“Apple’s HomePod is easily the best sounding mainstream smart speaker ever,” Matthew Panzarino writes for TechCrunch. “It’s got better separation and bass response than anything else in its size and boasts a nuance and subtlety of sound that pays off the 7 years Apple has been working on it.”
MacDailyNews Take: Now it’s seven years. Up form six. Making not having multi-room and stereo paring at launch even more egregious. Steve Jobs would have lopped off heads.
“As a smart speaker, it offers best-in-class voice recognition, vastly outstripping the ability of other smart speakers to hear you trying to trigger a command at a distance or while music is playing, but its overall flexibility is stymied by the limited command sets that the Siri protocol offers,” Panzarino writes. “Buy a HomePod if you already have Apple Music or you want to have it and you’re in the market for a single incredibly over-designed and radically impressive speaker that will give you really great sound with basically no tuning, fussing, measuring or tweaking.”
“I come at this thing having sold high end audio equipment for around 7 years about 15 years ago. During my time in the home audio business I spent countless hours listening to and learning about loudspeakers of all kinds from $50 bookshelf models up to $20,000 Meridian system,” Panzarino writes. “The sound that comes from the HomePod can best be described as precise. It’s not as loud as some others like Google Home Max or as bright (and versatile) as the Sonos Play 1, but it destroys the muddy sound of less sophisticated options like the Amazon Echo. To genuinely fill a large room you need two but anyone in a small house or apartment will get great sound from one.”
“The HomePod will even listen to the audio that comes back to determine the audio signature of the surfaces off of which it’s reflecting. In a reductive way, the HomePod is sensing what kinds of surfaces make up your room and compensating for them to eliminate echo and unwanted reverberation and to determine what slices of audio are best served by playing off of their nature. It does this by sending out and separately considering seven different sources of audio from each speaker and listening back to those. Each one can be treated as a separate entity and tweaked to play different segments of an audio track depending on its position close to a wall or away from it,” Panzarino writes. “All of that processing that is being done by the A8 chip on board is why there is no EQ on the HomePod. Where would you even start ‘tuning’ something that is making continuous and ongoing adjustments with every track and environment? I love a good bunch of sliders as much as the next person, but I also understand why they’re not here.”
Tons more in the full article – recommended – here.
MacDailyNews Take: Again, there’s only one* smart speaker for Apple Music members: HomePod.
*until inexplicably tardy Apple gets around to enabling multi-room and stereo pairing.
TechCrunch reviews Apple’s HomePod: Easily the best sounding mainstream smart speaker ever – February 6, 2018
WSJ reviews Apple’s HomePod: Sounds far better than the popular smart speakers from Amazon, Google, and Sonos – February 6, 2018
CNET reviews Apple’s HomePod: Strong wireless speaker with awesome sound – February 6, 2018
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Arlene M.” for the heads up.]