Published On: Wed, Feb 7th, 2018

A four-sentence HomePod examination (with appendices)

Apple’s HomePod is simply a best sounding mainstream intelligent orator ever. It’s got improved subdivision and drum response than anything else in a widen and boasts a shade and refinement of sound that pays off a 7 years Apple has been operative on it.

As a intelligent speaker, it offers best-in-class voice recognition, vastly outstripping a ability of other intelligent speakers to hear we perplexing to trigger a authority during a widen or while song is playing, yet a altogether coherence is stymied by a singular authority sets that a Siri tradition offers.

Buy a HomePod if we already have Apple Music or we wish to have it and you’re in a marketplace for a singular impossibly over-designed and radically considerable orator that will give we unequivocally good sound with fundamentally no tuning, fussing, measuring or tweaking.

That’s flattering many it for my review. Everything from here on out is details…but we adore sum and if we do too, let’s speak about some.


A collection of information about several aspects of a HomePod’s origination and how it works in genuine life.

The reviewer:

Speakers are expected a apex of “subjective hardware”. Listening environment, experience, vocabulary, ambience and a healthy ear of a reviewer are all going to differ in some tiny approach from a intensity owner. That means that no matter how many reviews we examination if you’re not already going to buy one and sound matters to we afterwards we should go find one to listen to during slightest once in an Apple Store or elsewhere.

I also cruise that means that reviewing a reviewer is arrange of required to examination a examination like this in a correct context.

As for me, we come during this thing carrying sole high finish audio apparatus for around 7 years about 15 years ago. During my time in a home audio business we spent immeasurable hours listening to and training about loudspeakers of all kinds from $50 bookshelf models adult to $20,000 Meridian systems. In a use of, hopefully, apropos prepared adequate to make correct recommendations for buyers. And, of course, to get that honeyed 5% commission. My seductiveness in audio extended behind serve and has continued to this day, yet I’m no one’s specialist. I’d cruise myself a tolerably prepared listener with a plain ear and a ambience for a finer things. Though it’s critical to note that my sold poison was always centered around home theater, and reduction on a ‘let’s lay in a room and listen to Vangelis and glance during any other’ finish of a spectrum. Though that can be nice.

The above examination and these finish annals were created with that unequivocally assuage audio knowledge and admittedly unequivocally biased outlook in play.

Build quality:

Apple took this Very Seriously Indeed™️. To infer usually how serious, it took groups of reporters on a first-ever debate of a audio lab nearby a domicile in Cupertino. The lab featured a dozen anechoic chambers for contrast components of a HomePod, including one huge one sat atop 28 tons of concrete. I’ve indeed visited audio contrast labs before and stood in these curiously sound-deadening chambers that concede we to besiege a smallest transformation in tinge of a speaker, and many of what Apple showed is customary handling procession for growth of a new loudspeaker.

But slathered on tip of that is a garland of typically Apple extra-mile jelly. Apple says that a largest exam cover is one of a biggest in a US, on a pad, dangling from a outward universe with zero to infect a tests of audio purity. Beyond contrast for a acoustic qualities of a speaker, these chambers authorised Apple to den down to comment for and lessen a issues that typically arise from carrying a high outing subwoofer in such a tiny cabinet. Going even further, there are smaller chambers that concede them to besiege a sound from electronic components (there is a resource on residence after all) and make attempts to besiege and control that sound so it doesn’t uncover adult in a final output.

Put simply, when a underling booms as many as this one does, you’re customarily guaranteed to clap some components around. That’s that bzzzz sound we get when a orator is incited adult loud, or a automobile in front of we has a lax permit image support and has Culture II on blast. Thanks to an extreme volume of contrast and engineering, a HomePod contributes zero of a possess quivering or sound to a audio — even during limit volume on super thumpy tracks. Very high outlines on this aspect of a build peculiarity — outlines that interpret directly to sound quality.

