HomePod HomePod audio quality

rjp1

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Original poster
Mar 27, 2015
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I finally decided to get a HomePod while they are on sale for $200 at Best Buy. I’m blown away by how bad the audio is from it. There is almost no bass. A Siri device with this audio quality should cost around $50. If the sound quality on HomePod truly is better than google and amazon’s devices - I can’t even imagine how bad they must sound. It also doesn’t always respond to “Hey Siri.”

The integration with Apple Music was nice, but that is about the only positive.
 

cheekyjeremy

macrumors 6502
Aug 20, 2009
291
36
I finally decided to get a HomePod while they are on sale for $200 at Best Buy. I’m blown away by how bad the audio is from it. There is almost no bass. A Siri device with this audio quality should cost around $50. If the sound quality on HomePod truly is better than google and amazon’s devices - I can’t even imagine how bad they must sound. It also doesn’t always respond to “Hey Siri.”

The integration with Apple Music was nice, but that is about the only positive.
There is definitely more to this story. The HomePod definitely does not lack in bass when working properly. As others have said, the complaints are usually the other way around
 

rjp1

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Original poster
Mar 27, 2015
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817
Is there an eq I can adjust? Does it matter that it is in a wide open room?

Or, should I just go swap it out?
 

zhenya

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Jan 6, 2005
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2,940
I would not characterize the HomePod as overly bassy. It is very well balanced. My Sonos One has significantly more bass, and a typical Bose speaker will have much more still. You may either prefer or just be used to this sound. Mass Market sound tends towards a lot of bass, and the HomePod is relatively neutral in comparison.
 
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gwhizkids

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Jun 21, 2013
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I suspect this is one of those one post wonder threads and the OP never returns.
 

rjp1

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Mar 27, 2015
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I would not characterize the HomePod as overly bassy. It is very well balanced. My Sonos One has significantly more bass, and a typical Bose speaker will have much more still. You may either prefer or just be used to this sound. Mass Market sound tends towards a lot of bass, and the HomePod is relatively neutral in comparison.
I tried turning Sound Check on/off and it made no difference.

I think I’m just used to higher quality audio. This was replacing a small Bose system that I wouldn’t call high quality, but it beats the HomePod easily.

I wish there was some adjustments you could make to it. That is pretty disappointing.

Being able to use it with the SiriusXM app is pretty neat. I may keep it just for talk radio and the random Siri question since it isn’t really cut out for music.
 

sassenach74

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May 3, 2008
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I suspect this is one of those one post wonder threads and the OP never returns.
Except he’s posted again before you posted this.
To me it isn’t bass heavy, quite controlled in fact.
Its not the greatest speaker in the world, but it’s good enough for small rooms and casual listening (when using just one).
 
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zhenya

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Jan 6, 2005
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I tried turning Sound Check on/off and it made no difference.

I think I’m just used to higher quality audio. This was replacing a small Bose system that I wouldn’t call high quality, but it beats the HomePod easily.

I wish there was some adjustments you could make to it. That is pretty disappointing.

Being able to use it with the SiriusXM app is pretty neat. I may keep it just for talk radio and the random Siri question since it isn’t really cut out for music.
Yeah, I really have to disagree here. I’ve been chasing high-quality audio of various sorts for more than 20 years. The HomePod is extremely high fidelity. It doesn’t have a tremendous amount of bass both because of its size as well as its tuning, but the overall sound profile is right in line with traditionally hi-FI sound - extremely clear and balanced. A pair of HomePods replaced a small bookshelf system that had originally run over $1000 in my livingroom. The HomePods sound significantly better in this location because their overall tuning is similar, but they are for more flexible in their placement than a traditional system.

If you are coming from the sound of Bose, you are likely thinking the HomePod sounds bass-light because Bose tends to really over-do it on the bass, and tends toward a somewhat muddy sound. This is, however, what the mass-market tends to prefer. Adjust the stereo in nearly any rental car and 90% of the time the bass will have been adjusted to near maximum.

