Can Apple's HomePod take on a surround sound theater system?

2

Comments

  • Reply 21 of 52
    matrix077matrix077 Posts: 757member
    From my experience listening to stereo HomePod on Apple TV, Netflix sounds a lot worse than iTunes movies. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 22 of 52
    Alex1NAlex1N Posts: 38member
    dysamoria said:
    "...as loud as..." Maximum volume isn't what makes a surround system good. In fact, I am repeatedly faced with theatres that have shitty surround systems BECAUSE they've been running at too high a volume that they've become damaged, or where no one has properly balanced the speakers and the center channel is completely drowned out by the rest, making the dialog almost impossible to hear.
    Hear hear. I have had movies completely ruined at the theatre by speakers that have been wrecked by a total overload being inflicted on them. "Buzz zzzt snip snip fizz frizzle snurp" was pretty well all you could hear on such occasions. And at high volume, too. Put us off going to the (well, that) cinema for years.
    edited June 2018 watto_cobradysamoria
  • Reply 23 of 52
    bigpicsbigpics Posts: 1,381member
    Think I can do better on living room sound for $700.  A lot better.  And Siri-schmiry.
    gatorguywilliamlondondysamoria
  • Reply 24 of 52

    Good article on a question that does have a rather obvious answer. It probably needs some better testing material though.

    My HomePod (when I get one) will be used only to stream music.

    There is something very appealing about watching a movie with good surround sound. It creates a very nice ambiance and it's not something I'd expect the HomePod to handle well. At worst, it may be like the "Dolby Pro Logic" crap that some low-end hi-fi systems used advertise years ago.

    I also hope that the stereo pairing on the HomePod  works in outputting the music exactly how the stereo separation is on standard music systems - the way the producers intended the music to sound.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 25 of 52
    Alex1N said:

    Hear hear. I have had movies completely ruined at the theatre by speakers that have been wrecked by a total overload being inflicted on them. "Buzz zzzt snip snip fizz frizzle snurp" was pretty well all you could hear on such occasions. And at high volume, too. Put us off going to the (well, that) cinema for years.
    Ever since the release of 'Earthquake' I've taken earplugs with me when going to the Cinema. Theatres turned the volume up to 15 for that Film and left it there. New theatres are just as bad.
    I treat it just like going to hear a very loud Rock Band.
    watto_cobradysamoria
  • Reply 26 of 52
    analogjackanalogjack Posts: 1,071member
    For home theatre you don't really need 5.1 but you definitely need a good quality subwoofer by good quality I mean one that isn't flabby. So unless apple is going to add a dedicated HomePod subwoofer, it will never be anything special for watching movies at home. Mind you if Apple made an 8" HomePod subwoofer (I can't see them making a 10") to work with two Homepods then they could do their magic and send the low sounds now produced by the 4" to the 8" sub thus freeing up headroom which would probably be a very awesome 3.1 set up.
    watto_cobrapatchythepirate
  • Reply 27 of 52
    JosephAUJosephAU Posts: 18member
    Volume for me on my Apple 4k Tv with 2 Homepods is very low and disappointing.
    It’s 10x louder with music via iPhone/Apple Music.
    I thought it was a bug!
    I would of expected sound to be uniform via Apple TV, obviously I was wrong and hope Apple fix’s it, so it’s loud using on all devices.
    watto_cobrapatchythepirate
  • Reply 28 of 52
    Beyond the poorly structured comparison test is discussion of where Apple intends to take HomePod.  You mentioned the upcoming SOFTWARE upgrade without noting that it is highly likely to be several software upgrades. 

    Personally, I think Apple has an intended use for a proprietary sound system that includes Apple produced video content. Just like others, who can’t imagine the things Apple develops until we see it, I can’t imagine what Apple has in store for Apple Movies and HomePod streamed through AppleTV 4K. Given that the first Apple movie won’t be ready for distribution for at least a year, there will be lots of time to tweak HomePod. 
    patchythepirate
  • Reply 29 of 52
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 829member
    bigpics said:
    Think I can do better on living room sound for $700.  A lot better.  And Siri-schmiry.
    Did you hit the like and informative on your own post ?  Hahaha. Siri-Schmiry is one of the most profound things I have read in reference to HomePod. Give me a break. 
  • Reply 30 of 52
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,164member
    georgie01 said:
    As good as the HomePod may be for what it is, it was intended for either the average person who thinks their low-end audio system doesn’t sound too bad and/or the person who enjoys the convenience and technology of the HomePod.

    But for someone like me ... I have an SVS cylindrical subwoofer (produces strong bass down to 16hz) along with Klipsch reference speakers. It’d be silly for me to get a HomePod for any reason other than convenience. Even the Klipsch iFi system I use with my TV roasts the HomePod for overall sound quality.

