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MONO is Back !!! the Apple Speaker ... Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 7th February 2018
  #151
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12tone's Avatar
 

Getting rave reviews about the sound quality.

Could be a great tool for mix reference.
Old 7th February 2018
  #152
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
Getting rave reviews about the sound quality.
Every single time someone has told me they think they're new consumer speaker sounds great I've been disappointed. Every single time. It's always 'it sounds absolutely great, and it's so tiny'.... yeah, that's why it sounds just as tiny as it is.

People clearly have forgotten the days when you had decent size two-/three-/four-ways in the living room, with decent amps etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
Could be a great tool for mix reference.
True.
Old 8th February 2018
  #153
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
Every single time someone has told me they think they're new consumer speaker sounds great I've been disappointed. Every single time. It's always 'it sounds absolutely great, and it's so tiny'.... yeah, that's why it sounds just as tiny as it is.

People clearly have forgotten the days when you had decent size two-/three-/four-ways in the living room, with decent amps etc.



True.
A few thoughts that loom large for me...

1 - it's probably not 'fair' to compare it to a proper high fidelity stereo rig... it's clearly a different sort of product designed for a different purpose and, to large extent, I suspect, a different market: a single, relatively portable unit that can work wirelessly with the iOS system

2 - it's highly unlikely that serious high fidelity enthusiasts would be satisfied with the sound of such a unit vis a vis a proper stereo rig, but they might well appreciate it for what it is, a wireless portable that -- according to [normitively tin-eared tech writers] is surprisingly 'impressive.'

3 - consumers will likely be very impressed with the sound... just as they were mightily impressed by the first smiley curve they pushed into a 'graphic EQ' on an 80s stereo.

4 - no one, from descriptions of the Siri-integration I've read, is going to be impressed with the speaker's 'smart' functionality with regard to much of anything past getting the local weather -- including, rather disappointingly, Siri's apparently terrible integration with Apple Music. Apple’s HomePod Has Arrived. Don’t Rush to Buy It. - The New York Times


Now, all that said, I have to say I'm fascinated by descriptions of the 'advanced' psychoacoustic design components Apple has apparently integrated, the 'room-sensing' tech, the dynamic interrelation of the multi-directional sound projection, etc. I joked to one of my audiophile buddies (whose iDevices are not integrated with his very high end, TT-centric hi fi) that we'd have to go on a fact-finding mission to the local Apple store. He seemed a bit skeptical.
Old 8th February 2018
  #154
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Not disagreeing with any of that Blue, I was just putting "rave reviews" into some sort of context (my context at least...).
Old 8th February 2018
  #155
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
Not disagreeing with any of that Blue, I was just putting "rave reviews" into some sort of context (my context at least...).
Oh, I think we're pretty much on the same page with regard to our personal feelings about such products. (I wasn't in any way 'arguing' with any of your thoughts -- just using them as a jumping off spot. I should have made that more explicit.)

But, since I was a LITTLE KID at the start of the 1960s, I've dreamed about a decent portable sound rig I could feed from a central location. (When I wasn't drawing dog fights on my schoolbook covers, I was designing high tech futuristic houses in the back of my 3 ring binder: I was big on Japanese garden style ponds, waterfalls and streams running in and out of the house, windows that darkened 'electrically' -- just a dream then, of course -- and, naturally, an awesome through-the house-and-yard hi fi system.)

But, back then, though, the (legal) 'wireless' systems that were available sent their signals through the house wiring (meaning rather extreme filtering to keep 60/50 Hz out of the signal). The cool way to do it was to set up a (then-illegal) low power FM transmitter, but their legal status kept them from being commonplace, and, of course, if you had enough power to cover your own place, you were going to be spilling into the neighbor's radio space.


But, anyhow... it's not the transmission protocol I find fascinating (Wi Fi has been working for delivering high quality digital audio signals for some time), but 'smart' technologies applied to making the speaker adapt to different environments. I guess I'm less interested in the speaker as a product as I am in the technologies apparently folded into it.



If I was interested in a 'smart assistant' and wireless sound system, I think I'd look at Amazon's Alexa or Google's whatever it's called. Alexa gets considerably better reviews for smart assistance, all around, but I'm a heavy user of Google's stream service and I might go for its presumably tighter integration with that service. [I briefly tried Amazon's Prime music thing and wasn't impressed but I'm sure it's improved. I hope.]

That said, call me an paranoid old coot, but with a long personal involvement with IT and web technologies, I'm in NO kind of rush to have anyone's robots listening to my household conversations and personal mutterings.
Old 8th February 2018
  #156
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I agree with everything, especially the very last sentence.
Old 8th February 2018
  #157
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zephonic's Avatar
I dunno, I'm not expecting Genelec-level of audio quality here, but I have to say the Sonos stuff surprised me; much better than I expected. So if it is as good as or better than, it would sound pretty nice.

