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Post time 2015-9-7 09:07:00 | Show all posts |Read mode
Hello All,
REVIEW
This is my (preliminary) review of Heos 1 speakers:
This topic has been discussed amongst a couple of other threads, but I thought I would codify it here in its own heading.  This review is posted in Soundbars because it will be accompanied by a Denon HomeCinema Soundbar system in the next couple of weeks and there isn't really a whole home audio section.  The review of HomeCinema will be placed here as well.
Setup V1.0 (8/10)
I recently bought two Heos 1 speakers.  Setup took about five minutes, which included unboxing and reading the basic instructions.  Quick and painless.  In the process you create a Heos account.  Afterward you just sign into whatever music service you want or connect a device.  It loses a point for not being overly intuitive and another because maybe I'm greedy but I would like it to somehow be automatic by pushing a button on the speaker and a corresponding button the app and then you're done, no steps.
Setup V2.0 (3/10)
I bungled the process after getting it setup.  I tried to move one speaker to my access point for better wi-fi.  In short (and this applies to Sonos as well) Heos can only store one SSID at a time.  This is very important information that they don't tell you up front.  Both Sonos and Heos rely on wi-fi to make their systems work.  If you have a larger home or thicker walls, often your wi-fi signal will decrease dramatically the further you get from your router.  For many, the answer is to add a second router as an access point or separate network.  There are even instructions provided by Sonos and Heos to let you know how to connect to their systems via an access point.  What they don't tell you until you call customer service is that if you are connecting through different SSIDs, the systems will treat this as a separate network even though it's an access point.  The result, not all your speakers will show up on your app controller at once.  So you have to either get a wi-fi extender, make your access point use the same SSID as your main wireless service (which can cause problems), hard-wire the speaker (which is against the point of wireless audio), or use a bridge that will connect two networks and create one SSID for both (this magic is beyond my pay grade).  After much fiddling and confusion I am left trying to sort how to extend my wi-fi range for ideal placement of speakers but for the time being, I have the system back working with all speakers using the same SSID.  I give low marks here because again, maybe I'm greedy, but I think the system should be smarter than I am and shouldn't allow me to mess it up.  And if I am going to change something it should inform me of all the ramifications and provide a way to fix it very quickly.
Sound Quality (10/10)
This is the main reason I picked Heos over Sonos.  I like Sonos, don't get me wrong, but about 9/10 reviews that compare the two will say the reason to not buy Sonos is that Heos sounds better.  Well...I think those reviews are correct.  I love these things.  I was not expecting the clarity and beauty the speakers produce.  Many small speakers behave as though they are constantly struggling to produce good sound, but the Heos 1 speakers produce sound that is warm and pleasing.  No particular instrument or note is overemphasized or underemphasized.  Think of them as a tuned piano.  If you have heard a piano out of tune and then heard the same piano in tune, it is the same as that pleasing moment of when everything just comes together.  
Appearance (7/10)
Subjective.  I have said in another post that I'm not the biggest fan of the way Heos speakers look.  They are a bit gaudy and 'in your face'.  Speakers should be either a) art, or b) blend in with their surroundings.  These do neither.  They are very much 'Hey, there's a speaker over there.'  That said, the speakers are bigger than you think, almost as fat as a 2-liter bottle but only half as tall.  There is also a thick adapter that plugs into the wall, much like a hair-dryer adapter.  Sonos hides theirs inside the speaker.  Heos should have found a way to do the same.  I don't like the light on the speakers either but this can be turned down or off in the settings.
Build Quality (10/10)
Hard to judge after only a couple of days, but my initial impression was 'this thing is heavy'.  It has a rubber textured bottom, a very smooth clean surface, and a metal mesh grill.  It seems very sturdy and well put together.
