HomePod HomePod or 2 Sonos

Discussion in 'HomeKit, HomePod, CarPlay, Home & Auto Technology' started by toddsimon, Feb 27, 2018.

  1. toddsimon macrumors member

    toddsimon

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2014
    #1
    Thinking about buying 2 Sonos Play 1 (the One no longer has the mounting screwhole lame). Does anyone have any experience with these? I wonder how well they work with Apple Music. I want to wall mount them. I could also get an homepod and forego the wall mount. Hmmm.
     
  2. MrJM macrumors 6502

    MrJM

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    #2
    Hi!

    I got the HomePod a couple of days after launch and wasn't overly impressed with the sound of it, for me personally it sounded a bit too muddy and narrow so I returned it.

    To cut a long story short, a few days after I acquired a single Play 1 which I was really impressed with. I then heard a setup with 2 and I was blown away so immediately went and bought another.

    A pair of Sonos Play 1s sound incredible, in my opinion they blow the HomePod out of the water! Especially when the 2 are paired in stereo mode, they sound so bright with a wide soundstage with just the right amount of bass.

    Im sure two Homepods will sound good when the stereo feature is enabled but then your looking at over £600.
    I'd rather have 4 play 1s for that!!

    (P.S. If your going to make the jump into Sonos and use a Mac Id recommend an app called AudioBridge. It was about £9 and enables AirPlay on the Sonos. Well worth it in my opinion, there is a trial available. Give it a go!)
     
  3. toddsimon thread starter macrumors member

    toddsimon

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2014
    #3
    Thanks for the reply. I just picked up 2 Sonos Play 1s. Do I have to use their app to control my music or can I use the Apple Music app?
     
  4. legacyb4 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2002
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #4
    You have to use Apple Music as a music source within the Sonos app; pretty much why I moved TO a HomePod, to be honest.
     
  5. TrueBlou macrumors 68040

    TrueBlou

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2014
    Location:
    Scotland
    #5
    As @MrJM mentioned, I’d also recommend Audiobridge for Mac. A small investment to get proper AirPlay working for Sonos speakers, that way you can use any app you like to AirPlay to them.
     
  6. jkimbro0316 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Location:
    Central Florida
    #6
    Is this true even for iOS?
     
  7. TrueBlou macrumors 68040

    TrueBlou

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    Sep 16, 2014
    Location:
    Scotland
    #7
    Yup, once you’ve got it set up you can AirPlay from your Mac, iPhone or iPad to the Sonos. Audiobridge works as a sort of gateway, or bridge I suppose :p so long as it’s running it’s like having native AirPlay support.
     
  8. csurfr macrumors 68020

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    Dec 7, 2016
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #8
    This would be very compelling if it worked with the AppleTV as well.
     
  9. MrJM macrumors 6502

    MrJM

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    #9
    Good choice! I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!
     
  10. RichardMZhlubb Contributor

    RichardMZhlubb

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2010
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #10
    I have two Sonos Play 1's in my living room and they sound great. I don't have any issue with using the Sonos app to control music playback. In fact, I find it preferable, since I can control multiple different music sources from within the one app.
     
  11. TrueBlou macrumors 68040

    TrueBlou

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    Sep 16, 2014
    Location:
    Scotland
    #11
    Doesn’t the Apple TV have the capability to connect to AirPlay speakers now? I don’t know for sure because I’ve never used it.

    However if the ATV can send an AirPlay signal to connect to a speaker, then it should in theory also connect to Audiobridge as it would be a standard AirPlay stream.
     
  12. csurfr macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2016
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #12
    It does AirPlay. I'm surprised Sonos hasn't taken exception to this software yet.
     
  13. TrueBlou macrumors 68040

    TrueBlou

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    Sep 16, 2014
    Location:
    Scotland
    #13
    I doubt they’ll be particularly bothered about someone providing extra functionality without them having to do the work.