My understanding is that you are supposed to leave it stationary, as it measures room response when you first power it up and compensates with DSP. That is pretty novel in a consumer product.


Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
That said, call me an paranoid old coot, but with a long personal involvement with IT and web technologies, I'm in NO kind of rush to have anyone's robots listening to my household conversations and personal mutterings.
Absolutely. There's already more than enough info about me and my family out there. I'm not in a hurry to give up even more of our privacy.
Old 8th February 2018
  #158
One needn't be a paranoid conspiracy theorist to have at least some qualms about planting always-on, interconnected cams and mics in his living area, I don't think.

That said, if the really scary folks, (you know, THEM) really want to spy on you, I suspect they can do much better with some easily hidden filament-fed micro-cams and mics.

But, you know, why make it easy?
Old 8th February 2018
  #159
Tui
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
One needn't be a paranoid conspiracy theorist to have at least some qualms about planting always-on, interconnected cams and mics in his living area, I don't think.
Qualms..? Anybody who puts big-brother machinery into their own home has to be completely mad.

Privacy doesn't matter, right? OK, kindly tell me your banking details, SS and passport numbers, login IDs and passwords for Amazon and gearslutz - hey, I always wanted to impersonate theblue1.
Old 9th February 2018
  #160
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
One needn't be a paranoid conspiracy theorist to have at least some qualms about planting always-on, interconnected cams and mics in his living area, I don't think.

That said, if the really scary folks, (you know, THEM) really want to spy on you, I suspect they can do much better with some easily hidden filament-fed micro-cams and mics.

But, you know, why make it easy?
Always make sure your networking hardware is secure. I installed a camera system at a new house with the cable guy just installed the cable modem and left. I found out that the firewall in the Hytron Modems they are using has a bug in their firmware as the login screen is accessible from the internet regardless of the external access is disabled. This is really scary since the default login (which is in the documentation you can download off the internet) is cusadmin for the username, and password for the password. So I imagine there is a lot of those insecure cable modem/routers (built in 4 port router plus wifi) has been hacked and anything from bad websites to bitcoin mining is most likely going on... Always configure your hardware, and change the default passwords...
Old 9th February 2018
  #161
Quote:
Originally Posted by allengriswald View Post
Always make sure your networking hardware is secure. I installed a camera system at a new house with the cable guy just installed the cable modem and left. I found out that the firewall in the Hytron Modems they are using has a bug in their firmware as the login screen is accessible from the internet regardless of the external access is disabled. This is really scary since the default login (which is in the documentation you can download off the internet) is cusadmin for the username, and password for the password. So I imagine there is a lot of those insecure cable modem/routers (built in 4 port router plus wifi) has been hacked and anything from bad websites to bitcoin mining is most likely going on... Always configure your hardware, and change the default passwords...
Thanks for the cautionary advice!

I read the tech press (fitfully, though) and I've been more than a bit shocked by some of the already revealed lapses in security-critical Internet-of-Things related hardware. (And, as we all know by now, sometimes some big holes aren't discovered for years!) It sometimes looks like a lot of established companies jumped too fast integrate their old-tech with IOT capabilities and didn't perform anything close to due diligence.

The negative possibilities range from the amusing to the outright alarming.
Old 9th February 2018
  #162
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tui View Post
Qualms..? Anybody who puts big-brother machinery into their own home has to be completely mad.

Privacy doesn't matter, right? OK, kindly tell me your banking details, SS and passport numbers, login IDs and passwords for Amazon and gearslutz - hey, I always wanted to impersonate theblue1.
I felt like I was reading one of my own screeds!

Excellent job, Tui!
Old 9th February 2018
  #163
Tui
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Old 9th February 2018
  #164
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Muser's Avatar
if it quacks like a CPU ?
Old 13th February 2018
  #165
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Peter Stengaard's Avatar
 

I have one and I think it sounds awesome...would love to use it as a mix reference speaker actually since this is what people will have in their homes. Anyone have an idea for an airplay plugin or something so we can get daw output into this thing ?
Old 2nd March 2018
  #166
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Stengaard View Post
Anyone have an idea for an airplay plugin or something so we can get daw output into this thing ?
Yes! You can use Rogue Amoeba's Airfoil to send audio from your Mac (maybe also PC?) directly to the HomePod. On the Mac you can also send to a Google Home via Chromecast Audio:

Rogue Amoeba - Under the Microscope >> Blog Archive >> Airfoil for Mac 5.7 Rocks the HomePod

Rogue Amoeba also make Audio Hijack, for capturing audio from a single application or applying Audio Unit effects to it. I've been using Audio Hijack to apply ToneBooster's Morphit correction plugin to the entire system audio output.

