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Beliblis

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 31, 2011
241
11
Hi,

I just received my two HomePods / connected stereo to AppleTV in the living room in our flat. Impressive bass – but at times, I think it's a bit too much as I don't want to disturb our neighbours, especially late evenings. So I end up using the "reduce bass" feature most of the time.

I'm wondering: If I reduce the bass anyway, why pay premium and not just get 2 HomePod Minis.
Would the Mini sound be comparable to "HomePod with reduced bass" (more or less).

Overall I'm a little underwhelmed by the atmos/surround sound anyway – though this could be down to the low volume. (Again: good relationship with our neighbours and I'd like to keep it that way).

Many thanks!
 

SRQrws

macrumors regular
Aug 4, 2020
203
401
I have four original gen HPs and 1 Mini and I'm just not a fan of the Mini's sound when compared to the big HP. From reading various posts over the years, it seems the folks who only have the Minis are pleased with the sound, but for people who have both, the Mini doesn't compete well. For me, it's not just the lack of bass, it's the whole presentation of sound that is lacking when comparing the two. Factor in the price differential, though, and the picture gets fuzzier....
 

HobeSoundDarryl

macrumors G5
Overall I'm a little underwhelmed by the atmos/surround sound anyway – though this could be down to the low volume. (Again: good relationship with our neighbours and I'd like to keep it that way).

There is no (true) ATMOS or Surround from HPs. The best you can get with them is stereo. You may read marketing tags like ATMOS, etc assigned to them but there is no way to have real ATMOS with ANY 2 physical speakers at any price. Real ATMOS is about adding to the traditional, full surround setup of 5.1 or 7.1 (that's 5 or 7 separate speakers surrounding you and 1 subwoofer) by putting some speakers on another plane (most commonly overhead in the ceiling).

If you want to become 'whelmed' with Atmos and Surround, abandon the idea of getting it with HPs (there's not even RUMORS of Apple developing the supporting software in that direction) and start digging into an idea of buying yourself a good-to-great receiver and traditional speakers. For the price of a new iPhone, you can get a fairly nice setup. For the price of about 2 iPhones, you can get a pretty good/great setup. Either will be FARRRRRRRRR superior for home theater audio than 1 or 2 HPs.

And, unlike 1 or 2 iPhones which will be software obsolete in about 4-5 years and vintaged in about 7, those speakers will likely still sound great upwards of 20+ years from now (and work with all audio providers instead of thoroughly walled off). IMO, the place to sink some tech premium cash is in things that offer their best for the longest terms. Speakers definitely qualify. iDevices do not. Consider stretching the use of an existing iDevice or two for another year+ and putting the "next new iDevice" budget towards a full Home Theater setup.

In case you are wondering, soundbars with words like surround sound and ATMOS on the box are NOT real surround or ATMOS either. How can they be when all of the physical speakers are in ONE case? If a "soundbar" came in the form of a huge sphere that you stepped inside to hear the surround/ATMOS, then you could have real, full surround/ATMOS. But a soundbar sitting out front, all jammed into 2-4 feet wide stick case is NOT either... regardless of what is written on the box and/or spun in the marketing.

If you want to be 'whelmed' go to an ATMOS theater for a movie and take a good look around before the lights go down. You'll see speakers down front, to your sides and behind you. If you look harder, you'll see a subwoofer or 2+. If you look up, you will probably see some speakers above too. Now translate that to a home theater. If the pro theaters could deliver full ATMOS or surround with only a HP or two down front, they would all be on that much cheaper train already.

HPs are great at their intended purpose: music reproduction from a small form factor. We Apple people are trying our very best to force them to stand in as home theater speakers too. They can if one can be happy with only stereo sound vs. home theaters built upon concepts of 5 surrounding speakers + sub, 7 surrounding speakers + sub, etc. since roughly 1991 or so. Else, to get the real thing, one must choose tech that actually supports it. HPs do not and there are no rumors that suggest they ever will right now.

As to the "disturb our neighbors" concern, that is exceptionally nice of you to care enough about others to make some sacrifice yourselves. We need more people like you in the world.

That said, eventually you might move and your speakers will move with you. So getting more oomph than you choose to enjoy now somewhat "future proofs" where you might live in the future.

