There are already several personal digital assistant speaker devices on the market, so with Apple’s new Siri speaker the HomePod, is it possible that it can delivery great audio that is on par with the best HiFi speakers?
Apparently it was a goal of Tim Cook’s—CEO of Apple—that their latest home speaker must deliver great audio. According to Tim, Apple cares about music, so it was important for the latest Apple speaker to deliver a fantastic audio experience in the home.
The HomePod is a single cylindrical-shaped speaker encompassed by a seamless mesh fabric design. Inside are the components to create great sound. It contains an Apple-designed A8 chip. At the very top of the speaker is a high-excursion woofer. Around the middle is a six-microphone array, and around the base of the speaker is a seven tweeter array. The microphones are apparently used by the speaker to get a feel for the shape and size of a room, as well as for the Siri app.
Expect to be set back about $349 with Apple’s HomePod. It’s no surprise that the HomePod costs considerably more than the Google Home for $130, or the Amazon Echo at $180.
In order to compare the HomePod with HiFi speakers, it’s important to compare it with other speaker devices on the market today. The Apple HomePod has been compared to the Echo and the Sonos Play 3 to see how it compares. The Apple HomePod certainly needs to live up to its price tag.
First of all, the Echo isn’t really competition for Apple. It may be a clever device, but it’s a crude speaker at best. But the Sonos Play 3 may just be a serious competitor. While the Play 3 isn’t the best in the Sonos lineup, with the Play 1 being considered better, for for such a small speaker it does deliver some impressive sound quality and volume levels. It can even automatically adjust its sound output to match the room’s characteristics. Apparently the HomePod is also capable of adjusting its sound to the room that it’s located in.
Since people wish to compare the SoundPod with the Sonos, it does lend a certain confidence to the HomePod speaker. You don’t even need to be a sound expert to agree that the Sonos can be some fair competition. And apparently the Sonos can also be manually tuned to the room.
But the sound from the HomePod can fill a large room extremely well, despite its compact size. And even if you walk around the room, the sound has that same excellent sound quality. According to Apple, the HomePod speaker is smart enough to tune its own self, and it can also balance the audio to match any size or shape of room, and from any position within the room.
It’s also possible to sync the HomePod with another HomePod, so that you can get true stereo output from two different speakers.
You’ll be impressed at just how good the HomePod can sound on its own, but you need to listen to it first. If you wish to compare it to the Sonos, be sure to play the exact same song on both. You’ll discover that the HomePod has a richer output, while the Echo speaker makes things sound like someone is singing through a tin can, which is true in a sense. So, we can put aside the Echo as being a toy at best.
When you listen to the HomePod, you’ll hear the vocals of a song from the direct centre channel. It will beam ambient sounds around the room, giving it a more omnidirectional music, experience according to Apple. You can use Apple Music to separate vocals and music, though the app works better for more recent recordings than ones from last century.
When you listen, the HomePod offers a bolder and more vivid experience than the Sonos Play 3. The music will sound vivid and crisp in quieter spaces.
The HomePod also works well no matter what musical genre you’re listening to. There is that huge woofer and seven tweeters inside to provide better listening enjoyment. Apple certainly has done a good job at making its speaker sound like it’s filling up a room. The subwoofer does a good job of delivering bass that doesn’t hit you full in the chest, but is certainly much better than the Echo or Sonos. The vocals coming from the HomePod sound sharp and crisp, compared to the other two types of speakers.
Apple’s new HomePod delivers surprising good sound, and is much better than its competitors on the market today. And it’s definitely the audio you would expect at this price point. Once again Apple lives up to its promise of better products, and an actual speaker capable of that HiFi sound quality that many of us were expecting.