The App (7/10)
It works.  It is simple by design.  And I like that.  But I would not call it intuitive.  It took me a moment to realize the cog up in the corner was the settings menu.  Everything you need is in the app, and it all does the job.  I like the black background.  I don't like that you have to create a Heos account just to use the software (Sonos makes you do this too though) and I wish the app was more intuitive, a little more hand holding would be nice.  I have had to go searching for answers to simple questions a few times already.  Ex: What does the blue v. orange v. red v. blinky lights mean?  How do I add another user?  Why can't I use my access point to connect to all the speakers?  All of these things have answers and the first two aren't that complicated.  Heos provides information to help you go through the process but if I have to look at a manual (ever) the app has failed.  If we compared Heos and Sonos to phones, Heos would be the Android setup, more features and more powerful but a bit buggy and complex for the casual user.  Sonos is the iPhone and while it may not have all the bells and whistles, it hides that behind a wall of slick presentation and software that is intuitive and works well together.
We'll see how the system does this weekend when I've had the chance to put it through a few more tests, but for the moment, I'm happy.  I got what I expected, really good speakers and a decent app.
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Post time 2015-9-7 17:38:00 | Show all posts
Atari, what type of Rouget are you using? Remember that the router is putting out a signal that is basically in a circle. This is why people recommend placing the router in the most central position in the house. Not at one end of the house.
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Post time 2015-9-7 17:38:00 | Show all posts
Atari, what type of Router are you using? Remember that the router is putting out a signal that is basically in a circle. This is why people recommend placing the router in the most central position in the house. Not at one end of the house.
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Post time 2015-10-7 04:07:00 | Show all posts
One correction on the Sonos.  You don't not have to use Wifi, you can use Sonosnet, Sonos' network.  The advantage of Sonosnet unlike Wifi the more Sonos units you add the further it extends the network and if you need to extend the network further you can ad a Sonos Bridge or Sonos Boost.  The disadvantage to the Sonosnet is one of your devices needs to be hard wired to your router.  You can use the Sonos Bridge for this if none of your device are near the router. Also, Sonosnet streams do not get bogged down by Wifi traffic and since it doesn't use Wifi you don't have to worry about different SSIDs.
Ps.  Your smartphone, laptop, tablet, etc. will still use Wifi to control the Sonos if on Sonosnet.  But the streaming is over Sonosnet.
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 Author| Post time 2015-10-7 04:07:54 | Show all posts

@Stoofpilot
I am using two routers, the router/modem is whatever the cable company provides.  I am not sure who makes it for them but I believe it is Motorola.  The second router is a Belkin.  I would love to use a central location for my routers but as you move away from the source, the signal drops off quickly, so I have one router in a high traffic location and the other at a secondary high traffic location in order to maximize speed rather than coverage.

@Ellebob
Interesting comment about Sonosnet.   How exactly does that work?  Is each speaker also a wi-fi repeater?  I would assume that Denon has similar physical hardware and would be able to do this too.  Am I assuming incorrectly?
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 Author| Post time 2015-10-7 04:08:34 | Show all posts
From https://www.hifiklubben.se/hogtalare...los-hogtalare/
(translated)
HEOS HomeCinema Review
Highlights
HEOS Home Cinema - serious, well-playing and easy to use the soundbar speakers TV audio and wireless music
• Very good sound quality to be a soundbar solution
• Wireless includes subwoofer
• full HDMI integration, incl. Audio Return Channel
• The volume can be controlled via the TV remote control
• Full wireless integration with other HEOS components and streaming services, incl. Spotify Connect and TIDAL
Home Cinema is HEOS system's soundbar speakers. With its powerful built-in stereo amplifier and wireless subwoofer, it will do wonders for your TV sound. You get mellow and persuasive base throughout the living area, and volume, you can control via the TV remote control.
You also get HDMI in / out, incl. Audio Return Channel, making both connection and operation much easier. At the same time, you get the highest possible sound quality from all the equipment you connect.
Via your smartphone or tablet you have access to every corner of HEOS wireless world, including music and multiroom integration with HEOS players in the rest of your home. HEOS app, touch up all competitors against the wall when it comes to ease of use, and you have a complete overview of all your music, with album art and all the features, whether you use HEOS Home Cinema on its own or together with others HEOS products.
You can place the Home Cinema on a shelf under the TV set or hang it on the wall using the integrated keyhole bracket. For this purpose supplied with a mounting template that makes it much easier to drill the holes exactly right and get a nice result.