A whole other consideration is to get some loaded headphones for all listeners that simulate surround sound. Then you can crank the volume as loud and you like and not even hint at disturbing neighbors at all. You would not be the first to turn to using a good set of headphones in this kind of situation. There is a group of headphones that present themselves as ATMOS headphones. If they spread real sound around your ears, they likely fake it better than less than 5.1 with some ceiling speakers too.
 
Last edited:

AL2TEACH

macrumors 65816
Feb 17, 2007
1,192
472
North Las Vegas, NV.
In case you are wondering, soundbars with words like surround sound and ATMOS on the box are NOT real surround or ATMOS either.
🤣 I'm really not following you but do you just copy and paste this everywhere? Again, lol, I kinda think most/everyone knows that the speaker set up is best(5 to 60+). The OP is asking if the minis compare to the HP.:) I think you will really like this million dollar theater setup.
 

HobeSoundDarryl

macrumors G5
Don't blow things out of proportion. What I've suggested involves spending as little as $219 more than that other (thread's) OPs budget- not million dollar mansion budgets. For that OPs intended purpose (theater not music), Arc would be far superior to one or two HomePods and likely provide a much longer use life too (Apple has already demonstrated they won't even let gen 2 pair with gen 1. How long until Apple is abandoning gen 2 to push gen 3 or gen 4 revenue?).

Another poster in the other thread challenged that opinion by suggesting at least 5.1 is better and I fully agree with them... that at least 5.1 (5 speakers + 1 sub) will generally be far superior to ANY soundbar and/or 2 HomePods for home theater sound. If someone doesn't have a million dollar mansion budget, they can assemble a pretty good 5.1 system for relatively cheap or buy better quality parts by starting with perhaps a 3.0 setup and expanding with the rest of the speakers when they assemble more money (not exactly a foreign concept to us Apple people).

If dollars fully rule the decision, HPs are terrible practical choices because about 40% of the money paid for them is not buying any part of them at all- just padding AAPL's pockets. Most of the other speaker makers do not demand Apple's very high margins and thus money spent is much more paying for the product being purchased. So if the implication of million dollar mansion is taking a poke at real world practicality, Apple products in general are not very practically priced vs. competitor offerings that will generally do almost all of the same for less. Yes, we all love Apple, Apple is great and wonderful, etc. but practical is practical... especially when it comes to speaker purchases.

All that said, HPs are great for their intended purposes- mostly MUSIC. They can be somewhat "forced" in as speakers for AppleTV but they are limited to Stereo at best and then limited to being home theater speakers for ONLY Apple sources and Apple "walled garden" music sources. Home Theater audio has not been limited to stereo since 1991 and there are plenty of sources of audio that are outside of the Apple's wall... that can make great use of unchained speakers too. Even (this) OP writes that they are "underwhelmed" at HPs, so HPs do not seem to be the answer for them. They also explicitly reference "ATMOS/surround" and there is no way to get "surrounded" by 2-speaker stereo.

That shared, some people are perfectly happy with HPs used in this way. They are far superior to leaning on crappy television built-in speakers. Some don't want or can't easily use true surrounding speakers. Some can only see speakers with an Apple logo on them as the one and only perfect speakers, making all others junk. Some are pure Apple ecosystem with nothing else to take advantage of speakers and no aspirations for any other audio source: no cable/satt box, no blu ray, no game console, no AppleTV competitor boxes/sticks, etc. In any of these situations, HPs can be a great choice. This thread's OP has clearly had a go at HPs and is "underwhelmed." The smaller ones are only audio inferior to the bigger ones, so OP would likely be even further underwhelmed if he tries those.

To solve this OPs main problem, he needs to turn down the volume (which he already does) and/or needs a way to individually tune the bass part of his HPs so it doesn't disturb those neighbors. Apple offers no such option for unique tuning- they decide for us all- so volume reduction is his only option. However, if he went with about any other speaker setup, he could have a LOT of say in bass volume vs. the rest and/or even sub placement to work for him but minimize neighbor disturbance.
 
Last edited:

shakopeemn

macrumors regular
Jul 29, 2014
223
143
Hi,

I just received my two HomePods / connected stereo to AppleTV in the living room in our

Overall I'm a little underwhelmed by the atmos/surround sound anyway – though this could be down to the low volume. (Again: good relationship with our neighbours and I'd like to keep it that way).

