Stick With Sonos

  • 12 February 2018
  • 17 replies

Userlevel 1
OK so as an Apple fan I received my marching orders and ordered the Homepod. It arrived on Friday and ever since I've been trying really hard to like it...but I can't. The best description I ran across in reading reviews from Homepod owners is that it sounds hollow with too much bass. I couldn't agree more. We don't all listen to rap Apple. I think the people that like it haven't heard Sonos because if they did they wouldn't buy it. I bought mine without hearing it which is my mistake but feared not being able to get one on launch date like an iPhone X. As it turns our there a still plenty available which speaks volumes. The 2 Play 1's offer for $349 beats the pants off the Homepod. So for the first time in my history with Apple I am dissatisfied with an Apple product and so I'm returning it today to my Apple store. The Homepod my prove the best thing ever for Sonos than the perceived threat it my appear to be. Skip the Homepod and buy Sonos because as a happy Sonos owner I can attest to this opinion strongly.

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17 replies

Lots of rave reviews from ‘zines, but I’ve always trusted Consumer Reports, as they don’t accept advertising. They’re not impressed.
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Another thing that I forgot to mention that sealed the deal to return it was this video:

Normally I hate these destruction videos for the sake of clicks but this video bore out the truth that unlike the nice cut away picture that Apple shows on their web with the speakers pointing out, there is a plastic shroud around the front where the grill mesh is. I thought this is where the speakers are. Naturally you would think that. The smallish tweeter speakers rather fire down to the base. NO WONDER it sounds like crap. Oh and those little holes you see on the video are for the microphones for Siri. I think this product is going to die a quick death.

You know what else is interesting is how Apple had to hype it as they gave it to Apple experts who I usually trust. Trying to figure our how they could all be wrong I've come to the conclusion if they ever hope to visit to Apple HQ in the future or receive a pre-release product they must say nice things about it. Sad. Like you I'll have to turn to unbiased sources in the future if I'm to buy anything Apple before I see or hear it.
To me, the stereo Sonos ones sound better. HomePod sounds like it has a blanket over it or something. It's muddy and congested. It lacks clarity in comparison. The low end is great, but things like cymbals and other nuances are lost. Now granted I'm somewhat deaf from years of playing live music, but I don't think I'm that deaf. And it's also one speaker in comparison to two but I don't want to spend 700 bucks on 2 of them. And I like the way the Sonos system works. I have a playbar and sub and a couple other Sonos Ones around the house. And I think I'm convinced about Spotify being better than AM. It's a shame but I feel like cognitive dissonance is playing a huge factor in me liking the HomePod. Like Im trying to make excuses to like it bc I own so much Apple stuff and love it and want the seemless integration amongst them all. I'm gonna spend more time with it and try it in other rooms and different places in this room but I thought that's part of the deal is that it sounds good anywhere. I don't know, but after much time of listening to a lot of different stuff at low to medium volumes (which is what I normally do) and some high volumes...The stereo Sonos Ones win hands down.
Userlevel 1
Love your comment about "making excuses to keep it." I personally tormented myself for a whole weekend forcing myself to like it. Finally after extreme exhaustion of watching countless YouTube videos, reading tons of reviews, pairing and unpairing it repeatedly from my phone to make it "read" the room, I gave up and returned it yesterday. How can people actually say they like it unless the thrive on only bass. No your ears are fine because the blanket thrown over the Homepod about sums it up to a tee. This is the first Apple product I've ever returned due to dissatisfaction. This is a strong statement considering my purchase history dates all the way back to the Apple ][. Just return it and you'll feel better. Us Apple stalwarts may need to start a support group to get through this. 😃
I spent all weekend sick on the couch staring at my iPhone reading reddit, the Sonos Community, reviews and watching videos trying to decide what to do. I made myself mentally sick.

I had 3 Sonos Ones and a Playbar (Ive been going nuts trying to talk myself into buying the sub and the homepod hasn’t helped). I have my iphone, an Apple Tv, an Apple watch, airpods, a macbook, etc. I LOVE Apple. So yesterday I exchanged one of my three Sonos Ones for the HomePod thinking I wouldn't need it bc I would break up the stereo pair and place them in other rooms once the Hompod arrived. I got home and was super excited! I loved opening it and setting it up like I do with all of my Apple gear, and I put it smack dab in between of the two Sonos Ones.

