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jcmc

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 16, 2008
147
62
In an upstairs bedroom I have just been able to pair an ATV 4k with my twin first gen Homepods and am really impressed with the sound. In the living room I use a combination of a Sonos Beam and a single Homepod Mini, but was thinking that adding a second mini might improve things.

So the question I have is that while I know, of course, that the sound from a pair of Minis is never going to come close to that of the full Homepods, for those who have done it, have you thought it worthwhile and that it has added significantly to the quality or sound? Similarly, if anyone has experience of both pairings, I would be interested to know just how much poorer the mini pairing is?
 

HobeSoundDarryl

macrumors G5
If you are after quality of sound, buy yourself two Sonos 300s to go with your soundbar... and then maybe Black Friday, replace that beam with an Arc. That combo will dazzle your ears and work much better with what you already have. You could also add a Sonos Bass Module if you covet the deeper deep tones too. Sonos already has such combinations fully worked out and refined. Apple begins & ends with stereo in HPs.

Maybe move that beam to your computer area to become your dedicated speaker for your computer. Or move it to another room and it can play some great sound in that other room. I have an Arc set up in a bedroom for only music playback purposes. It sounds fantastic in that room.

IMO: HPs are great for MUSIC but should not be pressed into use for Home Theater. Yes, they are much better than built-in TV speakers but are forever limited to STEREO audio at best with not even one rumor that Apple wishes to do anything more than that. Surround sound (beyond stereo) has been a home theater thing since about 1991.

Sonos is just as good with Apple Music, Airplay and works with Home (thus Siri commands to other Apple tech can make stuff play on them via verbal commands). Sonos is also much more natively friendly with all other sources of audio too.

Better still: find yourself a great Receiver (great ones can cost less than a lower-end iPhone) and built out a "dumb" speaker surround sound setup with it. A good Receiver is probably going to serve you well for 8-12 years before it needs an upgrade and good "dumb" speakers are probably 2-3 decade speakers that can't be made obsolete by some Corp deciding to stop supporting the software "smarts." A budget of only maybe 2-2.5 iPhones or Macs could buy an incredible system along these lines and this would deliver the ultimate home theater sound (superior to soundbar-based setups).

Lastly, good speakers tend to last far longer than anything we will buy from Apple... including much more expensive phones & Macs. Again IMO: budget accordingly. If you pay up for great speakers, you'll probably still be enjoying their great sound 3-5 iPhones from now, 3-5 Macs from now, etc. And good speakers don't do the "long in tooth" thing we see with much more expensive Apple tech. Good speakers should sound just as great on their last day (upwards of decades from now) as they sound on their first day.
 
Last edited:

SalisburySam

macrumors 6502a
May 19, 2019
857
728
Salisbury, North Carolina
Good speakers should sound just as great on their last day (upwards of decades from now) as they sound on their first day.
Amen. I purchased a pair of new Klipschorns in 1976 and recently sold them for considerably more than I paid then. Still working superbly well. Moved with them eleven times, two of which were overseas moves by ship.
 
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HobeSoundDarryl

macrumors G5
#3 is a perfect example of the value of "good speakers" and how they can sound just as great long after many generations of iPhone & Mac expenditures are made obsolete. If you want great audio, go at it like you want a great phone or computer instead of being driven by price. Buying like we buy phones and Macs is going to buy incredible audio for upwards of a few decades.

I put a few thousand into my home theater setup about 7+ years ago. I expect it to be my LAST home theater speakers purchase... and I don't expect to conk for decades. More recently, I spent more than I paid for that setup for a desktop Mac that Apple will obsolete in only a few more years. 10 or 20 years from now, I expect these speakers to sound just as good as they sound today. 10 or 20 years from now, I would be on my 3rd or 4th Mac replacement. Moral of the story: budget accordingly. This can be a "forever" buy (once) tech purchase if you want it.
 
