What Is Denon HEOS?

Expand your music listing options throughout the home

HEOS (Home Entertainment Operating System) is a wireless multi-room audio platform from Denon that is featured on select wireless powered speakers, receivers, and soundbars from the Denon and Marantz product brands. HEOS works through your existing WiFi home network.

The HEOS App

HEOS operates via a free downloadable app on iOS and Android devices. After installing the HEOS app on a compatible smartphone, select Setup Now and the App will find and link to any HEOS-compatible devices you may have.

Streaming Music With HEOS

After setup, you can use your smartphone to stream music directly to compatible HEOS devices via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth no matter where they are located in your home. The HEOS app can also be used to stream music directly to the receiver, so you can hear music through your home theater system or stream music sources connected to the receiver to other HEOS wireless speakers.

HEOS can be used to stream music from Amazon Music, Pandora, SiriusXM, SoundCloud, Spotify, TIDAL, and more. In addition to music streaming services, you can use HEOS to access and distribute music from locally stored content on media servers or PCs.

Although you can use either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, streaming with Wi-Fi also provides the ability to stream uncompressed music files, which are better quality than music streamed via Bluetooth.

Digital music file formats supported by HEOS include MP3, AAC, Apple Lossless, DSD, Flac, Wav, and WMA.

In addition to online music services and locally accessible digital music files, if you have an HEOS-enabled home theater receiver, you can also access and stream audio from physically-connected sources (CD player, turntable, audio cassette deck, etc.) to any HEOS wireless speakers you may have.

HEOS Stereo

Although HEOS supports the capability to stream music to any single or assigned group of HEOS wireless speakers, you can also configure it to use any two compatible speakers as a stereo pair. One speaker can be used for the left channel and another for the right channel. For the best sound quality match, both speakers in the pair should be the same brand and model.

HEOS and Surround Sound

HEOS Wireless Multi-Room Audio System Logo and Products
Images provided by Denon

HEOS can be used to send surround sound wirelessly. If you have a compatible soundbar or home theater receiver (check the product information to see if it will support HEOS surround). You can add any two HEOS-enabled wireless speakers to your setup and then send DTS and Dolby digital surround channel signals to those speakers.

The HEOS Link

Another way to access and use HEOS is via the HEOS Link. The HEOS Link is a specially designed preamplifier that is compatible with the HEOS system. It can connect to any existing stereo/home theater receiver or soundbar with analog or digital audio inputs that do not have HEOS capability built-in.

You can use the HEOS app to stream music through HEOS Link so it can be heard on your stereo or home theater system, as well as use the HEOS link to stream music from your smartphone or audio device to other HEOS-enabled wireless speakers.

HEOS and Alexa

A select number of HEOS devices can be controlled by the Alexa voice assistant by activating the HEOS Home Entertainment Skill. After the link is established you can use either your smartphone or dedicated Amazon Echo device to control many of the functions on any HEOS enabled wireless speaker or Alexa-enabled home theater receiver or soundbar.

Most major music streaming services can be accessed and controlled directly using Alexa voice commands.

The Bottom Line

HEOS was originally launched by Denon in 2014 (referred to as HS1). In 2016, Denon introduced the 2nd Generation of HEOS (HS2) which added the following features, which are not available owners of HEOS HS1 products.

  • The inclusion of a separate button on HEOS wireless speakers to activate Bluetooth streaming.
  • With Bluetooth built-in to all HS2 devices, an extra Bluetooth dongle is not required.
  • Addition of Hi-Res audio support.
  • 5Ghz wireless transmission support.
  • Compatibility with the HEOS Home Entertainment Alexa Skill

Wireless multi-room audio is becoming a popular way to expand the reach of home entertainment and the HEOS platform is definitely a flexible option. However, HEOS is just one platform to consider. Others include Sonos, MusicCast, and Play-Fi.