Many thanks!

Have you considered moving the 2 Home Pod speakers closer to you, such as end tables?

When Apple states "Atmos" you can think of it in the traditional sense of ceiling speakers and some wonderful surround effect. However, my experience isn't so much the surround effect as it is the quality of the audio. I believe people are wrong when they say that a Dolby Surround feed sounds the same as an Atmos feed on a receiver that has Atmos, but doesn't have the speaker configuration. I disagree and think the audio resolution is better.

Again, try moving the speakers away from the TV.
 

chadamorrill

macrumors 6502
Sep 13, 2007
387
161
Orlando, FL
OP, I'm curious to what you've chosen to do here. I have both setups, Minis (as a stereo pair) in the bedroom and two full-sized HP's as a stereo pair in the family room (replaced the Minis I had in there just two weeks ago). I just flipped them all on and watched the "A long-expected party" scene from LOTR:FOTR. Here's my take:

The Family room (two HP's 2nd gen, stereo pair, Atmos enabled).
  • Volume: 35-37%
  • 8-9 feet from screen, sitting on the ottoman
  • Just stereo sound, yes, but to me, it sounds full and overall pleasant enough, with the bass providing adequate kick to the fireworks especially. Voices are very clear at this volume. Atmos trickery allow for the fireworks to sound like they're spreading to each side and slightly behind your head. Personally, I'd love some tuning options to get them dialed in just right, but the sound produced is what I expect for this investment.
  • * I watched a second time at 60-65% volume, and the Atmos trickery was much more pronounced. This may be too loud for you, however, depending on your situation. Our normal seats are 12-13 feet so 60% volume is where we're at usually.

The Family room (two HP's, stereo pair, reduced bass, Atmos enabled).
  • Volume: 35-37%
  • 8-9 feet from screen, sitting on the ottoman
  • Sound was much less full, but still had some of the Atmos effect (to me). Voices were very clear at this volume, maybe even moreso than with the HP's set to normal bass. Firework sounds are less punchy, but sound still full-ish... simply just heavier on the treble. Again, not how I would tune them personally, but if your goal is simply to reduce the bass, this works. Surprisingly and definitively better than the Mini's to me (see next).

The bedroom (two minis, stereo pair).
  • Volume: started the volume at 35-37% to be consistent, but had to up it to 65-70% because it just wasn't loud enough, even in the smaller room.
  • 7-8 feet from screen, sitting up in bed
  • The stereo-only sound was just adequate and honestly underwhelming coming from the previous experience. Voices were clear at the higher volume (not quite enough for me at lower volume). Firework sounds just sounded loud to me at the higher volume. No real distinction or full-ness, just volume.
  • * I watched a second time with just the TV speakers, and the Mini's are definitely better than the TV.

Overall, this was a neat exercise to do. The Mini's are much less of a home theater replacement than the HPs for sure. But each are better than the TV speakers.

Sidebar: I do feel the need to mention, every time I think home theater, I'm brought back to reasons why I purchased all of my Homepods (a single OG, so many Mini's, and now 2x HP 2nd gens) in the first place.
  1. for fully-immersive, full-sounding music to be played throughout the house, especially during family gatherings or hosting friends.
  2. for the wife & kids to be able to control music in the bedrooms or in the house from their devices providing for a far better listening experience than the iPhone's speaker (it honestly makes me cringe).
    1. Also for 73 morning alarm clocks for my 14 year old and on-demand fart noises for my 10 year old, although these reasons hadn't crossed my mind during the purchase.
  3. for an all-in-one (Apple)TV experience, sounding better than the TV speakers.
  4. the look and styling of the devices in their respective places.
I strongly recommend you make the same list. If movies are indeed top dog, you might want to look elsewhere entirely, although the HPs, even with bass reduced will do the trick. If it's TV or Sports, the Mini's are certainly better than the TV speakers, but I think you'd be unhappy with them for movies. Finally, if it's music, like me, HPs are incredible. I will gladly live with what-some-may-call a slightly sub-par Movie/TV/Sports experience for how good these things are for music. And they're super pretty to look at, even while playing fart sounds.

Again, just my two cents.
 