The sound quality in the main room
HEOS system developed by Denon, one of the world's oldest and most reputable hi-fi manufacturers. This makes home cinema delivers a sound quality that is at the top of this category. You have chosen a stereo solution to give you a fine and natural sound experience to both movies and music. The wireless subwoofer that comes, you can place in a discrete place in the living room. From there, it will provide a solid dot over the i, with lots of ground and dynamics - without the need to pull unsightly cables to the facility. Because the subwoofer takes care of the base is soundbar speaker is less than 10 cm deep. This is a small extra bonus worth taking into account.
Although the Home Cinema is primarily a stereo solution, it also has built-in decoders for multi-channel movie sound formats such as Dolby Digital (Plus) and DTS. This means that you eg Guests can enjoy extra-fine DTS sound from a direct-connected Blu-ray player. If you want you can also play with the built-in Virtual Surround functions, which in some cases can give you a surprisingly good surround feel of a movie sound.
HEOS Homecinema available in black finish.
NOTE: No matter how good it is built, DO NOT true stereo and true hi-fi from an all-in-one speaker. Genuine hi-fi always requires a good amplifier and separate speakers!
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Post time 2015-10-7 04:09:10 | Show all posts

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 Author| Post time 2015-10-7 04:10:04 | Show all posts
REVIEW UPDATE
I have been using HEOS 1 speakers for a few weeks now.  In that time I have added a HEOS 5, and just yesterday my HEOS HomeCinema Soundbar and Subwoofer arrived.  
Below are my thoughts:
HEOS 1
These speakers continue to surprise me in very good ways.  They sound great at high or low volume.  And I'm not sure what to call it, but all of the HEOS speakers avoid this sort of high pitched chalkboard raking that exists in Sonos equivalents.  Simply put, the HEOS speakers have a very pleasant sound and I think they have been a great purchase.
HEOS 5
It is quite elegant in person.  I think it looks a lot better than it does in pictures.  It sounds good too.  Given the number of speakers there is a distinct jump in audio separation from the HEOS 1.  The sound is clear and detailed.  If anything I found there was a somewhat lack of bass, but this can be adjusted.  I found myself wishing for the subwoofers contained in the HEOS 7 but I think maybe that's because, truly, I wanted the 7 to start with but couldn't justify the price.  The HEOS 5 fits in most spaces very well.  It is very compact and discrete.  My largest concern is the fabric that covers most of the speaker, it is probably not small child friendly and I suspect dust will be an issue as time goes on.
HEOS HomeCinema
There aren't any real reviews of this system yet so I was a bit worried about what I was getting.  The design specs are similar to the Denon S514, which gets mixed reviews with the biggest complaint being the cheap remote.  Well, the HomeCinema does not come with a remote at all.  At first I was concerned about how well this would work, to cut to the conclusion though, after using it for a few hours I think I am much happier not having a remote.  More on that later.
In the Box
In the box you get the soundbar, subwoofer, 2x power cables, 1x power brick (same size as the 5's), 1x (hdmi, Ethernet, optical, aux, and rca) cables, 3 sets of feet for the soundbar, stick on pads for the subwoofer, and an instruction manual.
Setup (8/10)
Basic setup takes about 10 minutes.  The only thing I thought Denon could improve was the stick on pads for the subwoofer.  They should have been on the device already, but at the same time, it was designed to stand or lay on its side and so they wanted to let you put the pads on based upon your preference.  I guess I would have preferred to not have the option to lay it on its side and just had them put the pads on for me.  
Everything plugs in fairly easily and quickly and all you really need to use are the power cords, power brick, and the hdmi cable.  Hook it up to the hdmi arc on your tv and it's you are almost done.
After everything is plugged up you have to pair the unit to the app, which is standard.  There is a fairly substantial update to the app that is needed which adds a variety of menu items for the soundbar.  This takes about 20 minutes.  It was annoying to have to wait but there were no buttons to push, all you had to do was wait.
Afterward, it magically started making sound and was paired with the subwoofer without having to do anything.
It guided me through a 30 sec. instruction on how to get my tv remote to control the soundbar.  This function works great.  All I had to do literally is hit the volume + button one time when instructed and then a menu popped up saying that my soundbar was now ready to work with my TV's remote.
