Apple HomePod versus Sonos & Ikea Symfonisk smart speakers

2»

Comments

  • Reply 21 of 39
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,491member
    There is one sentence that will prevent me from buying a HomePod: “Apple's HomePod is a fantastic home speaker. It connects solely over Wi-Fi and streams Apple Music natively, but nothing else.”

    A device which claims to be an audiophile grade speaker that only plays mp3 quality music and cannot accept other sources unless that source has AirPlay, which probably eliminates turntables for people who are vinyl purists, absolutely killed my interest in the device. I wanted something that could play the highest quality bit rate for digital and could play my high end vinyl collection as well.
    Below is Apple’s response to these complaints (via cultofmac).  I wouldn’t know not being an audiophile, but it sounds like you’re fighting Father Time in a digital world.  Nothing wrong with that, but it sounds like you won’t be interested in most new products...

    Mastered for iTunes is all about the quality of the source,” Apple says. “24-bit audio has a remarkably wide dynamic range which is preserved during encoding to AAC and these files are virtually indistinguishable from the original. Some of the best audio engineers in the business have a hard time telling them apart even on high-end audio equipment. Experts may be able to tell you that they are different in some subtle ways, but they can’t necessarily tell you which one they like better. This isn’t about AAC vs. CD or vinyl. It’s about creating the best possible master for the unique characteristics of each medium.”

    Apple talks up its “powerful and practical software tools” designed for pro musicians.

    “We want the music to sound as close as possible to the way it did in the studio or in the concert hall, preserving your vision and intention,” Apple says. “We want artists and sound engineers to be thoroughly satisfied and proud of the results they can now achieve in our format. So we have worked very hard to provide both the monitoring and quality assessment tools, plus an end-to-end mastering and encoding process that delivers the best possible audio for today’s digital world.”


    AAC is a lossy format. Despite what the article says, it is NOT a 24 bit format either. Lossy means you are losing some of the audio quality when compared to the same music in a lossless file format, even if both formats are digital.  Apple shouldn't charge high end prices for mid level performance equipment, especially ones that require you to jump through hoops to use your existing but high quality music. The connection to a HomePod is wireless ethernet, in all but the poorest of wireless systems you should be able to stream ALAC or FLAC files versions which would mean at least CD quality bitrate (16 bit) lossless versions of songs and could have a frequency  and data rate up to 24 bit with a higher frequency response. ALAC IS an Apple format, and it has been around for years, so Apple already has a format they could use. The physical means of getting the music TO the  HomePod, wifi, isn't the problem. It's the restrictions of what you can (easily) stream and the loss of fidelity inherent in an AAC format. Bluetooth would struggle and probably drop out trying to stream ALAC at least for now, but wifi has no problem unless you are an extremely very heavy wifi streaming user. 300 mb is many times more than enough bandwidth for the highest digital music format and most routers are at least that, and 1 gb routers are pretty common now as well.

    You will hear people talk fondly of tube based systems sounding better (usually described as 'warmer') than a discrete based amplifier system. I won't argue with them, but I know I cannot hear the difference. I can hear the difference in AAC and either ALAC or FLAC. If you can't then don't buy a super high end system, you won't notice the improvement. But that doesn't mean that the improvement isn't there. But to me, even if it's all in my mind (another thing people will say when you bring up quality) and not reality, a high quality vinyl disc sounds better than the same album on a CD, and much much better than any streaming service, whether its Pandora, Spotify or Apple Music. I have heard of, but never personally listened to, Tidal music which is supposed to be (if you pay for the upper tier of their service) CD quality streaming music. I don't know if you can get Tidal on an iPhone or iPad but I know I can get it on my iMac, so I could stream it to an HomePod, but with the other physical and software limitations, which I think were artificial and not inherent in what Apple said they were trying to do, I'm not interested in going to the trouble.


    And my experience is just the opposite:  I can readily tell the difference between a solid state and tube amp.  In fact, I recently bought the re-creation of the Dyna 70 amp and the sound blew me away as compared to both my Crown power amp (vintage 1975) and my Pioneer A/V receiver, which in spite of being certified by George Martin's studios, sounds like absolute crap for music.  