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Ruggy

macrumors 6502a
Jan 11, 2017
988
642
I don't have one but I believe it still has to access an Apple device to get the tracks?
In which case you should be able to use the sound settings to change the output. It works on every other device I've ever streamed music from
You go Settings>Music app> EQ and you choose the preset which gives the sound output you like.
In your case if you don't so much bass you might like to try 'Reduce Bass'
 

chadamorrill

macrumors 6502
Sep 13, 2007
387
161
Orlando, FL
I don't have one but I believe it still has to access an Apple device to get the tracks?
In which case you should be able to use the sound settings to change the output. It works on every other device I've ever streamed music from
You go Settings>Music app> EQ and you choose the preset which gives the sound output you like.
In your case if you don't so much bass you might like to try 'Reduce Bass'
Unfortunately not. I'm using my iPhone to stream to the HP right now, and changing the EQ settings do nothing. Reduced Bass is the only sound setting on the HP's themselves.

HomePod 2 - NO L/R Balance Control?
Nope. The only setting in a stereo pair is logically swapping the L/R speakers.
 

nutmac

macrumors 603
Mar 30, 2004
6,096
7,486
My two cents comparing HomePod OG, HomePod mini, and Sonos Arc (with Sub and One.

To get some semblance of Dolby Atmos with HomePod OG, you need to (1) play at sufficiently loud volume, (2) room layout (e.g., flat ceiling) and placement, and (3) sitting at a very small sweet spot. Even then, both surround and Atmos height effects will be subtle at best, as in "oh, I think I am finally hearing it."

The most impressive thing about HomePod OG as Dolby Atmos is the center channel steering. Provided that they are placed immediately next to the TV screen, the center channel performance is very good. But if you want convincing and immersive surround and/or heights channels, you really need more discrete surround setup. Even with Arc, the height channel performance is so so at best.
 

Beliblis

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 31, 2011
241
11
I also have the OG HomePods and the minis don't compare at all in sound.:eek:

That's because what you are hearing is stereo:)
Yes, I know it's stereo. I guess I was just expecting a little bit more – like at least "a hint" of surround, because some youtube reviews claimed "Atmos" with a standard 2-homepod-stereo-setup. As far as I remember one youtuber used the Mandalorian: spaceship coming in from behind, and claimed he could hear sound coming from behind them.

I still have very good hifi speakers from the early 90s which are still going strong after all these years. Those new HomePods are the first speakers I bought since then... so I guess I was somehow hoping that maybe new technology could magically make Atmos possible with only two speakers. (Delay / indirect sound coming from the ceiling etc...)
Although, tbh, I'm not surprised that they don't. In the end it always comes down to physics.... 2 speakers = stereo. Anything else is marketing / youtube influencing 🤷‍♂️
 

Beliblis

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 31, 2011
241
11
And, unlike 1 or 2 iPhones which will be software obsolete in about 4-5 years and vintaged in about 7, those speakers will likely still sound great upwards of 20+ years from now (and work with all audio providers instead of thoroughly walled off). IMO, the place to sink some tech premium cash is in things that offer their best for the longest terms. Speakers definitely qualify. iDevices do not. Consider stretching the use of an existing iDevice or two for another year+ and putting the "next new iDevice" budget towards a full Home Theater setup.

HPs are great at their intended purpose: music reproduction from a small form factor. We Apple people are trying our very best to force them to stand in as home theater speakers too. They can if one can be happy with only stereo sound vs. home theaters built upon concepts of 5 surrounding speakers + sub, 7 surrounding speakers + sub, etc. since roughly 1991 or so. Else, to get the real thing, one must choose tech that actually supports it. HPs do not and there are no rumors that suggest they ever will right now.

I fully agree. Back in the 90s I bought some very good speakers (Axton AX-80) which are still going strong. Did a side-by-side comparison with the new HomePods, and the old speakers easily(!) beat the HomePods hands down.
Classical music, rock, pop, jazz, movies... – anything really. Hard to put in words, obvousoly – but even my missus (who's not as 'audiophile' as I am), straight away said that the overall "volumetric" sound experience is way better. Better heights / mid-tones. And more balanced bass. (The homepod's bass is way too dominant, especially at lower volumes).
And – like you say – they'll still work many years from now.