    I’m not sure they could stop it anyway, not without adding extra encryption to their network to weed out things like that.
     
  14. kevroc macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    #14
    I also like the Sonos app, but sometimes the hardware volume controls can be a bit flaky and I love being able to control volume when my phone is locked by just clicking the volume up/down on my phone. That's where I find this Audiobridge app quite handy. If airplaying to it, you can use the Apple Music app etc and all apple music controls work just dandy. I can also use siri on my phone to control my music since it's just outputting to an airplay device. Pretty darn cool. Best of both worlds if you ask me.
     
  15. OriginalClone macrumors 6502

    OriginalClone

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2012
    #15
    I just picked up a Sonos Play 1 for $120 brand new. I tested it against a HomePod in the store. I liked the homepod, but it didn’t sound as clear as the Sonos to me. I don’t need a digital assistant so I went for the play 1 instead of the one. The Sonos sounds great until turned all the way up, then the base cuts out. I have two weeks to return it if I change my mind, but I doubt it. I’m satisfied and the price was right. Even though I can afford it, I can’t justify spending 350 on the HomePod when I can just get a second Sonos for less. I do miss airplay on the Sonos though. That’s the only negative vs HomePod to me.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 1, 2018 ---
    Nice. I never knew this existed.
     
  16. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #16
    From what I've read, and watched on video, you'll get a bunch of people saying the homepod is better then the Sonos, and then you'll get a bunch of people saying the using multiple Sonos speakers will be better. If you're not sure OP, then try them yourself, and return the one(s) that don't measure up
     
  17. iLog.Genius macrumors 601

    iLog.Genius

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    Feb 24, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #17
    From reading reviews, overall consensus is two Sonos Play:1/Sonos One is better than one HomePod (stereo setup?) and one HomePod is better than one Sonos Play:1/Sonos One.
     
  18. TrueBlou macrumors 68040

    TrueBlou

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    Sep 16, 2014
    Location:
    Scotland
    #18
    I’d be tempted to still throw the sub in there too, if you like a bit of extra depth to your music. A Sonos, 2.1 system if you like, is a really nice setup.
     
  19. FX120 macrumors 65816

    FX120

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    #19
    I've purchased quite a bit of Sonos kit in the last month, two Play:1's for my kitchen, two Ones for bedrooms, and now a Play:5 for the den. I read a lot of the comparisons online but decided an in home shootout was the best way to settle it for me so I purchased both a pair of Play1s and a single HomePod.

    I'll admit that I had my own opinions about the homepod prior to purchasing it and maybe conformation bias was at play, but for my musical tastes and in my room, the stereo Play:1s sound better to me. I listen to a lot of different music throughout the day, but in the mornings I play a lot of accoustic folk/ Americana and in my room the HomePod constantly over accentuates the low-midbass and made many nice upright bass lines sound boomy and overwhelming especially at lower volumes. Many other genres were less revealing with the HP sounding better on some tracks, the 1s better on others.

    If you listen to a lot of highly compressed Top40 or rap at loud volumes the HP is the better pick compared to paired 1s or Ones, for most everything else I would pick the Sonos solution. Stereo is awesome.
     
  20. iLog.Genius macrumors 601

    iLog.Genius

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #20
    I think a lot of people don't consider this, instead they allow marketing to sway their decision. With audio being a highly subjective thing, one speaker may work better than another depending on room. I'm not grouping everyone who bought a HomePod into one group but I feel many who are not that educated hear Apple's marketing about the HomePod being able to do this and that to adapt to the room and automatically assume that the HomePod is the best speaker because of this.
     
  21. FX120 macrumors 65816

    FX120

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    #21
    I've definitely heard a lot of people suggest/ aussume that the HP is capable of a lot of things that it really just can't do, including fix all room issues. I've since returned mine, but it's placement in the room and your listening location still mattered especially at lower frequnecies. Sonos kind of has the edge when it comes to this, as the trueplay tuning takes place at the listening location rather than at the speakers location and is probably why the Sonos sounded better on some tracks compared to the HomePod.
     