    IMO (as an ex-recording engineer), AAC sounds pretty damned good.   While it might be theoretically lossy, in practice, there's almost no difference and this can be proven by taking the original master and then taking the resulting file and playing it out-of-phase with the original in perfect sync.   If the compression is perfect, you'll hear nothing - just silence.   I saw a demo of this some years ago in regards to Dolby Digital whose compression algorithm was very similar to AAC.   And all we heard was every once in a while a slight momentary "sss" sound.     And by the way, the bit rate (as in 16 bit, 24 bit, 48 bit) DOES NOT determine the frequency response, only the sampling rate does.   The Nyquist theorem dictates that the sampling rate must be twice the highest frequency you wish to record/reproduce.  44.1Khz was chosen for CD so that a CD can reproduce up to 22Khz which is beyond the range of most adult hearing.  The bit rate determines how many different levels one can have while quantizing the analog signal.  The more bits, the lower the quantization error.  16 bit permits 65,535 different level points.  24 bit permits 1.67 million.  

    I have a high-end (but not esoteric) sound system and for years I transferred vinyl to CD-R for radio use and my experience is that it was the rare album that sounded better on vinyl than it did on commercial CD (except in the early days of CD, when much of the mastering was horrible and the filters in use were poor).   There have been numerous times when I've played a commercial CD of an old album and thought, "this sounds like crap - the LP was better", but then I pull out the LP and it sounds worse.   Memory is a very tricky thing.    I can also tell you that in a blind A-B test, you would not be able to tell the difference between the analog vinyl and the CD-R copy of that vinyl and if you can't tell the difference, then the digitization isn't doing any harm to the audio.   And in terms of new music on vinyl, 95% comes from a digital master, so those who buy new vinyl "because it's analog" are fooling themselves.  

    But having said all that, unless I had to move into a studio (or prison), I wouldn't use a Home Pod (or any similar device) anyway.   While it's fine for passive listening the way one might listen to a table radio, it doesn't come close to a full-fledged system (in spite of sounding damned good for its size) and I don't understand why we have essentially and mostly returned to mono.    Plus, I don't want a device that spies on me.   But I'm an old fogey and almost the only time I stream is when I'm bike riding and I suppose eventually when I buy my next car.   At home, it's all physical media.  
    Niallivmlarrya
  • Reply 22 of 39
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,456member
    When was a HiFi speaker review about anything but the sound quality?   
    caladanian
  • Reply 23 of 39
    Scottle9Scottle9 Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Does anyone know if the lamp itself is controlled remotely or not via an app like the Sonos app, Home, or IFTTT?  If so is it dimmable?
  • Reply 24 of 39
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,704member
    There is one sentence that will prevent me from buying a HomePod: “Apple's HomePod is a fantastic home speaker. It connects solely over Wi-Fi and streams Apple Music natively, but nothing else.”

    A device which claims to be an audiophile grade speaker that only plays mp3 quality music and cannot accept other sources unless that source has AirPlay, which probably eliminates turntables for people who are vinyl purists, absolutely killed my interest in the device. I wanted something that could play the highest quality bit rate for digital and could play my high end vinyl collection as well.
    You really should try doing a bit more research. For starters, Tidal has an uncompressed tier, and if you use it on an iPhone guess what -- your iPhone has AirPlay 2. I admit streaming the turntable would be a little bit trickier as you'd need a receiver that supports AirPlay 2, but they're quite common now. Likewise, a lot of TVs support AirPlay 2 now, so Blu-rays and such can also be streamed to HomePod.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 25 of 39
    There is one sentence that will prevent me from buying a HomePod: “Apple's HomePod is a fantastic home speaker. It connects solely over Wi-Fi and streams Apple Music natively, but nothing else.”

    A device which claims to be an audiophile grade speaker that only plays mp3 quality music and cannot accept other sources unless that source has AirPlay, which probably eliminates turntables for people who are vinyl purists, absolutely killed my interest in the device. I wanted something that could play the highest quality bit rate for digital and could play my high end vinyl collection as well.
    Any 'audiophile' already has a sound system that they're not looking to replace. Also, audiophile is much more useful as a term to identify those who are self deluded, rather than those who actually appreciate music quality. Apple streams a very high quality version of the music files to the HomePod, the HomePod then uses machine learning to then do things to the file to bring out aspects of the music that you wouldn't hear with a normal set up. It delivers a refined and evocative sound that is unlike most other audio systems on the market (And pairing a few of them together will enhance that).

