Nest Audio: Is it Good?

The Google Nest Audio is a Full crisp-clear sound for $100. The Nest Audio replaces its previous Google Home pedestal, a new rounded, fabric speaker filled with equipment designed to provide fuller sound in your office, kitchen, bedroom, living room, or study. Google was able to give us the low down on how and why they designed the new Nest Audio Speaker. Let’s give you some of the behind-the-scenes conversations to show you how good the Nest Audio really is.

Nest Audio Sound

Comparison: The Nest Audio 86 dB max loudness. 77 dB max bass vs. Google Home 78 dB max loudness and 71 dB max bass. 75% increase in sound, a 50% increase in bass.

Nest Audio Heat Dissipation

The front of the Google Nest Audio is made of Aluminum and the base of the Nest Audio has Magnesium to help dissipate the heat generated from the sound experience. As you read below, Google put the Nest Audio through rigorous temperature testing to see how the Nest Audio sound would respond to intense environmental conditions.

Nest Audio in the Thermal Chamber

The old Google home as a full-range driver (2inch) and two passive radiators to deliver the bass. At lower volumes, you could hear the Google Home muffle or distort at lower volumes. The new Nest Audio tweeter is dedicated to the bass, and the woofer is dedicated to the high and mid-range sound.

Nest Audio Tested

  • Tested in the thermal chamber, up to 100F to see if it could survive extreme weather. Even though Google knows that most people are not going to use it at this temperature, Google does this to get data on how the Nest Audio and future products would respond to extreme conditions.
  • Google developed proprietary simulation software while creating the Nest Audio. Google automated the simulation software to map out the characteristics of specific tuning changes.
  • You should try at different volumes and see if the bass is still functional at lower volumes: The Nest Audio bass is still clear and significant at lower volumes.
  • Nest Audio adapts to the content you’re playing:
    • Ambient IQ: Lots of noise in the home; kids. Nest Audio meters background noise and adapts Google Assistant voice to respond at the right volume for you. It boosts Google Assistant. But Google Assistant might not hear you when it’s loud.
    • Media EQ: Tunes the speaker to the content you’re playing, including responses to the Assistant
    • Bass Extension: Delivers extra bass at lower volumes.
  • EQ – Tunes for music, Google Assistant, and podcasts separately.
  • The ‘Muffle’ nature of the Google Home was off the charts. The Google Home radiator was the cause of that. However, the Nest Audio is able to deliver bass consistently throughout its range.
  • Note: Google’s Audio Engineers had to bring all the right audio equipment to their home to test out the Nest Audio.

Nest Audio Performance

Google hopes that you can hear the full audio for all genres of music.

When Google figured out the Next speaker to build. Google was looking at the mission. What is Google good at? They are good at hardware, and it gets better every generation. But the software is Google’s special sauce. Google realized that audiophiles will spend thousands of dollars to put speakers into its walls. Google optimized its software to get premium sound into the size and form factor of a Nest Audio speaker.

  • Google’s Nest Audio adapts to the content you’re playing:
    • Ambient IQ: Lots of noise in the home; kids. Nest Audio meters background noise and adapts Google Assistant voice to respond at the right volume for you. It boosts Google Assistant. But Google Assistant might not hear you when it’s loud.
    • Media EQ: Tunes the speaker to the content you’re playing, including responses to the Assistant
    • Bass Extension: Delivers extra bass at lower volumes.
  • The Media EQ is designed specifically for music, Google Assistant, and podcasts separately.
  • You should try at different volumes and see if the bass is still functional at lower volumes: The Nest Audio bass is still clear and significant at lower volumes. The ‘Muffle’ nature of the Google Home was off the charts according to Google. Google said the Google Home radiator was the cause of that. However, the Nest Audio is able to deliver bass consistently throughout its range.

The sound quality is fantastic. It’s bigger, and it has different colors to help fit in each room.

Nest Audio vs. Nest Hub Max

Google knows that the value and sound quality on the Nest Hub Max are the highest. However, Google also knows that not everyone would bring a Nest Hub Max to every room, so they decided to create the Nest Audio to be able to fill the sound space in each room. The Nest Hub Max is a great way to watch your favorite Netflix show, but the Nest Audio gives you an affordable price point to add Nest Audio throughout the home.

