HomePod 1 vs. HomePod 2

We’ve had a HomePod 1 with Apple Music since July of 2020. We like it a lot. However…My wife was saying the other day that the sound - while good - was not as good as the old Stereo system we had years ago. Well we had a Marantz amplifier, a Dual Turntable and a pair of JBL Century L100 speakers, so, no, it won’t sound as good - but we don’t have the room in our retirement apartment for all that great old stuff (no do we even own it anymore).

I saw the new HomePod dropping today and considered getting a pair of them and setting them up as Stereo (and moving the original to another room).

Then I caught a review online that said that HomePod 1 speakers were better than gen. 2.

Does anyone have any experience with this? Are the Gen 1’s better than the 2s?

Would we do better buying a refurbed Gen 1 to mate with our existing one or picking up two new Gen 2’s.



Did the review say that the original HomePod actually sounded better than the new one, or did it just say that the original had more tweeters and assumed that it therefore sounded better?

No, it said it sounded richer. You can find it online - It’s a young fellow and his fiancee comparing HP 1 & 2 with each other, Amazon Echo and Nest. He had some fancy equipment, but was testing it “real world” in his kitchen.

I’m always dubious about how people (including myself) think things “sound.” I’m waiting for some measurements. So far all I’ve seen is one that, without specifying test conditions or equipment, suggests that the HPMini 2 rolls off at 30Hz in the bass, which if true, is astonishing. We’ll see.

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There’s a huge difference in having a pair. Really struck by it when we added a second ver 1. Do you have a use for the original once you buy the new model? If not the cheapest and quality route is to pick up a ver1, there’s still new ones out there.

If you do have a use for the v1… Depends on money of course but if it’s not an issue, I would buy the new model pair, the sound will be excellent, all will be new and updated, a faster chip, the power cord replaceable. Apple have a decent 30 day no quibble return.

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Unfortunately, post-hols it’s 14 days here in the US.

I didn’t find that particular review, but in the first review that came up for me, the reviewer thought the new HomePod sounded better than the first generation. Most reviews didn’t compare the two but did say that the new HomePods sound really good. My takeaway is that any difference is likely subtle, and you’d probably be satisfied with either generation.

I agree with @tommy’s advice. If money isn’t the issue, get the second generation. They’ll be covered under warranty and have a few new features. If you don’t like them, you can always return them.

OK, I’ve finally gotten around to looking for some measurements, and although I haven’t found any for the new HomePod, I see Rtgs has a pretty good set of graphs for the old one and allows you to compare different brands/models to it directly. This, for example, shows the Sonos Five v. the original HP. Sure enough, the frequency response for both rolls off at 30Hz with HPod a bit flatter up to 15kHz. Yikes. The HPod’s “Directivity,” however, is amazing, and suggests they’ll sound pretty much the same wherever you are in the room.

The Sonos Fives are $550/each; the HPs are $300/each. The Sonos Ones, which measure much worse but are the ones everyone seems to be talking about online, are $180/each.

So I too second Tommy, and am more than sorely tempted to give them a try myself. I should note, however, that my use case is stereo classical music, not Home Theater–for that I have a full range 5.1 system that endangers the glazing when I watch Blade Runner 2049. But sight unheard my guess is that the HomePods are also better at that than any other comparably priced Home Theater system.

[edit]: I see that yesterday The Verge reported that Sonos is tacitly admitting the price/quality gap suggested by the above.

And meanwhile, brace yourselves: Technology - Tectonic | Tectonic

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Thanks to everyone for their comments and advice. I’ll probably buy a pair of Home Pods II this week.


Having had some of the NXT picture frames 10 years ago and using BMRs now - both as rear speakers - they are both good without intruding visually, but are nowhere near as good as a pair of floor standers.

There’s also the question of room measurement as unless it’s a planned cinema / listening room there are always compromises in placement and listening area that affect the soundstage more than the components do.

That’s a great way to use them, Gareth, and since BMRs roll off below 60Hz (and that’s what surround channels are mixed for, since anything below that is non-directional anyway), I’m not surprised to hear it. And I agree that they wouldn’t be useful for much else without some help. I suppose I’m thinking more of how BMRs might be incorporated with other drivers &/or technology to produce a simpler and perhaps better versions of the Apple & Sonos products in the future. Perhaps as I type . . .

