HomePod For those who think HomePod sounds like it's got a low pass filter on it...

Discussion in 'HomeKit, HomePod, CarPlay, Home & Auto Technology' started by dannys1, Feb 10, 2018.

  1. dannys1 macrumors 68020

    dannys1

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    #1
    Yeah, if you clicked on this thread you're thinking the same as me.

    Unfortunately there's no problem EQ yet - Homepod has the hardware to sound pretty decent, but the default sound is woeful, too muddy, too much mid, the bass is there to "wow" people when they first play it and there's just no top end at all. It sounds like someones thrown their coat over a decent speaker.

    The only way to hack the EQ at the moment is to AirPlay from a Mac and use the EQ in iTunes - it appears to stop Homepod loading music direct from iTunes Cloud/Apple Music and actually stream from the Mac, so you get that old 3 second delay before things happen with AirPlay, I guess that'll be better when AP2 is out.

    No way of doing it on iOS, but if anyones interesting in having a little fiddle, this is a much better starting point for the Homepod sound - it still needs a bit of tweaking, perhaps pull 16k down a touch, material dependant and location as well - but I can actual listen to stuff now.

    It really needs to be built into the speaker though so it applies to things like the news report - which currently sounds like someone is talking to you with something covering their mouth (and backed up by a subwoofer)
    [​IMG]
     
  2. RickInHouston macrumors 65816

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    May 14, 2014
    #2
    I called it! That's how you make a little speaker sound big. Unfortunately it doesn't work. Physics always wins out.
     
  3. MrUNIMOG macrumors 6502

    MrUNIMOG

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    #3
    Well, the woofer is all but little.
     
  4. kmanmx, Feb 10, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018

    kmanmx macrumors 6502

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    #4
    Ahhh yes, nice work. I was trying to figure out a way to EQ it. Didn't realise iTunes had it too!

    Works on Windows 10 too, but iTunes seems pretty unresponsive when using it to control HomePod, keeps freezing on choosing a track. Workable though.

    Now it sounds pretty good!

    Thanks!

    edit:

    That EQ setting you posted, don't you still find it pretty bassy ? certainly better, but still sounds heavy to me.

    edit2:

    Might have just been that one song, Dire Straights sounds pretty good now with a v. similar EQ.
     
  5. dannys1 thread starter macrumors 68020

    dannys1

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    #5
    Thanks!

    Yes it sounds much more balanced - it could definitely do with a bit more tweaking but it's an improvement on the bass heavy, top missing default sound - it's just a shame it's only for AirPlay from a Mac.

    Even those who want all the bass would probably benefit from a cut at 500hz and a boost at the top end the bring the details out on the track.

    The default setting to me is so dull it sounds a bit like a low quality MP3.

    Hopefully they enable this on the actual speaker for everything in the future - and not just with presets either. Cutting the bass could be helpful for people in shared apartment/house or with close neighbours to use at night because it's so hyped and boomy I've noticed it travel through brick walls far, even on only 1/3 of it's volume you can hear it 3 rooms away, but if you calm the bass down that's not an issue for night time listening at quite reasonable levels.
     
  6. vipergts2207 macrumors 68000

    vipergts2207

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    #6
    A 4" woofer is objectively small. Most bookshelves use at least a 5" woofer.
     
  7. Z3man macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Just tried your settings and it sounds pretty good but it is quite a bit quieter than most of the other settings.

    I am using the treble booster option at the moment and am very happy with it, it obviously increases the treble but at the same time it reduces the false sounding bass of which the HomePod has too much of.

    Certainly seems that to get the best out of the homePod is to Airplay from a Mac to it.
     
  8. dannys1 thread starter macrumors 68020

    dannys1

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    #8
    You can turn the pre-amp up if you find the volume doesn't get high enough.
     
  9. mpayne2k macrumors 6502a

    mpayne2k

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    #9
    Keep in mind that there is no compression and reencoding when you play directly from the speaker without Airplay.

    If you Airplay you may be compromising the full quality of the source material.
     
