When I wrote our HomePod 2 review, I mentioned how the bass on the new model isn’t as deep as on the original HomePod, but it’s balanced out by a noticeable improvement in the forwardness and clarity of the upper-midrange. As a result, the new model is better suited to vocals and acoustics, and it is preferable for a wide range of music.
But, after using a pair of HomePod 2 in stereo mode in my daily life, I’ve noticed that I’m missing the bass of the original HomePod. Electronic and dance music is what I listen to the most at home – something with a lot of energy in the background when friends come over – and I can really feel the lack of low-end now.
That’s not always important in music, but I listened to Ladytron’s Destroy Everything You Touch and Dosti from the RRR soundtrack (the best Netflix movie of last year! ), and both just don’t have the full punch I know they have when played on the new HomePod 2.
Then I unintentionally solved the problem. I still have one of the original HomePods set up from the comparisons I did during the review, and I was showing my partner the difference between the old model and the new model because she noticed the difference in sound as well. While switching between them, I put both the new and original HomePods in one group and played music through them all at once… and the scales fell away from my ears.
Apple’s AirPlay 2 wireless system is excellent at syncing sound perfectly between speakers, so both flavors of HomePod were playing together with exact timing, and it gave me the extra bass I wanted while still retaining the new HomePod 2’s extra vocal and instrument clarity.
Since then, that’s been the only setup I’ve been using – old and new, playing together in one group – and it’s really made me happy. I mentioned in the HomePod 2 review that I was hoping for a similar audio leap forward to the AirPods Pro 2, but what we got was more of a rebalancing. But I think I’ve gotten it by combining the two.
Three is a popular number
The obvious limitation of this setup is that it is only available to people who own the old HomePod and don’t think it’s ridiculous to spend the money to combine them, Power Rangers-style, into the MegaHomePod. I’m not a lunatic; I understand that spending hundreds of dollars on a new one to enhance an old one is unusual. I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone.
But I’m sure there will be people who, like me, had the original and tried the upgrade and felt something was missing. And if you still have the original, maybe I’m recommending it to you. At the very least, to try.
This configuration of having one extra old HomePod obviously isn’t conducive to well-balanced stereo from two HomePod 2s, or perfectly angled Dolby Atmos sound – but that’s not how I use stereo HomePods in the first place. They’re on opposite sides of my living room, rather than in a position where I can sit in a sweet spot, so the imbalance is fine. What I want from them is background impact and diffusion, and my improvised system works perfectly for that.
If you want a system with similar big sound without Frankensteining multiple generations of a product into one, check out our guides to the best wireless speakers and best AirPlay speakers for some high-end options. But I actually like my strange HomePod setup – it has a small footprint, is distributed throughout the room, and the sound balance is just right.