Last edited by SyneRyder; 2nd March 2018 at 04:45 PM.. Reason: oops, typo
Old 30th March 2018
  #167
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I've listened to them three times in different stores now with some of my own mixes and to be honest I can't believe how bad they sound. Super pronounced angular top end and really boomy bottom end. Just sounds like a glorified Bose to my ears. The 'pseudo stereo' thing was wreaking havoc with my mixes too, and most others I tried.
Old 30th March 2018
  #168
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexK View Post
... The 'pseudo stereo' thing was wreaking havoc with my mixes too, and most others I tried.
How do they do "pseudo stereo", isn't it just a point source?
Old 30th March 2018
  #169
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexis View Post
How do they do "pseudo stereo", isn't it just a point source?
This is from Popular Science's write-up. Like most tech writers, this guy clearly isn't exactly an audio guru but you can probably get the idea...

Quote:
Inside is an array of six microphones it uses to listen for your “hey, Siri” commands (it's excellent at hearing you, even when audio is playing), and also act as a very competent speakerphone. It also uses those microphones, however, to monitor its sound as it reverberates around your room. It actively listens to the low-end frequencies as they bounce off objects in your room, so it can tweak the bass response. This is similar to the process that Google uses for its Home Max speaker, only Google’s big speaker is a more directional experience compared to the HomePod’s 360-degree soundstage.

Once the HomePod has analyzed the sound from the room, it can get a good idea of its own relative location. It then splits up the audio into two kinds of sound: ambient and direct. Direct consists of crucial musical bits like vocals, lead guitars, and some rhythm section, and the HomePod beams that directly at the listener. Ambient includes things like background vocals and reverb. The HomePod intentionally finds another surface in the room off of which it can bounce those sound waves to give it a sense of space. It sounds complex—and it surely is—but it leads to a very big sound coming from a small speaker.

Last edited by theblue1; 31st March 2018 at 07:28 PM..
Old 30th March 2018
  #170
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexis View Post
How do they do "pseudo stereo", isn't it just a point source?
The short answer is: who knows? Nobody I’ve spoken to.

The long answer is some sort of very complicated matrixing and phase difference stuff, EQ filters applied to different parts of the stereo image and timing adjustments through all of the full range drivers circling the unit, the idea being to create a large ‘sound stage’ from a single box.

A COMPLETE nightmare for translation.

I’d rather listen to my mixes on...



I also really didn’t have to turn it up all that much to hear the multi band compressors/driver protection algorithms kicking in. As if most Bluetooth speakers weren’t already presenting enough restrictions on what we can and can’t do with the bottom end of our mixes - this thing makes the whole issue of stereo spread/image placement decisions much more complicated, and I have a feeling many other manufacturers will start doing something similar...
Old 11th April 2018
  #171
Light years better than people listening to music on laptop speakers or phones.

The HomePod and Google Home both sound good for what they are.

Great mixes and songs still sound like great on them.
Old 16th May 2018
  #172
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverCrucifix View Post
God I hate Apple.

Making terrible ideas fashionable.
exactly!!!!!!
Old 16th May 2018
  #173
Tui
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Tui's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Siad View Post
exactly!!!!!!
I missed that one.



"At Apple, we make terrible ideas fashionable."


Last edited by Tui; 1st June 2018 at 08:49 PM..
Old 1st June 2018
  #174
Now you can finally justify buying TWO...


AirPlay 2 and HomePod stereo pairing arrive with iOS 11.4


Quote:
iOS 11.4 arrives today, and with it, a bunch of welcome upgrades. The biggest updates here are, unsurprisingly, on the streaming media front, including the arrival of AirPlay 2, and the long awaited ability to pair up two HomePods for some stereo music living room listening.

Among other things, AirPlay 2 brings with it improved multi-room audio, so users can seamlessly move songs from one room to the next or just play the same music in all rooms at once on any iOS device, Apple TV or HomePod, via Siri. You can also play different music in every room, with requests like “Hey Siri, play Crowded House in the kitchen,” which should be a nice addition for families.

There are also a number of third party manufacturers on board for AirPlay 2, meaning you’ll be able to use Siri to control music on speakers from some top names, including, Bang & Olufsen, Bluesound, Bose, Bowers & Wilkins, Denon, Libratone, Marantz, Marshall, Naim, Pioneer and Sonos. Of course, from the sound of things, the system, naturally, works best with Apple’s own smart speaker.

