Denon HEOS AVR AV Receiver Review

Think of multi-room speaker systems and chances are you'll immediately think of Sonos. The company was one of the first out the blocks to get music pumping around your home and since then, many competitors have come along to try and steal some of the limelight.

One of those is Heos, a multi-room brand created by the audio experts at Denon. We've seen the system before, in both its first- and now second-generations, but it's evolved to become much more than just a few speakers.

Heos not only has its own range of speakers, soundbars and an AVR, but it can also be found in a wide range of Denon and Marantz AV receivers, making it a lot more versatile than its Sonos rival.

But which Heos product or products are for you? Allow us to go through the entire range to help you make up your mind.

Quick Summary

The main Heos system is currently in its second-generation, so all products are referred to as HS2 (Heos Series 2). Within this series there are four speakers, a soundbar and a subwoofer. We'll go into more detail about other products that support Heos later.

The Heos 1 is the smallest speaker in the range with a compact footprint and lightweight build. The original version had a cloth covering, but that has now been ditched in favour of an all-metal grille, so it certainly looks like a premium product. If you're new to Heos or just want something small for the bedroom, the Heos 1 is your best bet.

The Heos 3 is slightly larger than the Heos 1, and it can be placed horizontally or vertically, depending on the space in your room. It offers a bigger sound than the Heos 1 and only demands an extra £30.

The Heos 5 is where things start to get really serious. It packs in more drivers than the other two Heos speakers but still retains a relatively compact footprint. Due to its horizontal design it will obviously take up more space, but you get a much larger sound in return.

The Heos 7 sits at the top of the range and offers the biggest, most powerful sound out of all the speakers in the series. If you want to go loud, or have a large room to fill, this is the speaker you'll want.

Heos HomeCinema is a soundbar and subwoofer package that emulates a 5.1 surround-sound package. It has movie and music modes that adjust sound settings accordingly, can be wall-mounted and can be connected to a TV via a single HDMI cable.

The Heos Bar is, as the name suggests, a soundbar designed to boost the sound of your TV when you watch movies and TV shows. Unlike the HomeCinema, the Heos Bar is a single soundbar unit, but it can connect to other speakers in the Heos range, as well as an optional Heos Sub subwoofer to add some real low-end grunt. 

The Heos Platform

Heos is slightly different to Sonos because it's not just a speaker brand, but it's a platform that can be integrated into other products. With Heos being owned by the Denon and Marantz Group, it should come as no surprise to find it's available in some of their products too.

It's also able to support high-resolution audio, something Sonos can't do. All Heos speakers have Bluetooth built-in too, so not only can you stream from a variety of music streaming services and sources, but simple streaming from your mobile device can be achieved too.

From within the Heos app you can access and add a wide range of music streaming services, including Spotify, TuneIn, SoundCloud, Tidal, Deezer and Napster. You can also plug in a USB drive with music to any of the speakers and have your files streamed to other speakers on the same network. You can even stream any music you have stored on a NAS (Network Attached Storage) drive. 

DenonWhich Heos speaker is best for you Heos 1 Heos 3 Heos 5 Heos 7 Heos Bar and more image 2

Heos 1


Price £179 from Amazon.co.uk / $199 from Amazon.com


  • Dimensions: 189 x 129 x 128mm, 1.4kg
  • Connections: Ethernet, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB, 3.5mm auxiliary
  • Colours: Black, White

The Heos 1 is the smallest of the Heos speakers and will likely be your entry point into the world of Heos if you're new to it all. It can be placed virtually anywhere thanks to a compact footprint and has an attractive all-metal grille finish. It has two active drivers inside: one precision tweeter and one mid-woofer, both of which are powered by a single, two-channel Class D amplifier. The Heos 1 supports all the music sources mentioned above, making it more versatile than the Sonos Play:1. 

We liked the sound of the Heos 1 when we listened to it, although we did feel the Play:1 sounded better. However, the Heos 1 can still easily fill a room with sound and delivers a great audio performance no matter the genre. You can connect two Heos 1 speakers together to create a stereo pairing and they can also be used as rear channels as part of a 5.1 surround-sound setup with the Heos Bar.

You can take the Heos 1 with you wherever you go to, thanks to an optional battery pack that provides six hours of playback time. It will even be ok to use by the pool too as a silicone splash guard covers up all the connection ports.

The Heos 1 costs the same at the Play:1 and can support more music sources, so it should be well worth considering.

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Heos 3


Price: £219 from Amazon.co.uk / $299 from Amazon.com


  • Dimensions: 128 x 275 x 156mm (horizontal), 272 x 130 x 165mm (vertical), 1.9kg
  • Connections: Ethernet, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB, 3.5mm auxiliary
  • Colours: Black, white

The Heos 3 offers much of the same experience as the Heos 1 in that it supports all the same music sources in a compact body. However it is slightly bigger, which means it can host two full-range drivers to take care of all the frequencies. It benefits from an advanced DSP too, which Denon says delivers a "smooth, natural tonal balance". We haven't been able to hear the Heos 3, but based on the performance of the Heos 1, we believe Denon's claims.

The Heos 3 introduces the use of cloth as an outer material. It's a smart finish, available in black and white, although we're not entirely sure how to describe the shape of the speaker. It's unusual to say the least, but we feel that's a positive as it makes it stand out against a sea of regular, box-like speakers.

While the Heos 1 will be capable of filling most rooms, if you have a large room you want filling but don't want a large, unsightly speaker, the Heos 3 is the one for you.