I’m not going to polish rhapsodic about a fabric covering a HomePod, yet Apple is unequivocally unapproachable of it being “transparent” to audio. This means that it theoretically has subsequent to no outcome on a sound flitting by it, that can be an emanate with cheaper speakers. Most decent peculiarity speakers are lonesome with improved materials, yet during a reduce finish many are simply pulled over with something that looks decent, that can murky sound. I’ll leave it to someone else to skin a HomePod and examination a output. we can contend that it’s appealing and comparatively mark resistant though. we have kids, so sue me.

The tip arrangement is a comprehensive unclothed smallest needed. Two volume buttons and a kaleidoscopic whirl that represents Siri. Compared to a symbol and idol abounding surfaces of a Amazon Echo, Sonos One and Google Home Max it’s, well, unequivocally Apple-y.

Sound peculiarity and comparatives:

The sound that comes from a HomePod can best be described as precise. It’s not as biting as some others like Google Home Max or as splendid (and versatile) as a Sonos One, yet it destroys a murky sound of reduction worldly options like a Amazon Echo. To honestly fill a immeasurable room we need dual yet anyone in a tiny residence or section will get good sound from one.

I’ve been contrast a Home Max, Sonos’ One and a newest Echo alongside a HomePod in sequence to get some simple frames of anxiety yet also, in a end, to figure out where it’s ostensible to fit.

The HomePod was a “best” sounding. It’s nuanced and pointed with good subdivision and clarity conflicting all kinds of music. The One, for instance, had decent midst operation yet an overly splendid high finish with usually a out of a box calibration. At limit volume, a One became biting and unpleasant where a HomePod confirmed balance.

The Home Max sounded flattering good, and since it has double a subs, with identical outing (22mm vs. a HomePod’s 21mm) that pushes about a same volume of air, it’s unequivocally thumpy. They are downward banishment though, vs upward, and we cruise that, along with a comparatively customary enclosure, could have something to do with how pushed together a sound is. It unequivocally got a lot louder than a HomePod, that was a common thesis in my contrast — HomePod sounds good yet is usually not as biting as other speakers. The Home Max hold a figure of a sound good adult to max volume, that was some-more room stuffing as a singular section than a singular HomePod alone.

But a Max falls unequivocally many into a ‘crowd pleaser’ arrange of speaker. It’s biting and bassy and does a decent pursuit of that. But it’s not unequivocally sophisticated.

All of a other units, from a Echo to a Sonos to a Home Max unsuccessful during providing a truly distant sound. That’s where a HomePod excels, and it’s thematically appropriate. It takes a metric butt-ton of engineering work joined with a lot of patience not to usually make this thing biting and angry. Instead, caring was taken to qualification a sound theatre formed on a position of a orator in a room and a components of a outlines being played.

The HomePod will even listen to a audio that comes behind to establish a audio signature of a surfaces off of that it’s reflecting. In a reductive way, a HomePod is intuiting what kinds of surfaces make adult your room and compensating for them to discharge relate and neglected reverberation and to establish what slices of audio are best served by personification off of their nature. It does this by promulgation out and alone deliberation 7 conflicting sources of audio from any orator and listening behind to those. Each one can be treated as a detached entity and tweaked to play conflicting segments of an audio lane depending on a position tighten to a wall or divided from it.

All of that estimate that is being finished by a A8 chip on residence is since there is no EQ on a HomePod. Where would we even start “tuning” something that is creation continual and ongoing adjustments with any lane and environment? we adore a good garland of sliders as many as a subsequent person, yet we also know since they’re not here.

The HomePod has a single, upward-firing startle dampened sub. While a Home Max unequivocally bumps, it also requires a use of a detached rubber pad that we have to place like a drum trivet to forestall neglected quivering while it’s on a surface. The HomePod transmits so small of a transformation from a underling cone by a physique that it’s in no need of anything some-more than a integrated rubber foot. It’s not as many boom, yet it’s many improved utilized.

That underling has a unequivocally considerable volume of transformation to it (subs are generally categorized by how many atmosphere they can push) that is maximized by a tradition multiband compressor that brings a cone right to a dilemma of how distant it can be pushed yet going over a dilemma into buzz. This glorious tuning in real-time effectively uses what a normal underling would haven for a ‘margin of error’ to widen a operation of tones accessible for use in playback.

