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Denon HEOS Soundbar Preview



  • Product Name: HEOS Bar
  • Manufacturer: Denon
  • Review Date: April 12, 2017 10:00
  • MSRP: $899
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!


  • Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS Decoding
  • Auxiliary Analog Line Input
  • IR Remote Learning
  • 4x HDMI Inputs and HDMI Output
  • Class D Digital Amplification

Music Formats: 

  • WMA Up to 192kbps
  • AAC and MP3: Up to and including 320kbps
  • FLAC, WAV and ALAC: Up to and including
  • 24-bit/192kHz
  • DSD 5.6 (streaming)

Picture Formats: 

  • JPG, PNG, BMP and GIF album art picture formats


  • 802.11 networks (dual band "N", "AC")
  • RJ-45 LAN port

Dimensions (H x W x D): 

  • On the shelf: 2 7/8 x 43 3/8 x 5 7/8 inches; 72 x 1100 x 148 mm
  • Wall mount: 5 7/8 x 43 3/8 x 2 7/8 inches; 148 x 1100 x 72 mm


  • 10.58 lbs; 4.8 kg 

Power Supply:

  • 100-240 Volts AC, 50/60 Hz


Denon has gone all-in on its HEOS wireless speaker systems this year by introducing a new line of Wi-Fi audio products, including a new sound bar. This April, the HEOS Bar will take its place alongside the HEOS HomeCinema soundbar and will retail at $899 - that’s $100 more than the HomeCinema, which presently sells for $799. But is the Bar truly a step up?

The new HEOS Bar is a 3.0 channel soundbar featuring built-in left, center and right channels. The unit itself is beautiful, with futuristic curves that make it look as if it’s ready to blast into hyperspace at any moment. Hardware-wise, the HEOS Bar is flexible and can be wall-mounted or sit on a shelf. It has nine separate drivers along its three and a half feet of width, all of them aimed at a 45-degree angle. This design, Denon says, makes it sound equally great sitting in a shelf or hanging from a wall. Unlike its closest competitors, including Sonos Playbar, Denon has baked expandability and flexibility into the HEOS Bar, with four HDMI ports that support 4K UHD and ARC (Audio Return Channel). The system can use popular audio codecs, including Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS Decoding. Absent are Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.
HEOS Bar Rear

But despite its flexibility and stylish form, one thing that is sure to disappoint many is that the $899 price won’t include a wireless subwoofer like Denon’s previous soundbar HomeCinema did. The omission of the sub may actually be a mixed blessing, however. Most budget soundbar systems include a wireless active-subwoofer that is really a subwoofer in name only. Many aren’t really capable of the kind of low rumble you really want for the home theater experience, and are only included to round out the anemic sound from their system’s tiny speakers.

HEOS solves the lack of subwoofer problem with an another new product for 2017 called HEOS Subwoofer. It’s an independent HEOS product intended to integrate with any HEOS system. According to Denon it adds “...deep, powerful bass to any HEOS device with best-in-class sound quality. It suits any room and any setup.” The HEOS Subwoofer, also available in April will carry an MSRP of $599.

HEOS Bar front

So to sum it up, rounding out your 3.0 HEOS Bar into a 3.1 sound system with the HEOS Subwoofer is a $1,500 commitment. Depending on your perspective, it could be a bold move by Denon to forgo a subwoofer just to make the system seem complete. It could be seen as a move to allow the company to free-up resources that can go into making the soundbar itself much better. Or, the move could just be seen as a poor excuse to get you to buy multiple premium-priced Denon products. Either way, the HEOS Bar isn’t cheap and we’ll reserve judgement until we’ve actually tested both products.

Wireless Expandability to 5.1 Surround

On the subject of buying add-on speakers for your HEOS Bar, it turns out expandability and flexibility is one of the key features that makes the system pretty cool. Pick up an extra pair of HEOS speakers for the back of your media room and you’ve turned HEOS Bar into a complete 5.1 system. Any pair of HEOS speakers will do the trick, but for a truly wireless surround system that includes no power cable, you’ll need to go with the HEOS 1 model ($199/ea). The tiniest of the HEOS lot, these speakers are the only HEOS speakers to date that are battery powered. While the HEOS 1s leaves the smallest footprint of the Denon’s wireless line, they run the risk of sounding thin while performing surround duties for the HEOS Bar and its nine drivers up front. The HEOS 3s (MSRP $299/ea.) could be better candidates to fill the sweet spot between performance and size, with a flexible form factor allowing them to be positioned it on their side, standing up or wall mounted.

HEOS SubThe new HEOS Bar system from Denon gives you plenty of options for an upscale soundbar system that promises to bring flexibility to a setup that’s easy to setup. Like all HEOS speaker systems, it can playback from a variety of wireless options including Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The HEOS app let’s you control audio from your phone directly to HEOS Bar as a standalone sound system or as part of a multi-room system, giving you the power to stream separate sources into each room. You can use the HEOS app to stream music from a variety of online sources too, including Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, TIDAL, SiriusXM, iHeart Radio, SoundCloud and Amazon Music.

The $1,500 price tag for the HEOS Bar plus HEOS Subwoofer puts it into the premium soundbar category, so it’s expected that it will perform with great sound for both music and movies. Although there may be some compromises when comparing it to a similarly priced AV receiver-based system, soundbars offer competitive room acoustics in an unobtrusive package and the HEOS systems we’ve seen so far at Audioholics have been consistently well-received.

The possibilities for upgrading your sound system with added speakers and flexibility of adding sources with its four HDMI ports, makes the HEOS Bar more than most standalone soundbars. Denon looks like it has a product that is poised to win hearts, minds and ears for 2017 and beyond.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Wayde is a tech-writer and content marketing consultant in Canada s tech hub Waterloo, Ontario and Editorialist for Audioholics.com. He's a big hockey fan as you'd expect from a Canadian. Wayde is also US Army veteran, but his favorite title is just "Dad".

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