HEOS Bar Review

What is HEOS Bar?

HEOS was originally conceived as the multiroom wireless speaker range for the Denon audio guru.

Now, HEOS exists as an independent brand, with a line of products that is separate from Denon's core high-fidelity brand This is the HEOS crack in a sound bar that sings and dances everything, with the goal of managing both the music and the soundtracks of the great films. It is quite special, and an effective alternative to Sonos Playbar, its biggest rival in this market.

If space is tight and you want a single-box audio solution for your living room, then that's it, and it's flexible enough that you can add other components to a wireless surround sound system.

Related: Best sound bars

HEOS Bar – Design and features

A look at the HEOS Bar and it is immediately obvious that the brand is trying to distance itself, aesthetically, at least, from Denon. While Denon tends to go for simple and straight lines with a slightly retro look, HEOS is a bit more futuristic, showing numerous angles that would not look out of place in the back of a Lamborghini Hurricane. It looks striking from the side, but since most of the construction is finished in black cloth, it is not imposing. I like it.

However, that angular design is not just for display. The HEOS Bar controllers are located at 45 degrees, instead of firing directly forward, which helps positioning flexibility. The idea is that you can sit or mount it on the wall under your TV and it will shoot up a bit. Put it face down on the TV and it will fire down, instead of shooting directly overhead.

Super-prolix is ​​the reversible badge of the HEOS logo, which is held by magnets. Flip it over and the soundbar will stand up, no matter which direction you install it.

 HEOS Bar

HEOS Bar – Features

The speaker grill is not removable, but if you had the tendency to cheat, then you will find three channels, each with two speakers of serious media and a tweeter. On the back side there are four HDMI 2.0a inputs with HDCP 2.2 support. They will go through 4K and HDR with 4: 4: 4 colors. I tried this with a Blu-ray UHD from The Last Jedi and the soundbar did not stutter.

The HDMI output supports Audio Return Channel (ARC) to feed the sound from your TV, but if your TV does not have ARC, there are also optical and coaxial digital inputs. There is also a 3.5mm auxiliary input for analog sources, a USB port for external hard drives, plus an Ethernet socket for your home network.

 HEOS Bar 5

You do not need to be online to use the soundbar, but it certainly helps in terms of setting up and downloading the latest firmware. However, it is mandatory if you want any of the multi-room audio or transmission functions. Physical connections are more stable, but if the router is not nearby, there is also a built-in Wi-Fi function.

Sound bars are known to block remote IR signals to televisions, but the HEOS Bar passes this by including four IR repeaters on the back. The signal from your TV remote control will pass perfectly.

Inside? The HEOS Bar is compatible with Bluetooth, as well as a set of online streaming services: Spotify, Tidal, Amazon Music, Deezer, Pandora, Napster, Soundcloud and TuneIn Radio. If you prefer to bring your own music, you can transmit from network storage devices, or even directly from your phone. There is also support for high resolution audio of up to 24 bits / 192 kHz.

The most popular surround formats are supported: Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, and DTS. This is not a Dolby Atmos sound bar, so do not expect sound effects to spread through your living room. But since Atmos is a format compatible with previous versions, its Blu-rays UHD will continue to work, although reduced to Dolby TrueHD.

 HEOS Bar

If the HEOS Bar is not enough for you, it is possible to add additional components. You can pair the device with the HEOS subwoofer (£ 479) for a 3.1 setting, or add the sub plus a pair of HEOS 5.1 speakers. The best thing about HEOS loudspeakers is that you can place them throughout the house for playing music in multiple rooms, then take them to the living room and link them with the HEOS Bar for movie night.

The components are connected directly to the bar with a 5 GHz wireless signal, instead of going through the Wi-Fi of your home. All the components can be controlled with the HEOS application, so you can listen to the HEOS bar by itself to listen to music and then add the other bits to watch movies.

Speaking of control, there are some methods you can use to play with HEOS Bar. In addition to the application, there is a remote control included. It's a unit the size of a palm and a bit of plastic, but it's much better than bubble-bin trash that usually comes with sound bars. You can also use your TV remote control, as well as the few (volume) buttons built into the side of the sound bar.