In an apartment, a HomePod could not be louder and some-more room filling. But during home, in a 20×30′ good room with runner on a floor, we did find myself wishing for it to be louder. This should be solved once Apple ships a support for dual HomePods to be used in tandem in a “stereo pair”, yet possibly that is dissimilar L/R channels we don’t know that play left and right channel calm separately. Apple’s website says it sounds ‘better than a normal stereo pair’ since of a generosity of a sound stage, that sounds accurate, rather than pursuit it “stereo” in a attention sense. It did sound good in a brief demo, yet we can’t exam it obviously.

[Editor’s note: we apparently totally invented a tenure — ‘FullRoom’ — for this underline that Apple says is not indeed a name for this feature. we have no thought since FullRoom was in my notes, yet it’s a fetish of my imagination, not an tangible thing. Apologies.]

That’s entrance soon, followed during a after date by a “multi room” duty that lets a garland of HomePods synchronize to play a same audio everywhere. But for now, small- to medium-sized bedrooms are fine, vast bedrooms we might find a HomePod a smidge underneath powered.

Only a HomePod and a Echo supposing loyal unidirectionality of sound, and a Echo is during a comprehensive behind of a container for audio quality. Walking around a HomePod from one dilemma of a room to another or around it in a round is a unequivocally implausible experience. The sound does not tumble off during any angle, and a characteristics of a audio don’t change. This usually works.

Though we found a Sonos splendid by default, a build peculiarity is still excellent, and it’s substantially a good choice for many multi-channel audio enthusiasts. But Apple is not unequivocally going after a same people. The ‘it’s a pricey speaker’ evidence is unequivocally flattering indecisive here. You’re not powering your home museum with a HomePod. Whole home audio isn’t live during launch either. In a finish they’re courting Apple Music subscribers, not Sonos devotees. Sonos also had years to get their act together and has given adult a ton of marketplace advantage by boring their toes with a honestly singular and poetic product.

As distant as subdivision goes, a Sonos One was utterly frail and unequivocally louder overall, since there are dual of them (for roughly a same cost as a HomePod).

But no matter how solid, they could still not emanate a expanded sound theatre that a HomePod did. This was usually as transparent in outlines like Bodak Yellow as it was in La Grange. But it unequivocally kicked donkey in live performances, where it felt that a vocals were sitting out in a atmosphere between we and HomePod, no matter where we were standing, and a acclaim and high hats were entrance from some place above and behind a orator — being projected outwards and around. It’s one of a many three-dimensional sounds I’ve listened from any song setup and positively a deepest theatre from a “single speaker”.

It’s, unfortunately, one of those things where difference will destroy to do it justice. Suffice it to contend that a HomePod is a many worldly and acoustically engaging of a speakers, yet unequivocally not a many bombastic.


Currently, Siri doesn’t do a lot of “other” things that isn’t about audio content. Apple says this is since a immeasurable infancy of people use these speakers for simple commands like personification song and sourroundings timers. This has been borne out by studies over a past year. This creates it rather excusable yet not ideal that Siri works positively glorious for music, news, sports and other audio and respectably for a radically 3 simple tasks that have been expelled for it by Apple.

But it doesn’t put it in any kind of intelligent orator capability stick position. Apple has a lot of belligerent to make adult with Siri, that is clearly since it is focusing on orator peculiarity and a streamlined value tender of it being a passage for Apple Music.

While we can send texts and take annals and set reminders and hoop phone calls begun on your iPhone, that’s about all of a extracurriculars and they’re all focused on single-user experiences. If you’re logged in to your iCloud account, all of a messages and calls are yours and come from you. That’s good if you’re a singular dude vital alone, yet it totally falls detached in a family environment. Apple allows we to toggle these options off as a iCloud comment owners and we suggest we do before it all ends in tears. Unless we live alone in that box Mazel, it sounds peaceful.

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