Apple HomePod: The audiophile perspective plus 8 1/2 hours of measurements; HomePod is 100% an audiophile-grade speaker

“Okay, everyone. Strap in. This is going to be long,” WinterCharm writes via Reddit. “After 8 1/2 hours of measurements, and over 6 hours of analysis, and writing, I finally ran out of wine.”

“I am speechless. The HomePod actually sounds better than the KEF X300A,” WinterCharm writes. ” If you’re new to the Audiophile world, KEF is a very well respected and much loved speaker company. I actually deleted my very first measurements and re-checked everything because they were so good, I thought I’d made an error.”

“Apple has managed to extract peak performance from a pint sized speaker, a feat that deserves a standing ovation,” WinterCharm writes. “The HomePod is 100% an Audiophile grade Speaker.”

Read more in the full article – recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yes, HomePod is that good. Better-than-KEF good and, therefore, great!

Just wait (a bit) until HomePods can be paired!

That’s the good news.

That the following paragraph is able to be written is an indictment of Apple’s management, or lack thereof, regarding Siri, an area where the company had a multi-year head start that they promptly squandered via lack of focus, laziness, distraction, and/or confusion:

As a product, the HomePod is also held back by Siri. Almost every review has complained about this, and they’re all right to do so. I’m hoping we see massive improvements to Siri this year at WWDC 2018. There is some great hardware at play, too. What’s truly impressive is that Siri can hear you if you speak in a normal voice, even if the HomePod is playing at full volume. I couldn’t even hear myself say “Hey Siri” over the music, but those directional microphones are really good at picking it up. Even whispers from across the room while I was facing AWAY from the HomePod were flawlessly picked up. The microphones are scary good — I just hope Apple improves Siri to match. — WinterCharm

26 Comments

  1. It’s an odd thing: some might not recognize how great the HomePod sounds because they’ll be disappointed about the “limited” Siri currently is.

    As KEF fan for over 30 years, saying the HomePod sounds better than KEF X300’s is saying something indeed. Maybe HomePod2 will equal the sound of KEF’s R300’s. That would be some engineering indeed. 🙂

    PS: for a fifth (or a tenth) of the amount of money Apple could have bought KEF instead of Beats and Apple fans would now have Apple branded headphones, speakers and smart speakers that sound ten times better than anything Beats could ever dream of. 🙂

  2. I’m certain Siri is not perfect, but Siri has been performing remarkably well on my Homepod so far…I was expecting the worst, but have been very pleasantly surprised with Siri so far.

    Siri sound quality is pretty darn good, but I believe placement matters. Getting a solid surface behind Siri really helps it shine.

    1. Same here. Siri seems to work better with the HP than with other iOS devices.
      Ditto with the placement; first on top of a low living room table near the center of the room, with disappointing sound. And later on a high shelf against a wall surface, with dramatic results. Much, much better sound then.

    1. Cherry Picking? I read the review cited. And I was unaware of these KEF X300A speakers that WinterCharm referenced. But guess what, my curiosity took over and I read reviews on those speakers as well. And the reviews of the KEF X300A speakers were rather good.

      I could accept your observation … if … WinterCharm’s opinions were “outside the norm” regarding the KEF speakers. If WinterCharm’s comments were really in the minority opinion consensus.

      That’s not the case here. And because of that, I can’t accept your assertion that this is a case of “cherry picking” by using one person’s opinion as “gospel”.

      You know what they say, “always get more than one medical opinion”. Well, in like manner, all read more than one review of anything, if possible. Regarding HomePods, WinterCharm’s opinions are in the majority of reviews posted. But unlike most reviews, WinterCharm actually backs up his viewpoints with scientific, documented test results.

    2. So, one person who has listened to the HomePod says they sound great.

      Someone else who has not listened to them disagrees.

      Who would you believe?

      Of course it is one person’s opinion. Speaker sound is largely a matter of subjective taste. Objective “data” is far less important than how they sound to the person who is listening to them.

      We have here someone who is obviously an audiophile, since he has paid for both a pair of KEF X300A speakers ($999.99 on Amazon) and a HomePod ($349 from Apple). He prefers the HomePod.

      We also have Fred, who may or may not have paid for anything more “audiophile” than a transistor radio, and who has almost certainly never heard an operating HomePod. He disagrees.

      Really?

  3. I’ll be glad to try a Homepod once it’s a mobile speaker. Even though I have a small apartment, I take my trusty Jabra Solemate (4 years and counting) to the kitchen, next to the shower or in the living room when needed. I’m not going to blast the volume just for it to be heard elsewhere and certainy won’t be unplugging and plugging it back in every time. Not to mention it’s $515 here in Poland!

    1. Keep your HP in the living room, and keep using your Jabra as you always have. I have a JBL speaker that I move around, but less now that I have a HP in my open living area, which covers living, dining, and kitchen. I now keep the JBL in the bathroom. You can actually play the HP and your portable speaker at the same time, and playing different songs from your library or Apple Music. I don’t play my 5 speaker stereo set up anymore. It is so much more convenient to command Siri anytime from all three areas I use it for. I can freely move around, and I always find myself in the ‘sweet’ spot, unlike my big stereo set up.

      1. Interesting setup. I’m interested in the HP but not enough to pay the ~$500 it costs here in Poland, maybe when prices come down or they come out with a portable version I can buy in the U.S.

  4. I purchased 2 Homepods and am pretty pleased so far. Siri seems to work really well (with my voice)….especially picking up voice requests from another room when music is pretty loud. My 5 yr old can control with Siri with few issues. My wife voice doesn’t seem to work that well with Siri. Strange.

    Its probably my old ears, but I’d say the sound is good but not incredible. Sound quality is a very ambiguous subjective quality and depends on your frame of reference. The HomePod is great compared to a another small, single speaker, but its certainly not gonna replace a decent home theatre system with multiple speakers and dedicated base.

    Not being able to play them in stereo or multi-room is very annoying.

    The Home app seems to be a bit finicky to connect to the speaker so you can manage them. It eventually connects but there is an annoying delay of ~10 seconds.

    Overall I’d give an 8/10. I still don’t understand why they didn’t just wait to release until 11.3 is available for stereo and multi-room support.

  5. I’m happy to have been proven right about HomePod. I knew the tech was impressive and now we have proper audio testing confirming how amazing HomePod actually is.

  6. I’d have to disagree the HomePod is nice and I actually think Siri works quite well on my HomePod versus my iPhone X however, in terms of sound quality although it’s nice it certainly isn’t a replacement for a home theater system

    1. “it certainly isn’t a replacement for a home theater system”… yet. Give it a few years and a few more models. Apple can apply this audio technology to an expanded set of HomePods in the coming years. I can’t imagine how good a couple of tower HomePods would sound. It would be insane.

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