It’s not by coincidence that the HomePod has been pretty universally lauded as the best sounding smart speaker, and in a pair, among the best sounding speakers anywhere near that price range. Your opinion that it ‘isn’t cut out for music’ is far outside the norm.
 

rjp1

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Original poster
Mar 27, 2015
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Yeah, I really have to disagree here. I’ve been chasing high-quality audio of various sorts for more than 20 years. The HomePod is extremely high fidelity. It doesn’t have a tremendous amount of bass both because of its size as well as its tuning, but the overall sound profile is right in line with traditionally hi-FI sound - extremely clear and balanced. A pair of HomePods replaced a small bookshelf system that had originally run over $1000 in my livingroom. The HomePods sound significantly better in this location because their overall tuning is similar, but they are for more flexible in their placement than a traditional system.

If you are coming from the sound of Bose, you are likely thinking the HomePod sounds bass-light because Bose tends to really over-do it on the bass, and tends toward a somewhat muddy sound. This is, however, what the mass-market tends to prefer. Adjust the stereo in nearly any rental car and 90% of the time the bass will have been adjusted to near maximum.

It’s not by coincidence that the HomePod has been pretty universally lauded as the best sounding smart speaker, and in a pair, among the best sounding speakers anywhere near that price range. Your opinion that it ‘isn’t cut out for music’ is far outside the norm.
I was pointing out that it was replacing Bose, because Bose is not known for high quality audio. For decades people have known Bose is missing a lot of highs and lows. They continue to sell I guess for the same reason that the HomePod might - marketing.

The HomePod is definitely missing a lot of lows. It would be nice if there was an eq to adjust. Or, would be nice if you could plug in a small subwoofer.

I think you made an important point that it is universally lauded for being the best sounding smart speaker. I went and listened to an Alexa play music and it is awful. I guess my expectations were a lot higher, because I was expecting quality above of the “smart speaker” offerings. You are right, it is the best sounding one, but it still leaves a lot to be desired.

I might just move it to a smaller room and use it there. The room that it is in is approximately 30x15’.
 
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waw74

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May 27, 2008
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as others have said, it's not lacking in sound quality. and has a pronounced but tight bass.
it's not going to rattle your trunk as you drive down the street, but its still beefy.

the HomePod should auto EQ itself, perhaps that failed somehow
supposedly, just picking it up will trigger a recalibration, in case you change it's position when you set it down.
so try picking it up and putting it back

if that doesn't work, you can try cycling power
if that doesn't help, reset it. (link)

Try the move to a smaller room, and if it still doesn't sound good, you should get it replaced, it's a faulty unit.
 

rjp1

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Original poster
Mar 27, 2015
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817
as others have said, it's not lacking in sound quality. and has a pronounced but tight bass.
it's not going to rattle your trunk as you drive down the street, but its still beefy.

the HomePod should auto EQ itself, perhaps that failed somehow
supposedly, just picking it up will trigger a recalibration, in case you change it's position when you set it down.
so try picking it up and putting it back

if that doesn't work, you can try cycling power
if that doesn't help, reset it. (link)

Try the move to a smaller room, and if it still doesn't sound good, you should get it replaced, it's a faulty unit.
I reset it. I'll try picking it up tomorrow and let it recalibrate. I'm probably just going to move it to a smaller room anyways. Thanks for the tip!
 

zhenya

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Jan 6, 2005
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I might just move it to a smaller room and use it there. The room that it is in is approximately 30x15’.
Yeah, in a room that size a single HomePod simply doesn’t have the oomph to fill the room, especially if it also has high ceilings or poor acoustics. For a smaller room, a pair of them works quite nicely.
 

rjp1

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Original poster
Mar 27, 2015
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Yeah, in a room that size a single HomePod simply doesn’t have the oomph to fill the room, especially if it also has high ceilings or poor acoustics. For a smaller room, a pair of them works quite nicely.
Okay I’m definitely going to give it a try in a smaller room tomorrow.
 

ledzep1

macrumors regular
Jan 24, 2016
165
38
Do you guys think a HomePod sounds better close to a wall or further away as possible?

I have mine close to a wall as it's the only place I can place it currently, but when I place it on a table with more space around it, I find it sounds much better.
 

waw74

macrumors 68040
May 27, 2008
3,243
235
when close to wall, it disables some of the speakers to avoid bounce off the wall.