Last edited:

chadamorrill

macrumors 6502
Sep 13, 2007
387
162
Orlando, FL
In an upstairs bedroom I have just been able to pair an ATV 4k with my twin first gen Homepods and am really impressed with the sound. In the living room I use a combination of a Sonos Beam and a single Homepod Mini, but was thinking that adding a second mini might improve things.

So the question I have is that while I know, of course, that the sound from a pair of Minis is never going to come close to that of the full Homepods, for those who have done it, have you thought it worthwhile and that it has added significantly to the quality or sound? Similarly, if anyone has experience of both pairings, I would be interested to know just how much poorer the mini pairing is?
I've used both the Beam as well as Homepods (2nd Gens) and Homepod Minis for TV sound. In my house, in the room they were in, the HP Minis were better than the Beam in many other ways, not just music.

We have no wall on the left side of the TV but we do on the right. The Beam could not compensate for that (sound on the left just disappeared into the open space), and therefore, we were constantly pumping the volume up (in the app, ugh) for dialogue, then lowering it for explosion or action scenes. That coupled with the constant, inconsistent drop-outs of our Sonos/IKEA rear's, and we scrapped the whole thing. Not calling BS on the Sonos hype, but for us, it wasn't a great experience.

When we had the Mini's on our main TV, they needed to be turned up fairly high, but at least we didn't have to mess with the volume much once we started a movie or show. Of course, the HP 2nd gen's we now have on the main TV are much better than the Minis (much fuller sound), but our other two TV's (smaller bedrooms) are just fine with their paired Mini setups.
 

jcmc

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 16, 2008
147
62
If you are after quality of sound, buy yourself two Sonos 300s to go with your soundbar... and then maybe Black Friday, replace that beam with an Arc. That combo will dazzle your ears and work much better with what you already have. You could also add a Sonos Bass Module if you covet the deeper deep tones too. Sonos already has such combinations fully worked out and refined. Apple begins & ends with stereo in HPs.

Maybe move that beam to your computer area to become your dedicated speaker for your computer. Or move it to another room and it can play some great sound in that other room. I have an Arc set up in a bedroom for only music playback purposes. It sounds fantastic in that room.

IMO: HPs are great for MUSIC but should not be pressed into use for Home Theater. Yes, they are much better than built-in TV speakers but are forever limited to STEREO audio at best with not even one rumor that Apple wishes to do anything more than that. Surround sound (beyond stereo) has been a home theater thing since about 1991.

Sonos is just as good with Apple Music, Airplay and works with Home (thus Siri commands to other Apple tech can make stuff play on them via verbal commands). Sonos is also much more natively friendly with all other sources of audio too.

Better still: find yourself a great Receiver (great ones can cost less than a lower-end iPhone) and built out a "dumb" speaker surround sound setup with it. A good Receiver is probably going to serve you well for 8-12 years before it needs an upgrade and good "dumb" speakers are probably 2-3 decade speakers that can't be made obsolete by some Corp deciding to stop supporting the software "smarts." A budget of only maybe 2-2.5 iPhones or Macs could buy an incredible system along these lines and this would deliver the ultimate home theater sound (superior to soundbar-based setups).

Lastly, good speakers tend to last far longer than anything we will buy from Apple... including much more expensive phones & Macs. Again IMO: budget accordingly. If you pay up for great speakers, you'll probably still be enjoying their great sound 3-5 iPhones from now, 3-5 Macs from now, etc. And good speakers don't do the "long in tooth" thing we see with much more expensive Apple tech. Good speakers should sound just as great on their last day (upwards of decades from now) as they sound on their first day.
Thanks. The Beam is my solitary Sonos product and to be honest I don't have plans to add to that. The quality of the output is fine, it's just such a ballache to try and get it set up to do the simplest things. I can pair it along with my HP Mini to output audio when using my Apple TV, but cannot get it to do it with any other source (broadcast tv, Amazon Prime Stick) on firstly my Sony tv and now my recently acquired Samsung.

Ongoing forum posts within Sonos are not getting me any closer and being so used to the ease of Apple products to set up, this has been incredibly frustrating for me and has soured me to the brand generally.
 

jcmc

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 16, 2008
147
62
I've used both the Beam as well as Homepods (2nd Gens) and Homepod Minis for TV sound. In my house, in the room they were in, the HP Minis were better than the Beam in many other ways, not just music.