    This is like saying that you'd rather prefer film over a high end DSLR or over a modern iPhone camera. Feel free to, but shut up if you don't realize all the reasons someone living in 2019 might want this. Vinyl might be worthwhile for people who only want to listen to old records that were recorded on magnetic tapes. But for most music made in the last twenty five years, whatever is on a vinyl record is going to be pressed from a digital recording.

    Feel free to not get a HomePod, it sounds like your identity as a dipshit who talks about stuff they don't understand on the internet would be hampered by owning one. But for the rest of us, we'll be totally happy with our HomePods, which sound fantastic.
    Niallivmwatto_cobralordjohnwhorfin
  • Reply 26 of 39
    mistergsf said:
    There is one sentence that will prevent me from buying a HomePod: “Apple's HomePod is a fantastic home speaker. It connects solely over Wi-Fi and streams Apple Music natively, but nothing else.”

    A device which claims to be an audiophile grade speaker that only plays mp3 quality music and cannot accept other sources unless that source has AirPlay, which probably eliminates turntables for people who are vinyl purists, absolutely killed my interest in the device. I wanted something that could play the highest quality bit rate for digital and could play my high end vinyl collection as well.
    The word "audiophile" gets thrown around a lot. So does the word "high end". That said, I wouldn't want to play my high end anything on a WiFi speaker. Don't get me wrong. I like my HomePods; I have two. They're just not my main speakers of choice for listening to my vinyl or even DSD audio files. Do you really want a HomePod that can accept a turntable? And what is a "high end vinyl collection"? Pressings from remastered tapes? 120G vinyl? I've never heard anyone describe their records as high end vinyl.
    I have 1/2 speed mastered vinyl records dating back to 1980. I bought my first CD player in 1981. Between the 2 the vinyl sounded better, although it was difficult to compare at first because the selection of CD’s in Nebraska in1981 wasn’t very large. 

    I still call premium vinyl records 1/2 speed mastered although Audiophile Vinyl is the common term. And just because someone slapped that label on a record doesn’t mean that it actually was properly engineered /balanced or that the master discs were still in good shape when the record you buy was stamped. 

    Most of of the time the music I listen to is in a digital lossless formats. I can store them on my phone or iPad. But I do listen to my preferred system for a few hours each week and more on the weekend, and that is not streaming from either my digital  library or from a online service. It’s a personal preference. The sound that comes out of a speaker can never be better than the source used to generate the sound. And that includes every component: the amplifier, the CD player or turntable, and most certainly the speakers. But if your record or file was poorly engineered or physically made then having an expensive system just means you can accurately hear the bad sound that wasn’t part of the performance. 

    I don't expect most people to care. Music is pleasing background sound or something to dance to but not something that is that important to 999 out of 1000 people. But Apple pitched this product NOT as a smart speaker competitor to Alexa but as a premium sound experience. And most of the deficiencies with it are not hardware related, but a management decision to restrict formats and access. 

    Apple isn't alone in doing this. Sony tried coming up with a proprietary digital format for their mp3 Walkman in the early 2000’s. Sonos will play various music formats from an iMac or MacBook computer but won’t play the computers sound, including movies or internet browsing or gaming sound. 

    When Apple first announced the HomePod their description of a premium speaker system made it sound like a Sonos competitor. I hoped it would allow a wireless way of playing music and doing surround sound and accessing all of my music and sounds, both digital and physical. . 
    mobird
  • Reply 27 of 39
    A couple of questions about the sound quality:

    1. Do the Ikea Sonos players support Sonos Trueplay, and was it in use when comparing the sound? (Trueplay is Sonos' way of configuring the sound to the room - which involves waving an iPhone around while Sonos is playing some special sounds, and then adjusting the sound afterwards - somewhat reminiscent of Audyssey)
    2. How is the sound of a pair of the Sonos speakers, compared to one Apple HomePod ?

