The Best Sounding Smart Speaker

Smart Speakers

I have seen a bunch of articles from pundits and reviewers espousing the virtues of one smart speaker over another. The consensus seems to be that the Apple HomePod is the “best sounding” smart speaker. Other honorable mentions go to Sonos, followed by Amazon’s Echo Plus (which has the added virtue of smart home control). Let me be as polite as possible: bulls#&t!

There is only one way to know which speaker will sound “best” in your home. You must place the speaker exactly where you are going to place it and listen. A speaker that sounds great in a display at Best Buy may sound fine in your kitchen, but it also may not. Speaker placement is more science than art and it is, by far, the most important factor in perceived sonic quality.

Is your air conditioner running? Does the heater rumble? Do you live on a busy street with a high noise floor? Does your refrigerator make noise when it’s on? Is your speaker in the corner? Is it on a counter? Is your floor carpeted? Is the room square? Are there drapes? Are there floor to ceiling windows? Are the walls hardwood or plaster or sheetrock? Each of these factors — and there are dozens more — will have an impact on your perceived sonic quality.

Before you rush out to spend a ton of money on the “best sounding” smart speaker, weigh some of the physical factors of your listening environment against the purchase price. You cannot solve a physical problem with an electronic solution. Said differently, the sonic characteristics of your listening environment, and where you place your speaker, are as important as which speaker is being placed.

 

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Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is a business advisor and technology consultant. He helps Fortune 500 companies with digital transformation, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn's Top Voice in Technology, he is the co-host of "Think About This with Shelly Palmer & Ross Martin." He covers tech and business for Good Day New York, writes a weekly column for Adweek, is a regular commentator on CNN and CNBC, and writes a popular daily business blog. Follow @shellypalmer or visit shellypalmer.com

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