• Joe

Sonos vs. Denon HEOS? Which is the best wireless speaker setup?


Denon Heos vs. Sonos what is the best wireless speaker?



I'm going to mix it up a bit and talk tech. I like a cold beer in hand

while listening to some jams when I'm smoking a ham to go with a side of yams.


Yeah that was bad... just like my dad jokes. My kids love when I embarrass them. I'm definitely not a rapper unless its using the Texas Crutch method wrapping some beef or pork.



Now onto the good stuff! Let's talk tech! First of all what is the difference between wireless and bluetooth?


According to Wikipedia:

"Bluetooth is a wireless technology standard used for exchanging data between fixed and mobile devices over short distances using UHF radio waves in the industrial, scientific and medical radio bands, from 2.402 GHz to 2.480 GHz, and building personal area networks (PANs)."


Now for Wikipedia's wireless definition, in this instance we are referring to wi-fi specifically.

"Wi-Fi (/ˈwaɪfaɪ/)[1] is a family of wireless network protocols, based on the IEEE 802.11 family of standards, which are commonly used for local area networking of devices and Internet access. Wi‑Fi is a trademark of the non-profit Wi-Fi Alliance, which restricts the use of the term Wi-Fi Certified to products that successfully complete interoperability certification testing.[2][3][4] As of 2017, the Wi-Fi Alliance consisted of more than 800 companies from around the world.[5] As of 2019, over 3.05 billion Wi-Fi enabled devices are shipped globally each year.[6] Devices that can use Wi-Fi technologies include personal computer desktops and laptops, smartphones and tablets, smart TVs, printers, smart speakers, cars, and drones."


That is a lot of techno mumbo jumbo. What does that mean for you? Both are "wireless" but which one is better? Generally wifi models are better and many will feature bluetooth (except Sonos only the Move does) as well. Where wifi doesn't reach and if you don't have hotspot capabilities on your phone you will have to go with bluetooth.


Just like wireless thermometers the speakers will work under the same concept. Bluetooth only models will suffer when you get out of range. So when you are in your backyard playing corn hole and Kan Jam inevitably one player will have an errant throw. As you go to retrieve the bag or disc with your bluetooth linked phone in your pocket the music will cut out. So as a host if you don't want to suffer from that party foul, spend the extra money and get wireless.


Sonos has come on to the audio scene recently in the 2000s. Sonos was the first and sets the standard when it comes to wireless but longtime 100 year audio maker Denon has its own version called Heos.


Both Denon and Sonos have a many different models so which is the best model to pick from? Which is better Sonos vs. Heos? That entirely depends on what you may have in the home currently. More on that later on in the post.


I currently own a Sonos One and it's outstanding on its own.(Even better since I won it for free with a contest at work) The set up from the app is relatively easy, however it's an app within an app. So you have to set up the voice assistant and link you streaming services, such as Pandora and Spotify. Setting up HEOS will be similar.


Upstairs in my loft I have some Bose bookshelf speakers and a subwoofer. This is our gaming and family movie spot. These can be connected to a Denon 5.1 Receiver. This setup would be hardwired to my receiver.



Wait a second!!!! I thought we were talking wireless? Confused yet? If your house already has some wired in-ceiling speakers and/or a wired pair of outdoor speakers. Or like me you have a good set of bookshelf speakers that you want to utilize without having to buy a whole brand new set up. The Denon receiver is the way to go. Multi rooms? Go with a 7.2 or higher depending on the rooms.


This is why I mentioned the product that is best for you depends on what is already in the home. If you already have some hardwired speakers the Denon Heos line is your best bet. Sonos does have some hard wired capabilities but there are many more options with Denon to fit your budget. Plus when it comes to hardwired Denon has been around for ages.


One of the most important features for Denon Heos is that is will always support and continue to allow older products to be compatible with newer versions.


That is an issue with Sonos that has caused a lot of controversy. Sonos legacy products, aka discontinued will not work with newer versions.




