The Denon Heos 7 is the top model in the new Heos line-up. It's Denon's alternative to the Sonos Play:5, and also speakers like the B&W Zeppelin Air. It's a wireless speaker that slots into a multi-room system that all the Denon Heos speakers are part of.
The Denon Heos 7 is the biggest of the Heos speakers. You can get it in standard black/silver, or white for those after a less traditional look.
The box has a teardrop design, giving it a slightly different look from the usual hi-fi black boxes, of which Denon is a key proponent thanks to its very popular range of home cinema receivers.
It looks a lot like a high-end iPhone dock, but is actually closer to something like the Sonos Play:5 in the way it operates. The Denon Heos 7 has inbuilt Wi-Fi, letting hook up to streaming services like Spotify over your home broadband.
Services you'll be able to access with the speaker include Spotify, Deezer and Napster. However, there's also an auxiliary input should you want to connect a non-wireless source like an iPod Classic. There's also a USB port, letting you stream locally stored files more easily.
Cleverly, plug a USB stick in and the files can be shared to other speakers in a Heos setup. And you can play any locally-stored music on your phone too. Pretty neat, right?
You control the Denon Heos 7 from within an app, though – much like a Sonos speaker. Streaming is performed over you home Wi-Fi, rather than Bluetooth. This means you can't stream audio from any app you like – it can't act as a speaker for a mobile game your might be playing, for example. Support for Spotify Connect means you can use the Spotify app rather than Denon's if you prefer, though.
This kind of multi-room gadget is a new thing for Denon, but the Heos 7 is actually very familiar. Its design is almost identical to the Altec Lansing InAir 5000, a wireless speaker we looked at three years ago. This is something that Denon acquired following Altec Lansing's demise - it hasn't simply stolen the blueprint.
Denon says the teardrop-shape design is used partly to improve sound quality. The Heos 7 has a pretty solid array of drivers too. There are two full-range drivers, two tweeters, one dedicated sub driver and two passive radiators on the back.
This gives the Denon Heos 7 a big, bassy sound. The bass is fairly dominant, which the more discerning among you may not appreciate – it's a solid reason why some of you may prefer two Heos 3 speakers over one Heos 7. We'll be back with more detailed sound impressions when we get a unit in to review.
Making multi-room systems is flavour of the week in tech, and the Denon Heos 7 is a pretty clear "me too" effort. We're not sure audio freaks will fall in love with the bass-heavy sound, but it is something you'll be able to tweak with the system's app.
Next, read our best wireless speakers round-up