Denon HEOS HomeCinema Soundbar Review

Discussion in 'Soundbars, Soundplates & Soundbases' started by Steve Withers, Jan 22, 2016.


    1. Steve Withers

      Steve Withers
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    2. McMac

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      I just bought one of these. Listened to a few other brands in a variety of stores. Wanted clarity with voices but struggled with others I listened to. Time will tell. Using this in addition to full surround system. I didn't want to have the AV amp and all the rest of my av-kit on all the time. For what its worth. I have noticed that manufactures of speakers tend to offer better sounding kit than TV manufactures who then add speakers to their kit.
       
    3. McMac

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      Well I've just returned mine. Sound and speech was good but was just lacking that little bit. You had to turn the volume up quite loud to appreciate 'field of sound'. You know, to avoid it sounding one dimensional (not the pop group). Did a side by side comparison with my Monitor Audio ABS-2. Far more detail and depth with the ABS and more cinematic in its delivery. I know the ABS is currently £100.00 more but managed to get £55 off the asking price, so bought a second one of these.
      I guess with the Heos I was paying for the ability to connect other units throughout the house to it. Something I don't need.
      Not sure if it means anything but the ABS is far heavier in construction. This may explain the difference in sound.
       
    4. Bails78

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      I Bought my Heos In February and since then have tested it over a variety of media, (music, films, podcasts, sports) and I must say I am truly impressed by the quality, dpeth of sound, clarity of speech and depth of bass. So glad i purchased this as was looking at a similar priced Yamaha unit, but went with the Heos as Denon have a history of making high quality speakers and other AV units. In comparison to my friends Yamaha YAS 1200 I think the Heos beats it hands down.
       
    5. smiff

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      Just discovered this and trying to find someone with a demo unit as it's only £349 V Sonos @£699.

      How are you getting on with it?
       
    6. masterc34

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      Anymore user reviews on this?
       
    7. kap01

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      So after lots of debate and reading I have finally purchased this item!

      I did try a number of sound bars including the Yamaha YAS 207 and the Harman Kardon SB20, the Heos was the winner for me. At £299 it is fantastic value for money, like most sound bars I wasn't expecting much of a surround effect however the sheer volume and quality of range has blown me away.

      In terms of sound quality there wasn't a lot between the 3, the sub-woofer known issue put me off the Yamaha and the SB20 lacked features.

      Quality wise this unit looks and feels great, the sub is very compact but extremely satisfying (quality cinema style bass). I have actually turned it down a few notches.

      The sound bar switches off automatically, has complete wi-fi control and the sub-woofer is wire free. Setup is reasonably straight forward, once updated your away.

      The volume it can kick out is unreal, especially as I have been used to a traditional 5.1 with a center channel (1 mid driver / 1 tweeter style). For everyday TV the clarity is great, great clear speech coming from all channels, it also has a great voice assistance which ups the top end.

      The app is good, but not excellent. It can be a little slow and laggy, however like any application its constantly being updated, spotify has a strange 2-3 second delay to each song and you cant skip within a track. However if your listening via the TV/Amazon/spotify you wont get this small issue.

      Music also sounds great, whilst it doesn't come with a remote I have just used the learning function for my TV remote.

      Overall this sound bar is easily a 9/10, especially at this price as there isn't anything which comes close IMHO. If you looking for a wi-fi sound bar to provide good TV/Movie performance/music in (2.1), i don't think you can do much better then this.

      Thanks.
       
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    8. Waynej

      Waynej
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      I've just ordered one of these, spotted it at £279 from Richer Sounds - the inclusion of a 6-year warranty helped, as did seeing the original retail price.

      I also spotted that the Samsung HW-K450 is down to £129 at PC World/Currys. I'm thinking the HEOS may be a bit overkill at over double the price.

      I am retiring my old 5.1 Onkyo setup though so hoping the HEOS should prove a more adequate replacement over the cheaper Samsung soundbar.

      I am aware it does not do 4K/HDR passthrough. I am intending to hook the HEOS Soundbar up by HDMI ARC to a Samsung KS7500 TV, of which I have an Xbox One X and PS4 Pro connected to - expecting all should work together.

      I am a bit concerned about the lack of remote control. I am hoping the Samsung Smart remote can control the soundbar, as well as it powering off/on alongside the TV.

      Anyone know if I should expect any issues with any of the above?
       
    9. Joe Fernand

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      The moment you mention HDMI Control along with ARC and a mix of Brands you should have a Plan B which does not involve ARC and its buddy CEC.