Only downside: those 90s speakers do look dated (and are too large next to our UST projector inside a lowboard), so the missus doesn't really like them in the living room. Me neither, to be honest:

5+1 / 7+1 means too many cables – and we do like the "lighweight" setup with the homepods, so we decided to keep them. Visually, they fit very well with the UST projector.

It is a compromise – and most likely the last "smart" or "tech" speakers we bought. If (or when) Apple decides to not support them in future iOS/tvOS versions, I'll be done with "smart" revert back to old-school receiver + speakers.
 
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Beliblis

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 31, 2011
241
11
OP, I'm curious to what you've chosen to do here. I have both setups, Minis (as a stereo pair) in the bedroom and two full-sized HP's as a stereo pair in the family room (replaced the Minis I had in there just two weeks ago). I just flipped them all on and watched the "A long-expected party" scene from LOTR:FOTR. Here's my take:

The Family room (two HP's 2nd gen, stereo pair, Atmos enabled).
  • Volume: 35-37%
  • 8-9 feet from screen, sitting on the ottoman
  • Just stereo sound, yes, but to me, it sounds full and overall pleasant enough, with the bass providing adequate kick to the fireworks especially. Voices are very clear at this volume. Atmos trickery allow for the fireworks to sound like they're spreading to each side and slightly behind your head. Personally, I'd love some tuning options to get them dialed in just right, but the sound produced is what I expect for this investment.
  • * I watched a second time at 60-65% volume, and the Atmos trickery was much more pronounced. This may be too loud for you, however, depending on your situation. Our normal seats are 12-13 feet so 60% volume is where we're at usually.

The Family room (two HP's, stereo pair, reduced bass, Atmos enabled).
  • Volume: 35-37%
  • 8-9 feet from screen, sitting on the ottoman
  • Sound was much less full, but still had some of the Atmos effect (to me). Voices were very clear at this volume, maybe even moreso than with the HP's set to normal bass. Firework sounds are less punchy, but sound still full-ish... simply just heavier on the treble. Again, not how I would tune them personally, but if your goal is simply to reduce the bass, this works. Surprisingly and definitively better than the Mini's to me (see next).

The bedroom (two minis, stereo pair).
  • Volume: started the volume at 35-37% to be consistent, but had to up it to 65-70% because it just wasn't loud enough, even in the smaller room.
  • 7-8 feet from screen, sitting up in bed
  • The stereo-only sound was just adequate and honestly underwhelming coming from the previous experience. Voices were clear at the higher volume (not quite enough for me at lower volume). Firework sounds just sounded loud to me at the higher volume. No real distinction or full-ness, just volume.
  • * I watched a second time with just the TV speakers, and the Mini's are definitely better than the TV.

Overall, this was a neat exercise to do. The Mini's are much less of a home theater replacement than the HPs for sure. But each are better than the TV speakers.

Sidebar: I do feel the need to mention, every time I think home theater, I'm brought back to reasons why I purchased all of my Homepods (a single OG, so many Mini's, and now 2x HP 2nd gens) in the first place.
  1. for fully-immersive, full-sounding music to be played throughout the house, especially during family gatherings or hosting friends.
  2. for the wife & kids to be able to control music in the bedrooms or in the house from their devices providing for a farbetter listening experience than the iPhone's speaker (it honestly makes me cringe).
    1. Also for 73 morning alarm clocks for my 14 year old and on-demand fart noises for my 10 year old, although these reasons hadn't crossed my mind during the purchase.
  3. for an all-in-one (Apple)TV experience, sounding better than the TV speakers.
  4. the look and styling of the devices in their respective places.
I strongly recommend you make the same list. If movies are indeed top dog, you might want to look elsewhere entirely, although the HPs, even with bass reduced will do the trick. If it's TV or Sports, the Mini's are certainly better than the TV speakers, but I think you'd be unhappy with them for movies. Finally, if it's music, like me, HPs are incredible. I will gladly live with what-some-may-call a slightly sub-par Movie/TV/Sports experience for how good these things are for music. And they're super pretty to look at, even while playing fart sounds.

Again, just my two cents.
Thank you for sharing! We decided to keep the large HomePods.
Can't really hear any Atmos trickery, but we're only using them at around 20-25% volume level, as we fear the bass might irritate the neighbours.
That said – come summer time, our neighbours usually ask us to water their plants, so will do a proper volume/bass test then.