First I played some Sigur Ros on the HomePod and was blown away by the bass and I thought it sounded really good and my excitement started to grow. I then switched to the exact same song on then Sonos Ones and it was night and day. The separation and clarity was obviously better. I could hear the cymbals and brushes on the snare and the intricacies of the strings and guitars. The bass was supportive and not overwhelmingly riding underneath like it was with the HomePod. So I went back to the HomePod and played Kendrick Lamar....WOW! It was bumping and got my head bobbing. I switched back to the same song on the Ones, and while the low end wasn't as "big" it was clear and Kendricks voice didn't sound like it was on top of and sticking out from everything else as it did on the HomePod.

If I didn’t have the Sonos Ones to compare Im sure Id be smitten with my Homepod because I do like it a lot and I think it’s super cool, but, my ears can’t “un-hear” the differences. I played and compared Sigur Ros, Massive Attack, Miles Davis, Radiohead, The Eagles, The Civil Wars, Nina Simone, 2Pac, Outkast, Beck, Foo Fighters, Tool, A Perfect Circle, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Elvis, Mozart, Bach……you get the point. Every single time I switched from Homepod to the Sonos Ones, I said to myself “Damn it!” bc I was upset. I wanted to love the Homepod. I then said to myself “well, a stereo pair of homepods will kick ass!” Then I realized I was sucked into what makes me the target market impulsive consumer, especially when it comes to apple. That’s $700!

Anyone who gets a Homepod without having a good speaker before will think it sounds incredible and will be very happy I think. Even if they have good speakers already they’ll like it! I do! Its cool, its fun and it hopefully will bring music into a lot of peoples home likes iPods put it in people pockets. I am optimistic too that the Homepod will bring attention to Sonos and there speakers as well and result in some new fans. I want the Homepod bc I love my Apple gear. I want it to work seamlessly like everything else I own from Apple. At this point though I cant justify it. Id rather have stereo Sonos Ones and I will get a Homepod later down the road Im sure. Especially with Airplay 2 and stereo pairing! I cant wait to hear what two Homepods paired together sound like! But for now, Im gonna exchange it back for an open box Sonos One to put backin my kitchen and cough up the cash and Best Buy Rewards for the ridiculously expensive Sonos Sub that I really don’t need, but like I said, Im an impulsive consumer and I found a good open box deal at Best Buy. ☺️
Userlevel 1
LMAO at your comments. Well I think the best therapy was for us to return it. When I returned mine the guy at the Apple store said quietly and candidly that they are accepting more returns than they are selling so we're not crazy. Hopefully Homepod 2 will fix this potentially great product. According to VP Phil they said they spent the past 6 years developing this thing. SMH on that! Well anyone reading this rant looking to wander off the Sonos ranch...don't. In this product category Sonos is the best! Best of luck to you RPJ12!
Userlevel 1
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I had 3 Sonos Ones and a Playbar (Ive been going nuts trying to talk myself into buying the sub and the homepod hasn’t helped).
I want the Homepod bc I love my Apple gear. I want it to work seamlessly like everything else I own from Apple. Maybe one day it will. Right now it wont. So, Im gonna exchange it back for an open box Sonos One and cough up the cash for the ridiculously expensive Sonos Sub that I really don’t need, but like I said, Im an impulsive consumer and I found a good open box deal at Best Buy. ☺️

Wait until you try the sub married to a stereo pair of Sonos ones. Your troubles will evaporate and all you'll have to reproach yourself for is the wasted weekend!!!:D
I made myself mentally sick.

Lol. Interesting post, but I can't help feeling that it will leave decision makers just as confused about which one to get!
I’m still confused myself! What a wonderful “problem” to have 🙂
Userlevel 7
Just thought I'd weigh in on this. Full disclosure...I'm a big Apple fan (3 PC's, iMac, 2 iPads, 2 iPods, Apple Watch)

I went to a BestBuy and listened to the Apple HomePod. I'll be the first to admit that listening to a speaker in a BB is not a fair audition by any means. The area is just too huge to get a real feel of how the speaker performs plus it's impossible to conduct an A/B comparison with the preprogramed music. However, I think I have a pretty good ear and the first thing that I noticed was the over-emphasized bass.

