Manufacturer announces HEOS 1 speaker and HEOS HomeCinema soundbar package
Denon first entered the growing multi-room speaker market last year with their HEOS range.This currently consists of the HEOS 7 “big” speaker, the HEOS 5 “medium” speaker and the HEOS 3 “small” speaker. There’s also the HEOS AMP (amplifier), the HEOS LINK (pre-amp) and HEOS EXTEND (range extender). HEOS proved hugely popular for Denon and even gave market leader Sonos a run for their money. The range underwent a number of upgrades last year with ALAC support, third party custom install control, IP control and a WiFi energy saving mode all being included. In the last few weeks Denon have also added discovery improvements, lossless CD quality via Tidal, an iPad app landscape mode, custom naming of inputs and stereo pairing.
Now the company is launching their new HEOS 1 speaker for £199. This attractively designed speaker uses a bi-amped two-way system with custom active EQ and crossover. The custom woofer and high-dispersion tweeter are powered by a two-channel Class D amplifier. As well as being part of Denon’s HEOS ecosystem, it also includes their full MaxxAudio suite to deliver a bigger sound from a smaller enclosure. The HEOS 1 uses a metal grille and the build quality is excellent, with a solid and well engineered feel. It also has a custom wall mount and can be used as a stereo pair with near-zero latency. We managed to listen to the HEOS 1 in both a single and stereo configuration and the sound quality was excellent for a speaker of its size.The HEOS 1 delivers great sound from a small cabinet, can be used as a stereo pair and is even portable.The HEOS 1 is designed to be used with the optional HEOS GO pack that costs £79 and attaches to a custom connector at the bottom of the speaker. This turns the HEOS 1 into a portable speaker with a lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack that can be fully charged in 2.5 hours and provides up to 6 hours of music via dual-band WiFi or Aux-in. There is also a plug-in USB module that adds Bluetooth, handy when the HEOS 1 is outside WiFi range. Along with the USB module is a ‘splashguard’ that covers the connections and making the HEOS 1 water-resistant for outdoor use. The HEOS 1, the HEOS GO pack and the ‘splashguard’ all come with a choice of black or white finishes, depending on your preference, and will be available from June.
Denon also announced their new HEOS HomeCinema soundbar and wireless subwoofer package, which will be available from July and retail for £599. The soundbar has been designed to deliver a wide and dynamic sound from your TV or other sources. It includes HDMI connectivity, Dolby Digital and DTS decoding, DSP processing for virtual surround and a wireless subwoofer. There is both an HDMI input and HDMI output with ARC, along with optical, coaxial, aux and USB. As the name suggests it can also operate as a HEOS zone for music listening and distributing TV sound around the HEOS system. The HEOS HomeCinema comes with two different sets of feet for shelf mounting and a template for wall mounting.
Inside the soundbar itself are dual rounded rectangular mid-woofer drivers with composite Kevlar cones and a double magnet motor system for efficiency and linearity. There are dual 20mm soft dome tweeters with neodymium magnets to deliver an extended treble response and wider dispersion. The drivers in the soundbar are bi-amplified thanks to four channels of Class D digital amplification. There is advanced DSP processing featuring a powerful 400 MHz 32-bit floating point DSP engine - the same one used in Denon’s premium AV receivers. Virtual Surround processing decodes discrete multi-track surround sound channels and uses psycho-acoustic DSP processing algorithms to create a more immersive surround experience.
The matching subwoofer uses dual 5.25” drivers in a compact enclosure to produce deep bass, a flat response and low distortion thanks to precision DSP audio tuning. There is a dedicated Class D digital amplifier and proprietary Dynamic Bass Boost technology to produce frequency and dynamic range tailoring that delivers deep bass without creating distortion due to excessive overload. The subwoofer is wireless for more flexible placement and features time-aligned DSP processing for precision soundbar-subwoofer audio synchronisation.The HEOS HomeCinema is an impressive soundbar/subwoofer combination with a multi-room feature.The HEOS HomeCinema can be fully setup and controlled using the free remote app and you can also adjust the subwoofer level using the app. There are Movie and Music modes, along with a Night mode that lets you listen at a reduced volume levels whilst still enjoying the full range audio experience. There’s also Dialogue Enhancer that is designed to improve dialogue in content with a complex audio soundtrack. At the demo we watched the train crash sequence from Super 8 and can certainly testify to the HEOS HomeCinema’s ability to deliver an open soundstage and deep bass, whilst still keeping dialogue clear amongst all the sonic chaos.
Denon’s HEOS range was already strong before the launch of the HEOS 1 and HEOS HomeCinema but the addition of these new models and all the upgrades to the overall system, makes their multi-room approach a genuine force to be reckoned with.Video Report.
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