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HomePod is praised by experts but loses blind test to top competitors

Being the HomePod A totally different category from the products we're used to seeing Apple launching (or not), the tests that pop up there may also sound weird, but they're totally legitimate.

For example, in order for several speakers to be tested without the brand influencing the choice, David Pogue (from Yahoo) held a “Blind test” as Sonos One, O Google Home Max, O Amazon Echo Plus it's the HomePod.

Five “types” of people were chosen for this test: a professional violinist, a businesswoman, two high school students and a sound technician. Between them and the speakers was a curtain, and Pogue did not even say which devices they would hear, so that there was no preference either; just named them "A" through "D".

Blind test with HomePod and its competitorsSonos One (A), HomePod (B), Amazon Echo (C), and Google Home Max (D)

He then played five songs with different arrangements and tones, and on all devices the volume was level because, according to Pogue, there was a tendency for people to always choose the highest volumes and he really wanted to evaluate the quality. Of the sound. While the music was being played, people made notes.

If the test was in line with reviews that were in vehicles around and even in a similar test that Apple did for journalists with the same devices, but with the difference of not being a blind test, HomePod would easily win the battles since the consensus that the Apple speaker has the “best sound quality”. But, to Pogue's surprise, that's not what happened.

The guitarist said that in Havana (Camila Cabello) music HomePod fared better for the bass sounds, and the company was in doubt between him and Google Home Max because their sounds were “cleaner”. In the end, when they had to pick only one overall winner, the result was that two people chose Google Home Max as the best option and three chose Sonos One (including the sound technician).

Thinking about the reviews, Pogue came up with some possible plausible explanations:

  1. Opinions are different from music to music Most people rated HomePod first in some songs, but not all.
  2. Similarly, opinions differ from person to person.
  3. In Apple's test, in which Pogue participated and HomePod was clearly the winner, the company reported that the songs were streamed from a server (Mac), and that each speaker was connected to it differently: Bluetooth (Amazon Echo), Ethernet (Sonos), Input Mini Plug (Google Home), and AirPlay (HomePod). Already in Pogue's test, everyone was broadcasting Spotify content via Wi-Fi.
  4. People who have always declared HomePod the best choice have not done a blind test to prove and not be influenced by the brand.

After all, John Gruber (from Daring fireball) wondered and I agree if perhaps the curtain placed in front of the boxes so that the test was blind did not interfere with the sound quality. Regardless, the result is a.

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Two other tests were performed by Fast company in conjunction with some experts, one to analyze HomePod performance anywhere in a room and the other to verify the flat frequency response of the speaker.

Testing HomePod Performance

Using a microphone to capture noise from four different locations, the overall result showed that there is a range of 0.95 decibels, which is not a bad thing since humans are unable to perceive differences in sounds below 1dB. Therefore, the quality remains the same for anyone listening in any corner of the room.

Brian MacMillan, NTi Audio's associate general manager, said: “The developers did a great job of adjusting the HomePod room, (it has) impressive consistency in overall level and frequency response. HomePod automates the spatial compensation that previously required time, tools and an audio experience. ”

In another test in which HomePod had its performance reviewed by experts, the conclusion was that the device was able to deliver what they call the “flat response”, ie that both the magnitude and the output phase were aligned (mostly part of the time) with input across the frequency spectrum.

We found a distortion of less than 10% of the 40Hz to 10,000Hz range, which is very good and less than 2.5% of 150Hz to 10,000Hz, which is excellent.

Therefore, the results are in line with what Apple itself says / promises about its speaker.

Of course, the tests won't stop here. Until the dust of the animation on the device has subsided, many will probably continue to test HomePod.

via Daring Fireball, AppleInsider: 1, 2