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temende

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 28, 2021
321
1,368
I'm going to hold on to my two OG HomePods for as long as possible because they sound amazing and required 0 setup. But the writing is on the wall and eventually I'll need to a look for a long-term alternative. I know nothing about audio / home theater and am fine paying any amount of $$ to get an equivalent setup that sounds just as good and ideally requires very little setup. Please offer suggestions/advice!
 

Itinj24

Contributor
Nov 8, 2017
4,497
2,576
New York

MajorFubar

macrumors 68020
Oct 27, 2021
2,127
3,748
Lancashire UK
To answer your headline question in a literal sense: "What other audio system sounds as good for music as 2 stereo OG HomePods?", there are about 10-million different permutations of real-hifi separates from the last 60 years to present day that will utterly waste the homepods on sound-quality alone.
But that's probably not the answer you were looking for.
EDIT: just for clarity, I accept the homepods have their uses and i'm not dissing them, but if we're talking sound-quality above all other factors, it's really not hard to spend probably less money on gear, especially 2nd hand gear, that will absolutely bury them in the ground.
 
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w5jck

Suspended
Nov 9, 2013
1,516
1,933
To expand on @MajorFubar's statement, no all-in-one speaker system like a HomePod will ever come close to a system with a good receiver and speakers that are separated far enough apart to actually sound great. The HomePods were sold for $300, so $600 will buy you a better sound system than two HomePods. But if the two homePods make you happy, then I hope they last a long time. BTW, I wouldn't put any validity in anything Gurman and Kuo say as those guys mostly guess, and they are wrong at least as often as they are right.
 
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Itinj24

Contributor
Nov 8, 2017
4,497
2,576
New York
To expand on @MajorFubar's statement, no all-in-one speaker system like a HomePod will ever come close to a system with a good receiver and speakers that are separated far enough apart to actually sound great. The HomePods were sold for $300, so $600 will buy you a better sound system than two HomePods. But if the two homePods make you happy, then I hope they last a long time. BTW, I wouldn't put any validity in anything Gurman and Kuo say as those guys mostly guess, and they are wrong at least as often as they are right.
There is a website that actually tracks their accuracy and they are both well over 50%

 
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cateye

macrumors 6502a
Oct 18, 2011
666
2,598
Understanding how component audio works and not relying on all-in-one solutions is, IMO, well worth the time and effort. As others have said, a carefully considered stereo or multichannel audio setup will completely destroy a HomePod for audio quality and flexibility. But building that system, like doing anything the "right" way, takes time, research, and likely a greater investment than $600, and only you can decide what is most important—absolute quality, or your time spent achieving it?

If you're really committed to buy, plug-in, and run away, Sonos is your best bet. Are there ways in which the HomePod is better than most Sonos gear? Yes. But in terms of ease of setup and use, there's not much else on the market that's plug-and-play but with a focus on audio quality. And Sonos has a good range of options that allow you to tailor your setup without a ton of fuss.
 
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wilberforce

macrumors 68030
Aug 15, 2020
2,894
3,166
SF Bay Area
I have Sonos and while they are good for what they are, they are not in the same league as a real home theater audio system, even a very moderately priced one.
In my opinion, audio quality is far more important than video quality for the home theater experience. I would spend twice as much on audio as on the video (monitor), and spend far more time positioning and planning for the audio. Most people get it completely the wrong way round, and add a few speakers as an afterthought.
You also cannot defeat physics. You cannot put big (wide frequency) sound in small plastic boxes using small drivers, despite what the marketing says (and your interior decorator wants).
 
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BrianBaughn

macrumors G3
Feb 13, 2011
9,700
2,450
Baltimore, Maryland
I don't have a HomePod. I have a couple of Kali Audio nearfield monitors. I'm sure HomePods wouldn't come close to those when I'm sitting at my computer but I can imagine that a HomePod or something similar might sound better from across the room.
 

Rychiar

macrumors 68030
May 16, 2006
2,690
5,871
Waterbury, CT
I would never have anything less than a real home theater setup in my living room. I have HomePods in every room of the house though for airplay 2 music all around
 

ozsmac

macrumors newbie
Jul 11, 2020
17
6
I also have two OG Homepods in a pair in our family room, and to be honest they are all that I need 98% of the time. The only time they aren't quite up to speed for me, is if we are watching a big movie and want even bigger sound, but this is so infrequent that further investment (our other room has a fairly good Bose system also) is not warranted at this point in time.

One day the OG Homepods will struggle I'm sure, Sonos would be the likely replacement, if it happened today the Arc + Subwoofer would be on the short list. Not sure what else.
 
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