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

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 6, 2018.

  1. PPCmike macrumors regular

    Feb 9, 2012
    If that's the case why do I prefer the natural sounding voice of Google over Apple? For this reason alone I have only used Apple Maps for driving about twice
  2. macworksgreat macrumors regular


    May 8, 2007
    Rome, GA
    You mean the room doesn't come with the HomePod??? I might have to send mine back... :)
    --- Post Merged, Feb 6, 2018 ---
    Heh. But isn't this site a sound-chamber so-to-speak? lol
  3. coleblk macrumors regular

    Nov 26, 2013
    Wish they would have used this chamber to test the iPhone X and it's crackling speaker setup before it's release. #bitter Now they are scrambling to tweak the EQ after the fact as it has lessened according to some iOS 10.3 beta users.
  4. RogerWilco macrumors 6502a


    Jul 29, 2011
    Their surveillance algos look at links and patterns to ID you. All you can hope to accomplish with those apps is to slow them down a bit. Their cloud photo app is busy 24/7 compiling facial IDs of everyone and their pets -- Jesus this is depressing to ponder early in the AM -- going for a walk in the dark. :D
  5. Ubele macrumors 6502a

    Mar 20, 2008
    In 2004, when I was putting together a home theater system with 7.1 surround sound, the sales guy at Best Buy recommended a brand called Athena, which was much less expensive than JBL or Bose. I'd never heard of Athena, so I did some research and learned that they were part of a Canadian speaker company called API, which was founded in 1948, if I recall correctly. All the reviews I read said that Athena speakers sounded as good as other brands that cost twice as much. I bought a top-of-the-line Athena system, and my wife and I have never regretted it. It's great for movies, but one of my special pleasures is sitting in the sweet spot and listening to music processed by our Yamaha RX-1010 receiver, which has a 7.1 processing program that doesn't add reverb but expands a stereo signal spatially in a remarkably naturalistic way. We were so impressed that, a few years later, we bought a $500 Athena 5.1 "speaker system in a box" for our bedroom TV. For the price, it sounds great. (We had teenagers living with us at the time, so it was nice to be able to retreat to our bedroom mini home theater when they were in the living room.) As long as these speakers remain functional, we'll never replace them. Anyway, I'm curious to hear the HomePod, but with our Athena systems, we don't need one.
  6. JM2, Feb 7, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2018

    JM2 macrumors member

    Oct 8, 2010
    South Florida
    Testing would be done using the same chamber but with different furniture and materials brought it to ensure the system (software + microphone + amplifer + speaker) is compensating as designed. Using the chamber allows for easy A/B comparisons in a controlled situation. Basically Apple knows how it should sound with no echos, spikes or drops in the frequency response so any change in the environment can quickly compared against this baseline.

    Highlights from Apple's site tell you how they pulled this off (in a non-tech way):
    HomePod combines Apple-engineered audio technology and advanced software to deliver the highest-fidelity sound throughout the room, anywhere it’s placed.
    HomePod uses an advanced algorithm that continuously analyzes the music and dynamically tunes the low frequencies for smooth, immersive sound.
    An Apple-designed A8 chip powers the most complex audio innovations in HomePod. Like real-time modeling of the woofer mechanics. Buffering that’s even faster than real time. Upmixing of both direct and ambient audio. Beamforming so the microphone can hear you over the music. And advanced echo cancellation. So you get amazing sound without even thinking about it.

    It like noise cancelling headphones, its a feedback loop. The difference is instead of trying to cancel out noise Apple is using a microphone and processing to make the speaker's output sound like the acoustical chamber despite whatever reflections or reverberations are in your particular environment. You do this by modifying (and even delaying) the audio signal to compensate for the room's particular acoustical "fingerprint". This is pretty standard stuff in home theater and some car audio systems. All you need is well programmed DSP (digital signal processor) along with a microphone, speaker and amplifier. Its basically a real time EQ (equalizer) pre-programmed with the ideal audio results (calculated from the chamber). The advantage here is Apple made the speaker so they know how it should perform. Thus they can skip any calibration steps and just use the feedback loop to self-tune the entire system to optimal playback.

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