    I already have a lot of Sonos and I use other music sources beyond Apple Music - including something so simple as Internet radio - so the HomePod isn't for me. But the Ikea Sonos speakers could make fine gifts.

  • Reply 28 of 39
    snookiesnookie Posts: 102member
    There is one sentence that will prevent me from buying a HomePod: “Apple's HomePod is a fantastic home speaker. It connects solely over Wi-Fi and streams Apple Music natively, but nothing else.”

    A device which claims to be an audiophile grade speaker that only plays mp3 quality music and cannot accept other sources unless that source has AirPlay, which probably eliminates turntables for people who are vinyl purists, absolutely killed my interest in the device. I wanted something that could play the highest quality bit rate for digital and could play my high end vinyl collection as well.
    The HomePod plays up to CD quality music.  "MP3 quality" means nothing...what bit rate etc are you referring to for example.  Also Apple uses the AAC codec which is such more advanced than AAC.  Every streaming service can use Airplay and many other devices as well
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 29 of 39
    snookiesnookie Posts: 102member

    mistergsf said:
    jcs2305 said:
    There is one sentence that will prevent me from buying a HomePod: “Apple's HomePod is a fantastic home speaker. It connects solely over Wi-Fi and streams Apple Music natively, but nothing else.”

    A device which claims to be an audiophile grade speaker that only plays mp3 quality music and cannot accept other sources unless that source has AirPlay, which probably eliminates turntables for people who are vinyl purists, absolutely killed my interest in the device. I wanted something that could play the highest quality bit rate for digital and could play my high end vinyl collection as well.
    HomePod is a great speaker but do you seriously want to play your vinyl on a speaker this size, and not a larger component system ?

    Exactly this.
    Then it's not the product for you like so many other devices that have nothing to do with Vinyl.  Nor is Apple interested in that market.  Why would they be?
    Some Sonos devices (not these) can connect to a turntable but again why would you.  Vinyl lovers are typically either young people who thinks it cool but use cheap equipment or audiophiles who use component systems but are a tiny minority of buyers in the age of streaming..

    edited August 18 watto_cobra
  • Reply 30 of 39
    snookiesnookie Posts: 102member
    xyzzy01 said:
    A couple of questions about the sound quality:

    1. Do the Ikea Sonos players support Sonos Trueplay, and was it in use when comparing the sound? (Trueplay is Sonos' way of configuring the sound to the room - which involves waving an iPhone around while Sonos is playing some special sounds, and then adjusting the sound afterwards - somewhat reminiscent of Audyssey)
    2. How is the sound of a pair of the Sonos speakers, compared to one Apple HomePod ?

    I already have a lot of Sonos and I use other music sources beyond Apple Music - including something so simple as Internet radio - so the HomePod isn't for me. But the Ikea Sonos speakers could make fine gifts.

    Its says in the article that they support Trueplay although he calls it automatic tuning when it isn't.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 31 of 39
    snookiesnookie Posts: 102member

    zoetmb said:
    There is one sentence that will prevent me from buying a HomePod: “Apple's HomePod is a fantastic home speaker. It connects solely over Wi-Fi and streams Apple Music natively, but nothing else.”

    A device which claims to be an audiophile grade speaker that only plays mp3 quality music and cannot accept other sources unless that source has AirPlay, which probably eliminates turntables for people who are vinyl purists, absolutely killed my interest in the device. I wanted something that could play the highest quality bit rate for digital and could play my high end vinyl collection as well.
    Below is Apple’s response to these complaints (via cultofmac).  I wouldn’t know not being an audiophile, but it sounds like you’re fighting Father Time in a digital world.  Nothing wrong with that, but it sounds like you won’t be interested in most new products...

    Mastered for iTunes is all about the quality of the source,” Apple says. “24-bit audio has a remarkably wide dynamic range which is preserved during encoding to AAC and these files are virtually indistinguishable from the original. Some of the best audio engineers in the business have a hard time telling them apart even on high-end audio equipment. Experts may be able to tell you that they are different in some subtle ways, but they can’t necessarily tell you which one they like better. This isn’t about AAC vs. CD or vinyl. It’s about creating the best possible master for the unique characteristics of each medium.”

    Apple talks up its “powerful and practical software tools” designed for pro musicians.