Nest Audio Design

Google wanted to rethink what a premium speaker could be and fit aesthetically in your home. Google had a few priorities in mind when designing the Nest Audio:

  • Footprint: Google tried to minimize its footprint. They wanted to fit anywhere in the home. Google realized that Google Home did not fit in every room.
  • To look great as a pair: Nest Audio was made to work as a pair of speakers. You can create a left-right stereo pair. You’ll get a wider sound-space.
  • Capacitive touch controls: Interesting locations. I’ll just say that. If you look at the video, you’ll see where they are placed.

Nest Audio Colors

There are 5 different colors: Sage, Sand, Sky, Chalk, Charcoal. I didn’t expect anything different from Google. The pastel colors are basically Google’s basic colors. However, the Sky Blue, Chalk, and Charcoal catch my eye… just my opinion.

Nest Audio Colors

Nest Audio Sustainability

Google wanted to make sure they communicated that the Nest Audio was made with 70% recycled materials. Google is using plastic from 1.2 recycled plastic water bottles per manufacture of the Nest Audio.

Nest Audio Processing Power

1 Teraflop of processing power. Local processing occurs on the Nest Audio. The experience is much faster. It’s twice as fast as the original Google Home. The hardware is the same as the Nest Mini, but the software gets better over time. Soon, Google Assistant will learn your favorite commands and get better to respond over time.

Nest Home Max pair costs $598. However, there are other products (Google Home Mini, Nest Mini) that can be paired for a lot less. It was not clear to Google that stereo pairing was going to be the best indicator for buying a pair of speakers. So the Nest Audio was designed to be better when paired ($200 per pair) in a room.

There was speculation that the Nest Audio speaker was going to be a truly portable Bluetooth speaker. Google looked into this; however, to have access to the Google Assistant and all the functions that Google provides on the Nest Audio, it needed constant power. Google is focused on ensuring that when you install the Nest Audio, you will have full access to Google Assistant, therefore they focused on the Nest Audio to get you Google’s main product – The Google Assistant.

Nest Audio Connectivity

Bluetooth and Chromecast built-in. So it’s capable for home theater. Capacitive touch controls.

We asked Google about Thread communications. We didn’t see any chip noted for the Thread in the Nest Audio in Google’s presentation to us or in the Launch Night In Press Release. Google would only say that most of the devices have a lot of connectivity options. Google was not able to confirm that Thread was available on the Nest Audio.

When the Google Connectivity Team had their hands on the Nest Audio design, they looked into whether the Nest Audio would be WiFi mesh capable and have a separate Bluetooth stream. They stress tested the WiFi connection when using stereo pairing. Are the stereo pair speakers working as separate WiFi devices? My understanding (which I will clarify later if I’m wrong) is that each speaker might have its own sound channel, so they send two streams, and each speaker is working on its own stream and synchronized.

Nest Audio in groups, pairs or anywhere in the home

You can create groups, a whole home group, stereo pair.

  • Speaker Groups: You can create speaker groups with the Nest Audio with other Nest speakers and the Chromecast.
  • Multi-room control: you can add to another room with a few taps on your display. You can also move your music to any location in the house by asking Google Assistant to move your music to other Assistant-enabled smart speakers.
  • Stereo Pair: Nest Audio supports stereo pairing much like the Google Home Mini and the Nest Mini. Google hopes that you can hear the fullness of sound from the Stereo pair of the Nest Audio. Can you imagine having a pair of premium sound Nest Audios for $200? How much do audiophiles spend for a pair of premium speakers?

Nest Audio – How Good is it?

How Good is the Nest Audio? It’s actually really good. Google found a way to bring you premium sound into your home for an affordable price. They looked at the best speakers on the market and scaled-down that design into a smaller, aesthetically looking smart speaker. Google was really excited to provide a speaker that you could pair into stereo pairs so you can immerse yourself into any genre of music and still have the convenience of the Google Assistant. Google used the magic of software to specifically tune the Nest Audio to fill the sound-space with clear sound and great bass throughout its range. For $100, you’re going to get some amazing sound. Google is betting that your experience will find a way to bring Nest Audio to all your listening spaces.

Available for pre-order now. Canada, USA and India.

Image Credit: Google