THE GOOD: The Denon HEOS 1 has sound quality nearly on par with Sonos’ Play:1 speaker. The HEOS Go Pack lets the HEOS 1 go places that the Play 1 can’t.

 

THE BAD: Weird connection method which requires a proprietary 3.5 mm cord to get the HEOS 1 on your WiFi network. The Go Pack is great, but it would be nice if the HEOS 1 had a built-in battery pack and Bluetooth.

 

SUMMARY: The HEOS 1 sounds great and is a nice addition to the HEOS multi-room audio ecosystem. Get the add-on Go Pack and you have the added flexibility of being able to take the great sounding HEOS 1 with you.

 

Denon HEOS 1 Wireless Speaker (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

Price: $99.99

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3 used & new available from $99.99

 

 

Denon HEOS 1 Review (MSRP: $199)

Denon HEOS 1 Wireless Speaker Review

The Denon HEOS 1’s appearance immediately draws comparisons to the Sonos Play 1. The HEOS 1 measures about 7″ x 5″ x 5″. It tips the scale at a substantial 3 lbs. When compared side-by-side to the Play 1 it’s about 1″ taller. If you have the add-on HEOS 1 Go Pack, it’s about 2″ taller. The HEOS 1 is moisture resistant which makes it ideal for listening in the bathroom or other damp environments.

 

Our review model had a matte black finish with a dark grey grill which angled and wrapped around the sides of the speaker. If black isn’t your style, the HEOS 1 also comes in a crisp white finish.

Denon HEOS 1 Review

 

The back of the HEOS 1 has an ethernet input, a 3.5 mm jack, power adapter port, and a USB input. There’s also a wall mount screw hole if you decide to display the HEOS 1 on your wall. On the top of the HEOS 1 you’ll see a volume up/down button and a mute button. Play and Pause buttons aren’t included which means you’ll need to rely on a connected device to control your tunes.
The HEOS 1 speaker by itself is pretty good and is on par with the Sonos Play 1, but truthfully you need to get the HEOS 1 Go Pack to really enjoy the benefits of the speaker.

Denon Heos 1 Go Pack Review

The Go Pack is a 1″ tall disc that twists on to the bottom of the HEOS 1. The Pack does a couple things. For starters, it gives the HEOS 1 bluetooth capabilities. It also has a built-in battery that promises to power the HEOS 1 speaker for 4-6 hours on a single charge. The back of the disc has a series of 4 blue LED lights that lets you know how much charge the pack has left. When fully charged we managed to get about five and a half hours of sustained use.

 

The Bluetooth adapter that comes packaged with the Go Pack, fits into the USB port on the back of the HEOS 1. A rubber splash guard fits over top of the bluetooth adapter giving it and the other rear inputs protection from water.

 

 

Setup

Setting up Bluetooth on the HEOS 1 is pretty quick and painless. After you plug-in the USB Bluetooth dongle, just hit the connect button on the back of the HEOS 1 and your Bluetooth device should recognize the speaker.

 

Getting the Denon HEOS 1 on your WiFi network is a different story. It requires that you plug-in the supplied 3.5 mm cable into a wireless device that’s currently on your network. I wasn’t a big fan of this with the HEOS 3, and I’m still not. Once you attach the cable to your device the HEOS software asks you to hit the connect button on the back of the speaker and then enter the network password. With a little luck, you’ll be able to connect to your network on the first try. However, if you’re like me, it may take you several tries before you succeed which was a little annoying.

 

The Denon HEOS app is pretty good. It’s not quite as intuitive as Sonos’ but I found it to be easy to use. On the app you’ll see three icons on the bottom of the screen for Room, Music and Now Playing. Currently the app supports Pandora, Spotify, Rhapsody, Tidal, Soundcloud and SiriusXM among others. It can’t match Sonos in the volume of apps (at least not yet), but it has most of the major players.

 

Performance

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a fan of what Sonos has done with their speakers. While they’re sound quality isn’t perfect they’ve always managed to surpass what I think is possible with a smallish speaker. The Denon HEOS 1 is close to the Play:1 in sound quality, however the Sonos: Play:1 still edges it out slightly.

 

The HEOS 1 doesn’t quite match the Play:1’s level of detail or low frequency punch. The HEOS 1 is capable of kicking out pretty good bass for a small speaker however, the Play:1 just barely edged it out in the bass department. When listening to The Hills by The Weekend, the Play:1 had slightly better bass extension than the HEOS 1.

 

George Benson’s Breezin’ also had slightly more detail on the Play:1 with the guitars having more crispness and focus. On the other hand, the HEOS 1’s mid-range was a bit better than the Play:1’s. Lionel Richie’s vocals on The Commodore’s Easy had more warmth on the HEOS 1. Also, instrumentals overall had more vibrancy and excitement on the HEOS 1.

 

Conclusion

The Denon HEOS 1 is a good little wireless speaker. It’s very close to the Play:1 in the sound department, but edges it out in portability thanks to the HEOS 1 Go Pack. The Go Pack lets the HEOS 1 go places the Play:1 can. The Sonos software is slightly better than the HEOS software but considering Denon’s HEOS is the new kid on the block it’s a little surprising how good it is at this early stage.
 


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