    “We want the music to sound as close as possible to the way it did in the studio or in the concert hall, preserving your vision and intention,” Apple says. “We want artists and sound engineers to be thoroughly satisfied and proud of the results they can now achieve in our format. So we have worked very hard to provide both the monitoring and quality assessment tools, plus an end-to-end mastering and encoding process that delivers the best possible audio for today’s digital world.”


    AAC is a lossy format. Despite what the article says, it is NOT a 24 bit format either. Lossy means you are losing some of the audio quality when compared to the same music in a lossless file format, even if both formats are digital.  Apple shouldn't charge high end prices for mid level performance equipment, especially ones that require you to jump through hoops to use your existing but high quality music. The connection to a HomePod is wireless ethernet, in all but the poorest of wireless systems you should be able to stream ALAC or FLAC files versions which would mean at least CD quality bitrate (16 bit) lossless versions of songs and could have a frequency  and data rate up to 24 bit with a higher frequency response. ALAC IS an Apple format, and it has been around for years, so Apple already has a format they could use. The physical means of getting the music TO the  HomePod, wifi, isn't the problem. It's the restrictions of what you can (easily) stream and the loss of fidelity inherent in an AAC format. Bluetooth would struggle and probably drop out trying to stream ALAC at least for now, but wifi has no problem unless you are an extremely very heavy wifi streaming user. 300 mb is many times more than enough bandwidth for the highest digital music format and most routers are at least that, and 1 gb routers are pretty common now as well.

    You will hear people talk fondly of tube based systems sounding better (usually described as 'warmer') than a discrete based amplifier system. I won't argue with them, but I know I cannot hear the difference. I can hear the difference in AAC and either ALAC or FLAC. If you can't then don't buy a super high end system, you won't notice the improvement. But that doesn't mean that the improvement isn't there. But to me, even if it's all in my mind (another thing people will say when you bring up quality) and not reality, a high quality vinyl disc sounds better than the same album on a CD, and much much better than any streaming service, whether its Pandora, Spotify or Apple Music. I have heard of, but never personally listened to, Tidal music which is supposed to be (if you pay for the upper tier of their service) CD quality streaming music. I don't know if you can get Tidal on an iPhone or iPad but I know I can get it on my iMac, so I could stream it to an HomePod, but with the other physical and software limitations, which I think were artificial and not inherent in what Apple said they were trying to do, I'm not interested in going to the trouble.


    I don't understand why we have essentially and mostly returned to mono.    Plus, I don't want a device that spies on me.   But I'm an old fogey and almost the only time I stream is when I'm bike riding and I suppose eventually when I buy my next car.   At home, it's all physical media.  
    The HomePod can be stereo paired.
    Mastered for iTunes sounds great.
    I'm sure Apple would love to stream higher bit rate and lossless but like all the other streaming services they would have complaints from people streaming over cellular.  Plus just very few people care about higher bit rates or better quality.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 32 of 39
    mistergsf said:
    There is one sentence that will prevent me from buying a HomePod: “Apple's HomePod is a fantastic home speaker. It connects solely over Wi-Fi and streams Apple Music natively, but nothing else.”

    A device which claims to be an audiophile grade speaker that only plays mp3 quality music and cannot accept other sources unless that source has AirPlay, which probably eliminates turntables for people who are vinyl purists, absolutely killed my interest in the device. I wanted something that could play the highest quality bit rate for digital and could play my high end vinyl collection as well.
    The word "audiophile" gets thrown around a lot. So does the word "high end". That said, I wouldn't want to play my high end anything on a WiFi speaker. Don't get me wrong. I like my HomePods; I have two. They're just not my main speakers of choice for listening to my vinyl or even DSD audio files. Do you really want a HomePod that can accept a turntable? And what is a "high end vinyl collection"? Pressings from remastered tapes? 120G vinyl? I've never heard anyone describe their records as high end vinyl.
    I have 1/2 speed mastered vinyl records dating back to 1980. I bought my first CD player in 1981. Between the 2 the vinyl sounded better, although it was difficult to compare at first because the selection of CD’s in Nebraska in1981 wasn’t very large. 

