Price (RRP): $549
The new Google Home Max can not only answer questions, but it plays damned good music. It is all to do with its innovative ‘smart sound’ to adjust its acoustics to your room.
To be fair, many ‘proper’ AV sound systems have acoustic adjustment using an external mic to calibrate the sound to the room. Apple iPhone users can use the phone to calibrate Sonos speakers. And Apple’s HomePod has a similar feature.
The theory is simple. A speaker on a benchtop will sound different from the same one in a bookshelf. The room furnishings can reflect (solid laminated surfaces) or absorb (curtains) sound. Smart sound adjusts the speaker characteristics to achieve ‘perfection’.
Google Home Max goes one step further continually analysing the sound and can even compensate for background noise.
Because of environmental impacts, we try to review speakers in the same environment. That consistency, plus the use of a tone generator to measure frequency response and volume means we are usually spot on in identifying the sound signature.
Review: Google Home Max
Australian website (check the site is ‘Australia’ and the price is $549)
What is Google Home Max?
Technically, it is a stereo 2.0, portable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth smart speaker. It carries the familiar Google look – a clean, almost nondescript, utilitarian style. Like a Google Pixel 2.
The front acoustically transparent fabric comes in Charcoal or Chalk with a matching ridged polycarbonate housing. There is a magnetic ‘mat’ to use the speaker in landscape or portrait mode. This acoustically isolates the speaker from the surface it is on.
It weighs 5.3kg – compared to the Apple HomePod at 2.5kg. Power is via 240V (no charger brick)
It has a 3.5mm Aux-In port and a USB-C port for Ethernet. Wi-Fi AC dual band, Bluetooth 4.3 BLE and Chromecast complete the connectivity.
Inside there are two front-firing 4.5-inch woofers that cover bass and mid-range. Two front-firing .7-inch tweeters manage the treble. There are six dedicated Class-D amplifiers (two each for the woofers/mid and two for the tweeters).
It handles Hi-Res 24-bit/192kHz. Supported audio codecs include HE-AAC, LC-AAC+, MP3, Vorbis, WAV (LPCM), FLAC and Opus.