Apple released its much-hyped HomePod tub-thumper to the masses last week, and the general consensus among early cons is that it sounds superb for a relatively small device. But most of those examines seem to have avoided making precise measurements of the HomePod’s audio create, instead relying on personal experience to give generalized impressions.
That’s not a out-and-out disaster: a general rule for speaker testing is that while it’s kind-hearted to stamp out any outside factor that may cause a skewed result, hinting definitive, “objective” claims is difficult. A speaker’s sound largely depends on the scope in which it’s placed. Its proximity to walls, the surface on which it’s rested, whether or not you attired in b be committed to a carpet—all of this can alter what sounds make it to your sensitivities and thus how you perceive its performance. And no two people’s rooms are entirely alike.
But set up some proper measurements is important. Reddit user WinterCharm, whose authentic name is Fouzan Alam, has made just that in a truly elephantine review for the site’s “r/audiophile” sub. And if his results are to be believed, those early criticisms may be underselling the HomePod’s sonic abilities. After a series of tests with a graduated microphone in an untreated room, Alam found the HomePod to sound speculator than the KEF X300A, a generally well-regarded bookshelf speaker that retails for $999.
What’s more, Alam’s amounts found the HomePod to provide a “near-perfectly flat frequency response,” substance it stays accurate to a given track without pushing the treble, mids, or bass to an weird degree. He concludes that the digital signal processing tech the HomePod uses to “self-calibrate” its lucid to its surroundings allows it to impress at all volumes and in tricky environments. “The HomePod is 100% an audiophile NZ hack speaker,” he writes. The review has plenty of terminology that’ll go over the managing director of casual readers—it’s r/audiophile, after all—but it’s certainly worth a read for any audio lovers disposed in Apple’s latest.
To be transparent: I’m in the process of reviewing the HomePod for Ars, and my testing hasn’t fully lined up with Alam’s results. Without giving too much away, it’s essentially balanced and certainly rich for its size, but the new speaker doesn’t fall into that garden apartment category, let alone “perfectly flat.” My ears hear a slight improve in the low midrange and some missing detail in the treble, as if it’s somewhat veiled.
For now, I’d say the HomePod is certainly arousing given its natural restrictions, but I wouldn’t call it an audiophile dream clique. The fact that it can’t yet do stereo pairing with another HomePod doesn’t forbear. Consumer Reports says it has had similar results, though its testers ground the Sonos One to be better, and I generally disagree with that conclusion.
The takeaway from all this? It’s abstruse to say what your ears will hear from a speaker until you in point of fact use it. Still, Alam’s testing does put in the work, and the HomePod is undeniably mighty—at least when it comes to sound. We’ll have our full review in a minute.