Denon HEOS AVR AV Receiver Review & Comments

SonOfSJ

Well-known Member
Greetings, Mr Withers! As you know, I have no problem with traditional looking and performing AVRs and I don't mind, indeed I delight in, lots of loudspeakers. Further, with the way that I have wired connections between my various rooms I have no need for the HEOS system, so I'm emphatically not the target market for this new machine, but I don't doubt that it will appeal to many people. I do think however that it is a mistake that the remote control is so basic, because that forces people to use the app, and I'm not convinced (I'm happy to be proved wrong!) that the people who are looking for a simplified AV experience overlap completely with people who are willing to use their smartphone apps all the time, but we'll see.
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
Greetings, Mr Withers! As you know, I have no problem with traditional looking and performing AVRs and I don't mind, indeed I delight in, lots of loudspeakers. Further, with the way that I have wired connections between my various rooms I have no need for the HEOS system, so I'm emphatically not the target market for this new machine, but I don't doubt that it will appeal to many people. I do think however that it is a mistake that the remote control is so basic, because that forces people to use the app, and I'm not convinced (I'm happy to be proved wrong!) that the people who are looking for a simplified AV experience overlap completely with people who are willing to use their smartphone apps all the time, but we'll see.
I completely agree Ken, as I say in the review I think Denon went too far in simplifying the remote. I think the remotes that come with their lower-end AVRs are ideal with the right combination of buttons and an ergonomic layout. I also think dropping the onscreen display is a shame because once again you are really forced to use the HEOS App to do anything with the HEOS AVR.
 

witchdrash

Active Member
I like the idea of simplifying the front of a receiver, and maybe passing more off to an app, my current denon avr does wonders for the sound, but looks ugly as sin and I've hidden it away in the understairs cupboard, but for £799 I'd be expecting more than is on offer here, I guess if you're bought heavily into HEOS maybe, but for me, nope.
 

Kotatsu Neko

Well-known Member
Looks nice, and I like the idea of integrating support for wireless rears and a sub. I recently bought a new amp so I'm not in the market, but maybe someday.

The remote I don't think is much of an issue because ARC handles all that side of things now. I very rarely touch my amp's remote.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
I think it should also be noted that if purchasing this to fullfill its primary function then you've also the additional cost of the Heos enabled wireless speakers to factor into the equation. Yeah, sure it can be used to power wired speakers, but who in their right mind is going to spent close to £800 on an 5.1 AV receiver if only wanting to use passive wired speakers? The HEOS1 HS2 speaker sell for about £150 apiece and the HEOS Sub sell for about £540. If truly wanting an HEOS wireless 5.1 setup then you are talking about having t spend just over £2K on the setup.

You are basically looking at having to spend as much if not more on the entire setup as you'd be paying for a flagship AV receiver. Its a lifestyle product marketed towards those not that interested in home theatre and more concerned with the convenience irrespective of financial cost, but then again, what about all the power cables that will be required for the speakers????
 
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dante01

Distinguished Member
The remote I don't think is much of an issue because ARC handles all that side of things now. I very rarely touch my amp's remote.
I think you are refering to HDMI CEC? This would have less control than the HEOS receiver's own remote and will only facilitate the most basic of functions common to the limited commands covered by HDMI CEC. This wouldn't include any commands specific to the receiver. ARC is a subset feature of HDMI CEC that allows return audio via an HDMI connection between a suitably enabled TV and an AV receiver.
 
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Kotatsu Neko

Well-known Member
I think you are refering to HDMI CEC? This would have less control than the HEOS receiver's own remote and will only facilitate the most basic of function common to the limited commands covered by HDMI CEC. This wouldn't include any commands specific to the receiver. ARC is a subset feature of HDMI CEC that allows return audio via an HDMI connection between a suitably enabled TV and an AV receiver.
Yes I'm sure that's it, I get the two mixed up.

Whatever it is that's controlling things, my TV's remote can turn my amp on and off, change inputs, and change volume. It doesn't work 100% of the time, but it works well enough to negate the need for my amp's remote.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
Yes I'm sure that's it, I get the two mixed up.

Whatever it is that's controlling things, my TV's remote can turn my amp on and off, change inputs, and change volume. It doesn't work 100% of the time, but it works well enough to negate the need for my amp's remote.
So what happens if you want to engage a different upmixing mode or want to disengage such modes and put the receiver in pure direct mode? These functions cannot be controlled via HDMI CEC.

How about the HEOS functionality, how would you control this via HDMI CEC?
 

Kotatsu Neko

Well-known Member
So what happens if you want to engage a different upmixing mode or want to disengage such modes and put the receiver in pure direct mode? These functions cannot be controlled via HDMI CEC.

How about the HEOS functionality, how would you control this via HDMI CEC?
I never change modes to be honest. My amp is just in some sort of auto mode where it engages some fake surround stuff (DTS Neo or some such) for crappy sources (Now TV, iPlayer), and keeps it pure and unbejazzled for everything else.