  22. Freuk macrumors newbie

    Freuk

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2017
    #22
    Well I had the HomePod. And I returned it as thought the sound of the two Sonos combined would be better ( the price is also a factor I will admit)..so yes they sound better than the 1 speaker.. however are quite a few pain points which have been doing my head in..

    1/ set up.. took a lot longer than HomePod..

    2/ responsiveness: this is my main issue.. I could call our Siri on HomePod by a mere whisper and he would answer. good luck with trying that with Alex. She just doesn’t answer. The mics In the Sonos are abysmal and will not hear anything over the music they are playing. We end up having to yell at Alexa. And I do mean yell... to get any sort on interaction...

    I cannot return the Sonos unfortunately.. And god knows I would if I could... having to scream at an object to get it to turn off lifts etc is soooo f**** irritating ! I want to go in and ask for it to play music. Not grab an iPad and use an app... and everytime I do ask for music it plays sam bloody smith !!!
     
  23. BadMelonFarmer macrumors 6502

    BadMelonFarmer

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2010
    Location:
    North Somerset
    #23
    This is my opinion too, I have 6 play 1’s... 4 of which are set up as 2 stereo pairs and they sound great.

    I wanted a smart speaker for the Kitchen but personally do not like the Sonos Play 1 in a single speaker set up, the sound it too narrow and directional for me. So as I could not set up a stereo pair easily in my Kitchen, I decided to try a HomePod and as a single speaker, I do prefer it... BUT I do think a pair of Sonos 1’s do sound better
     
  24. RamGuy macrumors 6502a

    RamGuy

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Location:
    Norway
    #24
    I've been a fully-fledged Sonos user for about two years. I all begin when I was quitting my previous job at a HiFi retailer and got denied my order of a full 5.1.2 speaker setup of some nice Monitor Audio Gold series speakers and a Marantz AV-receiver as I was no longer an employee so they decided I suddenly had to pay full-price.

    I had already sold my existing setup with 5.1 Klipsch speakers and Yamaha AV-receiver so I had to get something else but I got so fed up with my previous workplace that I decided to go the more "wife-friendly" route and purchased a Sonos Play Bar + Sonos Play Sub + 2x Sonos Play 3's for the Living room, and 3x Sonos Play 5's, one for the kitchen, one for the bedroom and one for the bathroom. A few months ago we mounted a TV in the bedroom so we got ourselves 1x Sonos Play Base and 2x Sonos One's.


    And for the living room it has worked great. For TV and movies the most important thing is clarity for dialogues and impact from the subwoofer. You don't really need all that great speakers as long as the sub is able to give you the impact and feeling needed for explosions etc and the center speaker needs to have good clarity so dialogues don't feel muddy. The surrounds are only for spacial effects and you will have hard time telling a 100 USD speaker from a 1000 USD one to be absolutely honest.

    The Sonos system consisting of 1x Play Bar, 1x Play Sub and 2x Play 3' for surround did just a good for TV and movies like our previous Yamaha RX-V3900, 2x Klipsch RF-62 mk2, 2x, Klipsch RC-64 mk2, 2x Klipsch RS-42 mk2 and 1x SVS PB12 Plus subwoofer did and you don't need to have that power hungry and huge AV-receiver and every speaker takes far less space and they need zero speaker wiring. The Sonos Play Sub is not capable of matching the SVS PB12 Plus subwoofer but it doesn't really matter as it kicks hard enough so that extra mileage we could get from the SVS is not really that useful as we would have complaints form every neighbor and things would start falling off the walls at that point.


    When it comes to music it becomes something else. If you are one that enjoys full-room music, so you would prefer to have music coming from every speaker instead of forcing a stereo / front-speaker only playback like many purists tend to do then you need to have some good surround speakers etc.. as well as they become just as important as every other speaker in your system.