      In many cases disabling CEC (which in turn disables ARC), installing an Optical cable between the TV and Soundbar and adding a Harmony Remote to the system is the best option.

      Joe
       
    10. Waynej

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      Hmm, I was hoping it would work OK. I previously used an Onkyo system on my Samsung TV and found HDMI ARC worked fine on that. Onkyo receiver would power on with my TV and the TV remote could control the Onkyo's volume.

      The HEOS is being delivered tomorrow so I suppose I shall soon find out if there's any issues with this.
       
    11. Joe Fernand

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      Hopefully CEC plays nice across your new kit.

      Joe
       
    12. Waynej

      Waynej
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      Seems to be OK for now, I had a few initial problems with setup, which I found rather fiddly. Had some problems getting ARC to detect the TV, after retrying a few times it seemed to play ball and then I had a firmware update prompt pop up on the mobile app. Seems to be fine since that update.

      I'm not sure how you turn off the soundbar, any ideas? It always seems to have the blue light on - even when I power off the TV. The TV remote does have an impact luckily on volume control which is convenient. I also can't see power off option physically on the soundbar either.

      I guess the soundbar may be in standby when there is no signal, but I assumed the front LED light would either change to red or just go off to indicate it is in standby. Any ideas?
       
      Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
    13. turk3y

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      Quick Start Mode
      HEOS device automatically enters "Quick Start Mode" to save power
      in the following cases. This unit will automatically resume to full power
      whenever the device is selected and playing music.
      The status LED dims when the mode is switched to Quick Start Mode.

      20 mins after the inputs to soundbar stop it enters quick start mode.

      Deep Standby
      The device also has the ability to automatically enter “Deep Standby”
      whenever the wired or wireless network connection is removed for
      more than 60 minutes in "Quick Start Mode".
      The front panel LED will turn off during Deep Standby. To “wake” a
      HEOS HomeCinema from Deep Standby,
      0 Press the volume or mute buttons.
      0 Input audio signal to HDMI/Optical/Coaxial/AUX.
      0 Press the button on your remote controller which you taught HEOS
      HomeCinema by “Controlling your HEOS HomeCinema”.
      NOTE
      0 It may take around 40 seconds to wake up your HEOS HomeCinema from the
      deep standby.
      0 You also push the mute button for 3 seconds, the device enters the Deep
      Standby.
      o Off
      To completely turn off the power to the device you must remove the
      mains plug from the power outlet.
       
    14. Waynej

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      I have noticed some issues with audio randomly cutting out for a second here and there, and sometimes the TV defaulting to its internal speakers instead of the soundbar. Powering off and on usually resolves this.

      From what I understand HDMI ARC offers the same audio quality and options as an Optical cable. I assume the HDMI ARC is just glitchy and unreliable.

      I'll try the Optical cable for tonight, so long as I can still continue to use my TV remote for basic volume control then that will be fine.

      Anyone else had issues with audio cutting out. Do you think this is just a HDMI ARC problem?
       
    15. Waynej

      Waynej
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      Does anyone know how this HEOS compares to the Samsung HW-K450?

      Given the HEOS was £629 and down to £269, I assume it's better in some significant way to the £139 Samsung HW-K450.

      I'm wondering if it's worth tolerating the HEOS' issues if it's offering better sound quality, but I gather the matching Samsung model will play ball nicely over HDMI ARC and offer more convenience.
       
    16. turk3y

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      I have this unopened in the living room. Your worrying me a little as I need ARC really to make it usable for the family , also because I want to use the optical from the Xbox as a second input for direct 5.1 input.
      I have an LG so slightly different, but you would hope as a non TV brand they would test against the major players.
       
    17. Waynej

      Waynej
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      Try it out and see how it works for you, if it's not working as expected I am sure a return will be easy enough if done in a timely manner.

      For me the HDMI ARC is just not reliable enough and causes too much hassle.

      I am trying the Optical at the moment and found in the HEOS app settings that I can default to this input. This appears to be doing the job at the moment.

      I've tried the IR learning feature which does work with my standard TV remote, but not with my Samsung Smart remote (which I use to control my Xbox One X for Blu-ray and app playback).

      I've currently got HDMI ARC enabled on the TV and HDMI ARC wired to the HEOS just so I can benefit from controlling the device with the Smart remote, but I still have the HEOS set to default to Optical instead of HDMI ARC.