We have no wall on the left side of the TV but we do on the right. The Beam could not compensate for that (sound on the left just disappeared into the open space), and therefore, we were constantly pumping the volume up (in the app, ugh) for dialogue, then lowering it for explosion or action scenes. That coupled with the constant, inconsistent drop-outs of our Sonos/IKEA rear's, and we scrapped the whole thing. Not calling BS on the Sonos hype, but for us, it wasn't a great experience.

When we had the Mini's on our main TV, they needed to be turned up fairly high, but at least we didn't have to mess with the volume much once we started a movie or show. Of course, the HP 2nd gen's we now have on the main TV are much better than the Minis (much fuller sound), but our other two TV's (smaller bedrooms) are just fine with their paired Mini setups.

Thanks. The combo I have now is decent but nothing special and I don't know if the Beam or the Mini is the weaker link. I'd reckon the Beam and so £100 to improve on the stronger component already doesn't seem onerous.
 

shakopeemn

macrumors regular
Jul 29, 2014
223
143
So the question I have is that while I know, of course, that the sound from a pair of Minis is never going to come close to that of the full Homepods, for those who have done it, have you thought it worthwhile and that it has added significantly to the quality or sound? Similarly, if anyone has experience of both pairings, I would be interested to know just how much poorer the mini pairing is?

JC - I purchased a set of HP Minis for use in our main living area. My primary goal was to enhance the dialog, so my wife or I wouldn't have to turn the volume up so loud.

My quick take is that the dialog is clearer. However, I do have the ATV set to enhance dialog (ATV option when using HP Minis) and reduce loud sounds. The latest word is that Apple will be adding "enhance dialog" feature to the next TVOS and a HP Mini will not be needed for that feature. The ATV Mini sound is smoother and easier on my ears than the TV speakers. They sound great, however as expected, it's not a deep "Home Theater" experience.

The Apple ease of setup is bar none. The minimal visual impact in our living room is a plus. Also, using eARC HDMI port on my TV, the broadcast TV is routed through the ATV/HP Mini as well. I like being able to say "Siri pause TV", "Siri turn up/down volume".

The drawback for me is related to Apple's minimal options for the HP minis. When using Siri on Minis only one Mini will respond and that "speak volume" is always too low. I wish the speak and media volume could be set at a default level.

I would try the set.
 

HobeSoundDarryl

macrumors G5
Thanks. The Beam is my solitary Sonos product and to be honest I don't have plans to add to that. The quality of the output is fine, it's just such a ballache to try and get it set up to do the simplest things. I can pair it along with my HP Mini to output audio when using my Apple TV, but cannot get it to do it with any other source (broadcast tv, Amazon Prime Stick) on firstly my Sony tv and now my recently acquired Samsung.

Ongoing forum posts within Sonos are not getting me any closer and being so used to the ease of Apple products to set up, this has been incredibly frustrating for me and has soured me to the brand generally.

OK. When one has a lot of sources, the far better choice is Receiver (with many inputs) and good "dumb" speakers. That's basically separating the "smarts" hardware (the receiver) from the "dumb" parts (the speakers) so the "smarts" part can be updated for life of the speakers (which again can be decades) instead of having to throw the whole product out when the smarts are made obsolete. This would likely be ideal for you and your many sources... because this would resolve all of the challenges while giving you the ability to build out a full surround sound setup of up to the highest quality. There's no way whatsoever to get to that destination with HPs. They were not originally designed for home theater but just became something "glommed on" to home theater.

Your first post stresses quality of home theater sound. If you want that, you need to think beyond the limitations of stereo... which is all that HPs can offer. If me with your circumstances, I'd take whatever HPs I have and disperse them throughout the home where I want good-sounding music playback, so that I could still enjoy what I already own (in the originally-intended way). In my home theater room, I'd embrace a quality receiver + quality speakers... and then flow all of my sources into that Receiver so that all of my home theater sources can play on my very best speakers. If money is tight, I make my first purchase Receiver + Left + Center + Right speakers. Then later, add Surround Speakers and optionally Sub. With a Receiver approach, you can do that: add to a starter system to get to an ultimate audio (quality) destination.

