“Apple’s HomePod is one of the best sounding smart speakers on the market, and the recent addition of stereo pairing with AirPlay 2 makes the setup even more engaging,” Max Yuryev writes for AppleInsider. “But how does a pair of HomePods stack up against a dedicated home theater system?”

“Obviously, the HomePod is unable to achieve true 5.1 channel surround sound, which uses 5 separate speakers and a subwoofer, but Apple’s devices do feature technology that bounces sound off walls and nearby objects to simulate a deep soundstage. With stereo pairing, HomePods detect each other and their respective placement in a a room, so they know exactly where to send different channels of sound for optimal audio reproduction,” Yuryev writes. “To be clear, this is not Apple’s attempt at 5.1 channel virtualization, but the solution does broaden HomePod’s soundstage considerably.”

“The surround sound system sounded amazing in all respects, as loud as a good movie theater but with a better surround sound experience since it is tuned to an exact point in space. Moving to the HomePod, we were in some cases surprised to hear crowd both in front and behind us. The vocals were clear, but not as crisp as we would like. We had a similar experience with the bass, which was present but not as visceral as the output from a dedicated woofer,” Yuryev writes. “The thing that was missing most was the volume. The built in speakers of any modern TV are at least twice, if not three times as loud as Apple’s max settings. Apple has a function built in to limit HomePod volume, but not to boost it. That’s a feature it needs to be a viable home theater solution.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We suspect that HomePod is finely tuned to present the maximun volume it can deliver without distortion, so no additional volume boost would be possible.