(Pocket-lint) - Denon has expanded its range of wireless speakers with three new models: the entry-level Home 150; the mid-range Home 250; and the flagship Home 350, as reviewed here. All three include Denon's HEOS multiroom system, along with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, plus the ability to work with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant for voice control.
The Home 350 sports a level of build quality commensurate with its top-of-the-range status, with a sizeable cabinet that houses a pair of high-quality speakers and powerful amplification. As with all the speakers in the HEOS range, it can be used on its own, as part of a stereo pair, or even on surround duties in a 5.1-channel system with a Denon DHT-S516H soundbar and subwoofer.
- Dimensions: 38 x 22.5 x 18cm / Weight: 6.3kg
- Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Airplay 2
- Black or white finishes
The Denon Home 350 isn't likely to win any design awards, with a cabinet that borders on the boring. It's just a simple box with a wrap-around fabric grille, and a choice of black or white finishes. However it's built like a tank, with a toughened glass top that adds a touch of elegance, and a status light under the Denon logo at the front.
The connections include Wi-Fi that supports 2.4 and 5GHz, along with Bluetooth and Apple AirPlay 2. There's also an Ethernet port at the rear, along with a 3.5mm stereo analogue jack and a USB port for external storage devices like hard drives and memory sticks. But there's no headphone socket, so you might need to turn things down at night.
- Works with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant
- HEOS multiroom/surround sound
- 24bit/192kHz DAC
- Roon Ready
The Denon Home 350 forms part of the company's range of HEOS products, allowing it to create a comprehensive multi-room system, or act as part of a stereo pair. The platform even allows you to use two of these speakers as pair of seriously over-specced rears in a 5.1-channel system built around a Denon soundbar.
There are some impressive components inside, with each speaker composed of a 3/4-inch tweeter, 2-inch midrange driver, and a 6-inch woofer for the low-end. There are six Class D digital amplifiers to provide power to each of the drivers, ensuring plenty of grunt.
This superior sonic prowess is put to good use, with gapless playback of high-resolution audio up to 192kHz/24-bit (files in FLAC, WAV, ALAC, and DSD 2.8/5.6MHz formats), either via a network or using the rear USB port. The Home 350 is even Roon Ready if that's your bag.
There's support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, but currently a separate external device is required. However, a future firmware update should engage the two microphones on the top panel, ultimately allowing voice interaction without the need for a third-party device.
- Touch-sensitive controls
- HEOS app (iOS & Android)
- Voice control via Amazon or Google
The Denon Home 350 has touch-sensitive controls on the top which, thanks to a proximity sensor, illuminate when your hand approaches them. The controls consist of play/pause, volume up/down, and six presets for your favourite radio stations.
You can quickly and easily access your wireless network and create a multiroom system using the dedicated app. This allows you to enjoy the same or different music in multiple rooms, and even group two HEOS speakers together as the left and right channels of a stereo pair.
The app provides direct control over music services like Tidal, Amazon, Pandora, Deezer, Spotify, TuneIn, and Soundcloud, and since these apps embedded, you can carry on streaming music without your smartphone being constantly tethered to the 350.
As a multiroom system HEOS is well-designed and robust, creating a network that's rock-solid and responsive. There's no discernible delay, with excellent synchronisation, and the control and interaction is also flawless, allowing you to tweak the setup and seamlessly playback content.
The Denon Home 350 makes an immediate impression, with a confident and spacious delivery that produces a surprising amount of bass. This speaker certainly has enough power to handle the largest of living rooms, but given the full-bodied low-end presence, you should probably avoid putting it in a corner.
There's no denying this is an accomplished performer, and playing a 24-bit/96kHz file of Pink Floyd's The Division Bell reveals exceptional textural detail, with an uncluttered mid-range and high frequency clarity. The flawless production is rendered in all its glory, and thanks to the 6-inch woofers in this speaker the low-end extension is genuinely impressive, giving the drums a percussive snap.
This low frequency prowess is particularly noticeable when listening to The Greatest Showman soundtrack, especially during the big bass notes that kick-off the album. The Home 350 gives the drum hits and stomping feet a suitable subsonic punch and, despite being relatively large, the overall soundstage sounds much bigger than you'd expect from a single speaker.
There's a liveliness to the Denon that's sure to please, and an uptempo number like This is Me is resolved with such infectious joy that won't be able to resist tapping your foot. But there's also a control to the delivery, ensuring individual instruments and voices are distinctive, while the the overall tonal balance remains cohesive.
The bass seamlessly crosses over with the midrange, providing a solid foundation without swamping the middle frequencies. This journey up the frequency range remains uneventful as sounds cross into the higher registers, especially during the song Never Enough. It's dominated by a high-pitched female vocal, but the Home 350 never sounds strained, harsh or sibilant.
The app is highly effective, allowing to easily access streaming services such as Spotify and Tidal, and the Denon proves equally as adept with more compressed content. It also has an impressive dynamic range, switching from kitten's breath to uncomfortably loud in an instant.
Denon has been coy about the amplification in this speaker, but it definitely goes very loud without distorting.
The Denon Home 350 is a knock-out wireless multiroom speaker that's not small or cheap, but boasts prodigious amounts of power, combined with a detailed and refined delivery. This accomplished performer can handle larger rooms, although the loaded bass can be a trifle overwhelming, so avoid putting the speaker in corners.
The Home 350 is a no-brainer if you're already committed to Denon's HEOS multiroom system, but even if you're not it makes the ideal starting place. This speaker effortlessly combines network connectivity, including Apple AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth, with almost every streaming service, making it an attractive and well-made investment.
Harman Kardon Citation 500
Sporting a similar look and holding a price tag, this speaker is also equally well-proportioned – offering a big and powerful soundstage, combined with a lively and detailed delivery. It's a cracking performer that sounds great regardless of your musical tastes.