You read that right, the older Sonos Play 1 isnt going to sync with that awesome new Sonos Arc bar. This is also similar to how your Apple phone notoriously slows down everytime a new model comes out! Apple has been sued over this. In fact Sonos now has two apps. One for their older products and one for their newer ones. For this reason alone Denon is better than Sonos hands down. Head over to Sonos to see which products are compatible with each other.


S1 required

These products only work with the Sonos S1 Controller app.

Bridge CR200 Connect (Gen 1) Connect:Amp (Gen 1) Play:5 (Gen 1) ZonePlayer 80 ZonePlayer 90 ZonePlayer 100 ZonePlayer 120 ZonePlayer S5


S2 required

These products only work with the Sonos S2 app.

Arc Five Sub (Gen 3)


The other big plus with Denon? The USB connection allows for offline playing! Guess what happens when your internet goes down on a Sonos? I hear silence.



But wait I thought this blog was about jamming out while BBQing!! That's right it is! I mentioned the loft set up with the receiver. That allows me to utilize a Denon HEOS portable speaker to connect wirelessly to other Denon products in the home.


That major important Heos feature I mentioned in the previous paragraph? Denon has a new sound bar coming out to rival the Sonos Arc bar. Both have Dolby Atmos built in, so my eventual plan is to buy the new sound bar for my living room TV to create a whole house audio setup. I could have a movie going on upstairs, the hockey game playing downstairs and music playing in the backyard. I can add more as the budget allows for the office or even the bathroom and Denon will continue to support them.


One caveat to mention wifi does have limited range just like bluetooth does but there are wireless access points and mesh networks to consider. So if the wifi doesn't reach to where you want your speaker or wireless thermometer you will need to expand your wifi network. I'll link some products below as well and expand on the difference in a future post.


For comparisons of Heos vs. Sonos, I will list comparable models with the appropriate Amazon links below. Lets get started!



Up first the Denon Home 150 vs the Sonos One:


Denon Home 150 Wireless Speaker (2020 Model) | HEOS Built-in, AirPlay 2, and Bluetooth | Alexa Compatible | Compact Design | Black

About this item

  • THE SUPERB WIRELESS WHOLE-HOME AUDIO SPEAKER – Set up your Home 150 over Wi-Fi network & HEOS app to enjoy seamless multi-room listening experience with the same song playing throughout the home, or different ones in every room

  • HI-RES AUDIO, WITHOUT THE HI-FI SYSTEM – Featuring a dynamic 1" tweeter and 3.5" mid-bass driver, the New Denon Home 150 is designed to reproduce accurate Denon sound with clear highs and deep lows - experience excellence in every beat

  • STREAM YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC from Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music HD, Pandora, TIDAL, TuneIn, and more via Wi-Fi, AirPlay 2, HEOS or Bluetooth. Enjoy hands-free operations with AMAZON ALEXA VOICE COMMANDS from any Echo device (sold separately)

  • FOR ALL YOUR MUSIC NEEDS - ONLINE OR OFFLINE – USB, Network support with a wide range of wireless connections let you connect this smart and sleek speaker to any AV receiver, sound bar, network player or additional speakers for incredible stereo sound

  • PREMIUM PRE-SELECTION – Store your favorite internet radio stations with 3 quick select buttons. Now you don't have to search through the thousands of stations every time you want to hear your preferred music

  • GET THE AMAZING HEOS EXPERIENCE – With HEOS Built-in, every room in your home can have its own sound. Or, group additional Denon Home speakers, sound bars, subwoofers, network player or AV receivers to fill the house with the same song



Pros: Has Bluetooth and both voice assistants, Google and Alexa. You can pair two together for stereo sound. You can pair it with the Heos soundbar for a wireless surround sound setup. USB connection as well as 3 preset favorite stations.


Cons: About $50 more than the Sonos One. No Mid range woofer like the One.



Sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black


  • Sonos One - The powerful smart speaker with voice control built in

  • Brilliant sound - Get rich, room-filling sound with Sonos One, and control it with your voice, the Sonos app, Apple AirPlay2, and more.

