Audio quality and sound is one of the most subjective things out there and is highly susceptible to the placebo affect. There have been a few tests which compare expensive equipment to cheaper equipment to illustrate this. In the sighted test, expensive equipment generally always scored better than the cheaper stuff. Blind tests would show significantly different results.
In the case of the homepod, this isn't something just relegated to Apple. It is essentially an industry wide issue that the audio community deals with. There is a decent argument that the placebo effect is the main reason super high end audio even exists.
>There was near-unanimous consensus among seasoned journalists
When did we start thinking of journalists as experts in anything? Journalists should be reporting the opinion of experts, not trying to apply their own judgement directly.
Thanks for the more balanced info. Not a surprise of course but good to see. It's amazing that the tester even after conducting the blind test still rates the apple speaker best.
Wait - you think these are journalists? They are writers. Writers who need to be able to write about Apple products. If they write that Apple products aren't the best thing ever, chances are they won't be invited to Apple events in the future.
Besides, audio reviews are all pretty much bullshit. People's hearing is pretty bad. I had a friend who freelanced for an audio magazine. I read a "review" of a fancy new CD player (this was 20 years ago) which talked about the "colour" of the music. I asked him if he knew that was bullshit. He laughed and said of course he did, but his job was to tell stories about products.
> It really makes you wonder about the extent that marketing can influence even educated journalists who make their living on their ability to assess tech objectively.
That's your logical fallacy right there.
"Journalists" are neither 'educated' nor objective.
If they were educated, they would have a real job.
If they were objective, they'd lose their "Journalism" job because objectivity doesn't result in clicks. Which results in money for their bosses.
Ever since Steve Jobs got rich on Wozniack's invention, all Apple has been is a good marketer. They make ok products or rip them off from others and market them at a higher price than needed, and media falls for it every time.
Interesting stuff, and good write up, but as others have said, sound is so subjective person-to-person.
For instance, I think my car stereo sounds as good as my wife's - or at least good enough that the cost isn't justified. I have a base model stereo with 4 speakers with SRS CS Auto and she has a 576w equivalent 12 speaker Harmon/Kardon.
Apple has gone down the toilet since Steve Jobs died. Their products have been getting worse and worse. It sucks because the Macbook Air is still my favorite laptop and I'm worried that Apple will ruin it like they did the Macbook and Macbook Pro.
I find these arguments to be far less than compelling. Tastes in sound is highly subjective, an acquaintance of mine years ago had a fairly powerful audio system in his car, with a graphic equalizer. He set is with the first slider (bass) to max, all of the others to zero, volume all the way up. I assume if he were to select an audio device to be “the best” it would certainly not be my choice. Personally, I like everything fairly level, any adjustment would be to tweak the highs a bit. My thought is that comparisons would be akin to asking a dozen random strangers “what is the best shoe size”.