    Not meaning to diss the HomePod, its a very impressive device. Just that while comparing it to a ‘real’ audio system might be useful, it also has a predictable conclusion.
    I agree. The HomePod is a one-wire iPod for your home. Duh. Comparing the HomePod to a dedicated component audio system is like comparing an iPhone to a desktop tower computer system as "computing devices." The iPhone fits in your pocket and goes everywhere you go, and from what I hear (too often), into a restroom stall. Sure you could bring your tower PC into a restroom stall with you if you don't mind running an extension cord into the stall and balancing the tower, monitor, keyboard, and mouse on your knees. Then you have to be careful not to drop the mouse in the craphole while conducting non computing operations in the stall. The iPhone and a desktop computer are in fact "computing devices" but each one was purpose built for specific use cases, ergonomics, and conveniences. Same deal for the HomePod and home theater system. 

    Quick question: do other people ever move their HomePods around their house, e.g., while working in the basement, garage, porch, library, etc? I do.

    Same question for owners of home theatre systems.
    StrangeDaysdysamoria
  • Reply 31 of 52
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 538member
    AI really does need to think harder about methodologies for their various analyses. In this case, the outcome is probably not changed by much, but wow. Using a poor source material like a YouTube clip is dubious enough. Then, after a fail, the tester proceeds to run a comparison with completely different source hardware and software. I’m not sure why anyone would have started with a decision to play the clip from an iPhone over AirPlay to begin with, but when that option was denied by the HomePod setup, any good tester would have also re-done the surround setup test with the AppleTV’s native YouTube app, in order to match, as closely as possible, the HomePod test with the same source material. Instead, AI used a completely different source setup for the two tests, which is about as arbitrarily unscientific as you can get. 

    There was a recent controversy over HomePod testing at Consumer Reports. I pointed out in that case that CR made an error in its effort to be too fair and consistent in comparing hardware by testing it all in a sound-deadened room. In that case, CR is used to comparing standard speakers, and didn’t want room acoustics to affect comparisons of output from standard speakers. When testing HomePods, however, such a deadened room defeats the key HomePod feature of actively  measuring and using an imperfect room’s acoustics to create its adapted output. The solution to that problem would have been for CR to compare HomePod to other devices in a real-world setup, not to put the HomePods in a different environment and leave the others in the ‘dead’ room.

    Likewise, in this test, AI should have matched everything that is possible to match of the source hardware, software and content in order to make a direct comparison. Instead, they punted halfway through the test and compared completely different setups, which is just plain amateurish.
    dysamoriapatchythepirate
  • Reply 32 of 52
    sirlance99sirlance99 Posts: 1,157member
    For home theatre you don't really need 5.1 but you definitely need a good quality subwoofer by good quality I mean one that isn't flabby. So unless apple is going to add a dedicated HomePod subwoofer, it will never be anything special for watching movies at home. Mind you if Apple made an 8" HomePod subwoofer (I can't see them making a 10") to work with two Homepods then they could do their magic and send the low sounds now produced by the 4" to the 8" sub thus freeing up headroom which would probably be a very awesome 3.1 set up.
    That would only be a 2.1 set up. Not 3.1. Left, Right, Sub is 2.1. You’d need a center channel speaker for a 3.1.

    Your point is still valid though. I have a 12” SVS sub and you could probably fit about 25 HomePods in my sub. The HP could never get down to the levels of what I have. But the great thing about my HP, which is in my room, is playing music on the HP and my HT system at the same time with AirPlay2. Music almost everywhere I go now. 
    dysamoriapatchythepirate
  • Reply 33 of 52
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 5,162member
    tehgeo said:
    georgie01 said:
    As good as the HomePod may be for what it is, it was intended for either the average person who thinks their low-end audio system doesn’t sound too bad and/or the person who enjoys the convenience and technology of the HomePod.
    I think you miss the point of the HomePod. (And the article confuses things by diverting from a question of FUNCTIONALITY into QUALITY questions. Sloppy, really.)

    i dont think anyone is arguing arguing this is a replacement for a high-end system, as it just isn’t. 

    And, although it could be perfect for a small apartment or dorm, you aren’t going to have high end audio in those cases, anyway. 

    But it it does sound very good FOR WHAT IT IS. 

    And it does an excellent job at providing whole house sound (with, obviously, multiple units).

    im not going to put a high-end system in the garage/kitchen/whatever. 

    You probably have premium audio in... living room? Home theater?? Any way, it is optimized room-specific and for A SPECIFIC LISTENING POINT. 

    But what about the the rest of the house?

    The HomePod is better than most “secondary systems” people put in as solutions for other rooms. 

    I can walk through the house and great audio from room to room as I’m busy doing things. 

    Or, even walk around in the SAME room. I can be doing chores in the garage, for example (a notoriously difficult room) and get the same audio anywhere I am. There is no sweet spot. 

    So, for sitting and listening, a high-end system wins. Like listening to an opera. Or a movie. 

    But the HomePod wins for whole-house casual listening. 

    Actually, people HAVE been arguing whether HomePod can replace home theater.
    The debate mostly originated from the claim that HomePod produces high quality, High Fidelity audio -- which it does.   But its a bit like comparing a Honda Civic si to a Corvette.   Both are fast, but...
  • Reply 34 of 52
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 5,162member
    lkrupp said:
    I’ve read some stupid shit on AI but this article takes the cake.
    So, how was it stupid?
    I have heard many claim that the HomePod can replace home stereo.
    This article points out that, while it can, you will lose something.  It simply added an objective test/comparison to prove the obvious.

