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Denon HEOS 1 & HEOS 3 Hi-Fi Wireless Speakers Review




Wireless connectivity is one of the trending features in audio products right now, allowing you to connect your mobile device and just stream the audio. It’s convenient, less messy, and way cooler. If that is what you want for your home, then you need a Wireless Hi-Fi Speaker System, and the Denon HEOS 1 and HEOS 3 are products worth considering.

Design and Construction

The Denon HEOS 1 and 3 are a couple of the most modern-looking speakers we’ve seen in a while. Unlike other speakers that sport block-shaped bodies, the HEOS 1 and 3 are more angular and exciting.

HEOS 1

The HEOS 1 looks robust, as it features a metal grille. The rest of the body is made of plastic with a matte finish. It looks and feels well-made and solid. In addition, it has a sealed enclosure for protection against humidity. It’s hefty, but it’s not really a disadvantage as we don’t see this as something you’d always carry around.

Looking at the top, we have the volume buttons with a dedicated button for mute.

At the back are the wall mount screw hole and a rubber nub, so the wall won’t scratch the back. Also found here are the USB port, Bluetooth Connect button, DC in, AUX in, Ethernet, and a Connect button for the first time you set it up.

Looking at the bottom, you’ll see the translucent rubber base, with the front side housing an LED indicator. There’s also a removable panel to connect with the optional HEOS 1 Go Pack with Rechargeable battery pack/base.

Given its size, the HEOS 1 is more at home in small rooms like the bedroom. It’s attractive and should blend well with your other appliances at home.

HEOS 3

The HEOS 3 on the other hand, is taller than the HEOS 1. However, it doesn’t have that metal grille and instead sports a cloth covering. The rest of the body is also plastic but of good quality. It has the same design as the HEOS 1 but more angular and almost wedge-like.

When it comes to buttons and ports, it has the same as the HEOS 1 but with the addition of the bass vent at the back. It also has a rubber base with an LED at the front side but also has rubber nubs on the side as it can also be placed horizontally. This flexibility allows the HEOS 3 to be placed in different locations like a shelf or on top of a desk.

Since the HEOS 3 is larger than the HEOS and packs a bigger sound, it is designed to be placed in a larger room like a living room. Or a bigger bedroom if you have that.

Setup and Features

Setting up the HEOS 1 and HEOS 3 is a bit cumbersome and requires a number of steps to get everything up and running. First, you’ll need to plug it in as it is not battery operated. Once it’s on, you need to press the Bluetooth button so it can be discovered by your mobile device. Once connected, you can start streaming your audio.


Now here comes the tricky part. The HEOS system’s primary mode of connection is through WiFi so it can stream audio seamlessly to multiple HEOS speakers in your home (Denon has the HEOS 1, 3, 5, and 7), which means the HEOS speakers needs access to your router. You can do that by via Ethernet cable to the router, or through AUX into your mobile device with access to your WiFi network, and with the help of the HEOS app for iOS or Android. We went for the AUX.

Setup is simple but not exactly quick as it involves using the app, wires, and pressing some buttons on the HEOS, as you can see above. But once done, you can now start playing with the speakers.

The HEOS speakers are heavily-dependent on the app for its features. From here you can update the speakers’ software, rename them for easy identification, and control their volume levels individually. Also, since it’s using WiFi and not Bluetooth, you can stream your audio to multiple HEOS speakers simultaneously.

The app also supports multiple music sources including Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, Amazon Music, iHeart Radio, SiriusXM, SoundCloud, TIDAL, Mood:Mix, Napster and Deezer, or through your local collection, or physical inputs like USB and AUX in. You can also control music playback from here. We were using Spotify most of the time and we’re glad that we can simply stream the audio without having to open the HEOS app.

Audio Quality

When it comes to audio. Both devices sound great, but not equally as expected. For a small speaker, the HEOS 1 can deliver a satisfying audio quality that is loud (we rarely went above 70% to fill a room) with solid and powerful bass thanks to dual wide range drivers with Class D Digital Amplification. That said, playing hip-hop, club and party music is an enjoyable experience.

The trebles are crisp and bright which is good for rock or acoustic music but we feel that it could use a little more punch. Still, we didn’t have problems enjoying a wide variety of music on it like The Beastie Boys’ Sabotage, Sam Smith’s Too Good At Goodbyes, or The Weeknd’s The Hills.

As for the HEOS 3, it can deliver the power that we’re looking for at the HEOS 1, which it should, considering that this is aimed at bigger rooms. With a dual custom full-range drivers powered by a two-channel Class D amplifier, it’s definitely louder and can dish out more bass.

Like with the HEOS 1, the HEOS 3 can deliver trebles and bass with good quality although we feel the HEOS 3 to be more at home with bassy tracks. We played a lot of party and hip-hop music on it and it didn’t fail to deliver. If you own two of the HEOS 3, you can synchronize it for a stereo pair.

Taking advantage of its streaming capabilities, we set up the HEOS 1 and 3 in the same room, hoping to achieve a surround sound experience. Both speakers were able to achieve that without exhibiting any delays. We just need to place them in strategic locations as they don’t deliver the same level of output. Still, it was enough to keep a small party going.

Conclusion

The Denon HEOS 1 and HEOS 3 are relatively small speakers but pack quite a punch. In addition to the good audio quality, it supports high-resolution audio, comes with Bluetooth, and can play our music seamlessly. Setup can be quite cumbersome but good thing you’ll only have to go through it once. That said, the Denon HEOS Hi-Fi Wireless Speaker System is a fancy yet powerful system worth considering if you want to fill your home with sound. But we have to warn you though, it doesn’t come cheap.

HEOS 1 – Php17,500
HEOS 3 – Php23,500

Available at A.Refinery stores nationwide:
UP Town Center, Katipunan
Ayala Abreeza Mall, Davao
Ayala Centrio Mall, CDO

Denon HEOS 1 specs:
Dual Wide Range Drivers
Class D Digital Amplification
One woofer, one tweeter
High-Resolution Audio Support
Auxiliary Analog Line Input
Supports Music Subscription Services
Bluetooth
USB
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
RJ-45 wired LAN port
189 x 129 x 128mm
14kg

Denon HEOS 3 specs:
Dual Wide Range Drivers
Class D Digital Amplification
Auxiliary Analog Line Input
High-Resolution Audio Support
Stereo Pair Operation
Supports Music Subscription Services
Bluetooth
USB
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
RJ-45 wired LAN port
130 x 272 x 165 mm (horizontal)
1.9kg

What we liked:
* Portable (we can fit both speakers in a backpack)
* Powerful sound
* Good design

What we didn’t:
* Cumbersome setup
* Pricey



This article was written by Louie Diangson, Managing Editor of YugaTech. You can follow him at @John_Louie.

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