Once upon a time you’d only look to Sonos for wireless home audio controlled by your smartphone, but that’s no longer the case. Raumfeld is the newest kid on the block to offer high-quality wireless speakers. The One S is the smallest of the series and goes head-to-head with the Sonos PLAY:1.
Raumfeld might be new to the wireless speaker game, and a new company to these shores, but it’s a renowned audio manufacturer with decades of experience in Germany. It’s now spread its wings and is offering its products in more countries. This is a good thing.
With solid build quality and style the Raumfeld One S wireless speaker should look at home in almost any setting and comes with surprisingly punchy audio for such a small cube. And while it doesn’t have a list of compatible streaming services as comprehensive as some of its competitors, it does come with a unique feature – it’s water-resistant (splash- and steam-proof rather than fully submersible). This makes it ideal for the kitchen, bathroom or while barbecuing under threatening clouds.
The One S is small and light enough to be portable, but doesn’t have an integrated battery so you need to keep it by a plug socket – this isn’t like those Bluetooth speakers you can take with you on a picnic.
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Instead, Raumfeld’s little powerhouse is a perfect shelf speaker for those who don’t want anything too flashy messing with their home decor. Available in either black or white, the One S manages to look great while remaining inconspicuous thanks to a somewhat serious demeanor – just two small lights and a round button on the front draw any attention to it. One light lets you know that the Raumfeld is on, the other tells you that it’s connected to your wireless network.
Even though the One S is a little larger than the Sonos, its cube-like shape makes it easier to slot on a shelf, if that’s your plan.
Raumfeld’s speaker is just as well made as its better-known rival. The front and sides are clad in a fabric mesh over an aluminium cover. A small metal plate on the front houses the lights, a power button and logo. The rest of the speaker is a combination of thick, high-quality matte plastic and rubber. The latter serves two purposes. On the base it provides the One S with some grip while on the back and top it keeps it water-resistant.
This is still a mains-powered speaker. If you want to use it in a bathroom you should seek guidance from an electrician, place it in a “safe” zone and have it wired to an RCD-protected spur rather than a traditional plug socket. If you’ve got a small bathroom you might want to look at a water-resistant, battery-powered Bluetooth speaker instead. The sound quality won’t be anywhere near as good, but it could help avoid a Don King hairdo.
There’s no play/pause button, which would be useful, but you do get silicone-covered volume buttons and four preset buttons that you can use with wet and soapy hands. These can be preset with your favourite internet radio stations.
Hidden behind a rubber flap is an Ethernet and a USB port. The first is required to set up the One S and the second allows you to play music from a USB-connected device using simple plug-and-play tech. Unfortunately, plugging in your phone doesn’t work, but any basic USB stick or drive with music on it will.
If you’re interested in attaching the One S to a wall you can purchase a wall mount accessory for £12.99.
How tricky the setup of your Raumfeld One S is depends entirely on the location of your wireless router. That’s because you need to connect the One S to it via an ethernet cable (provided). There’s no Bluetooth or NFC pairing here. Our router is hidden away behind a TV, meaning we had to spend a short while just getting to it. However, the process isn’t too different from setting up a Sonos, and you only need to do it once.
After you’ve connected it to your router you need to complete the setup via Raumfeld’s slick smartphone app. It takes a few minutes to complete after disconnecting the little speaker from your router, and there are a couple of moments of “has it/hasn't it worked?” jitters before the app springs back to life and lets you pump out music.
The One S works using Wi-Fi streaming so if you’re planning to place it miles away from your router, or you have general Wi-Fi issues in your home, you may need to get a Wi-Fi extender for hassle-free tunes.
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Once you’ve got through the simple setup, the Raumfeld One S is a doddle to use. The app is robust and we haven’t experienced a single issue connecting to it, via either iOS or Android app, over the weeks we’ve been testing.
It’s really simple to use too. Icons are clear and connecting to music on your phone, tablet or server is dead easy. You just select the DNLA or UPnP servers you want to use in the Music Resources section of the settings or choose the music on your device.
In terms of audio quality the One S supports sampling rates of up to 192kHz and is compatible with a host of formats including ASF, MP3, WMA, WAV, ACC, FLAC, OGG and Apple Lossless. It can play pretty much whatever you throw at it.
The Raumfeld app is compatible with most of the music services you'll want to use with the One S, but the selection isn’t as comprehensive as you’ll find on Sonos. That won’t be an issue for most people, especially if you only listen to internet radio, Spotify and locally stored content. However if you’re a Deezer or Pandora fan in the US you won’t be able to use the Raumfeld One S quite yet.
Compatible services include Spotify, TuneIn, Tidal, WiMP, Napster and Last.fm, with more planned to follow.
Instead of wrapping Spotify into its own app like Sonos does, the Raumfeld One S is Spotify Connect compatible. This means you can use the actual Spotify app rather than a reworked one. In theory this is a good thing – the Sonos app can lag behind when Spotify updates its app. In practice, however, we’ve found that we occasionally need to restart Spotify to get Connect to work on the One S. This rarely happens, though, and is easy to fix by stopping and starting the app again.
Those preset buttons we mentioned earlier can be assigned to a radio station so you can boogie down without having to unlock your phone and open the app. It’s a neat feature, especially if you’re planning to use the One S like a DAB radio.
Raumfeld’s app also lets you set up 'rooms' if you have multiple speakers. This means you can have multiple One S speakers, for stereo pairing, or combine the One S with its bigger brother, the One M in the same, or separate music zones.
The Raumfeld One S is an impressive-sounding speaker, especially when you consider its diminutive size. In some ways it’s even better than the current leader of the pack, the Sonos Play:1.
It uses the same two-way coaxial system as the excellent Raumfeld Stereo Cubes we reviewed recently. The 90mm mid-range driver, 25mm tweeter and two woofers provide a solid sound you’d expect to hear coming from something much, much bigger.
We don’t expect hi-fi-quality sound from a speaker this size and price, but music is clear, detailed and packs an impressive punch at higher levels. The One S can certainly fill a medium-sized room with rich, distortion-free sound.
Where the Raumfeld falls a little short is the low-end. Bass is a touch limited, even more so than the smaller Sonos Play:1. Unlike the cheaper TrustedReviews Awards-winning Samsung M3, however, the sound never gets muddied on bass-heavy tracks. It remains balanced and clear throughout, if a little weak. Listening to some Tricky and hip-hop albums lacked the low-end oomph that brings that genre to life. At top levels treble can be a little harsh too, but the midrange packs plenty of detail and clarity.
These issues are minor – most people not obsessed with audio fidelity will be thoroughly impressed with the power and sound quality of Raumfeld’s little marvel.
Overall we ever so slightly prefer the One S to the Sonos and Samsung, both in terms of a balanced sound and top volume level. If you’re into bass-heavy tracks, though, the Sonos or Samsung may be better bets.
If you’re looking for a small speaker for a kitchen or bathroom then the Raumfeld One S is the one to pick. It’s a little pricier than the Sonos Play:1 and Samsung M3, but comes with water-resistant silicone buttons and great acoustic performance for such a small package.
If you’re after audiophile quality music reproduction you’ll need to go for something bigger, and dig a little deeper into your pockets. That’s not what the Raumfeld One S is about. This is great little speaker for quick and easy, room-filling tunes after a hard day at work.
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There are cheaper options around, but the splash-resistance, looks and sound quality of the One S make it a great addition to a classy kitchen or bathroom.