    No, this was a good article and it was needed to clear up the confusion left by claims the HomePod produced High Fideleity audio.   It does but, not as well as a dedicated home theater system.
    gatorguy
  • Reply 35 of 52
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member
    Can Apple's HomePod take on a surround sound theater system?

    No

    dysamoria
  • Reply 36 of 52
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,449member
    lkrupp said:
    I’ve read some stupid shit on AI but this article takes the cake.
    So, how was it stupid?
    I have heard many claim that the HomePod can replace home stereo.
    This article points out that, while it can, you will lose something.  It simply added an objective test/comparison to prove the obvious.

    No, this was a good article and it was needed to clear up the confusion left by claims the HomePod produced High Fideleity audio.   It does but, not as well as a dedicated home theater system.
    A “home stereo” can’t even replace a home theater system, with multichannel surround sound.
    dysamoria
  • Reply 37 of 52
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 538member
    lkrupp said:
    I’ve read some stupid shit on AI but this article takes the cake.
    So, how was it stupid?
    I have heard many claim that the HomePod can replace home stereo.
    This article points out that, while it can, you will lose something.  It simply added an objective test/comparison to prove the obvious.

    No, this was a good article and it was needed to clear up the confusion left by claims the HomePod produced High Fideleity audio.   It does but, not as well as a dedicated home theater system.
    The conclusion may be obvious, but as described in my post above, AI bungled the “objective test/comparison.” 

    Imagine if they were testing to see if one of Google’s driverless cars could perform and handle as well as a Porsche 911. You’d think you’d know the answer before doing a test, but what the heck. It’s fun to run tests. Then, rather than running the cars on a closed track designed to test performance and handling, they inexplicably decide to run the cars on a sub-optimal course through open roads. It’s an odd choice, but o.k. They run the Porsche. Then as they’re getting ready to run the Google car, they realize their open course is in a state that hasn’t legalized driverless cars. So rather than move the whole thing to another state, they just run the Google car in another state on a course they think is probably similar, and then draw their conclusions from the comparison. They ran the cars on different courses. You can’t draw any conclusions from that. In the end, the article didn’t clear anything up empirically. It seemed obvious what the outcome would be before they started the whole thing, but the test methodology is so flawed, it did nothing to validate or invalidate anyone’s prior claims or preconceptions.
  • Reply 38 of 52
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 2,288member
    Alex1N said:
    dysamoria said:
    "...as loud as..." Maximum volume isn't what makes a surround system good. In fact, I am repeatedly faced with theatres that have shitty surround systems BECAUSE they've been running at too high a volume that they've become damaged, or where no one has properly balanced the speakers and the center channel is completely drowned out by the rest, making the dialog almost impossible to hear.
    Hear hear. I have had movies completely ruined at the theatre by speakers that have been wrecked by a total overload being inflicted on them. "Buzz zzzt snip snip fizz frizzle snurp" was pretty well all you could hear on such occasions. And at high volume, too. Put us off going to the (well, that) cinema for years.
    Theatres have already put me off for years. It's rare for me to go out to a theatre, I have had so many bad experiences. I only go out to see "visual spectacles" any more. Still, that's getting less of a justification due to sound and projection problems (the last few films I've seen have been really poor with the contrast ratio; lack of darks and brights - digital seems vastly inferior to film, as my local theatre seems to finally have converted).

    My experience seeing Avengers: Infinity War part one has left me considering not going to the theatre any more even for big spectacles, due to picture quality problems and ridiculously loud sound. It was just too damn loud. I already have permanent hearing damage, thank you, I don't need to pay a theatre to abuse my ears more (I like the person who said they bring ear plugs to movies like concerts, which is smart, but I'd be afraid of not hearing the dialog in most poorly balanced theatres).

    Actually, I used to know the man who did the sound system at this local theater; maybe I ought to contact him and see if he's still doing it. I would guess not; he was a perfectionist and the sound is definitely not right any more.

    At another theatre, they hadn't bothered to enable the subtitles on a non-English film. Luckily they restarted the film after fixing the mistake. Things like this are so much easier to do wrong with digital projection, apparently.

    With the ticket prices, the obnoxious audiences, the sound system problems, projection issues, and the lack of any quality control or expertise these days, I fully appreciate why someone would spend thousands of dollars on a huge screen and a home theatre sound system. I wish I could do the same. Sadly, I'm piss poor and that's never going to change.
  • Reply 39 of 52
    waverboywaverboy Posts: 96member
    No.
  • Reply 40 of 52
    CaffiendCaffiend Posts: 13member
    Fair review.

    Conclusion:

    We need a device like the AirPort Express that supports AirPort 2 and outputs digital audio and supports verbal requests and searches for music. Kind of a suped-up Apple version of Amazon Dot or Google Home Mini connected to Chromecast.

    In the meantime, my MBP running Rogue Amoeba remains the brains of my music system, a set AirPort Expresses with optical audio out  are still connected to my various audio systems. I have quite good multiroom sound when I want it as well as vastly superior genuine surround surround for home theater.

    Further we need better, smarter SIRI on ALL our devices Mac & iOS.

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