STEREO GUIDE Verdict
+ amazingly mature, homogeneous sound
+ powerful, precise bass
+ wide sound imaging, good room compensation
- offers less resolution
- overall max SPL is limited
- imaging wide, but somewhat diffuse
Sound: Tonal Balance / Transparency8.5
Sound: Bass / Dynamics8.7
Ease-of-use / Connectivity9
Visually, the Denon Home 250 with its fabric surface fits pleasingly into any living room, as it is more compact than its biger brother, the Home 350. Despite their different sizes, the two are positioned very close to each other in terms of price, and the manufacturer explicitly recommends them for different room sizes. This is because the smaller, elegant Denon Home 250 does not feature a 3-way system, but only two full 2-way combinations, plus an additional passive radiator for bass reproduction.
The two tweeter units for creating a somehow stereo-like imgae are placed near the rounded edges of the wide baffle, angled outwards a little. This is to achieve a wider ambience without having to add too many electronic virtualisation tricks. The two 10 cm bass-mid drivers are located almost centered and with the rear side of their diaphragms driving an addition 13 cm passive radiator.
Plenty of applications and connections
Denon’s designated app called HEOS is the most common option to control the Home 250, and as expected, it is performing smooth and stable. The app is available for iOS and Android, a Windows version is left to be desired. But the system is in general open to music from exterior sources. An analogue input is also available, as is Bluetooth connectivity and the ability to play from a USB storage or external hard drive.
The integration of streaming services is astonishingly complete. Any user of Tidal, Amazon HD, Deezer and Spotify would find it easy to connect with the system. Just with Qobuz and Apple Music, the Denons are having a bit of a hard time. In this case, detours via Airplay 2 are necessary, which the Home 250 can handle without any problems. Playing music from local storage in the LAN, may it be a PC, smartphone or NAS, works seamlessly. For the latter the UPnP compatibility helps immensely, hires streams areaccepted up to Hires 192/24.
If your expectations in terms of level and imaging would not be met by a one-box virtual system, two Home 250 speakers can be linked to form a stereo pair. Acoustically, however, in this case the true-mono system Home 150 with only one single tweeter might be the loudspeaker of your choice.
Setting up the Denon Home 250 is quite easy
Connecting the system with your Wifi and connecting it to the HEOS world is comparably smooth. Once a connection to the router is established, you can literally listen to the music immediately. HEOS is recognizing music on the smartphone or on a connected server instantly.
A speaker placed onto desks, lowbards and shelves and offering deep bass is usually calling for an acoustic adjustment, as otherwise the risk boomy bass is inherent. Therefore, the HEOS app offers easy-to-understand setting options. They are as effective as simple. In addition to a simple bass and treble leveling, it offers a three-stage adjustment for freefield, wall or corner positioning, which takes care of the bass booming issue in seconds.
Elegant sound to fill any medium-sized room
As for the surprise factor of a rich, deep bass fundament coping with almost any small or medium-sized room, the astonishment was almost greater with the Denon Home 250 than with the XL version. With rock and pop, drums sounded full-bodied and punchy, integrated surprisingly well even when positioned far from any supporting wall. On a lowboard or shelf, you definitely have to activate the correction factor in the app to avoid the risk of overly fat or boomy bass. Thus equalized, the middle Home is also recommended for corner positioning or for really small rooms.
Tonally, the Home 250 did not show any weaknesses and sounded homogeneous, balanced and suitable for long-term listening. Resolution and transparency in the treble region didn’t quite reach audiophile level, but it’s still pleasant and relaxing for occasional classical and jazz recordings. The character was a bit on the soft side, imaging surprisingly wide and deep, even if a bit diffuse when reproducing voices.
Verdict and Alternatives to the Denon Home 250
Listener usually choose a multiroom system family because of the app and its compatibility, so the question of alternative products is less relevant for satisfied Denon HEOS users. For multiroom newbies without such preferences, the competition is numerous in price and shapes. Harman’s Citation 300, for example, brings a little more live characteric and dynamics. Bluesound’s Pulse 2i, on the other hand, offers a more audiophile resolution at a higher price. Of all the sonic virtues, the Sonos Five offers the best balance and sounds a little more refined than the Denon Home 250, which in return can push a little harder in the low bass sounding more mature.
Specifications Denon Home 250
- Price: approx. 500 $
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 29.5 x 21.5 x 12 cm
- Weight: 3.7 kg
- Special Features: Virtual Stereo Onebox, Analogue Input, Heos Compatible, Passive Radiator
- More at www.denon.com