Enlarge / Apple’s new HomePod speaker retails for $350.


Apple launched its much-hyped HomePod speaker to the plenty final week, and the overall consensus amongst early critiques is that it sounds very good for a comparatively small system. However most of these critiques appear to have averted making exact measurements of the HomePod’s audio output, as an alternative counting on private expertise to offer generalized impressions.

That’s not a complete catastrophe: a basic rule for speaker testing is that whereas it’s good to stamp out any outdoors issue that will trigger a skewed consequence, making definitive, “goal” claims is troublesome. A speaker’s sound largely depends upon the room wherein it’s positioned. Its proximity to partitions, the floor on which it’s rested, whether or not or not you might have a carpet—all of this may alter what sounds make it to your ears and thus the way you understand its efficiency. And no two individuals’s rooms are fully alike.

However having some correct measurements is necessary. Reddit consumer WinterCharm, whose actual title is Fouzan Alam, has made simply that in a very huge evaluation for the positioning’s “r/audiophiles” sub. And if his outcomes are to be believed, these early critiques could also be underselling the HomePod’s sonic skills. After a collection of checks with a calibrated microphone in an untreated room, Alam discovered the HomePod to sound higher than the KEF X300A, a usually well-regarded bookshelf speaker that retails for $999.

What’s extra, Alam’s measurements discovered the HomePod to supply a “near-perfectly flat frequency response,” that means it stays correct to a given observe with out pushing the treble, mids, or bass to an unnatural diploma. He concludes that the digital sign processing tech the HomePod makes use of to “self-calibrate” its sound to its environment permits it to impress in any respect volumes and in difficult environments. “The HomePod is 100% an audiophile grade speaker,” he writes. The evaluation has loads of terminology that’ll go over the pinnacle of informal readers—it’s r/audiophiles, in any case—however it’s definitely price a learn for any audio lovers fascinated by Apple’s newest.

To be clear: I’m within the means of reviewing the HomePod for Ars, and my testing hasn’t fully lined up with Alam’s outcomes. With out giving an excessive amount of away, it’s largely balanced and positively wealthy for its dimension, however the brand new speaker doesn’t fall into that flat class, not to mention “completely flat.” My ears hear a slight raise within the low midrange and a few lacking element within the treble, as if it’s considerably veiled.

For now, I would say the HomePod is definitely spectacular given its pure restrictions, however I would not name it an audiophile dream machine. The truth that it may well’t but do stereo pairing with one other HomePod does not assist. Shopper Experiences says it has had comparable outcomes, although its testers discovered the Sonos One to be higher, and I usually disagree with that conclusion.

The takeaway from all this? It’s troublesome to say what your ears will hear from a speaker till you really use it. Nonetheless, Alam’s testing does put within the work, and the HomePod is undeniably sturdy—no less than with regards to sound. We’ll have our full evaluation quickly.


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