    The Sonos speakers sound good for music, but they aren't all that dynamic. You should really enable the "loudness" option as without the loudness they sound really flat and somewhat dull unless you push 60%+ volume levels which is quite loud. And even then they are still rather flat, and by that I mean flat and not natural. The low-end is somewhat lackluster and you feel something is missing. This goes for all the speakers, the Play Bar, Sonos One, Play 3 and Play 5. They all need the Play Sub to really get that low-end going, and the great thing with adding the Play Sub is that you get so much better control over the low-end as you can control the Play Sub separate from the speaker(s) you pair it with so you can reduce and increase its output as you see fit.

    You don't really have much control over the low-end on the speakers themselves, all you have is the loudness option and a bar for treble and bass and that's it. The problem with increasing the bass is that it will colour the entire spectrum and not just the low-end so it doesn't give you great results as it will start to colour and mud other aspects of the sound and not just the low-end.


    You also have "True-Play" which is Sonos way of allowing you to "optimise" the speakers for your listening environment by using the microphone on your iPhone. This has given me mixed results. The process feels clunky, you walk around waving your iPhone around like a maniac and 90% of the times it results in worse sound quality, at leasts that's my experience and I've tried the feature several times on all our speakers and we have a lot of them. The results is even less low-end and almost tin-can feel to the vocals. Its like it takes the already narrow dynamic range and makes it even narrower. It makes vocals pop a little more, but it removes all dynamics and all low-end from the sound. Testing my speakers with True-Play enabled compared to with having it disabled and it will almost always sound worse when its activated.



    I recently got myself a HomePod as I wanted to compare it with my Sonos speakers. And to be honest I find it to sound much better compared to our Sonos One's. I unpaired our Sonos Ones from the surround system in our living room and compared it with the HomePod 1-to-1 and 1-to-Stero-pair and I find the HomePod to sound better in both situations.

    The HomePod has a much better low-end and a more natural sounding vocals. Where the Sonos One sound flat with a narrow dynamic range the HomePod sounds the opposite with much better low-end and greater dynamic range. The HomePod does not get as loud, and when comparing it with 2x Sonos One's the Sonos gets a edge in terms of sound stage / stereo perspective with tracks that features a clear usage of left and right channels (modern music tends to not separate left and right and plays pretty much the same on both channels) but the HomePod seems to have more depth as its better it terms of spreading the sound around in the room but without the same clear left and right channel.


    The HomePod does also sound better than the Sonos Play 3's but that comes as no surprise as the Play 3 is the ugly child of the Sonos line-up and doesn't sound any better than the Sonos One to begin with if you ask me. What was even more surprising to me is how the HomePod sounds just as good, if not slightly better than the Play 5 as well. But the Play 5 is capable of playing much louder compared to the HomePod.



    So I can't agree with others claiming Sonos sounds better. But with Sonos you are always capable of adding the Play Sub into the mix and 1x or 2x Sonos One's + Play Sub will sound better. And with Sonos you are actually able to get something that will work in the living room with the Play Bar or the Play Base that offers optical input. The HomePod is useless as your TV speakers in the living room unless you are strictly using Apple TV and Apple TV only.



    When it comes to the user-experience its MUCH better with the HomePod as long as you use Apple devices and Apple Music. Sure you can use Apple Music within the Sonos-app but its a really disconnected experience. It doesn't integrate at all with your Apple Music library so play-counts don't get updated, so no matter if you play a song 100 times using the Sonos-app it won't be reflected on your actual account so it doesn't add to your personal algorithm recommending you new songs, fixing radio stations based on your listening etc.. Your most played playlist won't be able to take your Sonos playback into account at all, you are not able to favourite/like/love from within the Sonos-app and the UX-design and user-experience is quite different from what you get in the actual Apple Music-app. You don't get access to lyrics etc.. You can't edit or add new Apple Music playlists.