However, that said, if you are mentally committed to Apple HPs and only HPs, I understand. Perhaps someday Apple will get around to growing that line into a true (Sonos-like) home theater setup, open enough to directly and easily work with all of the non-Apple sources people want to use too.
 

jcmc

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 16, 2008
147
62
The Apple ease of setup is bar none. The minimal visual impact in our living room is a plus. Also, using eARC HDMI port on my TV, the broadcast TV is routed through the ATV/HP Mini as well. I like being able to say "Siri pause TV", "Siri turn up/down volume".

This is what I am trying to achieve and I'm curious how to manage it? The basic Samsung television sound is awful and at the moment I can only use my Sonos Beam + Mini for content through my Apple TV. The tv has one eARC port and I have the Sonos hdmi plugged into that. I cannot get any results if I use the Optical port either.
 

jcmc

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 16, 2008
147
62
OK. When one has a lot of sources, the far better choice is Receiver (with many inputs) and good "dumb" speakers. That's basically separating the "smarts" hardware (the receiver) from the "dumb" parts (the speakers) so the "smarts" part can be updated for life of the speakers (which again can be decades) instead of having to throw the whole product out when the smarts are made obsolete. This would likely be ideal for you and your many sources... because this would resolve all of the challenges while giving you the ability to build out a full surround sound setup of up to the highest quality. There's no way whatsoever to get to that destination with HPs. They were not originally designed for home theater but just became something "glommed on" to home theater.

Your first post stresses quality of home theater sound. If you want that, you need to think beyond the limitations of stereo... which is all that HPs can offer. If me with your circumstances, I'd take whatever HPs I have and disperse them throughout the home where I want good-sounding music playback, so that I could still enjoy what I already own (in the originally-intended way). In my home theater room, I'd embrace a quality receiver + quality speakers... and then flow all of my sources into that Receiver so that all of my home theater sources can play on my very best speakers. If money is tight, I make my first purchase Receiver + Left + Center + Right speakers. Then later, add Surround Speakers and optionally Sub. With a Receiver approach, you can do that: add to a starter system to get to an ultimate audio (quality) destination.

However, that said, if you are mentally committed to Apple HPs and only HPs, I understand. Perhaps someday Apple will get around to growing that line into a true (Sonos-like) home theater setup, open enough to directly and easily work with all of the non-Apple sources people want to use too.

I have had a couple of separate Sony home theatre systems in the past and always been a bit underwhelmed anyway, plus the fuss I have getting my Beam to do what I need it to do. These days I'm not really seeking peak sound, just something that sounds good enough, is easy to set up and takes up as little space and wiring as possible. I love my HPs for music and to extend their use does make sense for me.
 

shakopeemn

macrumors regular
Jul 29, 2014
223
143
This is what I am trying to achieve and I'm curious how to manage it? The basic Samsung television sound is awful and at the moment I can only use my Sonos Beam + Mini for content through my Apple TV. The tv has one eARC port and I have the Sonos hdmi plugged into that. I cannot get any results if I use the Optical port either.
Using eARC with ATV/HP Minis requires an ATV4k Gen 2. Using the Minis with the ATV it's very straight forward to enable "television audio" through the Minis.
 

HDFan

Contributor
Jun 30, 2007
6,877
3,028
twin first gen Homepods and am really impressed with the sound.

I am as well. My main speakers cost almost 10x the cost of the original homepods and they sound almost as good, particularly the base. Haven't listened to the minis but reviews say they don't compare.


OK. When one has a lot of sources, the far better choice is Receiver (with many inputs) and good "dumb" speakers.

Yes, the best way to go if you can. Allows true Atmos, but more expensive, lots of wires usually, configuration can be complex.

Sonos is not the only vendor with good soundbars.

 
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