We'll also try to position the HomePods in different areas of the room, and maybe also a little higher up. At the moment they're about 10ft apart, to the left/right of the projector screen on the lowboard.
 

Beliblis

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 31, 2011
241
11
I don't have one but I believe it still has to access an Apple device to get the tracks?
In which case you should be able to use the sound settings to change the output. It works on every other device I've ever streamed music from
You go Settings>Music app> EQ and you choose the preset which gives the sound output you like.
In your case if you don't so much bass you might like to try 'Reduce Bass'
I've seen the "reduce bass" option in the Home app, but no EQ – at least not for the Apple TV.
The "reduce bass" is noticeable, but a bit too much for my taste. Something in-between "reduce bass on and off" would be perfect for our set-up.

Also, I definitely noticed that at lower volumes, the bass is a lot more dominant (unpleasantly so) than at higher volumes. In other words: it needs a certain minimum volume for the mid-tones and heights to balance out the bass.
Food for thought for Apple... I'm sure they could balance it better from a software-side. Of course, a full EQ for the AppleTV would be even better, but knowing Apple I'm not banking on that...
 

AL2TEACH

macrumors 65816
Feb 17, 2007
1,192
472
North Las Vegas, NV.
2 speakers = stereo. Anything else is marketing / youtube influencing 🤷‍♂️
The OG HPs are great sounding even when they have some distance between them, I can't speak for the newer ones since I never heard them. Lol, I still have a pair of Bose speakers from the early 90's, I might never let them go since they sound great. One of the reasons as to why we don't have world peace is because we can't get a bunch of people doing vids on YouTube without lying, lol. Apple doesn't need to take the road of half truths because they don't need to and this is another reason why the world still has poverty, lol. Atmos with movies is a wonderful thing, except with Disney discs, lol, lazy sound engineers. Yeah, don't mind my rambling:) but I feel ya. Be happy with your HPs and cleanse your mind of any comparison with the minis for tv sound:eek:
 

Shanghaichica

macrumors G5
Apr 8, 2013
14,656
13,148
UK
I have four original gen HPs and 1 Mini and I'm just not a fan of the Mini's sound when compared to the big HP. From reading various posts over the years, it seems the folks who only have the Minis are pleased with the sound, but for people who have both, the Mini doesn't compete well. For me, it's not just the lack of bass, it's the whole presentation of sound that is lacking when comparing the two. Factor in the price differential, though, and the picture gets fuzzier....
I think the mini is adequate. I have them in other rooms, however I have to agree the sound is incomparable to a full sized homepod of which I own two.
 
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andyw715

macrumors 68000
Oct 25, 2013
1,837
1,402
Interesting as I've read one of the big differences between v1 and v2 HP is that v2 seemed to have a lesser bass profile.

Good thing you didn't get the v1's or you'd be bouncing your neighbors out their front door :D
 
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Mark Holmes

macrumors regular
Sep 22, 2010
144
631
San Diego CA
There is no (true) ATMOS or Surround from HPs. The best you can get with them is stereo. You may read marketing tags like ATMOS, etc assigned to them but there is no way to have real ATMOS with ANY 2 physical speakers at any price. Real ATMOS is about adding to the traditional, full surround setup of 5.1 or 7.1 (that's 5 or 7 separate speakers surrounding you and 1 subwoofer) by putting some speakers on another plane (most commonly overhead in the ceiling).

If you want to become 'whelmed' with Atmos and Surround, abandon the idea of getting it with HPs (there's not even RUMORS of Apple developing the supporting software in that direction) and start digging into an idea of buying yourself a good-to-great receiver and traditional speakers. For the price of a new iPhone, you can get a fairly nice setup. For the price of about 2 iPhones, you can get a pretty good/great setup. Either will be FARRRRRRRRR superior for home theater audio than 1 or 2 HPs.

And, unlike 1 or 2 iPhones which will be software obsolete in about 4-5 years and vintaged in about 7, those speakers will likely still sound great upwards of 20+ years from now (and work with all audio providers instead of thoroughly walled off). IMO, the place to sink some tech premium cash is in things that offer their best for the longest terms. Speakers definitely qualify. iDevices do not. Consider stretching the use of an existing iDevice or two for another year+ and putting the "next new iDevice" budget towards a full Home Theater setup.

