Review: Denon Home 350 & Denon Home 250

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The Denon Home wireless speakers are an elegant gateway into the world of wireless music. The Denon Home range also allows you to discover the full potential of the Heos multi-room system that has been developed by Denon and Marantz since 2014. There are three models in the Denon Home speaker range: the Denon Home 150 (€249), the Denon Home 250 (€499) and the Denon Home 350 (€699). Today, we are going to be testing the last two models. 

The Denon Home speakers provide multiple possibilities: access to online streaming services,  USB audio playback, streaming music saved on a NAS and shared over the local network, web radios, Bluetooth audio playback. 

It is also possible to associate two Denon Home speakers to create a pair of wireless stereo speakers, or you can combine them with the Denon DHT-S716H soundbar to play surround sound effects from movies and create a genuine wireless home theater system. Lastly, the Denon Home speakers are compatible with the Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri voice assistants.

Denon Home 250 & Denon Home 350
The Denon Home 250 (left) and Denon Home 350 (right) are wireless multi-room stereo speakers.

Denon Home: the brand

The company Denon entered the high fidelity market in 1910 by manufacturing small batches of gramophones. Right from the start, the Japanese brand focused on technological innovation to provide very high-quality sound. 

In 1939, Denon revealed its first disc recorder for professionals, before releasing its first disc recorder in the early 1950s. Recordings made with Denon devices were recognized as superior, both technically and artistically, with the Japanese brand winning numerous awards around the world.

1963 was an important year for Denon. The company released its legendary Denon DL103 moving coil cartridge. Still available today, it provides exceptional musicality that appeals to many audiophiles.

Denon DL-103
The Denon DL103 phono cartridge still delights audiophiles today.

During the 70s Denon released its first hi-fi components: turntables, cassette players, stereo amplifiers, tuners, speakers. The brand also released the famous Denon DP-3000 direct drive servo DJ turntable with its circular design, which was also available with a wooden plinth and a tonearm under the reference Denon DP3700.

The Denon DP3000 DJ turntable (the two models in the middle) was extensively adapted and customized by DJs around the world.

Denon also entered the digital age with its first 8 track digital recorder in 1972. As the decades went by, the manufacturer continued to innovate, notably offering exceptional CD players and CD/SA-CD players, along with powerful stereo amplifiers. 

Among the brand’s iconic hi-fi components are the Denon PMA-1510AE amplifier and the Denon DCD-1510AE CD player, which received the EISA award for best midrange stereo amplifier and best midrange CD/SA-CD player in 2011. 

Denon has also been a frontrunner in the home theater domain for many years, with very capable DVD players and A/V receivers that made a strong impression. This is the case of the Denon DVD 2800 II and Denon DVD-3930 DVD players, as well as the colossal high performance Denon AVC A1SE A/V receiver.

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The Denon DVD-3930 DVD player was a true reference in its category.

Today, Denon’s catalog features many products with noteworthy qualities, such as connected amplifiers, DAC amplifiers, stereo hi-fi amplifiers, A/V receivers, soundbars, phono cartridges, compact hi-fi systems, multi-room speakers, CD players, network receivers and turntables.

In 2014, the Japanese brand made a grand entrance into the wireless multi-room speaker market, which was previously monopolized by Sonos. With its Heos technology and range of speakers of the same name, Denon made it easy to stream music wirelessly throughout your home. 

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Presented in 2014, the Denon Heos 3 wireless multi-room speaker could be used vertically or horizontally.

Developed and perfected over the years, Denon Heos is a multifaceted technology that is now featured in the majority of wireless Denon and Marantz devices, as both brands belong to the same group.

The three speakers in the Denon Home range (Denon Home 150, Denon Home 250 and Denon Home 350) also feature Heos technology and are designed to replace the Denon Heos 1, Denon Heos 3, Denon Heos 5 and Denon Heos 7 speakers. Owners of the first generation of Denon Heos can rest assured that all Denon Home and Denon Heos speakers are backwards-compatible with the multi-room features on the Heos app.

