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.