HomePod HomePod observations

Discussion in 'HomeKit, HomePod, CarPlay, Home & Auto Technology' started by smithrh, Feb 18, 2018.

  1. smithrh macrumors 68020

    smithrh

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    #1
    • Some oddities after setup, including Airplay streaming that starts then throws errors, but after happening twice, it hasn't happened again
    • The people talking about of well the HP "hears" are not exaggerating at all, it's very sensitive
    • Unlike many others, I do have multiple devices answering a Siri inquiry. Hopefully this is addressed at some point
    • Quality is not diminished by distance nearly as much as one might expect
    • Placement is key. I've had it in a few locations now, and when it was in a corner, the bass was almost intolerable given how loud it was.
    • Having said that, I'd don't know what the optimal placement is. Hopefully Apple will give some hints here
    • Is there a "front" to the HP? Is it the opposite of where the power cord enters?
    • I have yet to hear any spatial... anything. Likely due to location.
    • Perhaps just a smidgen of a bit of a lack of midrange, but nothing to worry about
    • Bass response is pretty decent. I've tended to listen to IEMs so I'm hearing things in music I've missed before
    • Some songs are really great, but a few songs (handful out of hundreds) seem to get poor treatment and wind up sounding odd - I'll try to note one the next time I run into one. Maybe I'm listening to it wrong...
    This isn't an original thought, but I'm fully behind the idea that this is the analog to retina displays. People have been listening to music through a lot of low end speakers and headphones (especially speakers). Apple has hit on the concept that increasing the fidelity of the output will drive up enjoyment...

    For me, the key will be stereo. It's nicely done so far, but without stereo, I'm not going to be into it as much as I would be otherwise. To get a nice soundstage (and they pay attention to this, my 2016 MBP has a very decent soundstage) will take work when it's two wireless devices, as the devices might be possibly making different decisions on audio shaping/EQ and beam forming in real time.

    I wonder if songs are pre-processed on Apple Music. It would explain some say the exact same song sounds different (enough to notice) depending on where it comes from; I've run into this as well, it could be encoding differences to be sure.

    The overall concept could apply to headphones as well; I have a pair of Nuraphones and they have bass drivers coupled with IEM-like elements. They generally sound pretty good, but song quality varies widely, so much so that one finger needs to be set on the volume control while another is ready to adjust the EQ, ruining the experience. A little pre-processing to make sure the bass is correctly reproduced would go a long way.

    Overall, I like; some improvements will make it even better. Looking forward (I hope) to stereo...
     
  2. Benz63amg, Feb 18, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018

    Benz63amg macrumors 68030

    Benz63amg

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2010
    #2
    There is no "front" as the speaker array is placed all around the speaker. i agree with several of your points that you pointed out. this device will get better with software updates in the future i'm sure. i just got mine today and im very surprised with the sound quality. Mine is not placed in a corner and the bass can be somewhat overwhelming depending on the type of music i have playing.
     
  3. The Game 161 macrumors P6

    The Game 161

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    The true improvements will be going forward with updates and improvements to Siri

    Sound wise apple have got it close to perfect. The rest is where big improvement is needed. Which I think will come in time by IOS 12 hopefully.
     
  4. za9ra22 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    #4
    Corner placement of speakers of almost any kind will cause more bass, and because that bass is not radiating from the drive unit, it will be muddy and out of phase. In terms of other placements, I've not heard any real differences as I have moved mine about the house. It really does seem to figure out the acoustic profile of its location and adjust itself - as long as its accelerometers have had a chance to detect that it has moved. Mine now sits on a coffee table with nothing (but the table) in the immediate vicinity, and it sounds really good.

    In terms of soundstage, I think Apple have had a lot of practice ensuring signal synchronisation - they got it perfectly with the AirPods, and those use bluetooth which is much harder than wifi. I'd also be pretty sure that when HomePods detect each other and turn themselves into a stereo pair, they will make paired decisions involving the DSP. If we can recognise the potential for this kind of problem, you can count on Apple engineers - specialists in their field - being ahead of us!
     