    I still call premium vinyl records 1/2 speed mastered although Audiophile Vinyl is the common term. And just because someone slapped that label on a record doesn’t mean that it actually was properly engineered /balanced or that the master discs were still in good shape when the record you buy was stamped. 

    Most of of the time the music I listen to is in a digital lossless formats. I can store them on my phone or iPad. But I do listen to my preferred system for a few hours each week and more on the weekend, and that is not streaming from either my digital  library or from a online service. It’s a personal preference. The sound that comes out of a speaker can never be better than the source used to generate the sound. And that includes every component: the amplifier, the CD player or turntable, and most certainly the speakers. But if your record or file was poorly engineered or physically made then having an expensive system just means you can accurately hear the bad sound that wasn’t part of the performance. 

    I don't expect most people to care. Music is pleasing background sound or something to dance to but not something that is that important to 999 out of 1000 people. But Apple pitched this product NOT as a smart speaker competitor to Alexa but as a premium sound experience. And most of the deficiencies with it are not hardware related, but a management decision to restrict formats and access. 

    Apple isn't alone in doing this. Sony tried coming up with a proprietary digital format for their mp3 Walkman in the early 2000’s. Sonos will play various music formats from an iMac or MacBook computer but won’t play the computers sound, including movies or internet browsing or gaming sound. 

    When Apple first announced the HomePod their description of a premium speaker system made it sound like a Sonos competitor. I hoped it would allow a wireless way of playing music and doing surround sound and accessing all of my music and sounds, both digital and physical. . 

    You're preaching to the choir here. I too, have "Audiophile Vinyl" (yes, correct term and much better than "high-end vinyl" which I've only heard from you), I still buy CDs, 4K Blu-rays, vinyl, and hi-res, MQA, DSD audio files because I care about getting the best audio and video quality to equal what my equipment can produce.

    I have a Home Theater for my movies and a music listening room where I listen to my vinyl through new and vintage amps and speakers. In that room I also have a Roon ROCK that holds my complete digital music library that plays through my Pro-Ject Stream Box and Pro-Ject S2 DAC end points which are connected to one of my amps. Roon is what I use for complete home listening through 2 HomePods, 2 Sonos Ones, and includes my Marantz home theater AVR and Yamaha AVR in my bedroom via AirPlay 2.  Yes, I care about my music listening experience but AirPlay 2 is very convenient and can be pretty damn good depending on your source — like TIDAL, Qobuz, and Roon.

    I went back to Apple's website for HomePod; they do not use the term "premium sound experience” anywhere.  What does that mean anyway? The terms they use are “high-fidelity audio”, “controls your smart home’, “purposefully designed speaker creates rich, nuanced sound that defies its size”, “Apple-engineered audio technology and advanced software to deliver precision sound that fills the room”, “high definition sound”, “built to bring out the best in Apple Music”, “Home to an intelligent assistant”.  I think the last two terms are what HomePod is really all about.  What about high-fidelity audio? High-definition sound?  To Apple, its sound that comes closest to the original.  That’s good enough for them apparently and for most consumers.  I stopped expecting anything more than that a long time ago.

    These days, you can buy very good, bang for the buck, hi-fi systems that don’t even include phono inputs for a turntable.  Why? Cause most “audiophiles” want to use a separate phono pre-amp.

    I think your expectations for the HomePod go beyond Apple’s intentions.  Streaming only and no direct inputs. But damn, it would be great to wirelessly use a pair of HomePods in a small surround sound system like in my guest bedroom. Oh, well.

    edited August 18 watto_cobra
  • Reply 33 of 39
    snookie said:

    mistergsf said:
    jcs2305 said:
    There is one sentence that will prevent me from buying a HomePod: “Apple's HomePod is a fantastic home speaker. It connects solely over Wi-Fi and streams Apple Music natively, but nothing else.”

    A device which claims to be an audiophile grade speaker that only plays mp3 quality music and cannot accept other sources unless that source has AirPlay, which probably eliminates turntables for people who are vinyl purists, absolutely killed my interest in the device. I wanted something that could play the highest quality bit rate for digital and could play my high end vinyl collection as well.
    HomePod is a great speaker but do you seriously want to play your vinyl on a speaker this size, and not a larger component system ?