      Touch wood this seems to be doing the trick in letting me control all my devices with the Samsung Smart remote as well as the HEOS volume/mute options, all the while using Optical to the HEOS for audio without any of the annoying audio dropout problems.

      Hopefully this continues to work.
       
    18. Waynej

      Waynej
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      Well seems I spoke too soon. Been having very brief audio cut out this morning. I've now unplugged the HDMI ARC cable just to rule that out and am purely using optical. Frustratingly I have heard more audio cut outs since already.

      In the HEOS mobile app settings I did previously bump the quality up to High, but as a last straw I'll knock this back down to the default option of Normal - just on the off chance this is for some reason causing the audio dropouts.

      Failing that, I think I have exhausted all my options and will otherwise have to return it for a refund.

      It's a shame though as I really am quite impressed with it otherwise, but I obviously need it to work without issue.
       
    19. turk3y

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      What TV do you have / does it do 5.1 over arc / optical?

      I saw a previous thread where a soundbar was flashing semi frequently and the answer was a TV channel or otherwise switching from 5.1 to stereo and back, the soundbar was resetting to the new bitstreams coming in.

      Just an idea, check what the TV is sending back and possibly try changing that?
       
    20. Waynej

      Waynej
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      The TV I am using is the Samsung KS7500.

      Currently selected is

      Speakers: Audio Out/Optical (Previously tried Receiver/HDMI ARC option)

      HDMI Audio Format: Bitstream (PCM is also an option)

      Audio Format: Dolby Digital (PCM and DTS Neo 2:5 are other options)
       
    21. turk3y

      turk3y
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      That TV does sent 5.1 in Dolby Digital via optical and ARC according to RTINGS if I read it correctly (UK to US model number translation).

      The thread on here suggested that going to PCM which will force 2 channels would help, possibly try this via optical then if thats better ARC.

      I wonder if you can have pcm via ARC and then for when it's a movie or other known source have optical as your optional 5.1 feed, especially is CEC still allows for volume control via the remote.

      I have just set mine up and after failing to get any audio via ARC (even tho it setup fine) I removed all other devices from the TV and redid the setup and it worked fine. Now to put it all back and hope it still works. Tried some streaming music and that sounded great, the sub was actually very subtle and it's only when I felt it did I know it was on but the sound as a whole was very nice. I suspect it ramps up when it's a movie.
       
    22. Waynej

      Waynej
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      Let me know how you find it over the next few days. I suppose it's possible I've just got a dodgy one.

      The sub does pick up, literally watching Dunkirk I could feel my sofa rumbling. It was wonderfully tense.
       
    23. turk3y

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      It was running about 2 hrs last night, a mix of live TV and netflix the only cut outs were when I turned on or off dialogue enhancement and night mode.

      Is there a pattern to when you notice them? Near adverts or changing channel? Do you get them in the middle of a film say?

      Music seemed to play fine but probably only played 5 or 6 tracks and did skip about, Amazon music was the only source I tried but that seemed to play very nicely.
       
    24. Waynej

      Waynej
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      I managed the lengthy viewing of Dunkirk perfectly fine with HDMI ARC. I game a lot so it's probably just a coincidence that I have an issue here. I could be on the Xbox home screen and load a game like Assassin's Creed Origins and lose sound completely. Going into the mobile app and re-selecting the TV input brings it back. Also noticed the same when moving from Xbox home to say Amazon Video. Switching from HDMI ARC to Optical does resolve these issues, but I'm still getting odd moments of audio cutouts at random.

      Today I am trying one last thing before I pursue a refund. I have factory reset my TV, removed all HDMI devices and re-setup the HEOS, first trying again with HDMI ARC.

      It's already given me similar issues. In the mobile app on the TV input I have now disabled Auto-play. This is on by default. I am thinking maybe this is reconnecting or something, so hoping if it's left off it will just stay put and work without issue. Will see how it goes from here, but not holding my breath.
       
    25. turk3y

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      Ahh I have all the fun of testing with the Xbox to come. Hopefully that plays ball although I intend to go from Xbox direct to soundbar via optical so I get 5.1 to it from there, not stereo via ARC from my tv although that will be how my son uses it as he does not have the heos app to alter the inputs.

      Xbox has some wired setup with audio, as there are multiple seperate running processes and it has to merge the sound. In fact I can see others on here have had audio cut outs with Xbox and Samsung and LG TVs, I am on my mobile so not done an exhaustive check but it might be worth looking into as if it's the Xbox it will affect any soundbar
      I will look more later as I have an LG so not looking so good for me either.
       