  5. smithrh thread starter macrumors 68020

    smithrh

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    #5
    Right - but remember that the HP is supposed to figure out what are - for example - main vocals and beam them in one direction, and bounce the supporting vocals off the walls. I'm pre-supposing that the HP doesn't detect where *I* am, so it has to send some beam formed sounds to the "rear." Without knowing where I am, how does it figure out what needs to be bounced where?

    My assumption is that there actually is a "front" but totally willing to be wrong on that... front.

    Then again, I've never heard and spatial effects at all, so maybe this is overplayed hype to some extent.
     
  6. Benz63amg macrumors 68030

    Benz63amg

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2010
    #6
    I think that the calibration algorithm is going to get improved with software updates and the beam forming will get improved, its certainly not perfect at this current time.
     
  7. Shanesan macrumors 6502

    Shanesan

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2006
    #7
    I've heard that one for years....
     
  8. The Game 161 macrumors P6

    The Game 161

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    That was before they brought out a home speaker

    Sources are already saying Siri improvements are expected in IOS 12
     
  9. smithrh thread starter macrumors 68020

    smithrh

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    #9
    I was hoping this thread wouldn't turn into another Siri topic...
     
  10. artfossil macrumors 65816

    artfossil

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2015
    Location:
    Florida
    #10
    Siri-ously.

    I appreciate your hands-on feedback. Very helpful.
     
  11. Mark Booth macrumors 68000

    Mark Booth

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    #11
    I have a speaker identification test track. It features a guy saying "this is left", "this is left center", "this is center", "this is right center", "this is right". When I play it on a traditional stereo speaker system the voice clearly moves across the width of the two stereo speakers.

    When I play the track on my HomePod the left to right movement of the voice isn't anywhere near as profound because, duh, one speaker box. However, there absolutely *is* some movement of the voice around the circumference of the HomePod, starting on the left and moving to the right. "This is left" absolutely sounds like it's coming out of the very left side of the HomePod. "This is right" absolutely sounds like it's coming out of the very right of the HomePod. The other three all pretty much sound like just the center of the HomePod.

    But here's the thing... When I reposition myself so I'm facing the side of the HomePod (I'm 90 degrees from the power cord exit instead of 180 degrees from the power cord exit) the movement of the voice from left to right STILL EXISTS.

    I haven't tried it from the very back of the HomePod but I've tried it at 90 degrees from power cord on both sides and then straight on and there is most definitely a sense of left and right sides. All the way around three-quarters of the HomePod.

    It is actually kind of amazing. How the hell is Apple doing this? This is some kind of voodoo magic!

    Again, however, there is VERY LITTLE separation between full left and full right. It's not like the voice sounds like it's coming from thin air 2 feet to the left or right of the HomePod. Rather, the full left and full right voices are coming from the SIDES of the HomePod as I face it. The effect is subtle, but very real.

    When Apple releases the stereo pair upgrade (two HomePods in one room) I think we're going to have a whole new ballgame. In stereo pair mode I'm betting the "sweet spot" for stereo listening is going to be HUGE. Maybe the entire room.

    Mark
     
  12. The Game 161 macrumors P6

    The Game 161

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #12
    It has to as it’s the only thing holding the HomePod back
     
  13. smithrh thread starter macrumors 68020

    smithrh

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    #13
    For what it's worth, I have Homekit devices and Siri's been 100% for me.

    I keep the requests simple though.

    I repositioned it again just now, and finally I've heard just a touch of spatial effects - like Mr. Booth says, it's not dramatic at all.
     
  14. The Game 161 macrumors P6

    The Game 161

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #14
    For me they just need to make even the simple tasks better like calendar and checking that and making phone calls through it. Siri is limited in this and hopefully with software updates this improves but we have been waiting for years for siri to improve and it's nort happened. Hopefully it does with IOS 12
     

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13 February 18, 2018