HomePod Questionable sound quality for Homepod

cal321

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 25, 2014
29
3
Just having a read of the review from Wired here: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/first-listen-apple-homepod who are fairly critical over the sound quality, in particular the mid range.

Since Apple has a reputation of cosying up with journalists, I do question how much we can read into the many positive pre-reviews already published. If there is a negligible sound difference between Sonos One and Homepod, I think Apple is going to struggle to convince even its most loyal customers.
 
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AustinIllini

macrumors demi-goddess
Oct 20, 2011
12,020
9,174
Austin, TX
Just having a read of the review from Wired here: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/first-listen-apple-homepod who are fairly critical over the sound quality, in particular the mid range.

Since Apple has a reputation of cosying up with journalists, I do question how much we can read into the many positive pre-reviews already published. If there is a negligible sound difference between Sonos One and Homepod, I think Apple is going to struggle to convince even its most loyal customers.
This is the case for any Apple product. Everyone covers them.

Generally speaking, if you're looking for a good review:
  • Avoid reviewers that have Apple references in their name (Macrumors is actually a decent exception) like 9to5mac, iMore.
  • Avoid reviews from professed fan sites
  • For something like a HomePod, pay a fair deal of attention to CNET, theVerge, Wired (general tech reviewers)
  • Pay honest attention to more serious reviewers like audioholics...
 

AustinIllini

macrumors demi-goddess
Oct 20, 2011
12,020
9,174
Austin, TX
Just having a read of the review from Wired here: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/first-listen-apple-homepod who are fairly critical over the sound quality, in particular the mid range.

Since Apple has a reputation of cosying up with journalists, I do question how much we can read into the many positive pre-reviews already published. If there is a negligible sound difference between Sonos One and Homepod, I think Apple is going to struggle to convince even its most loyal customers.
I think the biggest problem is Sonos has long positioned itself as the "Apple of wireless speakers" with great quality devices with great sounds, multiroom, and the option to create a designated wireless network for Sonos. They are just so far ahead.

Apple's only real hope is that Sonos continues to be Sonos, which tends to move at a glacial pace when it comes to new product development. I would expect the next Sonos speaker (I'm guessing SONOS Three) would be a smart HomePod competitor.
 
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AustinIllini

macrumors demi-goddess
Oct 20, 2011
12,020
9,174
Austin, TX
Given the amount of payed advertisement reviews they publish now, I wouldn't put too much stock into this site either.
Compared to the true fansites like iMore, macrumors is a great source for reviews.

That being said, HomePod in particular is getting so much press about sound quality, you have to go to an audiophile review site to get a good review.
 
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BlueGoldAce

macrumors 68000
Oct 11, 2011
1,949
1,454
I ordered the Homepod, but I am seriously considering cancelling it for the pair of Sonos Ones for $349. Sonos ones with Alexa (and google assitant in the future) will offer superior "smarts" for my house (ios and android/window devices, nest, etc).

I bet the homepod sounds better than ONE Sono's One...but two Sonos ones? I don't see how the homepod cant beat a pair in stereo mode.
 

AustinIllini

macrumors demi-goddess
Oct 20, 2011
12,020
9,174
Austin, TX
I ordered the Homepod, but I am seriously considering cancelling it for the pair of Sonos Ones for $349. Sonos ones with Alexa (and google assitant in the future) will offer superior "smarts" for my house (ios and android/window devices, nest, etc).

I bet the homepod sounds better than ONE Sono's One...but two Sonos ones? I don't see how the homepod cant beat a pair in stereo mode.
It might, but the price of expansion for a HomePod setup is stupid expensive as there are no "budget" devices related to HomePod.

My only fear with Sonos is they get outspent by the big players and get put out of business. The reality is, though, Sonos devices have an insanely long support life.
 

vertical smile

macrumors 601
Sep 23, 2014
4,713
5,780
Just having a read of the review from Wired here: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/first-listen-apple-homepod who are fairly critical over the sound quality, in particular the mid range.

Since Apple has a reputation of cosying up with journalists, I do question how much we can read into the many positive pre-reviews already published. If there is a negligible sound difference between Sonos One and Homepod, I think Apple is going to struggle to convince even its most loyal customers.
That's how you make a small speaker sound big. Boost lows and highs and remove some mid-range.
I have noticed this is true for many sound devices over the past decade.

About 6 years ago, due to many noise complaints from one of my neighbors, I decided to replace my aging, but decent audio/video 5.1 receiver for a much simpler sound bar system.