    Exactly this.
    Then it's not the product for you like so many other devices that have nothing to do with Vinyl.  Nor is Apple interested in that market.  Why would they be?
    Some Sonos devices (not these) can connect to a turntable but again why would you.  Vinyl lovers are typically either young people who thinks it cool but use cheap equipment or audiophiles who use component systems but are a tiny minority of buyers in the age of streaming..

    I think you meant this response to AnotherBrick.  I was agreeing that HomePod is not for vinyl.
  • Reply 34 of 39
    mistergsf said:
    There is one sentence that will prevent me from buying a HomePod: “Apple's HomePod is a fantastic home speaker. It connects solely over Wi-Fi and streams Apple Music natively, but nothing else.”

    A device which claims to be an audiophile grade speaker that only plays mp3 quality music and cannot accept other sources unless that source has AirPlay, which probably eliminates turntables for people who are vinyl purists, absolutely killed my interest in the device. I wanted something that could play the highest quality bit rate for digital and could play my high end vinyl collection as well.
    The word "audiophile" gets thrown around a lot. So does the word "high end". That said, I wouldn't want to play my high end anything on a WiFi speaker. Don't get me wrong. I like my HomePods; I have two. They're just not my main speakers of choice for listening to my vinyl or even DSD audio files. Do you really want a HomePod that can accept a turntable? And what is a "high end vinyl collection"? Pressings from remastered tapes? 120G vinyl? I've never heard anyone describe their records as high end vinyl.

    Edit: clarified by the original poster.

    Redundant post.

    edited August 19
  • Reply 35 of 39
    It should be noted that IKEA also has bookshelf versions of the speaker for those who do not want a speaker lamp. Bonus, can be mounted horizontally on a wall as a bedside shelf.
    gatorguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 36 of 39
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 5,004administrator
    It should be noted that IKEA also has bookshelf versions of the speaker for those who do not want a speaker lamp. Bonus, can be mounted horizontally on a wall as a bedside shelf.
    Already covered.
     
    https://appleinsider.com/articles/19/08/08/review-symfonisk-airplay-2-bookshelf-speaker----ikea-price-sonos-sound
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 37 of 39
    Homepod: Coming this fall (according to the Apple website): iHeartradio, Tunein, Radio.com  
    Although the Homepod doesn't have Bluetooth, once it has been setup and registered to your Home as a speaker, it can be used via Airplay 2 even if you are not on a Wifi/LAN. 

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 38 of 39
    I’m not sure I understand the rationale for saying the Symfonisk is the “more quiet” speaker. When I say to my HomePods “Hey Siri, volume to 5%” they are pretty damned quiet and not the least bit “punchy” to my ears. I simply can’t understand how one speaker can be identified as “more quiet” than another when any speaker can be attenuated to function just above or below the threshold of hearing. Perhaps you are referring to their respective frequency responses when their volume is lowered? As in, the HomePod puts out more low frequency information?
  • Reply 39 of 39
    Also, I am an audio engineer, and deal with the audiophile mentality both within my profession and outside of it. To me, an audiophile is someone who loves their gear (especially its cost) as much or more than they love music, gets caught up in theoretical benchmarks of audio quality that are almost always imperceptible in blind tests (and always imperceptible in double blind tests), and often will either actively or passively tout their superior powers of discernment to whomever they think will listen. In other words, they’re a bunch of pills. 

    There are also self-described audiophiles who simply love to listen to high quality recorded music, and these are the people I work for. I also consider myself part of this latter classification.

    HomePods are not marketed to the former kind of audiophile. It’s not expensive enough, to begin with. And while it is a great sounding speaker within its particular niche of the market, it admittedly is no replacement for a dedicated listening setup... it was not designed with that sole purpose in mind. It was designed to be a lot more things to a lot of people, and it’s compromises with regard to audio quality reflect that.

    Do I enjoy listening to music on my HomePods, as one who is required to have the training and experience to discern the most minute differences in the quality of recorded audio? Of course I do, because I have switched off that part of my brain when I am listening to my HomePods. I’m just listening to the music, usually while doing something else. And it’s made all the more fun that I can control the system and summon any variety of music at the drop of a hat with my voice. And that is where the HomePod really comes into its own. 
    edited August 20
Sign In or Register to comment.