  10. Z3man macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    So you can, i didn't realise that.

    You cant half get some volume out of this speaker by turning the pre-amp up, goes bloody loud.
     
  11. dannys1 thread starter macrumors 68020

    dannys1

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    #11
    Nope - it uses Apple Lossless to send audio over AirPlay, no quality is lost.
     
  12. MrUNIMOG macrumors 6502

    MrUNIMOG

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    #12
    I'd call a 4" woofer inside a ∅5.6" x 6.8" all-in-one speaker pretty big.

    Bookshelves with even a 4" woofer are usually close to 10" tall already, let alone those with at least a 5" woofer.
     
  13. vipergts2207 macrumors 68000

    vipergts2207

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    #13
    Sure relative to enclosure maybe. Compared to most other woofers though it’s small.
     
  14. MrUNIMOG macrumors 6502

    MrUNIMOG

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    #14
    Well, isn't it all relative?

    I mean, we have Genelec 8260 monitors with 10" woofers, relative to which 5" woofers in bookshelves seem small.

    For what HomePod is, I'd say that 4" woofer quite is massive, especially considering the 20 mm excursion.
     
  15. tkermit macrumors 68040

    tkermit

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    #15
    Personally, if I had to do this amount of EQ'ing to get it to sound halfway neutral, I'd probably rather return it. Not sure I get it though. How does this jibe with reports of other supposed audiophiles?
     
  16. vipergts2207 macrumors 68000

    vipergts2207

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    #16
    Yeah it’s all relative. Relative to what is the question. The point was that woofers don’t get much smaller than 4” so to see you call it ‘all but little’ seemed quite odd (a statement which had zero context in the first place btw).
     
  17. MrUNIMOG macrumors 6502

    MrUNIMOG

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    #17
    Well, right, so it basically comes down to the fact that speakers the size of HomePod usually don't have a dedicated woofer at all.

    The post I was replying to said:
    I should better have replied with "How to make a little speaker sound big? Put a woofer in it."

    My point being, the HomePod really doesn't need to trick physics to "sound big".
     
  18. gjamesm42 macrumors member

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    #18
    Don't listen to any of this BS. It sounds great right out of the box.
     
  19. dannys1 thread starter macrumors 68020

    dannys1

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    #19
    I've seen the so called "audiophile" over on Reddit getting attention, he tried to claim to me that the HomePod has a perfectly flat frequency curve...even Apple wouldn't claim that, it's not even designed to have one!

    His actual graphs show anything but perfectly flat, they show huge peaks and troughs everywhere - which is fine, it's a consumer hifi product and Apple haven't designed it to be flat, they've used every trick in the book to get big sound from a small speaker and to make it sound "wow" when you first play something through it "how is that bass coming from this" - the woofer is plenty big enough to get good bass, but they've got for psycho-acoustic processing as well to make it even bigger.

    To be honest this sort of sound is going to work well for most people, it's the sound signature they're used to. It only changes if you start listening on studio monitors which are designed to be neutral flat and revealing - many people may find that sound "boring" compared to a HomePod type signature though. But when you get into the £300+ headphone market that is what they try to do as well, the £1000 Sennheiser HD-800's are more or less as flat as you can get in a headphone. The idea being to just present the music in as much detail as possible as it was from the studio without applying any sort of EQ curve or enchantment to it in anyway.

    But it's a bit like getting a high end TV calibrated - some people watch with the shop "vivid" mode on their TV and some people want a perfectly calibrated TV. Many people would think the calibrated one looks flat, boring and too yellow, yet it's the accurate representation of what the original picture is. Horses for course - depends if you want hyped or accurate, you can't have both.

    The HomePod is a perfectly good "hyped" speaker, but it is anything but revealing, clear, detailed, open, transparent, flat, bright or even top end hi-fi. It does however sound better than 90% of the stuff most people will have heard or bought before, which is all Apple needed to do (and yes it destroyed the entire Echo range and easily puts Sonos to shame, not that i'd ever want to listen to either for extended periods)
     
  20. Rogifan macrumors Core

    Rogifan

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    #20
    How does one define an audiophile? Do people go to school for this or is it just someone who spends a lot of money on audio gear?
     