    With the HomePod you are able to get the full Apple Music experience, and as long as you start playback directly on the speaker everyone in your household can view and change the queue on their own devices directly within Apple Music. No need for the Sonos-app. Its also so much better in terms of podcasts etc as that doesn't integrate well into the Sonos-app at all.

    With all that said, most Sonos-speakers will get AirPlay 2 sometime this year and might give you most of these benefits directly on the Sonos-speakers as well. Only time will tell how its actually going to look and work when its finally implemented.


    One last with the Sonos-app. Its a battery hog. I have no other app on my iPhone and my iPad that drains battery life like the Sonos-app. And hardware controls and software controls for volume etc works like 60% of the time. Its rather annoying.
     
  25. RamGuy macrumors 6502a

    RamGuy

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Location:
    Norway
    #25
    Decided to do some more direct comparisons using the HomePod vs a single Sonos Play 5 Gen2.

    They do audio quite differently. Its hard to really describe the HomePod, it feels like a much more V-shaped sound as you feel the vocals get pushed upfront while the instruments get pushed back and I guess this makes sense as according to The Verge the HomePod makes something that resembles as three virtual speaker arrays where it pushes vocals through the front and directly into the room, while instruments gets pushed behind to be reflected off the wall.

    The Play 5 feels flat and neutral. It plays everything on a plain and even playing field.


    What works best? It really depends. The HomePod feels warmer, but it doesn't seem to colour the vocals. So it might seem like Apple is doing some EQ on the two virtual speakers pushing audio back and off the wall at the same time as it does not do the same on the vocals behind pushed forward. So it manages to get a warmer and deeper sound without distorting the vocals which is great.

    This makes the HomePod feel much more dynamic compared to the Play 5, especially at lower volume levels (below 60%) as you feel you still get much of the dynamic range on the HomePod while the Play 5 sounds somewhat dull in comparison. When you start pushing the volume the Play 5 starts to feel much better but this requires you to play at some rather high volume levels. It doesn't seem like the Loudness EQ on the Play 5 does a good enough job, not at least compared to the HomePod but it might also be because the Play 5 doesn't do the same fancy mapping and virtual speaker thingie as the HomePod so it has no way to really improve the dynamic range on lower volume levels without starting to really distort vocals etc..


    The HomePod is always spreading the audio much better. When listening to classical on the HomePod you feel like the audio is spreading around the HomePod, I feel some of the instruments coming of the corner and sidewall while the Play 5 doesn't really spread at all. With the Play 5 you can clearly tell exactly where all the audio is coming from, and you can do much the same with the HomePod especially on the vocals but the instruments are being spread in a way that make you feel like you have a much wider sound-stage.


    But here you run into a challenge with the HomePod. It manages to fill your room much better compared to a single Sonos One, Play 3 and Play 5. But if you take 2x Sonos One's, Play 3' or Play 5's are able to get a great sound-stage as well as you have two speakers. I still think the HomePod has a edge on spreading the instruments, even when compared to 2x Sonos speakers but it has no chance in terms of spreading the vocals or actual stereo perspective.

    But 2x Sonos One's still sound much duller to me. They are not handling the low-end all that great, so the HomePod sounds and feel so much more dynamic. Same goes when compared to the Play 3 and somewhat the Play 5 especially on lower volume levels.


    What I'm really eager to find out is how well 2x HomePods will sound. Since one is already so good at spreading the audio throughout a room, with some limitation to the actual stereo perspective and spreading of the vocals I'm really interested to see if 2x HomePods might deal with those limitations.

    For rooms where you don't really have any meaningful way of placing 2x speakers due to space constrictions or simply by the fact that you have no way to place two speakers in a clear left and right orientation I bet the HomePod will work better in most situations compared to even the Play 5 unless you need that extra volume the Play 5 is capable of pushing.
     

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28 February 27, 2018