Sound Quality (9/10)
The sound is very good.  Just as detailed as the HEOS speakers.  You can tell they are designed to be similar.  Sound separation seems fine to me.  My only adjustment was to turn the treble up one notch to add a little more clarity to vocals.  The subwoofer...oh the subwoofer, it is a powerful little beast.  I am very surprised at the tight deep thumps it can provide.  I couldn't ask for anything more from the sub.  Some might find it turned up too high by default, if so, you can turn down the sub in the app.
I deduct a point just because I can't use my HEOS 1 as surround speakers.  Fail Denon, fix that.
Appearance (10/10)
Both the soundbar and the subwoofer are sleak and elegant in their design.  Very clean lines.  Simple and to the point.  They have similar fabric on the front to the HEOS 5.  I like the 3 sets of feet that come with the soundbar to adjust its height if desired.  I like that the soundbar and sub blend in and do not look cheap.  I also like the form factor of both, especially the slim profile of the sub.
Build Quality (10/10)
No complaints.  The other HEOS speakers are solidly made and devoid of manufacturing defects in the plastics or the fabric.  The same holds true for the HomeCinema.  At first I thought I had a defective powercord but even though it is a round plug, it has little marks that indicate it can only plug in from a certain position, so be careful and do not try to just jam it in.
App (8/10)
The app has been working great.  There are a variety of expanded controls just for the soundbar.  The app gets angry sometimes if you leave the house without pausing the speakers first but after restarting the app or waiting for it to sort out its confusion, everything is fine.  Loses points for some glitches, but gets another point over my initial review for adding some functionality.
I am very happy with the soundbar, at least in the short time I've had it.  If anything changes I will be sure to add that data.
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 Author| Post time 2015-10-7 04:10:42 | Show all posts
HEOS HOME CINEMA - REVIEW UPDATE
I continue to be surprised by how much I enjoy this soundbar.  The tone that all the HEOS speakers puts out can best be described as articulate and pleasant.  Something about how Denon has designed their speakers causes them to be very easy to listen to.  
The best comparison I can come up with is: imagine a piece of wood that is freshly cut.  It has many rough edges, so you plane it and it gets smoother.  Then you get out the sandpaper and you sand it down until it has a glossy smooth texture when you run your finger over it.  That feeling of when you run your finger over sanded wood is how I would describe the sound of the HEOS speakers if that makes sense to anyone besides myself.  
If I had to complain about the HEOS Home Cinema it would be that sound effects are somewhat pumped up and vocals are somewhat recessed.  But this can be adjusted in the settings so it is not an issue.  The subwoofer is all I could ever ask for.  It is crisp, it is tight, and it has plenty of bass.  It doesn't drone like the sub of the Vizio 4051, nor should it, as the Denon costs 3x or 4x times more than the Vizio.  And the fact that I don't have to use Vizio's terrible remote, or any remote, for that matter is perfect.  And I love, love, love listening to music on the Home Cinema.
The app has been very easy to work with as well.  The key is all your routers must share an SSID as the system can only store one SSID.  
One interesting thing about the app, and this probably goes for Sonos as well, is that it is referred to as a controller by the manufacturer.  Controller is an apt and accurate term because if you forget to pause the speakers and leave the house, they will continue to play.  They are not playing buffered music from your phone, no, they are playing Pandora or whatever app you were using before you left.  And they will continue to play all day, even when you are not at home nor if there a device controlling them.  They will play the last station or program you turned on until you open the app and tell them to do something different.  This means that the speakers themselves contain a software interface with Pandora and similar.  The app on your phone acts more as a remote control to change the channel.  In radio terms, if you turn on a radio it will just keep playing until you turn it off.  The same holds true of the HEOS speakers.
Two things to be aware of:
1) Denon customer service, while friendly, don't go the extra mile to meet your needs and have very few answers when questioned.  Sonos will go that extra mile.
2) The HEOS Home Cinema cannot use other HEOS speakers as surround speakers (at this time).  It is unknown if they plan to change this.  Sonos has this ability.
I don't regret getting the HEOS speakers in the least, they sound better than their Sonos counterparts, and I would question the opinion of anyone who says differently.
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Post time 2015-10-7 04:11:30 | Show all posts
My HomeCinema soundbar, Play 5 and Play 7 get installed next Tuesday along with my LG 65 UF9500.
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