Wireless Wonders: 7 Wireless Speakers Reviewed Denon Heos 1

Denon Heos 1

PRICE $200

Good sound quality
Nice app
Limited bass
No hi-res support

The Heos 1 is flexible and sounds good, if just a bit bass shy.

Denon’s Heos line is an extended family of wireless speakers, with a soundbar, a streamer, and a streamer/amp thrown into the mix. Standing a mere 7 inches tall, the Heos 1 ($200) is the baby of the family, though like the other speakers here, it provides the full suite of features you’ll find in the company’s larger and more expensive models.

The Heos 1 has a two-way woofer/tweeter design with each powered by its own amp. The humidity-resistant enclosure has a LAN connection, along with USB and 3.5mm analog inputs for additional music sources. A pair of Heos 1s can be set up for stereo playback, and Denon sells an optional $99 Go Pack rechargeable battery/Bluetooth adapter that allows the speaker to play for up to 6 hours. Current Heos speakers support 48-kHz/16-bit files; Denon says new HS2 versions will support hi-res. Services include Pandora, Tidal, Spotify, Amazon Music, and others.

Setup was mostly glitch-free. The process involved connecting a minijack cable between my iPad and an input on the speaker’s back. With both Heos 1s, I had to plug and unplug the cable a few times before it was recognized. From there, software setup was a breeze: I could easily group speakers, create a stereo pair, and adjust the brightness of the speaker’s indicator light.

I started out with the Beach House track. The Heos 1 came across as bass-shy but otherwise balanced, with clear and natural-sounding vocals. What bass the speaker did manage was well integrated, not boosted. The speaker was easily able to fill a medium-sized room, but its sound became strained and localized when I attempted to max out the volume.

On the Floating Points track, the Heos 1’s presentation was rich and reasonably full—as long as the volume was kept to a sensible level. With two speakers paired for stereo, the soundstage was wide and detailed, delivering a good sense of immersion. I found the treble on this track to be a bit hard-edged at high volumes. Otherwise, the sound was mostly engaging, with dynamic drums and smooth vocals.

I really liked using the Heos app, which has a simple interface that makes it easy to switch between music services and system control. The one issue I encountered was that album art sometimes wouldn’t update when using Tidal; instead, the art for the previously played artist/track would remain onscreen. Annoying, but not exactly a deal-killer.

1 woofer, 1 tweeter (unspecified)
Inputs: Analog (3.5mm), USB, Bluetooth (with HEOS1 Go Pack Battery/Bluetooth adapter, $99), Ethernet
Dimensions (WxHxD, Inches): 5.06 x 7.44 x 5.06
Weight (Pounds): 3.8

Related: What You Need to Know About Wireless Multiroom Music Systems

eugovector's picture

How about, "Anything plus the Chromecast Audio"? Forget 3rd party apps, you want native app support with casting.