The HomePod has landed

Discussion in 'Digital Sources' started by uofmtiger, Feb 9, 2018.

  1. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

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    Well, I got my HomePod tonight. Just some initial impressions:

    1. Sound quality is out of this world for a speaker this size. It is unbelievable, to be honest. Clean with punchy bass from a speaker with a 5.6 inch base!

    2. Apple Music commands - I tested it with playlists, albums, artists, songs, general categories like "play jazz" and it never missed a beat.

    3. Airplay - like any other Airplay speaker. I tested it with my J River skill and Plex skill on the AppleTV/Echo Dot and it worked without an issue. I tested it with Tidal from my Mac....no issues. Still looking forward to Airplay 2.

    4. HomeKit - Works fast with Hue Bulbs. No complaints, so far.

    5. measurement conversions and setting a timer - no issues

    6. trivia - pretty bad compared to Alexa and Home in this area. Not a big deal because I am keeping my Dots around for "skills" and my Home Mini is gathering dust.

    7. Setup was simple. Took maybe three minutes. You don't have to put in passwords, it gets them from the iPhone/iPad.

    8. Volume - loud enough for my needs (my gf has asked me to turn it down already), but no where close to a receiver.

    9. Podcasts played without a problem.

    10. It hears commands over music better than Alexa.

    Downside is that it is so easy to use, that I have been listening to my girlfriend’s music for the last 30 minutes. It is the first time she has used AirPlay and I have had Airplay in several devices for several years.:p
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018

     

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  2. chicks

    chicks Lunatic Member

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    Fun! For the room tuning, is there a process it goes through at startup, or is it doing that while music plays?
     
  3. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

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    It does it on its own. If you move it, there is a gyroscope and other tech so that it knows it has moved. Apparently, there is some sort of spacial awareness that is always alert. I have only heard Rene Ritchie talk about it, but I bet there is an in depth article on the web somewhere.

    We have been playing music all night. Typically, my girlfriend likes me to use headphones.
     
  4. chicks

    chicks Lunatic Member

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    From The Forbes article:

    6 The tone HomePod is going for isn’t neutral, it’s faithful

    Tuning to taste is a part of designing a speaker. Some companies, like Sonos, for instance, aim for an entirely neutral sound. Apple seems to have gone for something subtly different, partly made possible by that A8 chip again. Apple talks about staying true to the original recording, rather than neutral. By analyzing every song as it plays, the idea is to divine what the intention of the particular mix in each track is and then trying to reproduce it as faithfully as possible. Added to this is the facility to bounce background elements off the back wall to create ambiance and throw the main vocals into greater relief.


    I've always believed neutral was what was best, along with DSP room correction, but this approach is interesting. Reminds me of the old Bose Direct-reflecting scheme of their 901s, which they wound up suing Consumer Reports over. Obviously this is far more sophisticated than Bose's crude approach. Will be interesting to see what CR thinks once they fully test these.
     
  5. +48V

    +48V hi-fi or die

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    :beerchug:
    OMFG I'm ordering one right now! ...not, LOL

    grats!
     
  6. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

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    I wonder if Stereophile or Wired will dig into exactly what is going on? Rene Ritchie tried to describe it, but he isn’t an audiophile, so maybe someone like JA at Stereophile (if he is still around) can dig into the details. In any case, it sounds like a much larger speaker that is less picky about where it is placed.
    :pIt was definitely an unusual evening, we listen to music all night. I can’t remember the last time that happened.
     

     

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  7. Condorsat

    Condorsat Audio Enthusiast

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    This product would present no interest to me at all ... that's just me.
    Maybe I was traumatized ... as a child ... by the Zager and Evans tune in 1969.o_O ;);)



    My wife would like this though ... I'll probably look into getting her one at some point in the future. I believe she would love it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
  8. VinylDan1

    VinylDan1 Active Member

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    I bought one to replace a Pioneer XW-SMA4 AirPlay speaker that was very unreliable when it came to its wireless connection (It did top out at Wireless G). I am pretty knowledgable when it comes to audio, I have quite a few systems around the house of varying expense but I am not trying to say I am an expert. The HomePod is in my bedroom where the Pioneer used to be on the dresser across the room. I like it so far, but it does sound thinner then the Pioneer did, and it doesn't get nearly as loud. It has nice base and a crystal clear top end, but the mids are not there. I prefer a detailed sound compared to a warm sound, so the difference doesn't bother me that much. It does fill the room, sounds like a virtual surround system almost. The bedroom is the master bedroom, I have the HomePod around 70-75 percent volume and it is still not as loud as the Pioneer when it was at half. Over all I probably prefer the Pioneer's sound just a tad, but as long as the HomePod doesn't give me any trouble I will be more than happy with the compromise. I bought a homekit light bulb to play around with as well. Also for comparisons, I have an Echo dot that I never use, not sure if Siri will prove more or less useful. I bought the HomePod for a wireless speaker first, Siri second as it was designed.
     