In case you are wondering, soundbars with words like surround sound and ATMOS on the box are NOT real surround or ATMOS either. How can they be when all of the physical speakers are in ONE case? If a "soundbar" came in the form of a huge sphere that you stepped inside to hear the surround/ATMOS, then you could have real, full surround/ATMOS. But a soundbar sitting out front, all jammed into 2-4 feet wide stick case is NOT either... regardless of what is written on the box and/or spun in the marketing.

If you want to be 'whelmed' go to an ATMOS theater for a movie and take a good look around before the lights go down. You'll see speakers down front, to your sides and behind you. If you look harder, you'll see a subwoofer or 2+. If you look up, you will probably see some speakers above too. Now translate that to a home theater. If the pro theaters could deliver full ATMOS or surround with only a HP or two down front, they would all be on that much cheaper train already.

HPs are great at their intended purpose: music reproduction from a small form factor. We Apple people are trying our very best to force them to stand in as home theater speakers too. They can if one can be happy with only stereo sound vs. home theaters built upon concepts of 5 surrounding speakers + sub, 7 surrounding speakers + sub, etc. since roughly 1991 or so. Else, to get the real thing, one must choose tech that actually supports it. HPs do not and there are no rumors that suggest they ever will right now.

As to the "disturb our neighbors" concern, that is exceptionally nice of you to care enough about others to make some sacrifice yourselves. We need more people like you in the world.

That said, eventually you might move and your speakers will move with you. So getting more oomph than you choose to enjoy now somewhat "future proofs" where you might live in the future.

A whole other consideration is to get some loaded headphones for all listeners that simulate surround sound. Then you can crank the volume as loud and you like and not even hint at disturbing neighbors at all. You would not be the first to turn to using a good set of headphones in this kind of situation. There is a group of headphones that present themselves as ATMOS headphones. If they spread real sound around your ears, they likely fake it better than less than 5.1 with some ceiling speakers too.
We do use ours for our home theater - which is centered around a 120" 4K projector screen. We honestly rarely go over 75% volume. Now, we do live in a 1,200 sq foot house, so the small form factor works well, but we love the sound. The vocals especially sound better and clearer than anything I've tried. There is also enough bass for us, but we are in our 50s. :)
That being said, I do wish Apple would devote more resources to the HomePod line and find a way to create true surround with arrangements using the HomePods as front and pairs of Minis as surround. Seems like a no-brainer to sell more HomePods and get more folks using HomePods in general. It's been a joy getting rid of the huge amplifier and mess of cables. We'll never go back, but please, Apple, give the HomePod line some more love.
 
Last edited:

HobeSoundDarryl

macrumors G5
That's all good but you could grant your wish now (or years ago) by not being so focused on speakers only from Apple. Apple has shown no interest for home theater setups, nor are there any rumors. However, there are PLENTY of other players focused as narrowly as solely on speakers who do put considerable mind to delivering real, full, complete surround sound setups. Their software to support that already exists and is already refined.

Some of them directly support Airplay 2 for that very same benefit offered by HPs. Some directly support Apple Music too, but are also up to wide open in support of many other providers of music (without having to rely on an Airplay workaround as is the case with HPs). While none come with Siri, one can use the Siri they already have in iPhone, iPad, Mac or AppleTV to be the Siri "smarts" if you think Siri is smart.

Many are not margin maximizers like Apple, so that more of the money paid is actually buying speaker instead of padding Apple's very deep pockets.

I'm about an Apple-everything guy with most of my setup but Apple is treating HPs like a hobby. Apple has already illustrated that they will quickly drop HPs if sales are not high enough AND that subsequent versions will not be able to pair with existing versions. Since HPs are based in an iOS core, they will likely be made obsolete by software FARRRRRRRRR before the speakers themselves are worn out (good speakers can sound just as good as new for upwards of decades but we know very well that Apple likes to kill all support for products at around 7 years or so).

I know we Apple people are almost programmed to buy Apple and only Apple no matter what they choose to sell. I get it. But this is a product Apple seems to barely care about. Many other player's businesses depend on their speakers, so they very much care about their offerings. There are no distractions for countless other kinds of products including the bread & butter product. For these other players, speakers are their iPhone.

