STEREO GUIDE Verdict
+ Offers plenty of dynamics and drive
+ Substantial, contoured bass, high SPL
+ wide soundstaging, easy-to-use room correction
- sounds less subtle, bass sometimes too massive
- Imaging wide, but somewhat diffuse
Sound: Tonal Balance / Transparency7.5
Sound: Bass / Dynamics9
Ease-of-use / Connectivity9.3
On pictures, the Denon Home 350 with its fabric covering and rounded shapes blends very unobtrusively into any living area. You don’t realize how big and heavy it is until you get up close or lift the all-in-one system. A width of just under 40 centimetres and a mass of 6.5 kg put the Denon in a league where it is already on a par with smaller hi-fi shelf speakers – well noted, these in pairs. Not only are there enough drivers built into this chunky but elegant speaker for virtual stereo playback. In addition, there are two powerful bass drivers that would pass for subwoofers elsewhere.
The manufacturer promises a true 3-way system. The respective mid-high units for reproducing the left and right stereo channels are placed far out on the wide baffle. The tweeters are even angled outwards a little. This is to achieve a wider imaging without having to add too many virtualization tricks. The midrange drivers are very small at 5 centimetres in diameter, but this is not really a problem as they gain support in the bass region. A 16 centimetre woofer is acting in the centre of the front and rear, both are actively driven by an amplifier not passive designs. With this we finally reach the diaphragm size of adolescent if not adult hi-fi.
Possible applications and connections
Denon’s designated app called HEOS usually controls the Home 350, and as expected, it’s smooth and stable. The app is available for iOS and Android, Windows is not supported. Music coming from outside the network is accepted easily as well. An analogue input is available, as is Bluetooth connectivity and the ability to play from a USB stick or connected hard drive.
The integration of streaming services into the system is also quite complete and easy-to-install. The amazing variety of playback options range from from Tidal to Amazon HD, Deezer to Spotify. With Qobuz and Apple Music, a detours via Airplay 2 is mandatory, which the Home 350 can handle without any problems. Playing music from mass storage connected to the LAN, may it be a PC, smartphone or NAS, is easy and hassle-free. For the latter, UPnP compatibility helps immensely. Hires streams up to a resolution of 192/24 are handled by all Denon HEOS components.
If you have somewhat higher demands in terms of SPL and imaging, two specimen of the Home 350 could also be coupled to form a stereo pair. This is not only resulting in a budget reaching the four-digit range but is also not the most obvious choice as the positions of the drivers in the 350 are not particularly ideal for use as a mono speaker in a stereo enviromnent.
Setting it up without any hassle during the review
Connecting the system with the local Wi-fi and integrating HEOS are done quick. Especially if you already own a HEOS account. Once the connection is established, you can literally listen to music within seconds. The system is recognizing music stored on the smartphone or on a server in the network instantly.
A speaker offering a lot of deep bass naturally calls for a room compenstaion option, otherwise a risk of boomy, overwhelming bass is inherent in smaller rooms. The HEOS app offers such adjustment options which are particularly simple, effective and logical. Three options are given for freefield, wall or corner placement, which means that the issue of booming is settled in seconds.
Wall of Sound: the PA among the Onebox speakers
No matter what music was first played through the Denon Home 350, the first comment from unsophisticated listeners was in all cases: Wow! The authority of deep bass produced by this one-box system is not only record-breaking and lets some high-end speakers several times the price fade to insignifance. The bass offers also ideal timing and hefty punch, even when listening at common levels for a living environment. Surprisingly, even placed close to a wall, the bass does not boast or resonates, but is at best a little fat, which can be easily corrected in the app.
It is also possible to reduce the bass level somewhat, which is advisable in small rooms anyway due to the risk of booming, and which then gives the Home 350 an extra portion of SPL capabilities. In this case, one unit is completely sufficient for a living room party, especially since the fun factor, the subjective punchc and the size of the image create a real party feeling regardless of the actual SPL.
Sound-enthusiastic classical and jazz fans will not necessarily belong to this Denon’s primary target group, but even with such genre detours the large one-box system does well. Sure, a little more detail resolution and transparency in the voices could be desired from an audiophile point of view, and the rather large room created remained very little focused, but on the whole, a film soundtrack or a symphony can be listened to through the Denon Home 350 with a lot of fun.
Alternatives to the Denon Home 350 and summary
People usually choose a Multiroom system family because of the app and its streaming options. In this respect, the question of alternative products for existing Denon HEOS users does not arise. If you haven’t decided on a multi-room audio system yet, you could reach for the Sonos Five. The American speaker is in the same league price-wise, even sounds a bit more detailed and audiophile-pleasing, and has comparable features. In terms of dynamics and SPL it is easily outperformend by the Deon. However, the biggest competition for the Denon comes rather from the own house. For those who miss true stereo imaging and a bit of subtlety with the Home 350 may be happier with a pair of the smaller Denon Home 150, though this will mean a higher price and significantly less bass power.
Specifications Denon Home 350
- Price: approx. 700 $
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 38 x 22.5 x 18 cm
- Weight: 6,3 kg
- Features: 3-way, virtual stereo onebox, analogue input, HEOS compatible
- More at www.denon.com