I had so much trouble finding one that I liked, as I purchased and returned 4 different brands/models before settling on one that was expensive, but sound just okay.

All of the ones I returned was missing mids, but had decent highs.

I think this is due to compact design of the devices.

Btw, the one I settled on had okay mids, but the highs could be better. I wished I could have both. Also, all the ones I returned had very high customer ratings, so I guess having a good range isn't that important to most people.
 

actcyclist

macrumors 6502
Jun 10, 2017
301
371
The CNET review said that the Amazon Echo, at a third of the price, sounds pretty good (not as good, but not bad) compared to the HomePod.
That is the type of comment I pay attention to because the Echo also has far better voice recognition and services.
 
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The Game 161

macrumors Core
Dec 15, 2010
22,158
11,699
UK
I trust what serenity Caldwell in what she says about the sound. She went in not very convinced about the HomePod going into it after having Sonos but has been surprised how good the sound quality is

I’m sure more reviews will come out soon and for those who have pre ordered That’s who’s opinion matters the most
 

Q-Dog

macrumors 6502a
Sep 9, 2007
603
667
I'm thinking of getting one for my kitchen. It sounds perfect for that. I already have more expensive speakers in my living room.
 
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BMcCoy

macrumors 68000
Jun 24, 2010
1,600
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If there's anything I've learned about hi-fi/speaker sound quality, it's that only your own ears will tell you if it's good enough quality for you, and only then when it's in the room and position you want it to be.

Objective reviews from people who know what they're talking about are very valuable, of course, when you're researching new products, etc.

But like many things in life, from music to art to ice-cream.
If you like it, then that's kind of all that matters.
And if you don't like it, that's okay too. You don't have to then go and criticise someone else who does like it..

Forums are full of confirmation bias, and validation-seeking. People naturally seek other people to agree with them. It's normal, and we've all done it. But don't let it influence you entirely! :)
 

Unknown_X

macrumors newbie
May 8, 2017
8
1
Hey, Considering me as a Spotify user and an Iphone user, should i wait for the HomePod or get a Beolit 17 instead?
 

jclardy

macrumors 68040
Oct 6, 2008
3,451
2,193
I have a Play:1 where my HomePod is going, so I'll be a/b testing them. For me it needs to be significantly better to keep it. I also have a Play:5 but I doubt it will hold up to that...but I'll try it out.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,803
33,773
Boston
Yes but without midrange it will sound like cr^p. I will keep my Sonos.
I don't have sonos, but I have to believe it will sound better then my Echo, especially my Echo dot. I have that in my kitchen playing andI was a bit disappointed by the sound quality. I know its a hockey puck sized product so I shouldn't be. Its still a great addition
 

Newtons Apple

Suspended
Mar 12, 2014
22,757
15,222
Jacksonville, Florida
I don't have sonos, but I have to believe it will sound better then my Echo, especially my Echo dot. I have that in my kitchen playing andI was a bit disappointed by the sound quality. I know its a hockey puck sized product so I shouldn't be. Its still a great addition
I listen to my Echo Dot's music every morning, right after my Fox News Flash. I love the products and have an echo, Show, Spot and Dot in the bathroom. I listen to way more music on my Amazon speakers vs the Sonos. But on the weekend I sit in my living room with high ceilings and wood floors for acoustics and rock out. Near as good as the best headphones.
 

canyonblue737

macrumors 65816
Jan 10, 2005
1,133
865
I'm very interested in the sound quality, I actually ordered two, one for our master bedroom and the kitchen. Currently BOTH locations have the 1st generation Sonos Play:5 speakers there so I am *very* skeptical the HomePod can match *but* we often play those speakers on low volumes so I don't think it will make a perceptible difference how WE use it. If it can play loud and fill the room and be in the same conversation as the Play:5 I will have made a good choice, since frankly these are smaller and better looking with seamless Siri voice control of our Apple Music.

I have been waiting for years for voice control over MUSIC via Apple Music which my family uses. We do have 8 Echo Dots around the house for our whole house lighting and environmental control as well as general info, "what's the weather?", but I neither want to listen to music on the tinny speakers NOR pay for Amazon Music since we are sold on Apple Music. We do have the 2 Play:5 speakers as well as another 4 Play:1s but none of them will support the coming Airplay 2 (you need a Play One or second gen Play:5) and we have been waiting a long time for seamless control of MUSIC via voice in our house.

I am disappointed by the lack of Airplay 2 and whole house audio at launch of the HomePod but it does seem its not far behind since iOS 11.3 due this spring appears to have it. I could see our house having in the end about 4-5 HomePods + the fleet of cheapo Echo Dots and me selling all the Sonos stuff but I'll see how the sound quality and software updates to the HomePods shake out.
 

