Denon Heos 7 review

By

Updated:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR

1 of 5

Denon Heos 7
  • Denon Heos 7
  • Denon Heos 7
  • denon pics 9
  • denon pics 10
  • denon pics 11

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

Pros

  • Big room-filling sound with sumptuous detail
  • Weighty build quality
  • Easy-to-use smartphone app with a wide range of streaming services

Cons

  • No hi-res music support
  • Bluetooth not integrated
  • No track time slider

Key Features

  • Dual-band Wi-Fi and multiroom functionality
  • Five Class D amplifiers
  • 2 x mid-woofers, 2 x tweeters, 2 x passive radiators, 1 x subwoofer
  • Spotify, Deezer, Napster, SoundCloud, TIDAL, TuneIn and Rdio
  • Bluetooth support with supplied dongle
  • Manufacturer: Denon
  • Review Price: £429.00

Now with fewer wires than ever...

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.

denon pics 11

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.

denon pics 9

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.

denon pics 10

First Impressions

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

Overall Score

8

Scores In Detail

  • Design 9
  • Features 7
  • Performance 9
  • Sound Quality 9
  • Value 8

mothergoose85

June 5, 2014, 8:17 am

I'm a bit confused - is your first impression just based on a press release or your first impressions upon actually using it?

Andrew_TR

June 5, 2014, 10:26 am

We used it, touched it, listened to it - hence the observations about the sound quality.

mothergoose85

June 5, 2014, 10:29 am

Gotcha - there was something in the copy that made it sound a bit contradictory, but I think you've removed it now (or I just misread it the first time).

JIM THE BOSS

June 5, 2014, 11:26 am

DOESS THIS WROK WITH 8 TARCK PLALYER

Fatman

June 5, 2014, 12:20 pm

DOESS THIS WROK WITH 8 TARCK PLALYER

Ya Jim,

My first thought is that you are skrued (creative spelling to avoid "moderation") because it doesn't have 'old fashioned' analog inputs, so you are going to have to improvise.

I doubt anyone makes a RCA analog input to ethernet converter. And I doubt it is something YOU have the skills to even design, let alone build. In a nutshell you have to convert analog audio to digital (ADC), buffer it, encapsulate the data in ethernet datagrams, and finally use some kind of data server to push the digital audio. As I said, I doubt you could do it. So, what's the cheap way out (and, by $DEITY, you are cheap, you make your employees bring their own toilet paper). You can try to use it as a powered speaker, but I would not get my hopes up. Get yourself a CHEAP patch cable. I think you can cut the end off of a common patch cable, and wire the left channel to the green pair, and the right one to the orange pair, and it will work (not!)

BTW, you might really want to avoid the Denon Cat 5 Ethernet cable because it is quite expensive (like $500 US).

Trappp

June 5, 2014, 12:24 pm

BTW, you might really want to avoid the Denon Cat 5 Ethernet cable because it is quite expensive (like $500 US).

But it's a very nice cable! You left out that part!

Fatman

June 5, 2014, 12:32 pm

You and I both know when it comes to data, it is either 'there' or it isn't. Unlike analog, where the quality of the circuit DOES have an impact on the audio quality; digital does not care how cheap the cable is UNLESS it is so cheaply made that it is unreliable. (i.e. Data drop outs. The analog equivalent used to drive me nuts when I used a certain brand of analog recording tape with my TEAC 3340S.)

Trappp

June 5, 2014, 12:37 pm

That reminds me of when the Corporate Goons showed up with a fiber tester to check my terminations. They harrumphed over one pair that had a poor DB reading, and suggested to my boss that I re-terminate it ASAP. I told him that I was monitoring that connection via Solarwinds software, like all other fiber connections in the facility, and would re-terminate at the first sign of dropouts.

As far as I know, my original "bad" termination is still cooking along ten years later.

Fatman

June 5, 2014, 12:43 pm

You should have taken a clue from the BOFH, and arranged for a 'lift' (in the USA elevator) accident involving those Corporate Goons.

I know that because I am sometimes forced to wear my BAMF hat, there are quite a few that want to do the same to me. That's why I always check to insure that the cab is actually there before stepping in. It's not that first step, but the sudden stop that 'gets' you.

O2BIrish

June 5, 2014, 1:54 pm

Here's a speaker for homes and in parks.
First impressions? This poet here barks,
"If you say just one woid,
We will drop down a boid!"
This impression's my first: Groucho Marx.

Stryker

June 5, 2014, 2:02 pm

I WUNNDER IF ITL'L WROK WITH YORE 1940'S RECROD PALYER.

Princess

June 5, 2014, 2:17 pm

1940'S RECROD PALYER

Not likely, as those old things use tubes ('valves' for our friends on the 'east' side of the pond) for amplification. Some of the voltages used in a tube (valve) amplifier are quite lethal. If Jim were to accidentally connect the B+ lead to the ethernet cable, then he is likely to blow out the electronics inside the speaker (B+ voltage ranges from 350 to 750 volts). I doubt that would be covered by the warranty.

ShortLady

June 5, 2014, 2:24 pm

Oh great. One more thing to dust.

Jim but not THE Jim

June 5, 2014, 2:32 pm

I don't see how. It doesn't have the crank on the side.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

rwells78

June 5, 2014, 2:36 pm

With the $99.99 adapter, no problemo!

Clone7

June 5, 2014, 3:34 pm

I hope the speaker has some heavy duty feet so that when you crank the bass up it doesn't "walk" all over the place and perhaps fall off the ledge...

Trappp

June 5, 2014, 3:41 pm

If it comes to that, I would have already called the cops and they would have made you turn it down.

(looking forward to blasting movies this weekend with my less-tolerant-of-loud-stuff wife out of town, the schnauzers can go hide in the back bedroom)

ShortLady

June 5, 2014, 4:06 pm

I love walking electronics, fit right in with my Heinlein books...

ShortLady

June 5, 2014, 4:07 pm

You would call the cops? Boo, hiss, hiiss, boo

ShortLady

June 5, 2014, 4:09 pm

"crank on the side"
Yeah, we can do that. Place your orders now. (only kidding)

Andrew_TR

June 5, 2014, 4:10 pm

Ah cool. We do aim to be as clear as possible as it's understandable you probably don't want to end up on a preview when you're after a proper review.

We don't do any articles in our reviews section based just on press releases, though. Everything has been fondled to at least some extent - just not enough for too many conclusions to be made.

Big Brother

June 5, 2014, 6:08 pm

Not to fear, Citizen. The web site is called "Trusted Reviews" after all. If you are unable to trust Trusted Reviews' reviews, review your trust of trusting reviews.

Big Brother

June 5, 2014, 6:11 pm

Your Big Brother believes the most innovative and exciting feature of the new speaker unit is sadly missing from this review. It has been outfitted with a wireless transmitter. As the reviewer above states, "the teardrop-shape design is used partly to improve sound quality," both in and out. Yes, Big Brother can hear you now.

tka2013

June 5, 2014, 9:59 pm

Seriously I would prefer this model over the B&W Zeppelin Air. I've lived near Lakehurst, NJ and I know what Zeppelins are capable of.

mothergoose85

June 6, 2014, 8:22 am

That seems fair to me - I don't think there is much more you could do to categorise it differently either.

Regardless, I am liking the fact that Sonos is no longer the only multiroom wireless option - competition is good!

comments powered by Disqus