Denon Home: packaging & accessories

The Denon Home 250 and Denon Home 350 speakers come with their respective power cables, a screw to mount them onto a stand or a wall mount, and a brief user guide. There is no remote control, which makes sense given that playback is controlled using a smartphone.

The Denon Home 250 speaker comes with a power cable, a locking screw so that it can be mounted on a stand, and a quick start guide.
The Denon Home 350 comes with the same accessories as its smaller sibling. As you can see, the color of the power cable matches that of the speaker.

Denon Home: presentation

The Denon Home multi-room speaker range includes the Denon Home 150, Denon Home 250 and Denon Home 350 models. Designed to stream music throughout the home thanks to the Heos app, these speakers can access numerous online music services such as Deezer, Tidal, Amazon Music HD, Spotify and Apple Music. Bluetooth is also included so you can play music wirelessly via a smartphone without having to use the local network. 

Denon Home : enceintes multiroom connectées

Compatible with the three main vocal assistants (Google Assistant, Alexa and Siri), the Denon Home wireless speakers also feature a tactile control interface. Thanks to their wireless connectivity, two identical speakers from the Denon Home range can be associated to create a genuine stereo pair. You can also use two Denon Home speakers as surround sound speakers with the Denon DHT-S716H soundbar to create a Denon DHT-S716H + Home 150 wireless 5.0 home theater system or a Denon DHT-S716H + DSW1H + Home 150 wireless 5.1 home theater system.

The three speakers in the Denon Home series adopt the same esthetic codes, with a black or white chassis made from a composite material, a very elegant dark or light gray acoustic fabric and a tactile interface on the top panel. The level of finish is excellent and the build quality instils confidence. The design of the Denon Home speakers is more understated than that of the first Denon Heos multi-room speakers, which had more angular silhouettes.

Denon Home 150

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The Denon Home 150 speaker is the smallest model in the series and can easily be integrated into a kitchen, a living room, a bedroom, or even a bathroom.

The Denon Home 150 is the smallest model in the series at only 12cm wide and 19cm high. It will easily find its place in the kitchen, bedroom, living room or office. Resistant to humid environments, it can even be used in a bathroom (however, it isn’t actually waterproof and has no IP certification so you must be careful). This small active two-way speaker is equipped with a 1” tweeter and a 3½” midbass driver. Each is powered by its own dedicated digital amplifier, which is controlled by a DSP to optimize the signal.

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The Denon Home 150 wireless multi-room speaker features two drivers at the front.

Denon Home 250

The Denon Home 250 speaker is a 2-way stereo model equipped with four drivers and a passive radiator for better extension in the lows. It can be controlled by Google Assistant or by Alexa.

Both wider and taller, the Denon Home 250 wireless speaker is also a two-way model. Because of its bigger size (29.5cm wide, 21.7cm tall and 12cm deep), it is loaded with two 1” tweeters and two 4” midbass drivers powered by the same number of digital amplifiers.

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The Denon Home 250 speaker incorporates four drivers at the front and a passive radiator at the back.

A 5” passive radiator located at the back of the speaker improves the response in the lows. With these features, the Denon Home 250 should be able to deliver stereo sound with plenty of energy.

The back of the Denon Home 250 speaker features an indentation so that it can easily be carried from one room to another. Note: the Denon 250 isn’t a portable speaker and doesn’t have a battery!

Denon Home 350

Slightly more imposing, the Denon Home 350 is a stereo 3-way model with two genuine 6½” woofers as well as two midrange drivers and tweeters.

The Denon Home 350 is the biggest model in the range. Its cabinet is 38cm wide, 22.5cm high and 18cm deep and holds two 1” tweeters, two 2” midrange drivers and two 6½” woofers. Each driver is powered by their own dedicated digital amplifier. Thanks to this 3-way stereo design and its two woofers, the Denon Home 350 speaker promises a spacious, spatialized sound with dynamic bass.

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The Denon Home 350 wireless speaker features six drivers, five of which are located at the front.