Apple really doesn't publish what they do, some people have done tests.

search for "HomePod calibration" or similar to find out what others have discovered.
 

rjp1

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Original poster
Mar 27, 2015
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817
I finally got around to putting the HomePod in a small room today (approximately 10x12'). Now I see why people were skeptical when I said there is no bass. In the small room, there is too MUCH bass. Also, after trying it in a larger room for talk radio/comedy, I noticed it is too bass heavy. For music in a large room, the bass is still way too low.

I was thinking about adding another 1 or 2 HomePods to the larger room and see if it sounds better. I just hate going down the path of spending that much when there are much better audio systems in that price range. Being able to directly tell Siri to play something is nice, but I don't know if it is worth that much.

I honestly don't know what to say about the HomePod. The audio quality is bad in both small and large rooms for different reasons. I get wanting to make it plug and play, but that just isn't practical for an audio device since we don't all listen to the same music nor listen to the same music all the time. A simple EQ for the HomePod would solve these problems. I'm not sure why they are not allowing any adjustments.

Edit: I found there is a way to adjust the EQ if playing from a device (https://www.igeeksblog.com/how-to-adjust-eq-on-homepod/), but can't find anything for playing directly from the HomePod. If I have to do it through the device, then I might as well just get better speakers for the same price and AirPlay to them. Frustrating!
 
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BarrettF77

macrumors 6502a
May 24, 2015
521
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You can’t from the device only when it’s coming from another source. But I have 18 HomePods littered across my house now. Granted this requires an incredibly robust WiFi mesh system which I have all on a wired backhaul. Having said that some have been gifts, others were gotten but gift cards and rewards, and then bought on sale for $150-200 each. I think this unit is worth it obviously, but also think Appl e has greatly squandered opportunity in making it great. Tim Cook could make so many products of their ms great but doesn’t. And the HomePod is sadly a afterthought for Apppe given the recent bricking event with 13.2 being pulled for bricking every HomePod updated and reset to factory defaults.

In my mind it’s akin to when they first put Apple TV on an arm processor. It was the first iteration of what is now gaining traction. They just think it’s a hobby.
 
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waquzy

macrumors 6502a
Sep 9, 2013
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Leicestershire, UK
I finally got around to putting the HomePod in a small room today (approximately 10x12'). Now I see why people were skeptical when I said there is no bass. In the small room, there is too MUCH bass. Also, after trying it in a larger room for talk radio/comedy, I noticed it is too bass heavy. For music in a large room, the bass is still way too low.

I was thinking about adding another 1 or 2 HomePods to the larger room and see if it sounds better. I just hate going down the path of spending that much when there are much better audio systems in that price range. Being able to directly tell Siri to play something is nice, but I don't know if it is worth that much.

I honestly don't know what to say about the HomePod. The audio quality is bad in both small and large rooms for different reasons. I get wanting to make it plug and play, but that just isn't practical for an audio device since we don't all listen to the same music nor listen to the same music all the time. A simple EQ for the HomePod would solve these problems. I'm not sure why they are not allowing any adjustments.

Edit: I found there is a way to adjust the EQ if playing from a device (https://www.igeeksblog.com/how-to-adjust-eq-on-homepod/), but can't find anything for playing directly from the HomePod. If I have to do it through the device, then I might as well just get better speakers for the same price and AirPlay to them. Frustrating!
Thanks for the link, much appreciated
 
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rjp1

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 27, 2015
305
817
You can’t from the device only when it’s coming from another source. But I have 18 HomePods littered across my house now. Granted this requires an incredibly robust WiFi mesh system which I have all on a wired backhaul. Having said that some have been gifts, others were gotten but gift cards and rewards, and then bought on sale for $150-200 each. I think this unit is worth it obviously, but also think Appl e has greatly squandered opportunity in making it great. Tim Cook could make so many products of their ms great but doesn’t. And the HomePod is sadly a afterthought for Apppe given the recent bricking event with 13.2 being pulled for bricking every HomePod updated and reset to factory defaults.

In my mind it’s akin to when they first put Apple TV on an arm processor. It was the first iteration of what is now gaining traction. They just think it’s a hobby.
It sucks, because I want to love it. My plan was to add them to all the bedrooms.
 

BarrettF77

macrumors 6502a
May 24, 2015
521
582
I just look at it as a great sounding dumb speaker. Siri will always be an idiot as long as their leadership is driven by one at the top, so everything flows down from there.