Apple expelled its much-hyped HomePod orator to the masses last week, and the ubiquitous accord among early reviews is that it sounds glorious for a comparatively tiny device. But many of those reviews seem to have avoided making accurate measurements of the HomePod’s audio output, instead relying on personal knowledge to give universal impressions.
That’s not a sum disaster: a ubiquitous order for orator contrast is that while it’s good to stamp out any outward means that may means a lopsided result, making definitive, “objective” claims is difficult. A speaker’s sound mostly depends on the room in which it’s placed. Its vicinity to walls, the surface on which it’s rested, either or not you have a carpet—all of this can change what sounds make it to your ears and so how you understand its performance. And no two people’s bedrooms are wholly alike.
But having some correct measurements is important. Reddit user WinterCharm, whose real name is Fouzan Alam, has done just that in a truly large examination for the site’s “r/audiophile” sub. And if his results are to be believed, those early reviews may be underselling the HomePod’s sonic abilities. After a series of tests with a calibrated microphone in an untreated room, Alam found the HomePod to sound better than the KEF X300A, a generally well-regarded bookshelf orator that retails for $999.
What’s more, Alam’s measurements found the HomePod to yield a “near-perfectly prosaic magnitude response,” definition it stays accurate to a given lane but pulling the treble, mids, or drum to an assumed degree. He concludes that the digital vigilance estimate tech the HomePod uses to “self-calibrate” its sound to its vicinity allows it to stir at all volumes and in tricky environments. “The HomePod is 100% an audiophile class speaker,” he writes. The examination has copiousness of vernacular that’ll go over the conduct of infrequent readers—it’s r/audiophile, after all—but it’s positively worth a examination for any audio lovers meddlesome in Apple’s latest.
To be transparent: I’m in the routine of reviewing the HomePod for Ars, and my contrast hasn’t wholly lined up with Alam’s results. Without giving too much away, it’s mostly offset and positively abounding for its size, but the new orator doesn’t tumble into that prosaic category, let alone “perfectly flat.” My ears hear a slight lift in the low midrange and some blank fact in the treble, as if it’s rather veiled.
For now, I’d contend the HomePod is positively considerable given its healthy restrictions, but we wouldn’t call it an audiophile dream machine. The fact that it can’t nonetheless do stereo pairing with another HomePod doesn’t help. Consumer Reports says it has had identical results, yet its testers found the Sonos One to be better, and we generally remonstrate with that conclusion.
The takeaway from all this? It’s formidable to contend what your ears will hear from a orator until you actually use it. Still, Alam’s contrast does put in the work, and the HomePod is certainly strong—at slightest when it comes to sound. We’ll have the full examination soon.