HomePod vs. Sonos One Stereo Pair Comparison

I’ve had a HomePod since it was first released in early 2018. It sounds okay, but there are a number of issues with it. As I said in my review, “sometimes this speaker sounds really great, sometimes it really doesn’t.” And the biggest problem for me was this:

What the HomePod needs, of course, is user access to settings like an equalizer, as you have in iTunes or on an iOS device. Not to the broader DSP algorithm, but to the tone sculpting that makes some music sound too bassy, or, at times, too trebly.

A few months later, I got a second HomePod to combine them into a stereo pair to use in my bedroom. Using two standalone speakers in a stereo pair is practical: you save the space you would need for an amplifier, and you don’t need to run speaker wire to them (you do need to plug both into AC power, of course).

In late 2018, I bought a Sonos One, which is similar in size to the HomePod, but is much less expensive. It turned out that the Sonos One sounded better overall than the HomePod.

So the next step was to buy a second Sonos One and set it up in a stereo pair. I did so recently, taking advantage of post-Christmas sales, and I purchased the less expensive Sonos One SL, which does not have a microphone so does not support Alexa or Google Assistant. I don’t use Alexa, nor do I use Siri on my HomePods, and if you have a stereo pair, you don’t need both Sonos Ones to have microphones anyway.

Note that a pair of HomePods costs $598, and a pair of Sonos One SLs costs $329.

So, it was time to set up the Sonos Ones in a stereo pair in my bedroom and compare them. I placed each one on the same shelf as a HomePod, a few inches away. In the Music app, I set the volume for each pair to approximately what was audibly the same level; the Sonos One is a bit louder, so I lowered its volume until it sounded about the same. (“Bedroom” below is the HomePod stereo pair.)

Bedroom

You can switch from one AirPlay device to another by tapping the AirPlay icon at the bottom of the Music window, and I switched back and forth, starting with my Kirk’s Audio Test Tracks playlist on Apple Music. This is a playlist of music that I am very familiar with, which I use when testing new audio equipment. (I listened to more than just what’s in the playlist, but I started with that.)

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Sonos, Squeezed by the Tech Giants, Sues Google – The New York Times

In 2013, Sonos scored a coup when Google agreed to design its music service to work easily with Sonos’s home speakers. For the project, Sonos handed over the effective blueprints to its speakers.

It felt like a harmless move, Sonos executives said. Google was an internet company and didn’t make speakers.

The executives now say they were naïve.

Oh.

On Tuesday, Sonos sued Google in two federal court systems, seeking financial damages and a ban on the sale of Google’s speakers, smartphones and laptops in the United States. Sonos accused Google of infringing on five of its patents, including technology that lets wireless speakers connect and synchronize with one another.

Sonos’s complaints go beyond patents and Google. Its legal action is the culmination of years of growing dependence on both Google and Amazon, which then used their leverage to squeeze the smaller company, Sonos executives said.
Sonos advertises its speakers on Google and sells them on Amazon. It built their music services and talking virtual assistants directly into its products. Sonos workers correspond via Gmail, and run the business off Amazon’s cloud-computing service.

Then Google and Amazon came out with their own speakers, undercutting Sonos’s prices, and according to Sonos executives, stealing its technology. Google and Amazon each now sell as many speakers in a few months as Sonos sells in one year.

Oh!

Sonos executives said they decided to sue only Google because they couldn’t risk battling two tech giants in court at once. Yet Mr. Spence and congressional staff members have discussed him soon testifying to the House antitrust subcommittee about his company’s issues with them.

Oh!!!!

Source: Sonos, Squeezed by the Tech Giants, Sues Google – The New York Times

Apple HomePod Compared to Sonos One

Many people buy smart speakers because of their smarts: Apple’s HomePod provides access to Siri, Amazon’s Echo and some devices from other manufacturers let you talk to Alexa and Google Home lets you query Ok Google. If you want a speaker to listen to music but are wedded to one of these “smart” ecosystems, then your choices are limited.

But if what matters to you is sound quality and you want a standalone speaker that you can stream music to, then you have a lot of options. I reviewed Apple’s HomePod here, and, while the sound is good, it’s not as good as it could be. I now have two HomePods which I use in my bedroom as a stereo pair, and I wanted a speaker for the kitchen to listen to music while I cook. But I didn’t want a Bluetooth speaker because their sound quality is limited; since I use Apple Music and iTunes, having AirPlay access was essential for me. Rather than spend the $350 for another HomePod, I decided to buy a Sonos One. At $200 (and I got it at the $25 discount Black Friday price), it’s more accessible; you can get two to make a stereo pair for just a bit more than a single HomePod.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

The Next Track, Episode #10 – Setting Up a Home Media Server

The Next Track Blue Flat Button2 400pxHave you ever wanted to set up your own home media server? Doug and Kirk discuss the pros and cons of doing this, and explain how to set up a Mac mini as a media server.

Listen to The Next Track: Episode #10 — Setting Up a Home Media Server.

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at The Next Track website. You can follow The Next Track on Twitter at @NextTrackCast, to keep up to date with new episodes, and new articles from the website.