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Denon Adding High-Res Audio To Heos Wireless Multiroom Line

Denon is upgrading its Heos wireless multiroom-audio lineup with the addition of wireless high-resolution audio streaming, built-in Bluetooth and fast Wi-Fi 802.11 ac.

The features are available on new versions of the $399 Heos 5, $599 Heos 7, $199 Heos 1, and $299 Heos 3 tabletop speakers as well as new versions of the compact $499 Heos amp/streamer and compact $349 Heos Link preamp/streamer. Pricing and cosmetics will remain unchanged.

The $2,499-suggested Heos Drive and $799 Heos Home Cinema soundbar do not yet offer the new features. The component-size rack-mountable Heos Drive adapts Heos technology to installed multiroom-audio systems.

The first Heos products shipped in mid 2014.

High-res formats: The new models will play uncompressed WAV (PCM), ALAC and FLAC music files up to 24-bit/192-kHz over a home network from smartphones, networked computer and NAS drive. A Heos product will also play high-res files from a USB-connected hard drive or USB stick, then transmit the content to other Heos products. High-res files can be streamed over a Wi-Fi network “if you have a fast network,” Stead said.

Streaming and playback of DSD and AIFF “will come through a firmware upgrade sometime in the future,” Stead added. The company is still testing which DSD flavors will be supported, but it said DSD files will be streamed in native form.

With the addition of embedded Bluetooth, Denon will make it unnecessary to plug in a USB Bluetooth dongle into a Heos product to play Bluetooth-streamed music. Like before, music from a Bluetooth source can be retransmitted via Wi-Fi or Ethernet to other Heos products.

In another change, Heos products are adding Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, complementing the currents models’ dual-band 2.4/5GHz 802.11 a/b/g/n.

The new products also step up to an ARM A9 1.25GHz Processor with 512 MB of flash memory and 256 MB of RAM. 
Like before, consumers use an iOS, Android or Kindle app as a remote control to direct music from different sources to different speakers. Sources include the following streaming services: Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, Amazon Music, SiriusXM, SoundCloud, Tidal and Rhapsody.