The other big addition is the ability to pair HomePods. It’s something that Apple’s been promising since the early days of the smart speaker, and now it’s finally available as a free software update — for those who can afford to shell out for two $349 speakers, that is.
That'll bring a pair up to almost what I paid for my Event 20/20bas speakers when they were new: 400 watts between them and frequency +/- 2 dB from around 38 Hz on up over 20kHz. But, you know... wires.
Old 1st June 2018
  #175
This is v funny!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uftil4Dywpw

Scroll forwards to when he tries "stereo"

Stereo!! Imagine that!

Its like cut and paste - missing from ios when all other platforms had it - then when it was introduced it was as if a miracle!

Old 1st June 2018
  #176
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jules View Post

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uftil4Dywpw

Scroll forwards to when he tries "stereo"

Stereo!! Imagine that!
That really was ridiculous. He can't really be that stupid, since he was wise enough to disable the comments section.
Old 2nd June 2018
  #177
I actually went (a little) out of my way to try to hear one, going into the local Best Buy (I am NOT a fan) and asking if they had any set up. They did not (though it's barely more than a stone's throw from multi-million dollar canal-front houses you'd think would be naturals -- but maybe those folks don't do anything plebeian like listening before they buy -- particularly on stuff that costs, for them, pocket change). The BB employee suggested going to one of their other stores unless, of course, I wanted to buy without hearing.
Old 2nd June 2018
  #178
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jules View Post
This is v funny!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uftil4Dywpw

Scroll forwards to when he tries "stereo"

Stereo!! Imagine that!

Isn't it actually the only ones of all the SmartPods ( or whatever this category is called ) than can work in stereo ? I think neither the Amazon Echo or the Google Home can work in stereo ( I could be mistaken since I have zero interest in SmartSpeakers so I haven't researched it) ). So in a way, he is right, it's a "first".
I still can't see the point of these things though... You can talk to your speakers... eh...ok....

Quote:

Its like cut and paste - missing from ios when all other platforms had it - then when it was introduced it was as if a miracle!

hmmmm... That's not really how it happened. I remember the original iPhone being often criticized for not having Cut&Paste, and Steve Jobs responding that he hears the critique but he ( or Apple ) didn't find a way to have Cut&Paste implemented in a way that was "satisfactory" to him. They never claimed it was a first after they introduced it later, quite the contrary they acknowledged being late to it.
Old 3rd June 2018
  #179
I'm not Jules, of course, but I'm trying to distract myself from other matters elsewhere...
Quote:
Originally Posted by spaceman View Post
Isn't it actually the only ones of all the SmartPods ( or whatever this category is called ) than can work in stereo ? I think neither the Amazon Echo or the Google Home can work in stereo ( I could be mistaken since I have zero interest in SmartSpeakers so I haven't researched it) ). So in a way, he is right, it's a "first".
I still can't see the point of these things though... You can talk to your speakers... eh...ok....
That seems to be the case, though the Google Home Max has two woofers and two tweeters in it and, like the Home Pod, 'tunes itself' to the room automatically. Only the Home Pod (and iOS update) allows stereo pairing among those three. Google has some $50 tiny smart speakers (Google Home Mini) and, of course, the well-featured but unsmart, unmiked Chromecast puck (which has analog and digital audio outs for output to one's own, presumably better powered speakers, hi fi system, etc.)


Quote:
hmmmm... That's not really how it happened. I remember the original iPhone being often criticized for not having Cut&Paste, and Steve Jobs responding that he hears the critique but he ( or Apple ) didn't find a way to have Cut&Paste implemented in a way that was "satisfactory" to him. They never claimed it was a first after they introduced it later, quite the contrary they acknowledged being late to it.
That sounds about right. I took Jules' hyperbole as a joke. But, you're right, they did acknowledge it took them a while.
Old 7th June 2018
  #180
Quote:
Originally Posted by spaceman View Post
hmmmm... That's not really how it happened. I remember the original iPhone being often criticized for not having Cut&Paste, and Steve Jobs responding that he hears the critique but he ( or Apple ) didn't find a way to have Cut&Paste implemented in a way that was "satisfactory" to him. They never claimed it was a first after they introduced it later, quite the contrary they acknowledged being late to it.

May not have written that well enough. To clarify I meant that cut & paste's arrival to iOS was heralded as 'amazing" and "ta da!" (with big cheers from the SF tech journalist audience and Apple staff) when it simply filled a very long running (and frankly shameful) feature gap that other platforms already had covered.

To announce a mono speaker for music reproduction as "amazing" and then the arrival of stereo as an aded 'feature' seems bizarre.. I think the gadget review sites should have said - "We aren't reviewing this until it can reproduce music as it is meant to be heard".

Anyhow...The Apple slut side of me wants a pair now - so
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