As for the effects of rooms everywhere and at all frequencies, I again couldn’t agree more. Indeed, I’d argue that although some speakers are flatter and have better dispersion than others and although there are some (now antique) ways to use the room itself to improve their performance (like “sub-crawling”), any home stereo/theater, including simple stereo, benefits enormously from calibration by either the hardware and software that’s often included in receivers these days (Audyssey, Yamaha)–or built into speakers made by Apple and Sonos.

I still don’t know how, but we ended up with five homepods in the house (partly as every time I saw them drop to $230 as a refurbished unit I would buy one). I concur that a stereo pair sounds terrific. And I hope they keep the code running for them for a long time.

I recall long-ago being in a (relatively) high-end speaker store, and the salesperson there telling me that it’s important if you’re picky to listen to any speakers you’re considering, since there’s no such objective thing as “better” in speakers. What’s better is which speaker you personally like best, not a set of statistics on paper - different people prefer different sonic qualities. I found that advice very useful, although I’ve only upgraded my best speakers a couple of times.

FWIW, Just saw an article today that claims a way to pair a gen1 with a gen2. Didn’t read it, but thought I’d share.

No quarrel with that approach, Steve, and forty years or more years ago it was all I had to go on when I picked my Allison CD7s out from the wall by naked ear.

But I think “more accurate” is the term to use these days–a speaker should distort as little as possible what the recording and mastering engineers intended us to hear when we’re at the listening position. And with test curves often available from manufacturers and on websites like rtgs there’s no reason to rely entirely on our ears any more.

If your goal is to reproduce what the mastering engineer recorded, then yes.

But “good” is subjective. You may not prefer the same kind of sound that the mastering engineer preferred. You may prefer the sound from speakers that add or remove emphasis on certain bands.

If you’re buying a system for yourself to listen to, then I would argue that you should absolutely rely entirely on your ears. Because your satisfaction is going to be based on whether you like what you’re hearing, regardless of whether or not an engineer’s test equipment agrees with you.

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“But I think “more accurate” is the term to use these days–a speaker should distort as little as possible what the recording and mastering engineers intended us to hear when we’re at the listening position. And with test curves often available from manufacturers and on websites like rtgs there’s no reason to rely entirely on our ears any more.”

I’m in the middle of rereading Arthur H. Benade’s lovely little “Horns, Strings, and Harmony” just now. One of the things I’d forgotten over the years is that music is musical because of the way human (and some other species) ears work. E.g. the harmonic overtones of a note played by an instrument–much of that is constructed and emphasized inside of our ears due to it’s construction details, and then modified by our brains. He couldn’t go into any detail, which would require a lot of math and physiology, but I’ve seen many of those bits elsewhere even though they didn’t click together until a few days ago with Benade’s hint.

One of the major characteristics of the ear is it’s typical response curve to pitch. It’s a normal distribution, with the peak in our ‘midrange’, right where speech frequencies sit. But real ears, especially as we get older, don’t have that gaussian distribution–we lose sensitivity especially at the low and high ends due to wear and tear, and that’s dependent on our individual histories with loud noises. Many of us have something called ‘cookie bite syndrome’ to varying extents, where the mid range can be less sensitive than the mid-lows and mid-highs. Every person hears differently, and none of that is reflected in test curves.

As for what recording engineers want compared to what live music sounds likes, shudder…

Anyone interested in music, instruments, sound, etc. should have fun with “Horns, Strings, and Harmony” (it shows how to make some simple wind instruments, too). If hooked at all, proceed to his more extensive “Fundamentals of Musical Acoustics” which he wrote for a class he taught to music majors. The coverage of concert halls and how to record in them is illuminating.

Both are available to read online or for adobe-drm checkout at archive.org.


All true, all true. And true too that the engineers making and producing the recordings we listen to have their work cut out for them, especially (although this is less true for pop than classical) if they’re trying to reproduce the experience of a live performance. It’s a fascinating subject, and Arnold Steinhardt of the Guarneri Quartet has some interesting observations on it from a performer’s point of view in Indivisible by Four.

But getting 'way off topic, I think . . .