Denon Home: Bluetooth connectivity

Each Denon Home speaker features a Bluetooth controller to wirelessly receive and emit music played on a smartphone, DAP or Bluetooth compatible computer. Although the sound quality is not as good as that of playback via the local network (SBC codec only), this option provides the comfort of a wireless connection to listen to your playlists without having to install the Heos app.

To activate the Bluetooth pairing mode on one of the Denon Home speakers (here the Denon Home 350), you must press and hold the Bluetooth button on the back of the speaker for a few seconds until the LED indicator on the front flashes rapidly.

Denon Home: Hi-res audio streaming

By connecting the Denon Home speakers to the local network and the internet, you can enjoy all the features they have to offer. It’s the Heos app that connects the speakers to the internet box, and it also provides access to compatible online music services: Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music HD, TIDAL, TuneIn (web radios), Deezer, Napster and SoundCloud are all available.

The Heos app also allows the Denon Home speakers to play music shared over the local network. The most prevalent audio file formats are supported: ALAC, FLAC, WAV (up to 192kHz/24-bit) and DSD (2.8MHz and 5.6MHz) for high resolution, as well as MP3, AAC and WMA (up to 48kHz/16-bit).

The Denon Home speakers can play music shared over the local network, even in high resolution.

Denon Home: Works with…

The speakers in the Denon Home range are compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri voice control (play/pause, next/previous track and volume control). You simply have to save the Denon Home speaker in the respective app on your smartphone and enter the room in which it is located beforehand. When that is done, the speaker appears as an audio playback device in the app and can be selected to play music. You can then control the playback and volume vocally. Naturally, this requires that you own a smart speaker as the Denon Home speakers don’t have an integrated voice assistant.

Denon Home: stereo pairing

It is possible to pair two Denon Home speakers to create a pair of stereo speakers. This is carried out in the Heos smartphone app, which lets you assign the left and right channels to the speakers. However, it is important to note that you can only pair two identical speakers. For example, we weren’t able to pair the Denon Home 250 with the Denon Home 350 so that they each reproduced the left or right channel.

Denon Home: surround speaker

Two Denon Home speakers can also be used as wireless surround sound speakers with the Denon DHT-S716H soundbar. Once both of the speakers are paired to the soundbar using the Heos app, you can enjoy a genuine 5 channel home theater system with wireless surround speakers. Ideally, you can complement this system with the Denon DSW1H wireless subwoofer.

Denon Home: tactile interface

The Denon Home speakers can be easily controlled using the Heos app, but they also feature a tactile control interface on their top panel. Invisible at first, the interface is only revealed when the user moves their hand above the speaker thanks to a proximity sensor.

At first glance, the Denon Home 350 (photo) and Denon Home 250 speakers’ tactile control interface isn’t visible.

The control panel lets you adjust the volume and pause playback. Also present are three quick select buttons (six on the Denon Home 350) that can be assigned to a predefined service (playlist, web radio) or to one of the inputs (USB, Aux).

When you move your hand close enough, the Denon Home 350’s controls appear.

Denon Home: USB audio and Aux input

Each wireless speaker in the Denon Home range features two audio inputs at the back. There is a USB port for playing digital audio files stored on a USB flash drive and a 3.5mm mini-jack auxiliary input to connect an audio player that doesn’t feature Bluetooth.

All of the speakers in the Denon Home range are equipped with an auxiliary input (mini-jack), a USB port and an Ethernet network port (RJ45).

Denon Home: multi-room 

Once they are connected to the local network, several Denon Home speakers can be associated and even linked with any Heos compatible Denon or Marantz device to form a multi-room audio system. With the Heos app, it is then possible to create several listening zones throughout the house and simultaneously stream the same music everywhere, or different music in each room.

Denon Heos : systèmes multiroom

Denon Home: Heos app

The Heos app is required to install and configure the Denon Home speakers, which it also controls. Available for Android and iOS smartphones, it can be downloaded for free on Google Play and the App Store.

