Denon’s Heos HS2 multiroom speakers offer hi-res streaming support and Bluetooth connectivity. The look of the Heos hasn’t changed in this new iteration – just the internal components have been polished – so the Heos 7 HS2 and Heos 5 HS2 both have the same horizontal teardrop design as the original line, and both are built extremely well with nice attention to detail, well-finished edges, and premium quality materials.
The top-of-the-line Heos 7 HS2 (£379, or $463 U.S.) is pretty hefty and will command attention, while the more svelte Heos 5 HS2 (£349, or $423 U.S.) is perfect for a home office or dining room. The smallest speaker, Heos 1 HS2 (£199, or $246 U.S.), ditches the teardrop and cloth cover in favour of a smart asymmetrical all-metal grille. Squint and you might mistake it for a deformed Sonos Play:1 – in a good way.
With Spotify, Tidal, TuneIn, Deezer, Napster, Soundcloud, MoodMix, and direct play from your phone’s music files, virtually all your streaming needs are catered for via Wi-Fi. But given the hi-res streaming upgrade, it’s worth pointing out you can also pull music from any network connected music server or NAS drive or via direct input using USB stick. If you are using an external USB drive plugged into one speaker, any other speaker on that network will then be able to access and play that content too.
Denon’s Heos App remains mercifully straightforward to navigate. Along the bottom of the app’s main screen, there are three tabs: Rooms, Music, and Now Playing. Pick a room (where you can also create a new multi-room zone), choose your music source, and off you go. The Now Playing app gives basic controls over tracks and individual speaker volume.
Of course, if you’re a Spotify user, you can sidestep the Heos app entirely and enjoy the simple uncluttered pleasure of Spotify Connect. With the original app, some users reported connectivity issues, but Denon has confirmed that a recent firmware update will have sorted it out.
The flagship Heos 7 HS2 boasts five custom drivers, two passive radiators, and five powered Class D amplifiers. In terms of clout, it offers more than the superb Sonos Play:5 with a huge room-filling sound and punchy bass.
While more adept at playing loud and hard, the Heos 7 HS2 can also do finesse. Streaming Jason Isbell’s Something More Than Free in CD quality FLAC (44.1kHz/16-bit), the extra detail was more than evident with a lovely tone and balance to the mix. The same track streamed via standard Bluetooth (there’s no aptX) lacked some of the depth and the acoustic instruments lost a little of their live buzz, but the overall performance was still enjoyable.
Read ore of Chris Haslam’s review on Pocket-lint.