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At the same time that reviews launched this morning for Apple's upcoming HomePod smart speaker, a few websites also shared a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the audio lab where Apple tested the device. Apple invited journalists into the lab last week, and Jim Dalrymple of The Loop shared his experience in a post today.

chamber-768x512.jpg
Images via The Loop


Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, noted that the lab where HomePod was tested wasn't only for HomePod, as Apple also focuses on speakers found in iPhone, iPad, Mac, and AirPods, as well as the audio performance of Siri and Apple TV. For HomePod, Apple vice president of hardware engineering, Kate Bergeron, said the project began six years ago with a "small, focused team."
"HomePod started by us asking a question: What would it mean if we decided to design a loud speaker where we could put it in any room, and that room wouldn't affect the sound quality," said Bergeron.
Once testing began, Apple used multiple chambers to study HomePod. The first became one of the largest anechoic chambers in the United States (first image), allowing Apple engineers access to a non-reflective and echo free room to put the speaker's sound through its paces.

chamber3-768x511.jpg

Another room was made to focus on voice detection and Siri recognition, while the third was a "Noise and Vibration" chamber (second image) built to detect and help prevent electronic noises and buzzing from escaping HomePod when it's plugged in but not playing music.
The chamber itself sits on 28 tons of concrete. The panels are one foot thick which is another 27 tons of material, and there are 80 isolating mounts between the actual chamber and the concrete slab it sits on.

The chamber is designed to be -2 dBA, which is lower than the threshold of human hearing. This basically provides complete silence.
Because the audio lab was built to test many products in addition to HomePod, Apple's senior director of audio design and engineering, Gary Geaves, hinted that progress made on the speaker in the lab has led to advances in other, unnamed Apple devices. "There's been certain catalysts in the development of HomePod that are feeding other products," said Geaves. "That's one of our advantages--we work on a bunch of different areas of audio."

HomePod pre-orders began on January 26, and remain available for launch day delivery of February 9 in the United States, although Apple Store pickup has now become unavailable in all three launch countries. For the U.K. and Australia, delivery estimates have also slipped today, with the current shipping date marked as February 12.

To read more about Apple's HomePod audio lab, be sure to check out The Loop's full article.

Article Link: Apple Allows Behind-the-Scenes Look Into Audio Lab Used to Test HomePod, AirPods, and More
 

mtneer

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Sep 15, 2012
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I am surprised they didn't have white walls on this set.
 
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blacktaxi2d

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Aug 10, 2011
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this is neat, im just not looking to spend $300 on a tiny speaker. especially one which is controlled by Siri, which is complete trash compared to google assistant and alexa.

Ill stick to my JBL charge 3 that i got for $85. best value bluetooth speaker
 
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VulchR

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I like the idea of the new HomePod, but

"HomePod started by us asking a question: What would it mean if we decided to design a loud speaker where we could put it in any room, and that room wouldn't affect the sound quality," said Bergeron."
rather contrasts with the picture of the testing room, the walls of which are covered in acoustic tiles....
 
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djcerla

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Apr 23, 2015
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I like the idea of the new HomePod, but

"HomePod started by us asking a question: What would it mean if we decided to design a loud speaker where we could put it in any room, and that room wouldn't affect the sound quality," said Bergeron."
rather contrasts with the picture of the testing room, the walls of which are covered in acoustic tiles....

That’s exactly the room you need to do that job. You don’t drive cars in wind tunnels, but you need one to optimize their design in the engineering phase.
 
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deanthedev

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This reminds me of the anechoic chamber at the NRC (National Research Council) in Canada where Dr. Floyd Toole basically redefined the audio industry with respect to how speakers are tested and compared.

Because of this facility and his research we now have several Canadian speaker manufacturers that are highly regarded among audiophiles.
 
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Mike MA

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HomePod everywhere! Now get it finally shipped to the rest of the world. We’re ready!
 
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VulchR

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That’s exactly the room you need to do that job. You don’t drive cars in wind tunnels, but you need one to optimize their design in the engineering phase.

I get that. I was poking fun at Apple. ;) However, I do wonder how many real environments they tested the system in to create their adaptive acoustic design.
 
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anthogag

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Jan 15, 2015
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Anechoic chambers don't reflect sound so you do hear what your speaker puts out.

Where did they test its real world abilities to adapt? I don't see this in the article. Room surfaces, shapes, fabrics, furniture, etc, change sound qualities, right.
 
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Just think how much more Apple could get if they would sell an Apple Room as an accessory. "All of our devices are designed to sound their very best in this kind of room."

Then, imagine visiting people who are living in such rooms because Apple told them they should.

And you know there would certainly be such people. ;)



Now, where can one buy that black HP torch stand? :eek:
 
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Labeno

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Jul 21, 2008
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Hey Apple, that's not how the house looks. Could you come over here and test?
 
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truthertech

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Jun 24, 2016
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this is neat, im just not looking to spend $300 on a tiny speaker. especially one which is controlled by Siri, which is complete trash compared to google assistant and alexa.

Ill stick to my JBL charge 3 that i got for $85. best value bluetooth speaker


The Internet Myth about Siri is just plain silly. They all have their strengths, but Siri is by far the most used personal assistant in the world--over half a billion people use Siri regularly every month. She knows more languages, again more by far, than the others. Independent testing shows Siri excels over Alexa and Google in many areas. Siri is also the only one that protects your privacy. If you choose to go with Google or Amazon, everything they hear is collected in the cloud on their servers for their use, as well as available to law enforcement, intel agencies, hackers, etc.

Google goes even farther and links everything you say to your universal identifier number. Amazing that people don't care that Google is trying to build a dossier on every person that links the contents of every Gmail sent or received, every photo taken or received, everywhere you drive, every document you upload, every website you visit, every post you make, everything you watch, everything you buy, etc. At some point, when people realize how those dossiers are being used and misused, they will have tremendous regret.
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They do all of this, yet Siri is still dumb as ever.


If that's true, why do more people in the world use Siri (over a 500 million use it regularly each month), by far than any other assistant?
 
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