Move Over Sonos, HEOS Is Coming To Town
While Sonos has enjoyed the lion's share of the wireless streaming audio market for a number of years, other players are now looking to muscle in, and that muscle comes in the form of the Denon heavy weight.
News broke today of an exciting new brand from the powerhouse in AV electronics that is Denon, under the name HEOS. Other companies to attempt to muscle in on this now defined category is nothing new, but perhaps none have had the backing that is D&M Holdings (Denon and Marantz).
HEOS have jumped straight in with seamless control of their products via smartphones including iOS and Android, allowing control from multiple sources including USB and Network Attached Storage (NAS), multiple rooms, and internet streaming services (presumably Pandora, Spotify etc).
HEOS devices integrate with an existing WiFi network meaning no additional “bridge” type accessories to get up and running, however WiFi extenders will also become available.
It's expected this range will grow dramatically given the size of the RnD team backing the project, but initially released will be three products, HEOS 3, HEOS 5 and HEOS 7; all with MaxxAudio from Waves, and their licensed DSP technology built-in.
Initial reports also indicate a pre-amp and amplifier will also be offered, allowing connection to your existing Hi-Fi or lifestyle audio products.
HEOS 3 is the smallest in the range, with a two-channel class D amplifier, and two full-range drivers. Link a pair together to make a wireless stereo system for the larger area or as your needs change.
HEOS 5 includes four class D amplifiers, two tweeters, mid-woofers and a passive radiator. While HEOS 7, the largest offering had five class D amps, two custom tweeters and mid-woofers, a subwoofer and two passive radiators.
All units include both USB and aux-in inputs for hooking up to existing sources of USB's chock full of your latest tunes. All models are available in either black, or silver-white.
Initial pricing and Australian availability has not been announced yet, but Ralph Grundl, Marketing Manager for Australian Distributor Qualifi told StereoNET, “HEOS will launch in USA late June or early July, followed soon after by Europe. HEOS is expected to launch in Australia this year, but pricing has not been released as yet”.
Indicative overseas pricing appears to be $299 through to $599 US RRP, depending on model.