The application’s interface is intuitive and easy to navigate. It allows you to name each element of the Denon Heos system so that they are easier to identify, provides access to online music services and music shared over the local network, handles playback and volume in each listening zone – which can be easily combined or separated – and can even be used by several people on the same network to create and add tracks to a playlist.

Shared specifications

Wireless technologies

  • 2.4GHz (11b/g/n) and 5GHz (11a/n/ac) WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • HEOS built-in

Features

  • Ability to pair two Denon Home speakers to form a stereo speaker pair.
  • Can be used with a Heos compatible subwoofer such as the Denon DSW1H.
  • Ability to use two Denon Home speakers as surround speakers with the Denon DHT-S716H soundbar.

Control interface

  • Touch and movement sensitive buttons: the control interface is activated when the user moves their hand over the upper control panel.
  • Features:
    – Volume increase
    – Volume decrease
    – Play/pause
    – Quick select buttons (predefined): 3 buttons on the Denon Home 150 and 250, 6 buttons on the Denon Home 350

Voice control compatibility

  • Amazon Alexa
  • Google Assistant
  • Siri (Apple AirPlay 2)

Compatible music services

  • Spotify
  • Apple Music
  • Amazon Music HD
  • TIDAL  
  • TuneIn (web radios)
  • Deezer
  • Napster
  • Soundcloud

Supported audio file formats

  • ALAC, FLAC and WAV up to 192kHz/24-bit
  • DSD 2.8MHz and 5.6MHz
  • MP3, AAC and WMA up to 48kHz/16-bit

Connectors

  • 1 x USB port (USB audio playback)
  • 1 x network port (RJ45)
  • 1 x 3.5mm mini-jack auxiliary input

Denon Home: configuration

For our review of the Denon Home 250 and Denon Home 350 wireless multi-room speakers, we connected them via WiFi to the local network provided by the router and satellite of our Netgear Orbi RBK50 pack. Consequently, we were able to listen to audio files stored on a computer and shared over the local network (FLAC format and resolution up to 192kHz/24-bit), but we could also access web radios and stream Deezer (320 kbps Family subscription) using WiFi via the interface of the Heos app.

Installation via the Heos app

In order to use the Denon Home speakers, you first have to connect them to the local network using the Heos app available on the App Store for iPhones and iPads, and on the Play Store for Android smartphones and tablets.

Once the application is installed on your smartphone, you will be prompted to create a Heos account. Then you must install the Denon Home speaker (which must first be plugged into a power outlet as the Denon Home speakers do not feature a battery).

Once the app has been opened, you have to go into the Settings menu to access the interface that will allow you to configure the Denon Home speaker.

On the app’s home page, select the “Settings” menu by tapping the gear icon, then go into the “Add a device” menu. The application will then guide you through the speaker’s installation process, which only takes a few minutes.

Once the Denon Home speaker and the smartphone are paired, simply enter the password for the local WiFi network to connect the speaker.

Once the speaker is connected to the local network and to the internet, it is ready to start playing music.

Basic audio settings

With the Heos app, the volume of the Denon Home 250 and Denon Home 350’s low and high frequencies can be adjusted separately. The sliders, set to zero by default, allow you to increase or decrease the volume by five levels.

The EQ can be accessed through the app’s settings menu, but also via the audio playback interface by clicking on the icon with three sliders.

Multi-room

The Heos multi-room technology developed by Denon in 2014 makes it possible to associate several compatible speakers, amplifiers, hi-fi systems and soundbars within a multi-room or multi-zone audio system.

The Heos app lists the various compatible devices and allows you to control them individually and link them. As a result, you can stream the same music to several devices in your Heos system. You can also create different listening zones comprised of one or several devices and play different music in each zone.

On the screen at the left, you can see that the two speakers are paired to play the same music. On the fourth screen, the volume sliders of the Denon Home 350 and Denon Home 250 are displayed at the bottom.