I thought that maybe it played that way because it was sensing the room as Apple claims the speaker will do much like TruePlay with Sonos. However, after reading the Consumer Reports article supplied by Chicks (thank you) I now that my impression of the HomePod being bass heavy was not a figment of my imagination. Furthermore, I agree with the entire CR preliminary evaluation of the HomePod.

IMO individuals equate loudness as being accurate acoustic reproduction of music. The HomePod does play loud...more so than a single Sonos One or Play 1. However, the One/1 IMO deliver a more accurate translation of music (balanced low/mid/high frequencies). I'm very curious to know how things might change when Apple updates the HomePod to create a stereo pair. Given the HomePod's current performance the low end may become a bit less overbearing in a stereo pair setup which could trump the Sonos One (or Play 1) in stereo pair without a bonded sub.

Assuming the HomePod will evolve into something better than today...only natively supporting Apple Music still makes it less than an ideal choice for me. Also, the security feature (or rather lack thereof) to allow Siri to respond to anyone's voice and call up your text messages...BIG no, no!

So, as much as I like Apple products...I'll have to pass on the HomePod in it's present state. But never say never :8
Add me to the crowd.

As a admitted Apple fan boy (unapologetically) I’m very disappointed.

I was mad at myself for rushing and jumping on the Sonos bandwagon so quickly. I slowly began to have buyer remorse as I watched crappy YouTube video after another and wondered if I would be able to intergrate Sonos into my upcoming batch of new HomePods I planned on purchasing.

Wife and I go into Best Buy for a early Valentine present.

We listen to the HomePod for about 20 seconds and she states “that’s not as good as the one you have in the living room” (my play 5). I’m surprised because I agree but I comment that it’s hard to judge a speaker in a store. So we head over to the Sonos area and listen to the 5.

Totally different song, different location, different volume, different everything but we both just looked at each other and laughed. Actually laughed.

We left the store with a Apple Watch but no HomePod.

I was so confident when I bought my first Sonos product but fear and doubt slowly crept in.

No hdmi
So many competitors entering the fray
And of course here comes Apple.

Now I’m kinda left feeling like is this it?

I agree with previous poster. This is the first time I’ve been disappointed in a Apple product. They have a way of making big jumps with the second iteration of a product so we will see, but this was not it.

As a side note. I now call into question so much information from the Mac centric sites. The reviews have been disingenuous.

Very disappointed
I got a Sub to hook up to my Playbar. I’m a very happy boy ?
Userlevel 6
Badge +13
Every Sonos home should have at least one Sub!.
Userlevel 1
As the author of this post I appreciate all of your replies. It seems many are in agreement that Sonos is the best. As I was making dinner last night enjoying listening to my 2 Play1's, my source was my Sirius XM subscription. I was reminded how important it is to buy a product like Sonos that is vendor neutral to all the streaming services, that way they are all available to the listener. I know the speaker manufactures would like you to be tied to them excluding the competition but that "walled off garden" approach doesn't work with me. Since Sonos depends on the hardware sale of their product, not being tied to any one music service, it's important us to promote Sonos to your friends. I have some friends that were less impressed with their Hompod purchase so I encouraged them to return it while they can in the 2 week window. They turned around and just bought Sonos and are grateful for my advice.
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I got a Sub to hook up to my Playbar. I’m a very happy boy ?

Pleased you are happy! If you possibly subscribe to Spotify/Apple music et al. give your sub a good workout with Gregory Porter's version of Blackbird. Thunderous!!!;)

Unfortunately, the HomePod strikes me as a miss, and a fairly big one at that. Despite the “breakthrough” language that accompanied both the HomePod and the iPod Hi-Fi before it, I don’t believe Apple’s speakers are going to revolutionize anything. HomePod is just another speaker, and barely a “smart” one at this point. I don’t find it fun to interact with, and don’t think that the sound is worthy of the $349 asking price; the same dollars can buy two Sonos One speakers with superior overall sound, true stereo, and support for multiple third-party services. The fact that HomePod will see non-trivial software updates won’t fix the hardware it’s missing, and even if Apple adds a true stereo mode, that won’t remedy the need for nearly $700 worth of hardware to achieve it.
David Pogue responds to critics of his blind test, which HomePod didn’t win.