I don't do multi room at all so I'd never have need to use HEOS in any sort of fancy way.
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
I think it should also be noted that if purchasing this to fullfill its primary function then you've also the additional cost of the Heos enabled wireless speakers to factor into the equation. Yeah, sure it can be used to power wired speakers, but who in their right mind is going to spent close to £800 on an 5.1 AV receiver if only wanting to use passive wired speakers? The HEOS1 HS2 speaker sell for about £150 apiece and the HEOS Sub sell for about £540. If truly wanting an HEOS wireless 5.1 setup then you are talking about having t spend just over £2K on the setup.

You are basically looking at having to spend as much if not more on the entire setup as you'd be paying for a flagship AV receiver. Its a lifestyle product marketed towards those not that interested in home theatre and more concerned with the convenience irrespective of financial cost, but then again, what about all the power cables that will be required for the speakers????
I don't disagree with your comments dante01 and as you point out you're looking at an outlay of around £1,600 for the HEOS AVR, HEOS Sub and two HEOS 1 HS2 speakers (although I'm sure retailers will do package deals) plus, of course, the wired front speakers. However I think it's fair to say that you would need five speakers and a subwoofer for any AVR that you buy, assuming you don't already have them. But as you say, it's a lifestyle product that isn't intended for enthusiasts.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
I don't disagree with your comments dante01 and as you point out you're looking at an outlay of around £1,600 for the HEOS AVR, HEOS Sub and two HEOS 1 HS2 speakers (although I'm sure retailers will do package deals) plus, of course, the wired front speakers. However I think it's fair to say that you would need five speakers and a subwoofer for any AVR that you buy, assuming you don't already have them. But as you say, it's a lifestyle product that isn't intended for enthusiasts.
Yes, you'd still need speakers with a more conventional receiver, but the choice of speakers is much greater and the cost will be less about having to facilitate inbuilt amplification and the associated wireless tech. Do the HEOS speakers perform better than your average £300 a pair passive speakers?

I think Denon have made a mistake pricing the HEOS AVR so highly. If they'd made it more comparable in price to more conventional entry level 5.1 receivers then I'd expect them to have been able to sell more HEOS speakers off the back of HEOS AVR sales in order to bolster their profits with.

There is a demand for a basic wireless surround setup and it is something asked about from time to time on the forums. The issue is that people like the idea of the HEOS AVR when you mention it, but soon go off it as soon as you tell them the cost of it.
 
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andy1249

Distinguished Member
Far too much reliance on ARC and other remotes here.
ARC and CEC is an abused "option" to the HDMI standard and as a result is far too flaky and unreliable.

The Pitch of this product is massively off target ...
You want it simple , but instead of an auto setup you require a smart device , an app , a tape measure and a DB meter ..... this is starting to sound like a Monty Python sketch !

Intro .... a simple receiver ...at last , I'll have that ...
back the next day .... What do you mean I need a smartphone or ipad ...
what do you mean i need a tape measure ..... etc. etc.....

The app is going to require regular updates , assuming of course the buyer is expecting to keep this for longer than the current version of their smart device OS
 
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raduv1

Distinguished Member
Hi @Steve Withers this is a strange device that seems aimed at a democratic of no one at all.

The target audience of this is non existent on price as most going for looks over performance will go sound bar range all the way up to this price point to keep a good looking minimalist room.

At this price range one can have a great AVR and lifestyle speakers and still maintain that minimalist look.

Just doesn't seem to fit a gap in the market .
 

ODB_69

Distinguished Member
Without going into it the remote would put me off straight away. In my mind those tiny little remotes make me think cheap and crap. Get lost down the sofa incredibly easily amd pack up 9 times out of 10 within the first few weeks.

If I see something with one of those crappy remotes I don't buy it.
 

Dunners

Active Member
Agreed, the remote isn't up to the price being asked. A completely simple room EQ system (no it doesn't need to be Audyssey), a basic GUI similar to that already offered by Denon and of course a proper remote is required.
Heck, there's not even a 'Bluetooth' button on the remote control.
Don't get me started on the lack of Airplay audio and... please correct me if I'm wrong, a lack of compatibility with AIFF files.


When I watch 'non-enthusiasts' using an AVR I can't help but feel they really only want:

Bluetooth
Airplay
A button that says 'watch TV'
A button that says 'watch DVD'
A button that says 'watch Netflix'
A button that says 'listen to Spotify'
A button that says 'make all my speakers work'.
A button that says 'play my favourite radio station'.

There's no 'punters' desperately looking for an amp to smooth out the bottom end or roll off the tops...
 

KoThreads

Well-known Member
I find it odd that remotes are seen as a big deal anymore. Few have decent backlighting, most are clumsy, and more and more all I'm using is my phone or tablet to control everything. It's much easier to see and use in a dim room.

I can't see who would buy this. A serious user wouldn't and it's too much for your casual user.
 

DrHarvey12

Well-known Member
I'm in a similar camp to many of you as this product itself in no way interests me personally.

