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Apple HomePod Mini Review

hardisj

Major Contributor
Reviewer
Joined
Jul 18, 2019
Messages
2,536
Likes
11,771
Location
North Alabama
Copy/paste from my site. Review may not translate from my site so here is the link to the full review on my site:
https://www.erinsaudiocorner.com/loudspeakers/apple_homepod_mini/



Apple HomePod Mini
  • Sunday, Jun 27, 2021
homepod_mini.png

Foreword / YouTube Video Review
The review on this website is a brief overview and summary of the objective performance of this speaker. It is not intended to be a deep dive. Moreso, this is information for those who prefer “just the facts” and prefer to have the data without the filler.
Note: Coming Soon

For a primer on what the data means, please watch my series of videos where I provide in-depth discussion and examples of how to read the graphics presented hereon.
https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnIxFR_ey0b37Ex4KV2mBz-kYB7QLffR1


Information and Photos

The Apple HomePod Mini is smart speaker intended to be paired with your Apple ecosystem, providing you with access to music, news and Siri. Currently, these are sold in singles for $99 USD and two can be configured to work as a stereo pair. The design of this speaker is different in that it is intended to provide 360° sound throughout the room and does so using a “fullrange” drive-unit with a waveguide paired with a bass driver and passive radiators to provide the lower frequency content. See below photo for illustration.
inside.png


specs.png





CTA-2034 (SPINORAMA) and Accompanying Data
All data collected using Klippel’s Near-Field Scanner. The Near-Field-Scanner 3D (NFS) offers a fully automated acoustic measurement of direct sound radiated from the source under test. The radiated sound is determined in any desired distance and angle in the 3D space outside the scanning surface. Directivity, sound power, SPL response and many more key figures are obtained for any kind of loudspeaker and audio system in near field applications (e.g. studio monitors, mobile devices) as well as far field applications (e.g. professional audio systems). Utilizing a minimum of measurement points, a comprehensive data set is generated containing the loudspeaker’s high resolution, free field sound radiation in the near and far field. For a detailed explanation of how the NFS works and the science behind it, please watch the below discussion with designer Christian Bellmann:


This was a tricky one to test. Realistically, this speaker is almost guaranteed to be placed on a surface, a countertop, the ground, etc. In doing so, the high frequency content that is downward-firing is then reflected back into the room which is obviously atypical of a conventional speaker. There is no easy way to test this without performing an outdoor set of measurements and even doing that yields its own set of challenges relative to “use case” for this speaker. So, I have measured this speaker anechoically - the same as I do for all my other measurements - using the Klippel NFS. The rationale for this is simple: given that this is a device that is less about “ideal listening conditions” and more about “convenience”, I am less interested in the absolute accuracy of the frequency response and more interested in the radiation pattern and the maximum SPL limits. In other words, most will be listening to this while moving about the home or as background music but I can’t imagine many attempting to use a HomePod Mini for “critical listening”. The goal of this review is to answer some basic questions: can you hear this speaker while walking around the kitchen and in other rooms as you walk about the horse completing chores?

Additionally, this speaker has no auxiliary input and thus was tested via Bluetooth using Klippel’s Application Note 72.

With the above said, the reference plane in this test is at the waveguide level. Just above the bottom of the speaker. Volume set to max. Unlike its bigger brother - the HomePod - there is no adaptive EQ in the HomePod Mini. So there was nothing to disable in terms of “DSP” other than “soundcheck” (which is only used to normalize music as track to track variation can be louder or quieter).

I modified the NFS to use a pole, placing the speaker on top rather than directly on top of the NFS’ platform. This was done to make sure there was no artifacts - comb filtering - from the stand back to the microphone as this is intended to provide anechoic data, as previously discussed. This can be seen below.

DSC02062.JPG




Measurements are provided in a format in accordance with the Standard Method of Measurement for In-Home Loudspeakers (ANSI/CTA-2034-A R-2020). For more information, please see this link.

CTA-2034 / SPINORAMA:
CEA2034%20%20--%20%20Apple%20Homepod%20Mini.png


Early Reflections Breakout:
1624841318066.png


Estimated In-Room Response:
Estimated%20In-Room%20Response.png


Horizontal Frequency Response (0° to ±90°):
SPL%20Horizontal.png


Vertical Frequency Response (0° to ±40°):
SPL%20Vertical.png


Horizontal Contour Plot (not normalized):
Apple%20Homepod%20Mini_Horizontal_Spectrogram_Full.png


Vertical Contour Plot (not normalized):
Apple%20Homepod%20Mini_Vertical_Spectrogram_Full.png





Additional Measurements

“Globe” Plots
These plots are generated from exporting the Klippel data to text files. I then process that data with my own MATLAB script to provide what you see. These are not part of any software packages and are unique to my tests.

