Listening to HomePod

While at WWDC this week I had a chance to listen to Apple’s new HomePod and compare it to some of the competing products on the market. The results were somewhat surprising.

Music is a huge part of my life. I play guitar, record, mix, play live and listen every single day. I love many genres of music and the talented people that make it. I want my music to sound the best it possibly can, in all situations.

I use Future Sonics Ear Monitors because they are quite simply the best in-ear headphones on the market—nothing beats them. In my home, I have a Sonos bar and a few satellite speakers to fill the room wirelessly. They do sound great, but I don’t often use them for just listening to music.

I mentioned that the results of listening to the HomePod were surprising—that’s in a good way. I never expected the sound from this relatively small speaker to fill a room so well. It wasn’t just loud, it was crisp, clear, warm, and filled with bass. It sounded so good, I was truly surprised.

And that was just with one HomePod speaker.

The real listening magic came when I heard two HomePods together. The HomePods automatically talked to each other and split the channels of the song. It wasn’t just adding another HomePod increased the loudness of the music in the room, they seemed to intelligently know what the other was playing.

The HomePod will also adjust its sound depending on where you place it in the room. If it’s against a wall, it will know and play the music according. If you move it to an open space, it will readjust for those conditions as well, all automatically.

I also listened to the same songs using the Sonos Play 3 and Amazon Echo. The Echo was so bad, it’s not even worth discussing. The sound was awful—it’s like it was being played in a tin can. I understand that people have the Echo for many uses, but I hope playing music isn’t one of them.

The Sonos was better, but it still didn’t measure up to the HomePod. Being a fan of Sonos and owning a system myself, I expected a lot more from it.

There’s a lot we still don’t know about the HomePod, from setting it up to how many can be connected and what that experience would be like. I’m not even sure how Siri will work on the HomePod.

What I can say is that from a listeners standpoint, the HomePod is one hell of a great sounding speaker. One will certainly not be enough for me.