Denon Home 150 Review

Denon Home 150 Review

The Denon Home 150 is part of the Heos multiroom system we have already tried. In our test, we particularly liked the alternative to Sonos because it not only relies on new speakers but can also integrate existing hi-fi products.

With the Home 150, a speaker from Denon wants to compete with the Sonos One (test report) in terms of design and approximate price.

We are testing the Denon Home 150 in our Multiroom Speakers theme world. We tested the Heos system there and the competition from Sonos (theme world) or the Citation One MK II (test report).

PROS:

  • Good sound
  • Solid processing
  • Good app

CONS:

  • Only two-speed dial buttons for the radio

Design: Discreet, functional, and valuable

Denon has always been an understated hi-fi manufacturer. You don’t have to worry about rap boomboxes here, and the look fits into any environment, a rounded, compact cuboid measuring 120 x 120 x 187 mm with a gray fabric cover, weighing 1.7 kg and a black, optionally white, reflective top. There are initially no controls on this, but when the speaker is switched on, volume up/down, start/stop, and three “program buttons” become visible as soon as you move your hand over the speaker.

So, there is no need for guesswork in low light like with other speakers. By the way, the colorful symbols in the photo are only advertising stickers removed.

The cover should repel water and dirt, making the speaker suitable for the kitchen and bathroom. However, only the cover is water-repellent, but the device itself is not waterproof. Another question is how the speaker’s cover smells and looks in the kitchen after months. Still, robustness is a plus here.

Equipment, installation, and operation

On the back, there is a thread for hanging, connections for 230 V, analog in, a USB slot, two buttons to initiate Bluetooth or WLAN coupling, and an Ethernet connection. This means that the loudspeaker can also be used for streaming and Internet radio without the built-in 2.4 and 5 GHz WLAN.

A language assistant is currently not integrated, but microphones are already installed for this purpose, and Amazon Alexa should be available with an update in 2021. However, Apple Siri and Google Assistant can also be used via smartphone or tablet. Only battery operation is not intended; you can’t carry the speaker around the apartment or take it to the garden.

Most functions are controlled via the Heos app; only Spotify and analog input are accessible in this way. The setup is just as uncomplicated as long as you have pressed the right button on the speaker, namely the one for the WLAN connection. If you want to use the wired WLAN, very detailed settings can work.

However, the quick start guide does not help here, and the detailed guide, which does not reveal a lot, is only available online. Again, the PDF with the instructions cannot be opened, but at least one web variant is available, in which each point has to be clicked on individually.

First of all, a lengthy firmware update of the speaker is due when it reports for service for the first time, while the speaker and app are unusable as usual. Therefore, it is offered to postpone this to the night hours if desired.

The app then streams radio stations via Tune-In or music services such as Tidal and playback from the music server, USB port, or analog input. Multiroom operation is also possible here. However, only Spotify is operated via the app but then accesses the speaker directly.

Like Apple Music, Qobuz cannot be streamed in multi-room mode on Android devices, but only individually via Bluetooth because the app does not recognize it. Apple Music is more commonly used on Apple devices, where Apple Airplay is also available. Even podcast software can only be used via Bluetooth.

The radio comes via tune-in; the service uses its user interface. For example, when searching for Radio Caroline, the test first showed some fake stations and podcasts about Radio Caroline. However, once you have found the station successfully, you can store it in a favorites list and on the program buttons on the speaker itself.

The stations can then be accessed directly via program buttons, just like a real radio. Interestingly, the system is almost as fast: While most devices and apps only play Internet stations with a significant delay, the program changes with only a small switching pause and the occasional advertising pre-roll. So, you can switch if you don’t like a piece of music. So, it’s a shame that only two stations can be saved in this way if you want to keep the third button for switching to the analog input. You have to choose a larger Denon Home model with six program buttons if you want more.

All program sources can be hidden in the app. It is practical for music services where you don’t have an account anyway, but clumsy if you accidentally hide your smartphone, music server, USB port, or analog input and then wonder where the music files went.

Sound: Balanced at the top edge of smart speakers

An 89 mm woofer and a 26 mm tweeter are installed. The sound of the Denon Home 150 doesn’t need any intrusive antics. The bass reflex-typical depths are tolerable, especially since the app can be used to set whether the speaker is placed free-standing so it can hit the bass fully or on a shelf, or even in a corner (where it booms terribly if the bass is not reduced).

Since the system doesn’t want to compete with Alexa and Google smart speakers but instead with multi-channel AV systems, there are subwoofers and soundbars if the bass isn’t enough. Stereo and multi-channel coupling are also possible so that all channels and the subwoofer of a multi-channel system can be operated wirelessly.

The mids are clear; only the highs are not very clear, as with most inexpensive systems, but are slightly impaired. This is the same for all sources – unfortunately, the apt-X codec is again missing for Android users with Bluetooth. Denon does not specify an output power when asked, only the electrical input power with a maximum of 20 W for both speaker systems together. So, the Denon Home 150 is not designed for roaring party volume.

Conclusion

The Denon 150 is still cheaper and doesn’t offend the ears. The program keys are a practical solution for calling up favorites, but they are a bit too economical with only three.

You only have to do without mobile operation and language assistants in the loudspeaker, although Alexa is supposed to be delivered later via firmware in a few months. If multi-room party loudspeakers are planned in a home cinema with wireless 5.1 sound reinforcement, the Denon loudspeakers are a good, expandable, and still affordable choice.

The test for the Denon 150 appears in our multi-room speaker theme world. We tested the Heos system there and the competition from Sonos (theme world) or the Citation One MK II (test report).

Denon Home 150 Review
Denon Home 150 Review

Tags:

LiquidAudio
Logo
Enable registration in settings - general
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Compare
0