An Introduction to HEOS by Denon:
Wireless Multi-Room Audio System

Many of you may not know that Audio Advice, way back in 1978, was one of the very first Denon dealers in the entire USA. They came to the United States with a turntable motor and a tonearm. A couple of years later they followed up with an integrated amp, then a receiver and the Denon name was on its way to becoming a well known, high-performance audio brand.

Audio Advice became one of their largest dealers, but we parted ways in the mid 90’s over a customer service issue that upset us (we hold our brand partners to very high standards). Move the clock up 20 years and Denon is now under entirely new ownership, so we decided to let bygones be bygones and have another look at their products.

What Makes HEOS Different?

The popularity of streaming music and wireless audio systems is at an all-time high. While there are a number of strong players in the market, a few of which we carry here at Audio Advice, nobody is doing exactly what Denon has done with HEOS.

Today’s wireless speakers and whole house music systems typically connect to a variety of streaming services including Pandora, Spotify, Tidal, and more. Almost all of them enable you to create a “multi-room” or “whole house audio” setup so that you can play different music in different areas of the home. Most of these systems are built from a selection of all-in-one speakers of different sizes that are all able to talk to one another through a mobile app.

Many of the best brands also have amplifiers that can drive in-wall or in-ceiling speakers, as well as some kind of soundbar solution so that you can tie in a simple home theater setup.

HEOS checks all of these boxes. They have four different all-in-one speakers, starting with the HEOS 1 and going all the way up to the HEOS 7. Considering Denon’s history of building great-sounding amplifiers, we had a suspicion that HEOS would sound great, and we haven’t been disappointed. In fact, one of the most highly-respect British audio publications, T3, recently awarded the HEOS 7 the “best multi-room speaker” on the market.

 

HEOS family of speakers

In addition to the all-in-one speakers, HEOS also offers a streaming box that connects to your stereo, as well as a streaming amp that streams but can also drive speakers. They even have two different soundbar options. You can get the HEOS HomeCinema which includes a soundbar and subwoofer, or you can purchase a higher-end HEOS Bar which can be paired with the nicer HEOS Wireless Subwoofer if you’d like. You can even add a pair of the all-in-one speakers as rears for a full HEOS surround sound system.

For you audiophiles, one of our favorite pieces is the HEOS Amp. At $499 it gives you 100 watts per channel of power, making it capable of driving just about any pair of in wall or in ceiling speakers. It has two line level inputs Toslink digital input, and USB input, making it similar to a component type integrated amplifier. When connected up to a good pair of in-ceiling or bookshelf speakers, this amp sounds just fantastic, by far the best in this price range.

All of this means that you can pick out the right-sized components and system for each room in your house and connect everything up to work through the same music ecosystem, all controlled by a single app.

Full Integration with Denon and Marantz Receivers

While this is all fantastic, there are a few different brands with very similar lineups. What most of those other companies don’t have, however, is a thriving audio/video receiver business that can leverage the wireless technology. This is where HEOS takes things to a different level.

For those of you who don’t know, Denon and Marantz are actually owned by the same company. This means that the HEOS technology can be used across their product lines. In fact, HEOS is built-in to every current Denon and Marantz receiver. With one of these receivers, all you need to do is select the room on the HEOS app and the system connected to that receiver will start playing music, just like the all-in-one HEOS speakers. It simply couldn’t be any simpler!

Easy Set-Up in Any Room

HEOS boasts a simple 4-step setup process that should have you listening to your favorite music minutes after you get the speakers out of the box.

  1. Plug in HEOS
  2. Get the Free HEOS App
  3. Connect to Your Network
  4. Pick Your Music

To create groups of rooms, simply drag the rooms you want into the group you want. The group volume works well and controlling your music is as intuitive as we’ve seen on any other music app.

HEOS can connect to Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, Napster, Sirius XM, Amazon Music, Tidal, iHeartRadio, Deezer, Mood:Mix, and SoundCloud with more coming soon. We do want to note that by default the app shows every possible streaming music service. When you first set this up, you may want to take a few minutes to remove the ones you don’t use, but once it’s done you never have to do it again.

Streaming Services on HEOS

If you don’t want to stream through any of these services, you can also access music a variety of other ways. You can connect via Bluetooth from a smartphone, pull music from your network, plug in a USB device, or just plug in something like a turntable via basic analog inputs. HEOS even has the ability to play hi-res audio -- a feature not commonly found in wireless systems.

We plan to go back and review some of the individual pieces from HEOS, but we wanted to do a quick flyover first because we just love this ecosystem. The all-in-one speakers sound fantastic for their size, we love the integration with Marantz and Denon receivers, the app is great, and all of these products and do hi-res audio!

Whether you’re looking for a single wireless speaker or a whole-house experience including a media or theater room, HEOS does it as well as anybody out there.

Welcoming Back an Old Friend

Audio Advice is proud to announce that the entire HEOS lineup, as well as Denon and Marantz, are now available on AudioAdvice.com and in our Raleigh and Charlotte showrooms.

We’re excited to welcome Denon back to the Audio Advice family and we’re looking forward to a bright future with one of the most cutting-edge audio brands out there today.

When you look at all the possible options HEOS provides, coupled with how easy it is to integrate into a serious home theater system with a Denon or Marantz receiver, then throw on top of that the awesome sound quality with Hi-Res Audio and you have a line of products that is a real winner!