Denon HEOS embraces CI with four zone Drive amplifier, adds HEOS HomeCinema soundbar

posted on Saturday, 6th June 2015 by Steve May

Multi-room  AWE Europe  Streaming  HEOS 

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Denon has expanded its HEOS line of multiroom audio components, unveiling a soundbar solution and a multiroom amplifier for the custom install industry at its annual dealer product showcase, held this year in Monte Carlo. 

The new HEOS HomeCinema (pictured below) is a 2.1 soundbar and wireless subwoofer package, which will retail for £599. The soundbar is a slimline affair with two mid-range drivers and dual 20mm dome tweeters. Unlike main rival, the SONOS Playbar, it boasts an HDMI output (with ARC), plus optical and coaxial digital audio inputs, supported by Dolby Digital and DTS decoding. The subwoofer features dual 5¼-inch woofers. The enclosure functions as part of the HEOS ecosystem for multiroom audio, when not working as a standalone soundbar.  In addition to shelf and stand mounting, there are also keyholes for wall mounting; a wall mount template is included.

The launch follows the introduction of the HEOS 1, a portable speaker with optional battery pack.

HEOS Home Cinema Cropped

HEOS Drive Cropped

The big story of the brand’s summer showcase was the HEOS Drive (pictured above), designed specifically for the custom install market. The Drive, first reported on by Inside CI back in February, is a four-zone, eight-channel multi-room amplifier in a single 2U tall, rack mountable chassis, which simplifies CI integration of the HEOS streaming system into a controlled whole home system. It’s essentially four HEOS amps in a rack mountable unit. Of course, there's a little more to it than that. Managing four individual HEOS amps would be messy at best, but the HEOS Drive is also bridgeable. Integrators can combine HEOS amplifiers to double the unit’s power output, yet still retain the bridged channels for independent steaming.

A wide array of third party control support is promised. Denon demonstrated the HEOS Drive working with Control 4. Elan, AMX, Pro Control, URC, Crestron, Roomie, Savant and RTI are also listed. The HEOS Drive is rated at 70W per channel. Connectivity includes 2x fibre optic, 2x digital coaxial and four analogue inputs. There are also four 12volt triggers. In addition to Dolby Digital decoding, the HEOS Drive also offers stereo or mixed mono output, and selectable hi- and low-pass filters. Like other HEOS components it has access to streaming music services including Spotify, Pandora, TIDAL and TuneIn.

"It was all always on the roadmap," commented Denon’s MD Jason Dear, about the surprise reveal. "The only problem we have now is going to be meeting the demand," he told Inside CI.

Distribution for HEOS is through AWE. MD Stuart Tickle told Inside CI: “We always knew HEOS was going to be a game changer for the custom install industry, as it was a competitor for SONOS. When it comes to spec, I think they’ve nailed it with the HEOS Drive.”

HEOS Soundbar Lifestyle

For more on AWE’s product portfolio and services, visit our partner page here.

Also read:
Denon makes HEOS multiroom system portable with HEOS 1
AWE launches new website, provides instant access to info and stock levels
HDCP 2.2 upgrade required for flagship Denon receiver

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology journalist, who also writes for T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice and ERT (amongst others).

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