Reddit audiophile thread: “The HomePod is 100% an audiophile grade speaker”

This is not frivolous opinion. There is a lot of detail on both the tools used to measure things like “Fletcher-Munson loudness compensation”, and the measurements themselves.

From the conclusion:

The Look and feel is top notch. The glass on top is sort of frosted, but is smooth to the touch. When I first reviewed the home pod, I noted that it was light. I was comparing it with the heft of my KEF speakers. This thing, as small as it is, weighs 5 lbs. Which is quite dense, and heavy for its size. The Fabric that wraps around it is study, reinforced from inside, and feels very good to the touch.


The Frequency response, Directivity, and ability to correct for the room all go to show that the HomePod is a speaker for the masses. While many of you in this subreddit would be very comfortable doing measurements, and room treatment, there is no denying that most users won’t go through that much trouble, and for those users the HomePod is perfect.

And caveats:

Because of the onboard DSP, you must feed it digital files. So analog input from something like a Phono is out, unless your Phono Preamp has a digital output which can then be fed to the HomePods in realtime via airplay, possibly through a computer. But you cannot give the HomePod analog audio, as the DSP which does all the room correction requires digital input.


Speaking of inputs, you have one choice: AirPlay. which means, unless you’re steeped in the apple ecosystem, it’s really hard to recommend this thing. If you are, it’s a no brainer, whether you’re an audiophile or not.


As a product, the HomePod is also held back by Siri. Almost every review has complained about this, and they’re all right to do so. I’m hoping we see massive improvements to Siri this year at WWDC 2018. There is some great hardware at play, too. What’s truly impressive is that Siri can hear you if you speak in a normal voice, even if the HomePod is playing at full volume. I couldn’t even hear myself say “Hey Siri” over the music, but those directional microphones are really good at picking it up. Even whispers from across the room while I was facing AWAY from the HomePod were flawlessly picked up. The microphones are scary good — I just hope Apple improves Siri to match.

And from the rollup at the top of the post:

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.

I don’t have the expertise to speak to the audiophile comments, but everything else in the post clicks for me, jibes with my HomePod experience.

As to the negatives, I think Apple has done a great job of making sure the hardware is top notch. Which means they can fix the software negatives via updates over time.

Me? I absolutely love my HomePod. If you love music, and are willing to pony up for Apple Music, it’s a no-brainer purchase.

  • I’m definitely a Siri critic, but I’ve found it to be a bit more accurate and consistent on HomePod than on my other devices. Credit obviously goes its directional microphones. They’re so good, I can be in another room while something’s playing and Siri often responds…and accurately at that.

    The sound is excellent. Looking forward to the two HomePod experience, though.

    • Mo

      I do like the subtlety of not needing to raise one’s voice to engage Siri on the thing.

      • Yeah, ah, me too…I was pretty much yelling over the music until I read that 🙂

  • JimCracky

    Audiophile is subjective. Many have said the homePod sounds good. If they like it, it’s for them.

    Listening to TWIT last night, the pontifications of LaPorte et al failed to address the issue at all.Laporte’s a blowhard, I know. But, calling something or not calling something audiophile can be very difficult.

    All I know is that I hope the people who buy it love it. It’s not for me, but then again, I am not the target market.

    • Mo

      Did LaPorte have his own HomePod to assess, or was he just talking worrisome trash?

  • Tom_P

    Good job Apple. Audiophile grade speaker at only $350. A steal. 10 years ago no one would believe this can be possible. This is why customers love Apple. They simply make the best product. Now sit down & improve Siri!

    • Ethel


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  • Nate

    Beware, the audiophile world is full of bogus technical-sounding language. That’s how you sell $25,000 speaker cables. I’ve no doubt it sounds great but the jargon in the review is a red flag for me.

    • I see you working, and would normally agree, but it’s certainly good enough that huge praise like that shouldn’t be a red flag on a $350 device.

    • Glaurung-Quena

      Jargon is necessary for a scientific review, to enable you to describe what you are measuring and how. Without it, you just have a writeup of subjective impressions.

      The reviewer posted his raw data, provided his methods, and posted links to graphs of what he was talking about. It’s about as far from the woo-woo end of audiophile writing as you can get.

      This review struck me as equivalent to the best reviews on sites like Anandtech, where they back up their subjective impressions with science and exact measurements. Then again, I am neither an audiophile nor a sound engineer.

      • Nate

        The bogus-ness is in giving the impression that there are precise technical/scientific measuerments that experts use to measure what would otherwise be subjective qualities. They’re too complex for you to understand, but you can pretend you do (often they’re pretending too). It’s the entire schtick for one segment of the audiophile community.

        I seems this review is legit, though. And I have no doubt that the reviewer and other audiophiles on that subreddit know their sound quality, so it is indeed a strong endorsement of the HomePod.

      • Nate

        You know, maybe it was bogus, maybe it wasn’t, but like a lot of audiophile reviews it probably wasn’t as scientific as it sounded. (Who knows if the person contradicting his findings knows what they are talking about.)

        “Audiophile HomePod Reviewer Turns Out to Not Know Much about Measuring Audio”

  • sl149q

    What Apple got right is the hardware and software for doing audio. They will not need to revisit the hardware for (probably) several years.

    Everything else, everything that all of the reviewers are complaining about, is software. Apple will continue to revise and extend the software in the HomePod and in the cloud to improve this product.

    I’m reasonably sure that any HomePod purchased today will be continue to get better with new software updates for at least a half a decade and probably a lot longer. They have lots of headroom in CPU, RAM and SSD (according to iFixit, 1GB and 16GB respectively).

  • Janak Parekh

    This is fascinating discussion. This caught my eye:

    “Great sound aside, there are some serious caveats about the HomePod. First of all, because of the onboard DSP, you must feed it digital files. So analog input from something like a Phono is out, unless your Phono Preamp has a digital output which can then be fed to the HomePods in realtime via airplay, possibly through a computer. But you cannot give the HomePod analog audio, as the DSP which does all the room correction requires digital input.”

    So, this is only partially true. You could take audio input, encode it on the fly, and then DSP-process it. However, it sounds like Apple did not want to do that, and that’s a motivation as to why there’s no line-in.

    • Tom_P

      Or you can use digital turntable. 🙂

      But how to send digital stream I’m not so sure. A pre-amp with AirPlay capability?