  21. dannys1 thread starter macrumors 68020

    dannys1

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    #21
    To be honest i'd never class myself as one - for me audiophiles seem to be people online who'll believe anything. The sort who think they can hear things that just aren't possible. Lot's of placebo going on in that world. If an audiophile could hear the things they claim to hear by changing a cable they'd have the best ears in the world - far better than most mix engineers.

    I've seen some of the most ridiculous things ever written on the internet by "audiophiles" they rival flat earthers for stupidity at times.

    These are the guys who are convinced they can hear the difference between a 256kbps AAC file and their FLAC file despite every single test in the world, completed with multiple people, on equipment worth up to half a million pound has shown that people can't - they're just guessing (and none of them can ever do it on the website where you test yourself http://abx.digitalfeed.net)

    But yeah, whilst sound is subjective and a lot of it is psuedo-science nonsense - there are two clear vastly different sound signatures. Those that are flat, neutral, revealing and accurate - but perhaps boring, dull, and lacking excitement - and the more standard hifi sound that is hyped, exciting, artificial and processed which has varying level of qualities (because all those tricks are employed starting in £20 speakers and upwards).

    There's no right or wrong, most people are most used to the latter because that's how cheap speakers have been made for years and the same tricks carry on to much more expensive gear because it gives that "wow" factor. Studio monitors aren't supposed to give a wow factor and usually when you get into the much more expensive levels of hifi they start trying to achieve a neutral, revealing, detailed sound rather than trying to squeeze as much as they can from the speaker with processing. I'd just kind of hoped that with Apple hyping it as being very very high quality sounding they might have gone down that route, well, 10% of me hoped for it, but alas no, it's just a good version of the Sonos type sound signature.
     
  22. deeside81 macrumors member

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    Jan 31, 2018
    #22
    After listening for a couple hours I’m not blown away by the sound, but I am impressed for such a small speaker and Siri picks up my Scottish accent . The incumbent speaker is a monitor audio s300 airplay speaker and I’d say the hone pod is 80% there compared to the S300. I’m no audiophile but there is something missing from the middle and top ranges. Like a warmth or fullness. It’s a little too bass heavy maybe it is not spread out to the middle or top ranges.

    Do you think using a different EQ setting would improve it a lot? Do you think Apple will allow that in future update? Would stereo set up help when airplay 2 is released. You mentioned you changed the settings via iTunes. Was it a vast improvement?
     
  23. dannys1 thread starter macrumors 68020

    dannys1

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    #23
    I think the iTunes EQ allowed me to do a couple of things - brighten it up a bit, as it just sounds a bit too dark for my preference.

    But it also allowed me to remove the bass. Sometimes the bass is enjoyable, but sometimes, in evenings and a night I find it overbearing - with people in adjacent rooms or if people have gone bed, with neighbours or anywhere where noise is a problem, you're going to want to tame the bass. I wouldn't be surprised if Apple releases a "night mode" in the future to do just this.

    I mean it has a 4inch mid range woofer and it sounds like an 8 inch dedicated subwoofer attached to it. It's a very good job they've done engineering that, but sometimes it's a bit much - and when you put it on low volume I find places in an untreated room becomes about 50% bass and you can't really hear much else.

    It's almost tuned so that bass sounds practically the same at low volumes as it does at high volumes but the rest of the sound catches up a bit.

    I hope they enable an EQ but I wouldn't be surprised if it's just a bunch of presets like you get in the iOS Music section.
     
  24. csurfr macrumors 68020

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    #24
    basing mine off of your screenshot, it definitely sounds more clear and less muffled.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 13, 2018 ---
    Money for Nothing is the song I picked to see the difference in the sound. :)
     
  25. tkermit macrumors 68040

    tkermit

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    #25
    I don't know. Seems to be what more and more reviews are saying. Here's another audiophile perspective:

    https://www.computeraudiophile.com/ca/reviews/apple-homepod-review-an-audiophile-perspective-r697/

    Too bad.
     

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102 February 10, 2018