The curious case ... of the Apple HomePod(s)

(Yiannis Kouropalatis) #1

I wanted to share an experience. This Saturday I purchased a pair of HomePod speakers and I set them up as a stereo pair. I tried them with Airplay 2 directly from my iPhone (apple music) but I also tried using Roon to stream music to each individually. They were very … curious. I had to return them.

I set them up on a sturdy and solid AV unit with the TV in the middle. Typical use case I think.

The homepods are praised for their auto eq adjustment ability using microphones to ‘sense’ the space around them. Excellent. So what is this boomy bass below 45Hz? I started playing some EDM tracks and I got such boomy bass that I could not listen for more than a few minutes. Very curious… I tried resetting them, ensured the firmware was updated and re-positioned them (after shaking them a bit to ensure the accelerometer sensed they were in a new position). Nope… boomy bass with instant headache. I took out my trusty frequency response app and indeed I could see a perfect frequency response down to about 45Hz… below that, TONS of bass (+12 db or more) all the way down to 30Hz. Tried playing ‘Non Believer’ by London Grammar (high res version) which is mixed with a lot of low frequency electronic bass and I use it to test speakers’ bass response. I lasted about 30 seconds as it was almost shaking my sofa :-o
Tried separating the homepods thinking perhaps the stereo pair was problematic. No luck… boomy bass was still there (just less volume). Tried moving them around the living room. No luck.

So what about that famous self adjustment? Can it be that the 12+ db bass boost at 45Hz and below is intentional?

Very curious…

#2

I’m surprised they actually can go that low at all, but likely they cant and that why it goes to pieces.

(Yiannis Kouropalatis) #3

It is indeed surprising. I was using my frequency analyser and I could see a big spike at 35-45 hz. We are talking about over 12db boost here. I think it is probably a room node which I get with my Dynaudio speakers as well to a lesser extent. Roon DSP eradicates this of course :-). I am just surprised the HomePod does not auto adjust in that area as I expected it to.

(Tom T) #4

Yeah, the ‘pods aren’t exactly audiophile but a stereo pair are versatile. Mine sound great on my desk in the nearfield at low volume. I appreciate the bass bump in this setup. Not a bad soundstage either.

They come with longish power cords so it’s no problem to spread them apart, put them on stands and turn them up a bit for a larger space. This works great in my home office when I’m in my chair across the room from my desk. Super easy to swap left and right channels too. Right from my phone.

Great TV speakers too. I am thinking about another pair for the bedroom TV. They work seamlessly with an Apple TV.

My iphone/ipad, Tidal, and a pair of Homepods make a pretty good minimalist stereo. Saves desktop space.

I never remember to ask them what time it is, or the weather forecast, or to set an alarm. It’s nice to know I could, but for now that’s a huge untapped Siri feature for me.

Enjoying my Tidal / Qobuz subscriptions a lot more since acquiring these.

So yeah, they don’t measure well but they make up for it in other ways, for me.

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