Skip to main content

Apple HomePod - The Audiophile Perspective

Great, in-depth overview of the Apple HomePod from an audiophile's perspective, including exhaustive measurements, graphs, and a comparison to the venerable KEF X300A. In summary:

I am speechless. The HomePod actually sounds better than the KEF X300A. If you’re new to the Audiophile world, KEF is a very well respected and much loved speaker company. I actually deleted my very first measurements and re-checked everything because they were so good, I thought I’d made an error. Apple has managed to extract peak performance from a pint sized speaker, a feat that deserves a standing ovation. The HomePod is 100% an Audiophile grade Speaker.

My favorite bit, on the topic of the HomePod's built-in room correction and automatic calibration:

This apartment room has no room treatment at all. It’s tiny, and the volume of the room is just under 40m3. And as amazing as the measurements above are, It's even more impressive that the HomePod somehow manages an almost perfectly flat speaker response in such a terrible environment. So, not only do we have a little speaker that manages uncharacteristically low distortion, and near-perfect frequency response, but it does so while adapting to the room... To have this sort of thing be a built in feature of the Digital Signal Processing (DSP) inside the speaker that is, for all intents and purposes omnidirectional, allowing it to adapt to any room, no matter how imperfect, is just beyond impressive. What Apple has managed to do here is so crazy, that If you told me they had chalk, candles, and a pentagram on the floor of their Anechoic chambers, I would believe you. This is witchcraft. I have no other word for it.

Witchcraft. I love it.

The reviewer acknowledges that Siri lags behind the competition, and laments the lack of alternative input methods apart from AirPlay, and I agree with him on both of these points. But, given the incredible sound quality (scientifically and carefully measured here), I am going to buy one, and hope that Siri improves, AirPlay 2 enables better connectivity, and maybe Bluetooth Audio support will be enabled down the road.

This review also brings into sharp focus that Apple wisely focused on their strengths with the HomePod. Its marketed as a speaker for people who care about audio quality, that just happens to be controlled by voice, and can integrate with their home automation platform, not the other way around.