However I do see it's application for a lot of my non AV friends. Being mid-30's we as a group were about 17 - 18 when the first commercial mobile phones came out. As such none of my friends would be phased by a "well designed" App that controls the setup.

Nearly all of them have a soundbar setup with their main tv. A couple with a subwoofer. Most of them have heard my setup at one point or another and been pretty blown away with what my system achieves in a similar room. However, this hasn't translated to any of them even really considering a 5.1 setup or larger. I think WAF is a massive part in this as most of them have the money to actually invest in a decent audio system; I think most of them would even like a better system to watch Netflix shows on, they just choose not.

I see this system with a WAF friendly speaker package you can pick up from Curry's when you order your TV as a viable solution for them. It needs to be simple enough the missus can turn it on and off for the kids when they want to watch their shows and small / unobtrusive enough it is allowed into the lounge in the first place!

Also we are of an age where young children are a fact of life and so wireless speakers is actually a useful practical consideration.

For the most part I can see that this system ticks a lot of boxes. I don't even think that the lack of HDMI inputs would be a big deal for them. Honestly they really only stream into their TV and may need one for a PS4 or equivalent games console. None of them really use a disc player or an external streaming player.

And whilst I personally think some auto cal system would have been a welcome addition having to explain to the missus why your system is making annoying chirping noises is exactly the attention you may not want to draw to it. Personally I just wait till they are out! ;)

I still think that it could have been improved. A decent onscreen display would have been handy as a backup to the app. The remote control definitely looks really crappy. For £799 or even £1,500 as part of a package it should be of a higher quality. However, I agree with the above poster. If the app is good enough then I can easily see the remote never being used. Lastly the price is a little steep when you take the speakers and subwoofer into account. I would love to see it as a 5.1 package deal with a decent discount.

Anyway, I do think there could be a market for this device. Whether it is priced at a point that my friends would consider it as another matter. If competitive enough I will actually recommend it to them when next the soundbar is due for an upgrade!
 

Alpha One Seven

Active Member
It looks like they are trying to play catch up to Yamaha and losing the battle.
Butt-ugly design and poorly implimented tech.
Still no YPAO set up either and too few connection options. I didn't see if it has Atmos or not either.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
It looks like they are trying to play catch up to Yamaha and losing the battle.
Butt-ugly design and poorly implimented tech.
Still no YPAO set up either and too few connection options. I didn't see if it has Atmos or not either.

Yamaha haven't a multichannel wireless AV receiver and their MusicCast system is currently stereo only. MusicCast is more popular than HEOS though, but Denon aren't playing catch up to Yamaha when it comes to offering a multichannel surroubd wireless AV receiver.
 

Alpha One Seven

Active Member
Yamaha haven't a multichannel wireless AV receiver and their MusicCast system is currently stereo only. MusicCast is more popular than HEOS though, but Denon aren't playing catch up to Yamaha when it comes to offering a multichannel surroubd wireless AV receiver.
You do realize that wireless can be easily added to any system, so why not go for the best sound and build with that? If you are talking about soundstage accuracy, this Denon isn't worth buying at all.
If it's only claim to fame is it's wireless, it has a long way to go to catch up.

Wireless speakers are not really wireless...yet.
They still need wires to get the power to the speaker. Someday soon, hopefully, they will address this with built in Li battery packs and wireless charging of those batteries so there will not be ANY wires running to the speakers anymore.
Until then, wireless speakers are just speakers with different wires.
 
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dante01

Distinguished Member
You do realize that wireless can be easily added to any system, so why not go for the best sound and build with that? If you are talking about soundstage accuracy, this Denon isn't worth buying at all.
If it's only claim to fame is it's wireless, it has a long way to go to catch up.

Wireless speakers are not really wireless...yet.
They still need wires to get the power to the speaker. Someday soon, hopefully, they will address this with built in Li battery packs and wireless charging of those batteries so there will not be ANY wires running to the speakers anymore.
Until then, wireless speakers are just speakers with different wires.
AV receiver do not include the inbuilt ability to wirelessly stream audio to the surround speakers so you'd fitstly need a receiver with pre outs for those channels you want to stream and you then need to use wifi transmitters attached to those pre outs to be able to stream said channels to active wireless speakers elsewhere in the room. The wireless abilities of an AV receiver is usually associated with sending a wireless signal to an additional stereo zone and not associated with the main room's surround setup.
 
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SonOfSJ

Well-known Member
I can't believe all this talk about the remote. Doesn't everyone has a Logitech Harmony? And if not then why not? ;)
I certainly don't have a Logitech Harmony, because I prefer to use individual remote controls, see towards the bottom right corner of my avatar, which is the seating in my parlour. So I have nine remotes in the parlour, six in the kitchen, seven in my bedroom and five in the front bedroom. In my case I'd have to buy four Harmonys, one for each room. I'm not sure how much they cost, about £100? But I won't be getting one. Besides, I like the look of each room's remote controls all clustered together!
 

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