Editor’s Note: The Denon HEOS has been renamed – meet the Denon S716H. The name change is intended to reflect the status of HEOS as a multiroom software solution used by several brands. Apart from a small readjustment, the soundbar itself remains unchanged. The initial rating follows below.
We hate to break you, but your TV sounds terrible. Samsung, LG and Sony will never admit it, but everyone knows that sound quality has been sacrificed almost entirely in the search for the ever thinner TV.
Cue the HEOS Bar (a ‘Denon’ brand), a meaty and musical 1.1m long soundbar that not only serves to whip up your binge-watching effect, but also the ability to use multiple rooms use.
And while it might make you feel like $ 480 / £ 569 / AU $ 1300, Denon Heos sounds a bit too similar to that Sonos PlaybarDenon’s stab in multi-space differs in two essential ways. First, it uses HDMI, and second, it sounds fantastic.
The HEOS Bar is designed to be paired 50 to 55 inch TVs. Measuring 72 x 1100 x 148mm and weighing 4.8kg, one end contains some welcome buttons (such as a volume rocker and an off switch), while an opening on the back contains four HDMI inputs and one Has output.
These multiple HDMI ports are important as they allow the soundbar to act like an HDMI switching hub so that you can connect all of your sources (such as a set-top box or game console) to the HEOS. Can connect bar. In addition, all of these HDMIs are 2.0a, so they can switch 4K HDR and Dolby Vision Swell.
Is Denon following the home theater fan? It seems like the HEOS Bar also deals with Dolby TrueHD (but not Dolby Atmos) and DTS-HD Master Audio. That said, if you need them there are also optical and coaxial audio jacks on board.
Just as important, however, is the ability to pick up from Stream music Platforms.
The presence of Spotify goes without saying, but the HEOS also retrieves all formats (including lossless audio formats like FLAC and WAV in quality up to 24 bit / 192 kHz) Deezer, Amazon Music, tide, Soundcloud, Napsterand web radio via TuneIn.
What holds the whole concept together is that HEOS appThis allows you to log into streaming sites and control what music is playing (and in which room if you have more HEOS gear).
For those who want to connect retro devices, the HEOS bar has a 3.5mm jack and a USB slot for inserting a USB stick (which can be used to play music). However, once the HEOS bar is set up, both are far too difficult to reach to be of any use.
The HEOS bar is so cleverly designed that it can be mounted either under a wall-mounted TV or in front of a table-top TV, while looking absolutely great in either position (even though it’s upside down on a table) . . With a couple of clips in the box, you can lift it right above the surface, although this could overlap the screen of a TV.
Once the location is established, establishing the main network dimension is either a wired or a wireless affair. Since it was right next to a router in our house, we plugged it in.
Once connected to the internet, the HEOS bar is all about HDMI, which makes it a much more serious product than the PlayBar. After placing it in front of a TV, run an HDMI cable to one from the back of the HEOS bar Audio return channel-Compatible (ARC) HDMI slot on your TV. Job done.
Although a small, palm-sized remote control is included, it is the HEOS app that goes a long way in making this soundbar so comfortable to use. The app not only optimizes the initial setup and serves as a hub for entering various passwords for Spotify etc. via a mandatory HEOS account (would anyone still want a random online account?), But enables the phone to act as a volume control.
Whether you’re watching TV and using your phone, or listening to music and choosing which track to play next, controlling the sound with a phone’s volume buttons feels very natural. This app includes some basic changes to the sound settings (bass and treble only) and also controls which music is played in which zone when other HEOS devices are connected.
What we liked most about the app, however, was the attention to detail. Not only does this allow you to rename your speaker, but the title of the current song becomes an integral part of the app’s interface. That’s smart.
With its nine drivers arranged in trios for the left, center, and right channels, and a virtual surround mode that creates the illusion of having more speakers in the room, the HEOS bar is pretty much anything you want .
Granted, most people will be using it in this basic 3.0 design, so that’s how we tested it.
The HEOS Bar, blessed with such a balanced soundscape, immediately proved to be a music enthusiast and has a consistently warm, yet refined sound quality that is on its own. The fact that there is no way to tweak the audio settings isn’t as important as we feared. Music sounds great, especially lossless music that HEOS Bar brings out a lot of details. However, we noticed a few times that the first half second were cut off songs.
While it also reaches incredible volumes, it’s actually best to sit nearby because only then can you hear the placement of individual instruments in the mix. This is mainly because the stereo music has an impressive breadth, although it is almost as good with a movie soundtrack if you sit farther away.
In a few days of normal use, we heard a lot more music than usual – always a good sign – and found the most useful sound mode as a dialogue amplifier, which offers three options to make speech clearer. It was really useful on TV and some movies.
We had no complaints about bass for most of what I’ve seen, but high octane movies sound a bit flat. So you know a wireless one HEOS Sub There is also a subwoofer available that creates a 3.1 system. If you want to create a “real” 5.1 home theater, you can add a few too HEOS 1 HS2 rear speakers.
As someone who always thought the Sonos PlayBar was overrated when it came to sound quality, the HEOS Bar proved to be something of a revelation.
As every modern home entertainment should of course do, and yet the HEOS Bar lacks a few subtleties: The app is impressive, but doesn’t offer many options for optimizing the sound settings. We also got pretty annoyed that the USB slot on the back is buried with the other inputs and outputs, and it was a pain to use (it would work great on the right side next to the volume buttons).
Those little handles aside, the HEOS Bar is a high quality home entertainment nerve center with a decent look. It is easy to use and offers many musical capabilities. There are few competitors for the relatively low quality soundbar market.
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