8CoreWhore

macrumors 68020
Jan 17, 2008
2,280
398
Big D
Just having a read of the review from Wired here: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/first-listen-apple-homepod who are fairly critical over the sound quality, in particular the mid range.

Since Apple has a reputation of cosying up with journalists, I do question how much we can read into the many positive pre-reviews already published. If there is a negligible sound difference between Sonos One and Homepod, I think Apple is going to struggle to convince even its most loyal customers.
Of all the reviews, they are the ONLY ones to mention midrange. It could be his ears.
Read this: https://www.reddit.com/r/audiophile/comments/7t51a2/nda_is_up_what_can_i_tell_you_guys_about_the/
 

TheColtr

macrumors 6502
Feb 1, 2014
368
273
California
It might, but the price of expansion for a HomePod setup is stupid expensive as there are no "budget" devices related to HomePod.

My only fear with Sonos is they get outspent by the big players and get put out of business. The reality is, though, Sonos devices have an insanely long support life.
Keep in mind there were a lot of companies, including sonos, who announced AirPlay 2 compatibility. Meaning multi room could be done with a HomePod in the living room, sonos one in the office, and a future beats speaker in the bedroom, for example.

Because HomePod is the only Airplay 2 speaker currently going to be on the market everyone looks to it as the only product, which won’t be true for long.
 
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maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,803
33,773
Boston
Because HomePod is the only Airplay 2 speaker currently going to be on the market everyone looks to it as the only product, which won’t be true for long.
Conversely, the other products will support other services/platforms/protocols where as the HomePod limits itself to Apple only
 
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canyonblue737

macrumors 65816
Jan 10, 2005
1,133
865
Keep in mind there were a lot of companies, including sonos, who announced AirPlay 2 compatibility. Meaning multi room could be done with a HomePod in the living room, sonos one in the office, and a future beats speaker in the bedroom, for example.

Because HomePod is the only Airplay 2 speaker currently going to be on the market everyone looks to it as the only product, which won’t be true for long.
It will be interesting to better understand just what Airplay 2 can do with Sonos... here is my understanding, tell me if I am wrong...

1. Only the Sonos Play One, Playbase, and Play:5 Gen 2 will be compatible with AirPlay 2. (Play:1, Play:3, Play:5 Gen 1, PlayBar, Connect, Connect:Amp all will NOT be compatible.)

2. Sonos says you "may" be able to use Airplay 2 to control a device which is not compatible with Airplay 2 if it is grouped together with a device that IS compatible with Airplay 2. They haven't committed to this and even then it is limiting obviously.

3. You will not be able to talk to your Sonos Airplay 2 devices with the "Hey Siri" command. You will have to talk to an iOS device, Apple Watch, or HomePod and then use the name of your Sonos Airplay 2 device to control it. For example saying "Hey Siri" to your HomePod in the living room "Play U2 in my bedroom" which has a Sonos Airplay 2 device will work. Actually being in your bedroom and saying that will NOT work, you'll have to talk to your iPhone or Apple Watch in that case. That may not seem like a big deal but it can be a pain and limits you to family members with compatible devices, unlike anyone including guests who can talk to HomePod.

Basically what I am saying is this... Sonos will work with Airplay 2 eventually but there will be significant limitations in hardware and software. I agree, if you have a bunch of Sonos "Gen 2" Airplay 2 compatible speakers then it is nice to be able to at least work them into your Apple Airplay 2 system, just don't expect that by buying a Sonos Play One speaker today you will be getting the same seamless Apple Music experience that HomePod gets you when Airplay 2 launches.
 

daijholt

macrumors 65816
Jun 14, 2013
1,113
340
Wales, UK
Same here, we have it going in the kitchen and its been good. Given the low price tag, its not something that I had high expecations on the sound quality.
I think this kind of thing really depends on the expectation you have, based on your experience.

I’ve produced music; so listening for the intricate details and musical balance is something I notice. Most regular people wouldn’t be that attuned to it because they’ve never needed to be.

When I got an echo dot and started playing music, I was nearly sick with how bad it sounded to my ears and it was back in the box within 30 minutes. The Sonos One however is a brilliant sounding speaker; the output is extremely well developed.

To most people, I feel like the sound quality of the all new echo is “good enough”. I also feel like Apple are smart enough to know this, so I don’t think HomePod is being aimed at the mass market, just a subset of it, at least for now.
 
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