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kirkmc

The HomePod Is a Mono Speaker

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An Apple "pundit" actually criticize me for calling the HomePod a mono speaker. 

 

He said: “Anyone who calls HomePod a “mono speaker” does not understand elemental basics of sound reproduction.”

 

I wrote about why the HomePod is a mono speaker, and I'm amazed that I actually had to do this:

 

https://kirkville.com/the-homepod-is-a-mono-speaker/


I write about Macs, iTunes, music, and more at Kirkville.

Author of Take Control of iTunes 12

Co-host of The Next Track podcast.

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Yes, you are right.  The whole idea behind stereo speakers is you have two identical speakers with a significant separation between them (where "speaker" can be any array of drivers, as you say).  The separation part here is of critical importance, as is having two identical sources, so that the soundwaves emitted from each can interfere with one another and create a stereo image.  (For this to work, the input channels have to differ a little bit as well -- two identical channels will produce a mono output, even with two speakers).  Ideally, the separation between the speakers should be similar to the listening position distance.

 

I think some of the single-unit speakers, like the B&W Zeppelin, attempt to do stereo through a combination of off-axis driver orientation and DSP, but in that case what is really going on is that they are trying to mimic genuine speaker separation.  If the homepod does that, too, it might be attempting to mimic stereo playback, but that is at best a stretch (especially given its cylindrical symmetry).


--

Do facts matter?

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Home pods are stereo for fleas in front of them, likely cockroaches too


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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Doesn't Apple allow you to use a 2nd HomePod in a two-HomePod array that will enable them to function like stereo speakers? IMHO that's a pretty definitive indication that HomePod is mono - there'd be no need for a two-speaker stereo mode if the HomePod were in and of itself stereo (or if Apple even just claimed it were stereo).

 

Also, while anything it possible, it would seem unlikely that a speaker with an odd number of tweeters would be a stereo speaker. As noted above, you certainly can use a 7-speaker array to try to simulate some kind of soundstage, but it's not stereo unless L channel material is being sent to some, and only some, of the drivers while R channel material is being sent to others.

I believe it might be accurate to say that the HomePod is a "mono speaker with spatial processing built in" or something like that; but that;'s still not a stereo speaker system. If the L and R channel signals are combined prior to reaching the drivers, it's not a stereo speaker.

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Ironically, Dilger writes, "Anyone who calls HomePod a 'mono speaker' does not understand elemental basics of sound reproduction." It would appear he's a bit overconfident in his own understanding of the basics of sound reproduction.

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3 hours ago, wgscott said:

My conventional two-channel stereo has the additional merit of not being an electronic eavesdropping device.

 

... as far as you know...


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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