Denon HEOS 7 Wireless Speaker Review
- Amazing Sound
- Great Design
- Easy set up
High fidelity multi-room audio systems have seen important growth rates during the past 24 months, and the manufacturers are releasing new products every month to meet customers’ expectations. From the likes of new start-ups like Musaic or Bluesound, to established brands like Panasonic or Samsung, every company is looking to grab a chunk of this important market.
The newest brand to launch a line of products in this delicate niche is Denon, a top rated Japanese company specialized in the manufacture of high end audio systems and electronic components. Founded in 1910 as a manufacturer of simple single-sided discs and gramophones, the company evolved quickly during the 1950s, establishing itself as one of the leading designers of high end sound systems. Nowadays, Denon is known as a provider of outstanding sound and audio products for a wide range of needs and its designs have won countless international prizes, further confirming their quality.
Their latest product in the high-fidelity wireless speakers range is the Denon HEOS 7, the flagship item of the HEOS line, dwarfing the older HEOS 3 and HEOS 5. The HEOS line of products also includes the already popular HEOS Amp, the HEOS Link pre-amp and the HEOS wi-fi extender. The design team at Denon promotes the HEOS 7 as the big brother in their line up, offering serious audio power, including a subwoofer, two full-range drivers, two passive radiators and two tweeters.
The introductory description provided by the manufacturer sounds promising, but let’s take a deeper look at this speaker and decide whether it lives up to its expectations:
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Firstly, let’s take a look at the design:
The first thing that strikes you at the Denon HEOS 7 Wireless Speaker is its size and its weight. Measuring 8 by 19 by 5.4 inches (height/width/depth), the speaker weighs almost nine pounds, but thanks to a sleek design, the speaker seems to not take up so much space in the room. Also, thanks to its non-conventional trapezoidal outer shape, the speaker will fit in any modern interior. The cross section resembles a teardrop, with symmetrical sides, while the front and the back are covered with a cloth grille.
The top features an attractive design accent finished in metal, which covers the cloth panel on each side. An indicator light is positioned on the front side, below the grille, providing easy access. On the left side of the speaker is a 3.5 mm headphone jack and on the right side are the Volume Up/Down and the Mute buttons. The back panel features the power cable, USB connection, an additional 3.5 mm jack, Ethernet ports and the Reset and Connect buttons.
The connectivity – can you use the Denon HEOS 7 together with other speakers?
The speaker fully supports two tweeters, two mid-woofers, a sub-woofer, all being powered by an amplifier, preferably a Class D one. Unfortunately, Denon doesn’t provide the power specifications for each driver or amplifier. However, a neat addition by the Denon engineers is the plug-and-play USB input: if you plug a drive containing audio files into any of the HEOS speakers in the network, any speaker will be able to play the content automatically. The connectivity area of the speaker is ingeniously designed, being a perfect match for any modern living room.
Setting up the Wi-Fi feature and other connectivity options
The Denon HEOS 7 wireless speaker features a unique method of setting up the wi-fi connection, but fortunately, it is quite simple and straightforward. While other products require a wireless or USB connection, the HEOS 7 must be configured with a normal 3.5 mm cable. The connection (input and output) information is transferred from your mobile device with the help of a free app, available for both iOS and Android users.
Simply plug the 3.5 mm cable, press Connect, and follow the instructions on the mobile device. It’s simple, fast, and you can even rename or group multiple speakers to better identify them, thus enabling a better multi-room performance. For instance, you can hook up multiple HEOS 7 units, combine different HEOS units or you can add an amplifier, sub-woofers or tweeters.
Playing your favorite music on the Denon HEOS 7
The HEOS 7 requires a special app to play music, but fortunately, it is excellently integrated into multiple music services, such as Spotify, TuneIn, Rhapsody and Pandora. The songs appear automatically on these apps and they can be played on the already set up speakers, which are also displayed on the app’s front panel. Simply pick your group of speakers (or a room) and the music will start instantly.
The Wi-Fi connection quality
Unfortunately, the Denon HEOS 7 wireless speaker is somewhat finicky and sensitive when it is set up in a highly congested room, filled with conflicting wi-fi devices, typically found in office environments. However, if the network features a strong signal, the playback quality is simply astonishing.
Also, controlling the playback and adjusting the volume is dependent on the signal quality: if the network is jammed, the connection may be faulty. Even though these type of issues are very common with wireless speaker systems, it shouldn’t worry you if you want to use them in residential settings. The average home doesn’t usually have such a multitude of wi-fi devices, so your audio quality will be safe.
The audio performance – does the Denon HEOS 7 wireless speaker live up to its expectations?
In short, this wireless speaker does it spectacularly: it provides a high fidelity sound, a splendid audio quality and it has a tremendous power. It is capable of an impressive volume and bass weight, thanks to the sub-woofer. The speaker will work fantastically in high ceiling rooms, and you won’t feel any loss of depth in any corner. The sound is warm and full, but also renders the deep rumbles of piano concerts exquisitely.
For instance, the song Harvey Wallbanger (by Less Than Jake’s) sounds bombastic, cheerful and powerful at the same time. It is quite simply a wonderful feeling.What’s more, if you want more precision, the HEOS 7 is able to work together with multiple other units, including the smaller HEOS 3 or HEOS 5, offering a breathtaking audio experience.
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The final verdict
Denon certainly made a grand step with the HEOS 7 towards the improvement of the wireless speaker niche. Its outstanding design, performance and multiple connectivity options, make it one of the leading products in the multi-room wireless speaker market. Also, the team of engineers and designers at Denon just recently hinted at a future inclusion of Bluetooth connectivity, making the whole line up even more appealing.
All in all, the Denon HEOS 7 Wireless Speaker is indeed a stylish, well-rounded and impressive piece of technology that will bring audio performance to any residence at the touch of a button.