I encourage anyone reading this to give great thought to this purchase. This is not a phone or a Mac. Generally speakers should easily outlast either of those by at least several generations. With what should be such a long life product, are you sure you:
  • want to consider only one that will almost certainly be obsoleted long before its hardware becomes unable to play great sound?
  • want to go stereo only for home theater when we've had at least 5.1 setups since about 1991?
  • want THIS product to be very firmly locked into the walled garden when many others offer Apple Music and Airplay 2 too OUTSIDE of the walls... where they also readily work with pretty much every other source of music too?
  • don't want a speaker with at least an AUX input for the time (that you know is coming for sure) when Apple will no longer be updating the "smarts"... and then vintaging it?
If so, great: HPs are very good sounding speakers that "just work" deep within the walled garden. Enjoy them to the fullest.

However, if not, there are PLENTY of fish in this sea and the Apple premium can buy a LOT of quality from other guys.

Obviously IMO: all should "think different" and choose wisely. HPs may be best choice for some... but not for all. Just because they have an Apple logo on them doesn't make them the one and only choice for any speaker application.
 
Last edited:

Mark Holmes

macrumors regular
Sep 22, 2010
144
631
San Diego CA
That's all good but you could grant your wish now (or years ago) by not being so focused on speakers only from Apple. Apple has shown no interest for home theater setups, nor are there any rumors. However, there are PLENTY of other players focused as narrowly as solely on speakers who do put considerable mind to delivering real, full, complete surround sound setups. Their software to support that already exists and is already refined.

Some of them directly support Airplay 2 for that very same benefit offered by HPs. Some directly support Apple Music too, but are also up to wide open in support of many other providers of music (without having to rely on an Airplay workaround as is the case with HPs). While none come with Siri, one can use the Siri they already have in iPhone, iPad, Mac or AppleTV to be the Siri "smarts" if you think Siri is smart.

Many are not margin maximizers like Apple, so that more of the money paid is actually buying speaker instead of padding Apple's very deep pockets.

I'm about an Apple-everything guy with most of my setup but Apple is treating HPs like a hobby. Apple has already illustrated that they will quickly drop HPs if sales are not high enough AND that subsequent versions will not be able to pair with existing versions. Since HPs are based in an iOS core, they will likely be made obsolete by software FARRRRRRRRR before the speakers themselves are worn out (good speakers can sound just as good as new for upwards of decades but we know very well that Apple likes to kill all support for products at around 7 years or so).

I know we Apple people are almost programmed to buy Apple and only Apple no matter what they choose to sell. I get it. But this is a product Apple seems to barely care about. Many other player's businesses depend on their speakers, so they very much care about their offerings. There are no distractions for countless other kinds of products including the bread & butter product. For these other players, speakers are their iPhone.

I encourage anyone reading this to give great thought to this purchase. This is not a phone or a Mac. Generally speakers should easily outlast either of those by at least several generations. With what should be such a long life product, are you sure you:
  • want to consider only one that will almost certainly be obsoleted long before its hardware becomes unable to play great sound?
  • want to go stereo only for home theater when we've had at least 5.1 setups since about 1991?
  • want THIS product to be very firmly locked into the walled garden when many others offer Apple Music and Airplay 2 too OUTSIDE of the walls... where they also readily work with pretty much every other source of music too.
  • don't want a speaker with at least an AUX input for the time (that you know is coming) when Apple will no longer be updating the "smarts"... and then vintaging it?
If so, great: HPs are very good sounding speakers that "just work" deep within the walled garden. Enjoy them to the fullest. However, if not, there are PLENTY of fish in this sea and the Apple premium can buy a LOT of quality from other guys. IMO: all should "think different" and choose wisely.
Yep - I do agree with you:
"If so, great: HPs are very good sounding speakers that "just work" deep within the walled garden. Enjoy them to the fullest. However, if not, there are PLENTY of fish in this sea and the Apple premium can buy a LOT of quality from other guys. IMO: all should "think different" and choose wisely."
Not a home theater aficionado - just need something that is "good enough", takes up little space, is wireless and requires very little to no set-up. I suspect we are the perfect target market for Apple.
 
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