using AirPlay from another Apple device or Apple Music directly on it. 
    That portion of the quote selectively left out of the story negates the entire post. Apple should have given the AirPod professional audio grade connectors. A major oversight and negative, IMO.
    bonobobentropysbaconstangcgWerksargonaut
  • Reply 15 of 127
    flaneur said:
    "Steeped in the apple ecosystem" my ass. How could you not have an iPhone? Or an iPad? Or a Mac laptop? 
    Does that make me steeped? No, it makes me reasonable. I want the best.
    I'm getting this speaker. And I have never been interested in any (gag) "smart speaker."
    I think they were referring to the fact Siri is limited to Apple Music. That's the true limitation, not so much not owning an Apple device. This speaker is primarily for really great audio and an elegant, small form factor. I'm not purchasing because of Siri's limitations (including the fact it only works with one voice). I could buy 'regular' speakers for great audio - there is no added value in HomePod for me personally.
  • Reply 16 of 127
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,453member
    joe28753 said:
    Last paragraph is confusing. I think first sentence should read “Unless you’re *not...” I know it’s a quote so forgive me if I’m wrong. 
    AppleInsider left out part of the quote. The original reddit post said “Speaking of inputs, you have one choice: AirPlay. which means, unless you’re steeped in the apple ecosystem, it’s really hard to recommend this thing.”

    They’re saying the speaker sounds great, but it’s hard to recommend unless you plan on using AirPlay from another Apple device or Apple Music directly on it. 
    Thanks for the clarification.
  • Reply 17 of 127
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,453member
    flaneur said:
    "Steeped in the apple ecosystem" my ass. How could you not have an iPhone? Or an iPad? Or a Mac laptop? 
    Does that make me steeped? No, it makes me reasonable. I want the best.
    I'm getting this speaker. And I have never been interested in any (gag) "smart speaker."
    I think they were referring to the fact Siri is limited to Apple Music. That's the true limitation, not so much not owning an Apple device. This speaker is primarily for really great audio and an elegant, small form factor. I'm not purchasing because of Siri's limitations (including the fact it only works with one voice). I could buy 'regular' speakers for great audio - there is no added value in HomePod for me personally.
    See above. It's Airplay that's the show-stopper for Applephobes. Also, as @Techprod1gy says above, manual control with another device is possible. 
    edited February 12 gilly33netmagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 127
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 5,876member
    joe28753 said:
    Last paragraph is confusing. I think first sentence should read “Unless you’re *not...” I know it’s a quote so forgive me if I’m wrong. 
    AppleInsider left out part of the quote. The original reddit post said “Speaking of inputs, you have one choice: AirPlay. which means, unless you’re steeped in the apple ecosystem, it’s really hard to recommend this thing.”

    They’re saying the speaker sounds great, but it’s hard to recommend unless you plan on using AirPlay from another Apple device or Apple Music directly on it. 
    Yeah, well, the iPod started out as an Apple only product too. One other criticism I roll my eyes at is that the HomePod does not have a line-in jack. That’s like wanting a RS-232 port on your MacBook Air in my opinion. And then there’s the removable power cord “issue”. I’ll tell ‘ya something, the negative nellies have to dig deeper and deeper to find these deal killers nowadays.
    edited February 12 gilly33BittySonlolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 127
    levilevi Posts: 343member
    macxpress said:
    I have used HomePod in my office and at home. The audio at all levels is very impressive. I would concur that this unit produces great sound. Only issue I have found is in a party setting. I had 20 people over Saturday night (yes it was a good time) and HomePod had trouble listening to commands with all the ambient noise...I hope they can somehow figure this out...I just simply switched to iPhone control of the music and was fine. In a quite setting it works great.
    Thats interesting because I was at the Apple Store playing with one this weekend and it was working perfectly fine with Siri commands, even with the music playing fairly loud and also with all of the other noises and voices you hear in an Apple Store. I was actually amazed at how it could continuously pickup Hey Siri with all of the surrounding noise. 
    I found similar at the Apple store. My wife and a friend tried giving commands, which didn’t register, whereas it worked fine for me. They both have accents. From my own use at home, pleasantly surprised as to how good voice detection has been, even across the house with music at moderate volume. Good enough where we’re now upgrading our living and bedroom with smart lights. It’s good enough that even one HomePod in the living is feasible. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 127
    lkrupp said:
    And of course this review will be dismissed as biased and probably paid for by Apple. Audiophile (or expert) opinions are welcomed only when they support the dominant narrative. In this case the HomePod has been pre-failed by the negative narrative so any support from an audiophile will be rejected out of hand. That’s how the Internet works.
    Yet I don’t think NIST uses terms like “witchcraft” when reporting measurement results.
    SpamSandwichbaconstang
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