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Heos 5


Price: £329 from Amazon.co.uk / $399 from Amazon.com


  • Dimensions: 209 x 294 x 166mm, 3.2kg
  • Connections: Ethernet, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB, 3.5mm auxiliary
  • Colours: Black, white

As we said earlier, the Heos 5 is where things start getting really serious. It's a much bigger speaker than the previous two, which means a much bigger sound. Thanks to its larger size, Denon has managed to fit in two precision tweeters, two mid-woofers and a passive bass radiator for extra low end oomph. A four-channel Class D amplifier gives the drivers their power.

As with the other Heos speakers, the Heos 5 accepts music from a wide range of sources and you can pair two together to distribute left and right audio channels. 

The teardrop shape may not be to everyone's taste and we'd have to say we prefer the more minimalistic look of the Sonos Play:5, the natural competitor. However, we've been able to listen to the Heos 5 and we loved what we heard. It's a fantastic sounding speaker that can comfortably compete with the Play:5. The fact it's able to playback high-resolution audio files makes it very tempting option.

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Heos 7


Price: £499 from Amazon.co.uk / $599 from Amazon.com


  • Dimensions: 203 x 479 x 164mm, 4.6kg
  • Connections: Ethernet, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB, 3.5mm auxiliary
  • Colours: Black, white

The Heos 7 is the tip on the Heos iceberg. It's by far the largest speaker and as such, delivers a sound capable of filling the largest of spaces. It can fire sound all around an open-plan living space or out into the garden. It boasts two precision tweeters, two mid-woofers, a subwoofer and two passive bass radiators.

Sonos does't have a natural rival to the Heos 7, and as a result, the Heos 7 delivers a far larger sound than the Play:5. If you have an incredibly large space you want to fill with sound, or you're hosting a big party, the Heos 7 will be more than capable of handling the music duties. It's not just loud in-yer-face music that the Heos 7 plays well with, as it can also handle more delicate tracks with ease. 

While you can stream via Bluetooth, it's not the aptX or aptX HD variety (none of the Heos speakers support these formats), so playing over Wi-Fi or a wired connection will reward you with a better sound. For an extra £50 over the Sonos Play:5, the Heos 7 is definitely a speaker you should consider.

DenonWhich Heos Speaker Is Best For You Heos 1 Heos 3 Heos 5 Heos 7 Heos Bar And More image 3

Heos HomeCinema


 Price: $599 from Amazon.com


  • Dimensions: Soundbar: 82 x 1017 x 94mm, 2.8kg Subwoofer: 311 x 172 x 332mm, 6.6kg
  • Connections: Ethernet, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB, 3.5mm auxiliary, optical and coaxial digital, HDMI
  • Colours: Black

The Heos HomeCinema is a soundbar and subwoofer package that provides a much needed boost to your TV's regular sound output. It's a 2.1-channel system, with soundbar featuring four channels of Class D amplification and the subwoofer one channel of dedicated Class D amplification. Because it's wireless, the subwoofer can be placed anywhere in the room and still remain in sync with the action on screen. 

Virtual surround sound processing technology emulates the effect of a 5.1 surround-sound speaker system, or you can connect it to a couple of other Heos speakers, Heos 1s for example, to create rear channels. Connecting to a TV is incredibly simple, just plug in a single HDMI cable and you're away. The Heos HomeCinema soundbar supports ARC (Audio Return Channel), so you can even use your TV remote control to adjust the volume. 

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Heos Bar


Price: £719 from Amazon.co.uk / $899 from Amazon.com


  • Dimensions: 72 x 1100 x 148mm, 4.8kg
  • Connections: Ethernet, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB, 3.5mm auxiliary, optical and coaxial digital, four 4K compatible HDMI
  • Colours: Black

The Heos Bar is an incredibly powerful piece of kit. On its own, it can function as a 3.0-channel system, with left, right and centre channels all being taken care of via nine drivers. Alternatively, you can connect the optional Heos Sub to make it a 3.1-channel system, or two other Heos speakers at the rear to create a fully-fledged 5.1-channel system. 

The Bar itself features four 4K-compatible HDMI inputs that support HDR10 and Dolby Vision content, so is fully future-proofed and with the ability to stream music from a wide range of sources, it could be the only music system you'll ever need. Because of its size, the Heos Bar is best suited to TVs 50-inches and larger, so that's something to consider if your screen is smaller. 

The Sonos PlayBar may cost less, but the Heos Bar has a better range of connections and can support high-resolution audio, so the extra £70 premium is worth it. 

Other Heos Products

It's not just speakers and soundbars that make up the Heos family. Denon has released other dedicated Heos home cinema components and has integrated the Heos platform into its own AVRs.

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Heos AVR


 Price: £709 from Amazon.co.uk / $999 from Amazon.com


  • Dimensions: 434 x 90 x 277mm, 6kg
  • Connections: Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, four 4K compatible HDMI, digital optical and coaxial, analogue line in, subwoofer out
  • Colours: Gun Metal Silver.

The Heos AVR is a 5.1-channel AV receiver that works in the same way as a conventional AVR. You can connect any passive speakers to it to create a 5.1 surround-sound system, or you can wirelessly connect any Heos speakers. It's an attractive product that stands out against the traditional 'black box' design of other AV receivers.

It works in the same way as any other Heos product, so can stream music from a variety of sources, including Bluetooth and NAS drives and supports 4K video sources too. 

If you already have a surround-sound system at home, or a 2.1-channel system for that matter, but want to add wireless music streaming, the Heos AVR would be the ideal addition.

Denon and Marantz AVRs

As mentioned earlier, Heos is being integrated into all current Denon and Marantz AVRs. The full list of 2017 models that support the feature is as follows:

Source : http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/142607-which-heos-speaker-is-best-for-you-heos-1-heos-3-heos-5-heos-7-heos-bar-and-more

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