In a nutshell: the HEOS approach to the features is the opposite of Sonos Playbar, where you're supposed to plug everything into your TV and then pass a single digital optical cable to the sound bar . While the configuration is certainly more orderly and easier with the latter, it is more restrictive. HEOS Bar feels more like an all-in-one audio device.

Related: Best Bluetooth Speakers

 HEOS Bar

HEOS Bar – Performance

The HEOS Bar sounds great. If you are looking for a unique device to meet your music and movie needs, then you will not be disappointed. It is powerful, eloquent, versatile and easy to use too.

The first thing that struck me was the scale of the sound. HEOS Bar is not the biggest sound bar I've seen, but its presentation is super spacious. It easily extends beyond the limits of the 65-inch Samsung Q9FN that I am currently using, although a 75-inch TV could be expanding it. My default audio configuration is a great pair of stereo speakers, but HEOS Bar was almost as good to fill the room.

The stereo image is well defined and the placement of the effects is good. With eyes closed during the opening battle at The Last Jedi I was able to determine the direction of the laser fire, where things were exploding, where X-Wings were flying.

It's not the level of precision you'd get from a dedicated set of stereo speakers or an Atmos configuration, but it's almost as accurate as you would get from a standard soundbar in a box. If the effects direction is your priority, see Yamaha MusicCast YSP-2700, which offers a more personalized approach.

 HEOS Bar

Vocal clarity is also outstanding; that central channel has a good use. Even with chaotic soundtracks, the dialogue is clear and full-bodied. There are many details and nuances, without the forced feeling you get with the poorer sound bars. There's a Voice Enhancer feature, which slightly modifies the EQ, but I rarely felt compelled to have it on something higher than & # 39; Bass & # 39 ;, and that's just more compressed audio, like the movies transmitted by Now TV. [19659003] Regarding music? Listen to the "Money" of Pink Floyd and the sounds of the cash register in the introduction are presented to the left and to the right, while the main riff was blocked in the center. The time is strong enough to tap on your foot, and there is a lot of dynamism for your blood to pump. This is an insightful and entertaining listening. And again, the voices really stand out. If you are an audiophile and you need your sound bar to double your music duties, this will work very well.

Then there is power and energy. The HEOS Bar has the soft sound that I associate with the Denon products, but there is a lot of attack and emotion, more so than Sonos Playbar, which has a more relaxed behavior.

 HEOS Bar [19659003] The tonal balance is perfect. The HEOS Bar is not heavy for bass, anyway, but there is enough here that from time to time I wondered if I was going to wake up the neighbors. I could do it with a little more depth, but I prefer that a product stands out in its comfort zone than going out and wavering.

They sent me only the HEOS Bar to try, and I did it concluded that it is an excellent isolated interpreter, but they also gave me a demo of the Bar in the 5.1 configuration. The HEOS subwoofer certainly has the extra touch needed to really shake the house and make the earthquake scenes more convincing, while the addition of a pair of HEOS 1 speakers enhances the placement of the effects. If you want to feel bullets pinging through the room, you may want to consider investing in satellites.

Remote applications are often overlooked in hardware patches, but here it deserves special mention. It is a real pleasure to use it, to the point that I would use it happily instead of the remote physical included. It is fast, responsive and easy to navigate.

Even better, and this is something that I previously attributed exclusively to Sonos, was done with zero drawbacks. Not once did the application fail me; every command I entered happened on the first touch. It makes the HEOS Bar a pleasure to use, and easy to recommend.

Related: Best headphones

 HEOS Bar 3

Why buy the HEOS Bar? [19659047] Denon has achieved his goal of a sound system that sings everything and dance, which excels in the reproduction of audio and film soundtracks. Consider the smooth operation of the Sonos application and the competitive price, and this is a successful product in virtually every respect. If you are looking for a single-box solution that serves as a sonic table center for your home, you will have a hard time finding a package that is more versatile.

Verdict

Excellent sound bar for movies and music, and also multi-room audio.