As I pointed out in my early review of the HomePod, some music sounds very good, but a lot doesn’t. The reason for this is Apple’s digital signal processing (DSP) that tweaks the sound toward the low end, combined with the fact that the mid-range on this device is weak. You can’t change this when streaming from Apple Music or iCloud Music Library, but you can adjust the equalizer if you stream from iTunes or an iOS device.
In this article, I explain how to use the iTunes equalizer. I’ve found that the best preset to compensate for the HomePod’s unbalanced sound is Vocal Booster. This setting lowers the bass a bit and heightens the midrange, fixing what the HomePod gets wrong.
On iTunes, you can further tweak this setting, as you see above, in ten different frequency bands. It’s probably not worth the trouble, but feel free to roll your own. The problem is that on iOS, you can’t create custom EQ settings; you can only use the presets. If you got to Settings > Music, then the Playback section, you’ll see the EQ menu. Choose a preset here.
Naturally, you may want to have that extra bass at times: when you’re having a party, or if you’re listening to music that really benefits from strong bass (hip-hop, reggae, etc.). In these cases, you’ll be happy with what the HomePod plays natively. And you may even like the extra bass the HomePod adds. But if you don’t, if you want more neutral sound, at least you can adjust it, when streaming from iTunes or an iOS device.