In practice, it is incredibly easy to manage the different devices and zones using the Heos app. In the list of different Heos devices (house icon at the left in the lower banner), you simply have to tap a device with your finger and drag it onto another to instantly pair them. You can then name the group and begin streaming music, with the ability to adjust the volume for each device separately. Similarly, to remove a speaker from a group, simply place your finger on its icon for a few seconds in the Heos application before dragging it downwards.  

Web radios, Deezer, network playback

Web radios can be accessed via the Heos app as it incorporates the TuneIn service. The latter references thousands of internet radio stations from around the world. You can search for a particular station by entering its name in the search bar, or you can browse internet radios using different filters: local stations, trending, music radios, debates, sports, news…

Very comprehensive, the TuneIn service integrated in the Heos app allows the Denon Home speakers to stream a myriad of different radio stations by using an internet connection.

If you have a Deezer, Tidal, Spotify, Napster or Amazon Music account, you can simply enter your username and password to access the service directly in the Heos app. You will find the selections and recommendations of the chosen service as well as your favorites and playlists. As Deezer subscribers, we found our bearings pretty easily. Even if the interface on the Heos app is a little sparser and slower than the original version, it was still pleasant and intuitive to use. 

The Deezer interface in the Heos app provides access to suggestions of newly released music organized by genre, by song title, album and artist in the “What’s new” tab.
A look at Deezer’s playback interface on the Heos app with access to the speakers (left screenshot), the songs in the playlist and the track that is currently playing (two center screenshots) and information about the current track as well as the options provided by the context menu (right screenshot).

Touch sensitive control interface

The speakers in the Denon Home range feature a touch sensitive control interface. It has the particularity of only being visible when you move your hand over the top of the speaker. A proximity sensor then triggers the display of the controls.

The numbered tactile zones on the Denon Home 250 and Denon Home 350 speakers let you save several radio stations (web radios). Those with a Deezer account can even assign their Deezer Flow to one of these zones.

The interface includes a pause/play button, a volume plus button and a volume minus button on one side, and three programmable numbered buttons on the other side (six for the Denon Home 350). These numbered buttons can be used to select a particular radio station or play your Deezer flow, for example. To assign a radio station to one of the buttons, you first have to play the station on the speaker via the app. Then place your finger on the number you wish to assign to the station until the blue LED on the front of the speaker begins to flash.

Denon Home: listening impressions

Denon Home 250

The Denon Home 250 is the midrange model in the range. Although its size suggests moderate volume, in reality this wasn’t the case. We were pleasantly surprised by its ability to easily fill our 20m² test room. The music unfolded extensively in the room, even though the stereo effect wasn’t very pronounced. The sound was energetic and quite balanced, although the mids were somewhat emphasized. The highs were slightly restrained, the lows a little timid. The overall sound is pleasant and will allow you to enjoy our music in optimal conditions in a room that is no bigger than 25m². For larger rooms, choosing the bigger model is strongly recommended.

Denon Home 350

We were definitely more impressed by the flagship of the Denon Home speaker range, the Denon Home 350. The sound was more balanced than with the 250, firstly thanks to clearer and cleaner highs, and secondly thanks to the much more powerful lows. The 350 was better at outlining the voices and instruments, adding more detail and authenticity. It also offered a deeper low end, with more impact and energy, providing the music with substance and texture.

The soundstage spatialization offered by the Denon Home 350 was also superior. It wasn’t as impressive as the spatialization provided by a stereo system with two separate speakers placed a few meters apart, but it was wide and deep enough for us to get a sense of the acoustics of the recording location on certain tracks. The Denon Home 350 was somewhat restricted in our test room and will probably sound even better in a room that is at least 25m² big.

On its front panel, the Denon Home 350 speaker features five drivers, concealed by a very elegant fabric that is acoustically transparent.

However, it is important to take care in positioning this speaker. As it features a woofer on its rear panel, it mustn’t be placed too close to the wall. Be sure to place it on a sturdy piece of furniture or stand that isn’t likely to vibrate or resonate when the Denon Home 350 is playing low frequencies. It may be best to mount it on a speaker stand.