    26. Waynej

      Waynej
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      Oh really? Will have to Google that in a bit then. I may switch to the PS4 to see if I have any similar issues their as well.

      I am sure HDMI ARC is supposed to passthrough 5.1 DD or DTS the same as Optical offers, which is the way I'd really like to use it.
       
    27. turk3y

      turk3y
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      Well ARC usually sends 2 channel the same as optical out on TVs ,some TVs such as yours do 5.1 out and yours does it both on ARC and optical.

      This part is seperate to the Xbox tho. I believe the Xbox can bitstream sources like Blu-ray or it can encode its output into either DTS or DD 5.1 which it sends via HDMI or optical. It now supports HD audio and I believe that update changes some of how the audio works so I am not 100% but originally it's true to say even a DD input was decided by the Xbox, any dashboard sounds added and then re-encoded for output.

      You can certainly choose DTS or DD+ output or PCM, the TV also has some settings on this by the looks.

      The Xbox audio issues may be a red herring but I did see them when googling so worth checking to see if the symptoms fit your issue.

      As an aside I saw a US blog about adding Bluetooth on the cheap (not the £100 Denon go kit) and my dongle arrived from Amazon so I will be testing that later also.
       
    28. turk3y

      turk3y
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      The Bluetooth dongle was a success, the recommended GMYLE dongle was not available so I went with one by pluggable which was the US recommendation.

      Plugable USB-BT4LE USB Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy Micro Adapter https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B009ZIILLI/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_T7utAbAJ470BQ

      Plug in, hold connect for 5 seconds, the led starts with a slow green flash then a quick double flash and pause, the soundbar is then discoverable and pairing worked ok with my android phone. Worked really well but volume jumps were quite large when using the phone buttons to control it.

      I tested the Xbox briefly, I set audio to bitstream and the codec to DTS as that's higher bandwidth than DD+ I believe, no idea if that's good or bad choice. TV was set to auto and DD+ and then soundbar was seeing DTS. Not quite sure how the TV settings work as DTS is not an option anywhere.

      Needs more Xbox testing if only to get the sub a good workout but it's lost out to 20kids and counting ATM :confused:

      Do you have anything on the Xbox HDMI in?
       
    29. Waynej

      Waynej
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      No, nothing on the HDMI-in. I just watched Gladiator Blu-ray, first tried on the PS4 Pro but thought it didn't look too good so switched back to the Xbox One X and it managed to get all through the film fine.

      I had an initial problem on PS4 that is the same as I had before, basically PS4 home screen was fine but loading the Blu-ray and the sound disappeared. Toggling the audio off and on from the mobile app got it back working again, as before.

      Don't know. I am perplexed at this point. Some times it works, sometimes it briefly cuts out, then others I lose sound entirely.

      I got it from Richer Sounds, was delivered on Dec 27th, so just over a week now. I think I read that the return window is 2-weeks.

      In two minds whether to try a replacement or just go for a refund.

      If it was working properly I'd like to buy the Bluetooth dongle you mentioned also, if only for Spotify. I was already aware that the HEOS was lacking Bluetooth, but I saw Spotify was supported on the device. What they don't make abundantly clear is that you have to pay for a subscription to use it, which I think is meh.
       
    30. Waynej

      Waynej
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      One thing I have noticed is when I go on the HEOS app on the bottom right Play icon it says 'Now Playing', where as usually I see 'HDMI ARC' or 'Optical-in' here, instead of just the 'Now Playing' text. Not sure if that's a bug or not, but I think that happens after the system has been off for a while.

      If I have to launch a mobile app everytime to ensure it's working correctly then that's not what I would call fit for purpose. I just want to turn my TV on and have the sound go through the soundbar without any issues.

      Screenshot_20180103-235326.png Screenshot_20180103-235331.png Screenshot_20180103-234340.png Screenshot_20180103-234344.png

      Edit: Included some screenshots to show what I am seeing. It is definitely temperamental after powering the soundbar back on, I get sound on the Xbox home screen but as soon as I launch Amazon all goes silent (presumably it does this for other apps/games too). Once I re-selecting HDMI ARC so it's not just showing 'Now Playing' then I get my sound back. It's just the random audio drops I am listening out for then.

      @turk3y Can you power down your soundbar and upon powering back on check your HEOS app to see if it shows the same for you... just 'Now Playing' and a blank input? I do oddly still get sound here but it goes when I launch an app.
       
      Last edited: Jan 4, 2018

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