Honing In On HEOS

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by Marc Rushton

5 months ago

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Honing In On HEOS

The heat is about to rise in the kitchen for Sonos as rivals HEOS and its older siblings, Denon and Marantz, serve up a heady brew of new wireless streaming features and models.

HEOS, Denon’s audiophile quality, multi-room wireless music streaming specialist brand is upgrading its extensive range - and HEOS technology and features are now also a vital part of Denon and Marantz’s latest audio-video receivers.

All HEOS comprising portable speakers, preamp and amplifier will have Bluetooth and they’ll also be compatible with hi-res audio files.

Denon Marantz Event

In other HEOS news, via exclusive press events in Melbourne and Sydney, Denon has announced it’s releasing its very first Network audio-video receivers. Significantly, both new models will feature HEOS integration giving users access to music streaming services and intuitive multi-room audio distribution.

Marantz hasn’t been idle either. Rolling off the brand’s production line are a new multi-channel, network audio-video preamplifier and a multi-channel, network audio-video receiver.

Both are ground breaking models thanks to their built-in HEOS technology.

These developments increase the pressure on Sonos who is already feeling the squeeze from Hi-Res wireless streaming specialist brand Bluesound and its natural partner, NAD with their own range of BluOS enabled models.

Sonos, the brand that created this entire audio genre will continue to post solid sales in the entry-level part of the market. But it could face an uphill slope trying to retain mid to top shelf buyers lured to HEOS and Bluesound by their promise of kosher audiophile quality sound.

High-Fidelity sound quality is hardly a hollow appeal given the deep, audio pedigree of Denon, Marantz and NAD, brands that have cultivated a loyal audiophile following for decades.

Marantz can trace its audio heritage back to 1953 and Denon stretches even further to 1910. A great audio pedigree tailor made to convince audio quality conscious buyers to stick to traditional, stalwart audio brands when shopping for new wireless, streaming audio gear.

HEOS is powering ahead to spice its already attractive models with Bluetooth and hi-res capabilities. HEOS models will now provide uncompressed WAV (PCM), ALAC (apple lossless Audio Codec) and FLAC Free Lossless Audio Codec) routes to music files while processing will be up to 24-bit/192-kHz over a network or via USB. HEOS says very soon users will be able to hear DSD and AIFF audio tracks as well.

The very latest HEOS platform uses a grunty ARM A9 1.25 GHz processor with 512 MB of flash memory combined with 256 MB of RAM.

Ralph Grundl from Australian Denon & Marantz distributor QualiFi, told StereoNET:

The HEOS family has matured. The new upgrade to our HEOS platform bringing built-in Bluetooth and hi-res playback is a fantastic development. And even better for HEOS clients, this platform will get even better with new software features.

The HEOS range launched with just three speakers and a HEOS Wi-Fi extender. It now includes an indoor/outdoor speaker, a soundbar with powered sub-woofer, pre-amp, amplifier and a whole-home multi-zone amplifier.

Denon HEOS Family

Each model comes with the ironclad guarantee of Denon sound quality and access to the HEOS app for iOS, Android and Fire devices. The app provides multi-room audio control and the ability to stream the Bluetooth content from one speaker to other speakers via a Wi-Fi Network. And, adding a new HEOS HS2 device to existing HEOS models can be done easily and without compatibility issues.

Denon AV Receivers with HEOS

Denon's two new HEOS enabled AV receivers are the $2999 AVR-X4300H and the $$4699 AVR-X6300H.

Denon X4300H AV Receiver

The X4300H is a nine channel models rated at 200 watts per channel. It has built-in Wi-Fi with a 2.4GHz/5GHz dual band support and built-in Bluetooth.

Connectivity is generous with 8HDMI inputs (including one on the front facia) with full HDCP 2.2 support and three HDMI outputs.

Advanced full K Scaling Video Processing is also part of the feature set along with analogue to HDMI conversion. Processing includes Dolby Atmos and DTS: X (up to 7.1.4 with additional 2-channel amplifier). The new receiver is Auro-3D upgradable.

This receiver’s hero technology is its built-in HEOS wireless, multi-room audio technology.  Its ability to provide access to AirPlay, Bluetooth, Internet radio, Spotify Connect, Tidal, Deezer and Network Audio Streaming is nice.

Hi-res audio devotees will be pleased to hear DSD (2.8/5.6MHz), FLAC, ALAC and WAV support is provided as well.

Denon X6300H Av Receiver

The X6300H is Denon’s formidable flagship receiver. It’s the brand’s first to have 11 amplifier stages each ratted at 205 watts.

A 3D total solution, the X6300H can power a full 11-channel 3D home cinema with a single additional external amplifier.

It has the entire feature set of the X4300H including HEOS technology. Both receivers are operated through the HEOS app and the new Denon 2016 AVR Remote App is available for iOS and Android devices and for Kindle Fire. Both models will go on sale in December.

Marantz AV Receivers with HEOS

Marantz’s HEOS enabled models are the $3970 AV7703 network AV preamplifier/processor, the new premium grade $4190 SR7011 AV receiver and the $3970 AV7703 AV processor.

Marantz SR7011 AV Receiver

The SR7011 is a 9.2ch model rated at 125 watts per channel. The features include Dolby Atmos and DTS: X (up to 7.1.4 with external amp) processing plus Auro-3D upgradeability.

D to A convertors are 192 kHz/32 bit models. Dual band 2.4GHz/5GHZ support and Bluetooth, 4K ultra HD 60Hz video, 4:4:4 Pure Colour sub-sampling, twin HDM outputs Zone 2 HDMI out for multi room audio along with HEOS technology are provided.

You’ll also get built in Wi-Fi with 2.4GHZ/5GHz dual band support, Bluetooth plus HDMI and HDCP 2.2 on all eight inputs.

Marantz AV7703 AV Receiver

The AV7703 pre-amp/processor has all the processing and format feature set of the SR7011. Included are Dolby Atmos and DTS: X, Auro 3D, full 4K UHD video capability and HEOS multi-room modes.

Built to partner high quality power amplifiers such as Marantz’s multi-channel MM8077, MM7055 and MM7205. It sports 11.2 channel pre-outs via RCA and balanced XLR. Internally the core is the same Audyssey technology and discrete audio design utilised in the SR7011.

In reality, the AV7703’s performance is even more enhanced because it’s not merely a superb sounding AV processor, but an audiophile grade analogue preamp as well. No idle boast since it carries an especially designed analogue audio circuit board using Marantz HDAM technology.

The AV7703 has the same feature set as the SR7011 sans power amp section. Provided are 11.2ch XLR pre-outs and 11.2ch RCA pre-outs, high quality dedicated pre-amp board with HDACD, hi-res audio processing, power supply for the pre-amp stage studded with audiophile-grade ELNA capacitors and separate power supplies for constant stable current.

The SR7011 and AV7703 will be available from December.

The multi-room audio architecture has never been easier to implement in your existing home thank to recent developments. Combine your home theatre / living space with music in your kitchen, bathroom and even outdoors quickly and easily with Denon, Marantz and HEOS.

For more information visit Denon, Marantz and the HEOS websites.

Marc Rushton's avatar

Written by:

Marc Rushton

StereoNET's Founder & Publisher and still buried deep in the review room auditioning everything from docks to soundbars, amplifiers to headphones. Marc also founded Melbourne's International HiFi Show.

Posted in: Hi-Fi Home Theatre Lifestyle
Tags: denon  marantz  heos  qualifi 

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