HomePod Homepod as desktop speaker

Discussion in 'HomeKit, HomePod, CarPlay, Home & Auto Technology' started by sam2428, May 5, 2019.

  1. sam2428 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #1
    Hello all, sorry if this has been asked already...I tried to search but could not find what I was looking for.

    I know the homepod isnt designed to be a desktop speaker connected to a mac but I was curious how the performance (i.e. audio lag) is now that we are a over a year in with updates and airplay 2.

    Can the homepod be used as a sleek and simple desktop speaker replacement or would it still not be a viable option?

    I originally passed on the homepod due to price and missing features...but now that prices are dropping I am starting to get intrigued again.
     
  2. Sooby macrumors newbie

    Sooby

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2019
    #2
    I have two HomePods which I use with my iMac. Having one HomePod is fairly good as a desktop speaker but there are some drawbacks. I don't have many problems with lag when playing Music. There's often a bit of lag when you begin streaming music i.e. it doesn't begin playing right away, but once it starts playing there's no problem. With internet videos it's generally fine; I don't have many problems with watching Youtube, though sometimes it feels that there's just a slight delay with what's happening on screen and the audio, though it's extremely minor and unless I'm looking for it, its not highly noticeable. It sounds very good for Youtube videos as well. The problem with one HomePod however is with watching movies and playing games. I find the sound with movies to be significantly muffled and the bass very boomy -- I can't watch movies with one HomePod. Also when playing games, the sound can be very laggy, taking up to one or two or even more seconds to register what's happening on the screen which is essentially unusable for some games.

    Now with two HomePods in stereo, the sound in movies is really good -- it's louder, the voices are clearer and the background sounds also seem better. And there's also no lag. But this leads to the next problem. You can only use stereo HomePods with iTunes when using a Mac. You cannot use stereo HomePods for general use on a Mac e.g. when playing movies on Youtube or streaming a radio station from the internet browser or for playing games. This means that stereo HomePods on a Mac can only be used for movies, tv shows and music if you use iTunes. This doesn't bother me because I watch all my movies from iTunes and I'm an Apple Music subscriber. But it's a significant limitation. So, one HomePod as a desktop speaker is very good for streaming music and quite good for watching general videos on the internet. But if watching movies on your computer or playing games is important to you, then I would be hesitant about purchasing it because it's not very good for those things (though there isn't any lag when watching movies). If you intend on getting two in stereo, then just remember that they're limited to iTunes.
     
  3. steve23094 macrumors 68020

    steve23094

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    #3
    Using the HomePod as a desktop speaker doesn’t really make sense. Why do you need Siri when you’re sitting at your iMac? And then it just becomes a dumb speaker, of which there are better sounding options for the same (or less) money.
     
  4. sam2428 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #4
    I am upgrading my entire computer setup and my current desktop speakers need major replacement. I also want a smart speaker in my computer room / have been thinking about getting a homepod anyway....so instead of buying new desktop speakers and buying a homepod or other smart speaker my thought process is to have a single homepod on the corner of my desk which can potentially be an elegant solution to both. Less wires overall and a cleaner desk setup. The homepod would still be used as a smart speaker when I am not on the computer and just watching TV or relaxing on the couch, etc.

    Sooby, thank you for sharing your experience and for the detailed response! My main use on my computer would be for listening to music and watching Youtube videos, etc. I use Apple music / itunes, but also stream music from other platforms. I do not use my iMac for gaming or watching movies...so I think a single homepod could very well work for what I am trying to achieve. The only time I would need some audio precision would be while doing video editing, but I usually wear headphones when I do this anyway. And I dont video edit very often any more either.
     
  5. Sooby macrumors newbie

    Sooby

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2019
    #5
    In my case, I have the HomePods set up in a multifunction room which I use for work, watching movies, relaxing and for using my treadmill. The HomePods are a versatile and convenient option for streaming music from my iMac/iPhone/iPad when I'm working, relaxing on the lounge chair or working out on the treadmill, and when I want to watch a movie on my TV (my iMac is connected to my TV) I can use them for that as well and they perform very well for movies. If you can get them for a good price, like I did, then they're a good option for performing all these numerous tasks with a high level of convenience.
     
  6. Phil77354, May 18, 2019
    Last edited: May 18, 2019

    Phil77354 macrumors regular

    Phil77354

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2014
    Location:
    Eastern Washington State
    #6
    I've had two HomePod speakers as a stereo pair (since that capability was released) and on my desktop for use with my iMac and iTunes since the HomePod was first released.

    After living with various frustrations in how AirPlay was implemented for this particular configuration, with the latest software updates I'm finally getting this to work satisfactorily.

    In the past, when I was playing music from my iTunes library, and I selected the HomePod stereo pair for sound output, it would very often only play sound through one of the speakers. I didn't have time to fuss around and try to figure out what might be causing this, and the result was that I was not using these speakers as much as I had intended.

    Additionally, when I play from my iTunes library, the play count is now updating properly. That is another thing that wasn't working right previously.

    I don't know when these particular fixes were implemented, but today when I decided to try and play music while using my computer, I was very pleasantly surprised to find it all working 'right' for the first time since I purchased the HomePods and began to use them.
     
  7. sam2428 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #7
    Thanks for sharing your experience. In my case I would probably only use a single HomePod, but still promising to hear it’s starting to work better for this use case.

    I’ve also been considering just getting standard “dumb” desktop speakers. But that also means more wires to hide, and potentially having to buy a separate subwoofer to get the sound like I want. I just really like how to the HomePod has a deep bass without having a separate unit.
     

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6 May 5, 2019