I can’t believe I actually have to ask Apple to add stereo-paired HomePods as a Mac sound output device! It’s the most ridiculous Feature Request yet, because it’s absolutely nuts that this isn’t already built into macOS — especially that it isn’t baked into Catalina.
Apple’s own audio apps will happily allow you to select stereo-paired HomePods as a single output device. You can see in the photo above that the Music app sees both my Office and Winter Garden HomePods as a single device.
Not so the Mac itself, however…
I can output Mac sound to Office Left or Office Right, but not to the stereo pair.
So I have the utterly ridiculous situation of having a pair of HomePods on my desk but not being able to use them with my Mac unless it’s through an app that recognizes stereo pairs.
A agree, sort of. On an absolute level, it is very odd, but, do people really want to do that, to have all their audio come out from a pair of HomePods? To be honest, the HomePod isn’t designed to be on a desk so close to the listener; its tweeters are at the bottom, so ideally they should be on stands. (The tweeters should ideally be close to ear level.) Given the way the HomePods work, I’m not sure that putting them on tilted stands, so they are leaning back, would work very well in all situations. I mentioned this in this article, where I also pointed out the inability to use them as general Mac speakers, but here’s how it would look; the HomePods are already bassy, you wouldn’t hear much treble in this position.
You can stream from the Music and TV apps, for example, so if you want to listen to music or watch a movie and hear its audio on a pair of HomePods, that’s easy to do.
Source: Stereo-paired HomePods need to be a Mac sound option – 9to5Mac
2 thoughts on “Stereo-paired HomePods need to be a Mac sound option – 9to5Mac”
I agree that putting $500-$600 of HomePods on your desk beside your computer is a curious choice. There are many much better (and more attractive) computer speakers available at a fraction of the price. As you say, the HomePod is not intended to be so close to the listener.
The only statements in the article with which I disagree are two mentions of tweeters. The desktop surface is quite close in height to the sitting user’s ear height, so I doubt that a listener would hear much difference if the tweeters were a few inches higher. Granted that a tweeter on the floor is not optimum, but a difference of a foot or so above or below the listener’s ears is unlikely to be noticed. I’ve gone back and re-listened to the episode of The Next Track podcast on which your guest discussed this question. He was not nearly as picky as you seem to be in this article.
On this same line, I think the misguided user of this setup would hear treble adequately. It might be hard to appreciate with the excess bass from the HomePod, but it would be there.
The general thought about speaker placement is that, since high frequency waves are so small, tweeters should be as close to ear level as possible. I notice the difference with my HomePods in the bedroom, which are on shelves. If I put them one shelf higher or lower, there is much worse high frequency response. So putting them on a desk won’t get you the right balance between highs and lows. The tweeters are only slightly tilted up, which is enough for long distances, but not for near-field listening.