The soundbar battle of multiroom system continues and Denons Heos line now includes a new soundbar named Heos Bar and a new stand alone subwoofer named Heos Subwoofer.
Heos already has a package called Heos HomeCinema, with a soundbar and a wireless sub but the two new products are more powerful and aimed directly at Sonosequal products.
So the Heos options are quite nice. Pay $599 for Heos HomeCinema and get good home cinema sound or more than double that and get even better sound with the new Heos Bar and Subwoofer.
Heos Bar has four HDMI 2.0a p/HDCP 2.2 inputs, HDMI output with ARC, compatible with 4K HDR UHD televisions and sources like Blu-ray players and PS4 Pro. It supports HD audio formats like Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio as well as the older formats Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS. It supports Bluetooth. Optical digital input and analog inputs are also included. So it can pretty much chew anything you throw at it. The price will be $849.
Heos Subwoofer works with all of the Heos speaker lines and not just the Bar. It has two 5-1/4inch (13.5 cm) drives with Class D amps. The price will be $599.
Compared with Sonos
Heos Bar has support for all modern inputs and sound formats that Sonos does not have, with Sonos single optical input. So considering Heos Bar is a smart move, if you are not already invested in the Sonos ecosystem.
Denon upgrades its HEOS line of multi-room products and ads integrated bluetooth and hi-res 24-bit support. Basically what we have been waiting for Sonos to do a long time..
All products have been upgraded to the new HS2 platform (except the soundbar). So the new generation still has HEOS 1, HEOS 3, HEOS 5 and HEOS 7 wireless speakers. HEOS Amp for connecting to external speakers and Heos Link for connection to an existing sound system. 5 & 7 are available in stores now. 1 & 3 in june and Amp & Link in July. The prices will stay the same. See product links and prices below.
The HS2 platform has an upgraded processor (ARM A9 at 1.25GHz), 512MB flash memory and 256MB of RAM. This enables it to support high-resolution audio up to 24-bit/192kHz. An update later this year will also add support for the DSD format. Denon also adds fast Wi-Fi 802.11 ac to the existing 2.4/5GHz 802.11 a/b/g/n.
As before, the HEOS system supports the streaming services Spotify (through Spotify Connect), Pandora, TuneIn, Amazon Music, IHeart Radio, SiriusXM, Soundcloud, Tidal and Rhapsody. You can also access local network music through DLNA or attach a drive through USB.
The updated devices plays nice with existing HEOS products and can even down sample hi-res music to 16/44.1 for them when they are grouped. All controlled by the Heos App for iOS and Android.
HEOS is a new multi-room music system by Denon that wants and has to compete with the market leader Sonos.
HEOS is made up of three stand alone speakers, the HEOS 3, 5 and 7. And two players without speakers, the HEOS Amp and HEOS Link pre-amp. Then there is the wi-fi extender HEOS Extend. The system is controlled with an iOS and an Android app.
HEOS has support for Spotify Connect which means that you play Spotify from Spotify’s own smartphone app. Other streaming services available are TuneIn Radio, Pandora, Deezer, Napster and Rhapsody. HEOS also plays music from a NAS or PC, attached hard drives and local music on iOS and Android devices. The system supports FLAC lossless audio, MP3, WAV, AAC, WMA, ASF and MP4.
HEOS 3 has dual custom full-range drivers and a two-channel digital amp. You can pair it with another HEOS 3 for stereo.
HEOS 5 has a carrying handle. It has four class D amplifiers, two tweeters, two mid-range drivers and a passive radiator.
HEOS 7 has a subwoofer, two full-range drivers, two tweeters and two passive radiators.
HEOS Amp drives external speakers.
HEOS Link pre-amp turns your existing Hi-Fi or AV receiver into a HEOS zone.
HEOS 3, 5 and 7 has the same inputs on the back. A USB in, a aux in and an ethernet port. The HEOS 7 also has a 3.5mm connector on the side side for headphones. Both Amp and Link has a digital out, a digital in and a USB in.
If you attach a music source through USB, it is playable by all devices in the system.
The HEOS system uses your existing Wi-Fi network to get connected, with support for dual-band 5GHz 802.11n.
So, does all this sounds familiar? Well, yes, everything from names to functions to designs has Sonos written all over it. But less trimmed and missing features here and there because of less time in the market. Spotify Connect is a welcome addition but at the same time goes outside of the usual way of controlling the system, thus making the user experience less stringent.
Denon is a welcome player in the multi-room market and the HEOS system is well thought through. But it needs to support more services and techniques (Google Music, Wimp, Rdio, AirPlay, Bluetooth) to stand out.