Horizontal Polar (Globe) Plot:
This represents the sound field at 2 meters - above 200Hz - per the legend in the upper left.
Apple%20Homepod%20Mini_360_Horizontal_Polar.png



Vertical Polar (Globe) Plot:
This represents the sound field at 2 meters - above 200Hz - per the legend in the upper left.
Apple%20Homepod%20Mini_360_Vertical_Polar.png



Harmonic Distortion
Harmonic Distortion at max volume (83dB @ 1m). This was literally the loudest I could set the HomePod Mini to play via Bluetooth:
1624847382959.png




Parting Thoughts
  • The speaker response is practically omnidirectional. I believe the reason you see a divergence in the higher frequencies is due to comb filtering from the power cord that is hardwired in to the unit (the only pluggable end is at the wall-outlet adapter).
  • As I discussed earlier, the high frequency response is likely to be misleading because the speaker is designed to be listened to while sitting on a surface. That will (should) increase the HF output but it, too, will still suffer effects of comb filtering based on the angle of the waveguide with respect to the opening of the mouth. But honestly, as this speaker is likely to be used, I don’t think many will even care. Again, this is not a “critical listening” speaker. It is a convenience speaker. The purpose is different and should be weighed with the analysis of the data. In other words, don’t draw the wrong conclusion; consider how this will be used.
  • The loudest I could get this unit to go was approximately 83dB at 1 meter (anechoic).
  • If you are wondering where the compression testing is, well, that’s because I had no viable way to test this. With Bluetooth, I don’t know how much voltage the speaker is receiving to calculate a theoretical gain in dBSPL. Therefore, I can’t calculate what the compression is based on what the SPL should be since I don’t know what the SPL should be.



Support / Contribute

If you like what you see here and want to help me keep it going, please consider donating via the PayPal Contribute button below. https://www.erinsaudiocorner.com/contribute/
 
Last edited:

napilopez

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 17, 2018
Messages
1,918
Likes
7,244
Location
NYC
Copy/paste from my site. Review may not translate from my site so here is the link to the full review on my site:
https://www.erinsaudiocorner.com/loudspeakers/apple_homepod_mini/



Apple HomePod Mini
  • Sunday, Jun 27, 2021
homepod_mini.png

Foreword / YouTube Video Review
The review on this website is a brief overview and summary of the objective performance of this speaker. It is not intended to be a deep dive. Moreso, this is information for those who prefer “just the facts” and prefer to have the data without the filler.
Note: Coming Soon

For a primer on what the data means, please watch my series of videos where I provide in-depth discussion and examples of how to read the graphics presented hereon.
https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnIxFR_ey0b37Ex4KV2mBz-kYB7QLffR1


Information and Photos

The Apple HomePod Mini is smart speaker intended to be paired with your Apple ecosystem, providing you with access to music, news and Siri. Currently, these are sold in singles for $99 USD and two can be configured to work as a stereo pair. The design of this speaker is different in that it is intended to provide 360° sound throughout the room and does so using a “fullrange” drive-unit with a waveguide paired with a bass driver and passive radiators to provide the lower frequency content. See below photo for illustration.
inside.png


specs.png





CTA-2034 (SPINORAMA) and Accompanying Data
All data collected using Klippel’s Near-Field Scanner. The Near-Field-Scanner 3D (NFS) offers a fully automated acoustic measurement of direct sound radiated from the source under test. The radiated sound is determined in any desired distance and angle in the 3D space outside the scanning surface. Directivity, sound power, SPL response and many more key figures are obtained for any kind of loudspeaker and audio system in near field applications (e.g. studio monitors, mobile devices) as well as far field applications (e.g. professional audio systems). Utilizing a minimum of measurement points, a comprehensive data set is generated containing the loudspeaker’s high resolution, free field sound radiation in the near and far field. For a detailed explanation of how the NFS works and the science behind it, please watch the below discussion with designer Christian Bellmann:


This was a tricky one to test. Realistically, this speaker is almost guaranteed to be placed on a surface, a countertop, the ground, etc. In doing so, the high frequency content that is downward-firing is then reflected back into the room which is obviously atypical of a conventional speaker. There is no easy way to test this without performing an outdoor set of measurements and even doing that yields its own set of challenges relative to “use case” for this speaker. So, I have measured this speaker anechoically - the same as I do for all my other measurements - using the Klippel NFS. The rationale for this is simple: given that this is a device that is less about “ideal listening conditions” and more about “convenience”, I am less interested in the absolute accuracy of the frequency response and more interested in the radiation pattern and the maximum SPL limits. In other words, most will be listening to this while moving about the home or as background music but I can’t imagine many attempting to use a HomePod Mini for “critical listening”. The goal of this review is to answer some basic questions: can you hear this speaker while walking around the kitchen and in other rooms as you walk about the horse completing chores?

Additionally, this speaker has no auxiliary input and thus was tested via Bluetooth using Klippel’s Application Note 72.