  9. WillVT

    WillVT Well-Known Member

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    I just read that you can pair 2 together and they will work in stereo mode.
    I have a Echo, but I never really use it for music. Podcasts occasionally. It would be interesting to hear the homepod in stereo.
     
  10. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

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    Condorsat likes this.
  11. satkinsn

    satkinsn low end audio Subscriber

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  12. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

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    I scanned the review and it is a fair article. I don’t know that it is more lonely than the Apple Watch, though. The Apple Watch requires an iPhone and only plays Apple Music on the go. The HomePod is available to any music service that works with AirPlay (that is all of them, for those keeping track). It can be used with an iPad instead requiring only an iPhone. Apple knows the sales #s for the Apple Watch ( estimates are at 18 million in sales in 2017), so they have modeled this device after the Apple Watch.

    The Verge says as much about the Apple Watch in a recent article:

    “And of course, there is that caveat that the only streaming music service you can play from the watch right now is Apple’s. So yes: this is one of those things where if you have an Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE, and you have an iPhone to pair it with, and you pay $10 per month for Apple Music, and maybe you also have AirPods that connect to the smartwatch super quickly, then this is going to feel like a value add. If, if, if you’re locked inside the Apple universe.”
    https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/5/16851062/apple-watch-series-3-lte-music-streaming-apps

    Apple has been extremely successful by building up their ecosystem and leveraging it to sell products and services. I don’t see them changing that. For those that use Apple Music, this is a great little speaker. For those that don’t, there is Sonos One, the Echo Dot, or even the Google Home. There isn’t a choice that works with every single service using on device mics or has Apple’s approach to privacy, so you have to pick your poison or pick a combination of devices to get all the features you want.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
  13. kray

    kray HE>i Subscriber

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    Great detailed write up and analysis here.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/audiophile/comments/7wwtqy/apple_homepod_the_audiophile_perspective/

    TL;DR

    I am speechless. The HomePod actually sounds better than the KEF X300A. 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. The HomePod is 100% an Audiophile grade Speaker.
     
  14. chicks

    chicks Lunatic Member

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    Looks like Tom Holman was deeply involved in the design. An impressive resume, clearly knows how to shape audio.
     
  15. ictwoody

    ictwoody I like vintage gear — my preamp is from 2007. Subscriber

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  16. KeninDC

    KeninDC Speedfreak Jive Subscriber

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    Thanks for posting your thoughts. I've been noticing (and occasionally saying here on AK) that Apple device SQ keeps getting better and better. My firm uses Apple products. We run Sonos right now. Might have to bring a new pod to work and see/hear what happens.

    [​IMG]
     

     

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  17. kray

    kray HE>i Subscriber

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  18. chicks

    chicks Lunatic Member

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    Interesting. Can't get a more objective review elsewhere, that's certain. David Pogue's blind test confirms CR's results.

    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/head-head-apple-homepod-really-sound-best-160346138.html

    Will stick to Sonos for the kitchen, office, and bedrooms, and the QUADs for the main system.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
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  19. ictwoody

    ictwoody I like vintage gear — my preamp is from 2007. Subscriber

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    Yeah. That’s what I was saying. They seemed a bit quick to declare it amazballs. I’m just saying that I think the reviews of the sound quality are going to be all over the board.

    - Woody
     
  20. kray

    kray HE>i Subscriber

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    Did you read the detailed testing done from my post? With technical analysis and actual frequency testing, etc.

    Maybe CR and Pogue are use to hearing over colored sound, no?

    Maybe take a listen for yourself? Even a Sonus engineer said the HomePod sound quality is amazing.

    Here's another consumer based site that calls it the Sonus "killer", (sarcasm)s o maybe that will change your mind :D (/sarcasm)
    http://www.techradar.com/news/apple-homepod-isnt-an-amazon-echo-rival-its-a-sonos-killer
     

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