Denon Home: compared to…

During this review, we were able to compare the Denon Home 250 and Denon Home 350 speakers to the Bose Home Speaker 500, the Google Home Max and the Klipsch The One II and Klipsch The Three II speakers.

Bose Home Speaker 500: a lot more compact than the two Denon Home speakers, the Bose Home Speaker 500 offers a clearer and more detailed sound that highlights the high-mids and highs, while providing tight and expressive lows. However, we preferred the fullness of the sound from the Denon speakers to the more analytical sound of the Bose model, which can be a little tiring after a while.

The magnitude of the Denon Home speakers’ soundstage is also better thanks to their stereo design. The soundstage unfolds more extensively in front of the listeners, while the Bose Home Speaker 500’s soundstage is more centered. However, the latter boasts a feature that the Denon models don’t have: an LCD screen on its front panel.

Google Home Max: the largest Google Home speaker is a direct rival of the Denon Home 250. Musically, we preferred the Denon model which provides a globally more articulate and nuanced sound. The Heos multi-room technology is also easier to use and manage than the Google ecosystem; the Google Home app isn’t as intuitive in this regard. 

But the Google Home Max has the advantage of included Chromecast technology, which allows it to wirelessly stream any audio content played on a smartphone or tablet, even in high resolution. To stream music from services that aren’t included in the Heos app to the Denon Home speakers, you will have to use Bluetooth…

Something else to take into consideration is the fact that the Google Home Max speaker natively integrates Google Assistant, which is an advantage if you want to control the multiple compatible wireless devices on the market vocally.

Klipsch The One II & Klipsch The Three II: the two Klipsch speakers only rely on Bluetooth technology to wirelessly stream music from a smartphone or tablet. As a result, multi-room streaming and stereo pairing aren’t possible. While the smaller of the two Klipsch speakers only supports the basic SBC codec, the Klipsch The Three II is also compatible with aptX, thus ensuring better sound quality with smartphones that support this codec. 

It is difficult not to love the excellent vintage design of the Klipsch The Three II speaker.

Sold for the same price as the Denon Home 250, the Klipsch The Three II provides more full-bodied lows and highs that are clearer and more detailed. The overall definition is better for it, but the sound can become tiring after long listening sessions. The Denon Home 350 comes out on top in this respect, as it offers a more balanced and better spatialized listening experience overall.

When it comes to the design, however, it is hard not to fall in love with the excellent vintage design of the Klipsch speakers…

Elipson W35: we really liked this speaker’s design and its acoustic performance really impressed us. While the Denon Home 350 is on the same level as the Elipson W35 in the lows, the French speaker is the winner when it comes to spatialization, which is more extensive. Both speakers provide a balanced and dynamic sound, with very smooth highs, and have no difficulty filling a large room. Regarding music services, the W35 has the advantage of including Qobuz in its app, even though this popular service is still missing from the Heos app. Moreover, the Elipson speaker supports the aptX codec, providing better Bluetooth sound quality with compatible smartphones than the Denon Home models.

The Elipson W35 wireless speaker features two 6½” midbass drivers and two 1” silk dome tweeters.

Denon Home: conclusion

After five years of loyal service, the Denon Heos speakers have made way for the new Denon Home wireless multi-room speakers, which are more esthetically appealing than their predecessors. Still just as easy to set up and use thanks to the Heos app, the Denon Home 250 and Denon Home 350 speakers provide a sound that is globally balanced and harmonious, perfect for enjoying your music in optimal conditions in a room that is between 20 and 30 square meters for the first model, and over 30 square meters for the second.

We were particularly impressed by the Denon Home 350 thanks to its richer lows, more expertly articulated frequency ranges and wider soundstage spatialization.

What we liked

  • The overall look and the fabric finish
  • The Heos app that ingeniously integrates various features (online music services, customizable sources, multi-room management, audio settings…)
  • The fact that it was quick and easy to configure the speakers
  • The dynamic and balanced sound
  • The tactile control interface

What we would have liked

  • For the highs to have been slightly more transparent
  • For the speakers to have supported aptX Bluetooth


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