With the above said, the reference plane in this test is at the waveguide level. Just above the bottom of the speaker. Volume set to max. Unlike its bigger brother - the HomePod - there is no adaptive EQ in the HomePod Mini. So there was nothing to disable in terms of “DSP” other than “soundcheck” (which is only used to normalize music as track to track variation can be louder or quieter).

I modified the NFS to use a pole, placing the speaker on top rather than directly on top of the NFS’ platform. This was done to make sure there was no artifacts - comb filtering - from the stand back to the microphone as this is intended to provide anechoic data, as previously discussed. This can be seen below.

DSC02062.JPG




Measurements are provided in a format in accordance with the Standard Method of Measurement for In-Home Loudspeakers (ANSI/CTA-2034-A R-2020). For more information, please see this link.

CTA-2034 / SPINORAMA:
CEA2034%20%20--%20%20Apple%20Homepod%20Mini.png


Early Reflections Breakout:
View attachment 137791

Estimated In-Room Response:
Estimated%20In-Room%20Response.png


Horizontal Frequency Response (0° to ±90°):
SPL%20Horizontal.png


Vertical Frequency Response (0° to ±40°):
SPL%20Vertical.png


Horizontal Contour Plot (not normalized):
Apple%20Homepod%20Mini_Horizontal_Spectrogram_Full.png


Vertical Contour Plot (not normalized):
Apple%20Homepod%20Mini_Vertical_Spectrogram_Full.png





Additional Measurements

“Globe” Plots
These plots are generated from exporting the Klippel data to text files. I then process that data with my own MATLAB script to provide what you see. These are not part of any software packages and are unique to my tests.

Horizontal Polar (Globe) Plot:
This represents the sound field at 2 meters - above 200Hz - per the legend in the upper left.
Apple%20Homepod%20Mini_360_Horizontal_Polar.png



Vertical Polar (Globe) Plot:
This represents the sound field at 2 meters - above 200Hz - per the legend in the upper left.
Apple%20Homepod%20Mini_360_Vertical_Polar.png



Harmonic Distortion
Harmonic Distortion at max volume (83dB @ 1m). This was literally the loudest I could set the HomePod Mini to play via Bluetooth:
Apple%20IN-8%202nd%20Wave%20%20--%20%20Harmonic%20Distortion%20%2886dB%20%40%201m%29.png




Parting Thoughts
  • The speaker response is practically omnidirectional. I believe the reason you see a divergence in the higher frequencies is due to comb filtering from the power cord that is hardwired in to the unit (the only pluggable end is at the wall-outlet adapter).
  • As I discussed earlier, the high frequency response is likely to be misleading because the speaker is designed to be listened to while sitting on a surface. That will (should) increase the HF output but it, too, will still suffer effects of comb filtering based on the angle of the waveguide with respect to the opening of the mouth. But honestly, as this speaker is likely to be used, I don’t think many will even care. Again, this is not a “critical listening” speaker. It is a convenience speaker. The purpose is different and should be weighed with the analysis of the data. In other words, don’t draw the wrong conclusion; consider how this will be used.
  • The loudest I could get this unit to go was approximately 83dB at 1 meter (anechoic).
  • If you are wondering where the compression testing is, well, that’s because I had no viable way to test this. With Bluetooth, I don’t know how much voltage the speaker is receiving to calculate a theoretical gain in dBSPL. Therefore, I can’t calculate what the compression is based on what the SPL should be since I don’t know what the SPL should be.



Support / Contribute

If you like what you see here and want to help me keep it going, please consider donating via the PayPal Contribute button below. https://www.erinsaudiocorner.com/contribute/

The puzzling thing is that only thing it really needs to be quite good imo for the form factor is to reduce the peak at 3kHz. Directivity is good enough that this shouldn't be an issue. To fix. The other dips and overall tilt shouldn't be major issues.

I do wonder what it would measure like on a table -- would there be a dip in this region? Almost seems like it has to be intentional (sorry, haven't watched the video yet so don't know if it's covered). Or they just didn't care lol
 

MZKM

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The puzzling thing is that only thing it really needs to be quite good imo for the form factor is to reduce the peak at 3kHz. Directivity is good enough that this shouldn't be an issue. To fix. The other dips and overall tilt shouldn't be major issues.

I do wonder what it would measure like on a table -- would there be a dip in this region? Almost seems like it has to be intentional (sorry, haven't watched the video yet so don't know if it's covered). Or they just didn't care lol
I would be interested in an in-room response with it placed on a surface, just to see if the PIR is somewhat accurate as this is a non-standard design.
 

Webninja

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Joined
Oct 8, 2018
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Location
Los Angeles
I have a bunch of these around the house for background music and podcasts. As Erin said, not for critical listening, but damn convenient if you are in the Apple ecosystem.

A pair can be used as a desktop speakers if you’re using a Mac.
 
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