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Denon's Home multi-room speaker range is the latest intrepid Sonos rival

Denon's Home multi-room speaker range is the latest intrepid Sonos rival
(Image credit: Denon)

Denon has been in the multi-room speaker game for some time (five years, to be precise) with its HEOS sub-brand, but it’s now shaking things up by taking multi-room back under the Denon name.

The all-new Denon Home range is (at launch) comprised of three wireless multi-room speakers built on the HEOS platform – the move suggests HEOS will be purely a software brand as opposed to a hardware one from now on.

The Home 150 (£219/$249) is the range’s baby – think along the lines of the Sonos One – housing a 3.5in woofer and 1in tweeter within its diminutive chassis. The Home 250 (£449/$499) doubles that tweeter and woofer count, with each driver driven by four power amplifiers, and adds a passive bass radiator. The flagship Home 350 (£599/$699), meanwhile, brings the biggest brunt with six channels of amplification feeding two 6.5in woofers, two 2in mid-range drivers and a pair of tweeters.

Denon's Home multi-room speaker range is the latest intrepid Sonos rival

(Image credit: Denon)

All speakers are as well equipped as you might expect from multi-room streaming speakers, and then some. Via the HEOS app there’s access to Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music HD, Tidal, TuneIn and Deezer, to name a few, and connectivity extends to AirPlay 2, Bluetooth, USB and 3.5mm across the range. In addition to ALAC, FLAC and WAV support up to 24-bit/192kHz, there is also DSD 5.6MHz playback.

Voice control is also on the menu, with Denon Home control possible via third-party Siri, Google Assistant and Alexa devices. Each of the speakers has an integrated microphone, too, with native voice assistant support to be added via a firmware update in 2020. With that, they'll also fall into the 'smart speaker' category.

The benefit of their HEOS foundations: owners of Denon or Marantz AV receivers, soundbars and systems that have HEOS functionality can add the Denon Home speakers to their current set-ups. For example, two of the Denon Home speakers can be used as rear surround channels for the Denon DHT-S716H soundbar and DSW-1H subwoofer to create a fully fledged, Dolby-decoding 5.1 sound system.

(Image credit: Future)

While that sets the Home speakers apart from their competition, what doesn’t particularly is their aesthetic, which is familiar to the competition – and not in a bad way. We've had the pleasure of a sneak preview of a pre-production sample, and the finish and build makes them mantelpiece worthy.

There are a couple of neat design tricks too: the touch panel's Quick Select (i.e shortcut) buttons (three on the 150 and 250, six on the 350) allow you to save internet radio stations to each for one-touch access, while a proximity sensor illuminates the panel when it detects an approaching hand (as illustrated above). The in-vogue wraparound cloth is water-resistant, too, so owners needn't avoid placement in a kitchen or bathroom.

Needles to say we look forward to putting the Denon Homes against the ever-increasing competition.

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Becky is Hi-Fi and Audio editor of What Hi-Fi?, and has been part of the team for almost eight years, with her current position preceded by roles as a staff writer and news editor. During that time she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching horror movies and hunting for gluten-free cake.