  • Voice control - Amazon Alexa is built right in so you can play music, check news, set alarms, get your questions answered, and more, completely hands free.

  • For every room - The compact design fits just about any space. Put it on your kitchen countertop or tuck it away on your office bookshelf. It's humidity resistant so you can even put it in the bathroom.

  • Stereo sound with two - Pair two Sonos Ones together in the same room for stereo separation and more detailed sound. Use a pair as rear home theater surrounds with Playbar, Playbase, or Beam.

  • Build your system - Connect wirelessly to other Sonos speakers to enjoy brilliant sound in any or every room.


Pros: Both voice assistants, Google and Alexa. You can pair two together for stereo sound. You can pair it with the Sonos soundbar for a wireless surround sound setup. Less expensive than the $150. One mid-woofer ensures you’ll hear the faithful playback of mid-range vocal frequencies plus deep, rich bass.

Cons: No Bluetooth.


Up next the Denon Home 350 vs. the Sonos 5



Denon Home 350 Wireless Speaker (2020 Model) | HEOS Built-in, AirPlay 2, and Bluetooth | Alexa Compatible | Stunning Design | Black


About this item

  • THE SUPERB WIRELESS WHOLE-HOME AUDIO SPEAKER – Set up your Home 350 over Wi-Fi network & HEOS app to enjoy seamless multi-room listening experience with the same song playing throughout the home, or different ones in every room

  • REFERENCE QUALITY MUSIC IN GREAT DETAIL – Featuring (2) dynamic 0.75" tweeters, (2) 2" mid-bass drivers, (2) 6.5" woofers & sound master tuning, the New Denon Home 350 gives you clear highs & deep lows for an exceptional sound, all from a single speaker

  • STREAM YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC from Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music HD, Pandora, TIDAL, TuneIn, and more via Wi-Fi, AirPlay 2, HEOS or Bluetooth. Enjoy hands-free operations with AMAZON ALEXA VOICE COMMANDS from any Echo device (sold separately)

  • FOR ALL YOUR MUSIC NEEDS - ONLINE OR OFFLINE – USB, Network support with a wide range of wireless connections let you connect this smart and sleek speaker to any AV receiver, sound bar, network player or additional speakers for incredible stereo sound

  • PREMIUM PRE-SELECTION – Store your favorite internet radio stations with 3 quick select buttons. Now you don't have to search through the thousands of stations every time you want to hear your preferred music

Pros: Has Bluetooth and both voice assistants, Google and Alexa. You can pair it with the Heos soundbar for a wireless surround sound setup. USB connection as well as 3 preset favorite stations. Everything the 150 has just bigger.


Cons: $200 More than the Sonos Five.


Sonos Five - The High-Fidelity Speaker For Superior Sound - Black

About this item

  • All-new Sonos Five - Experience vividly clear, room-filling sound for music and more with Five, tuned by renowned producer Giles Martin. Enjoy control with the Sonos app, Apple AirPlay 2, and more

  • Deep bass - Five's unrivalled acoustic design features three high-excursion woofers within a sealed architecture that eliminates reverb and echo

  • Ultra-wide soundstage - Two precisely-angled side tweeters create spatial extension and rich stereo sound, while a center tweeter optimizes vocal playback

  • Smart stereo sound - Place a single speaker horizontally for stereo sound. Pair two speakers in an upright position and each automatically adjusts to mono for more detailed stereo separation and an even wider soundstage

  • Line-in and play - Connect your turntable, CD player, or other device directly to Five using the 3.5 millimeter line-in port

  • Customized sound - Trueplay puts the speaker-tuning capability of the pros in the palm of your hands, adapting and optimizing the sound of the speaker to the unique acoustics of the room

  • Compatible with the new generation of the Sonos app, Sonos S2

  • Included components: Product & warranty documentation

Pros: Has both voice assistants, Google and Alexa. You can pair it with the Sonos soundbar for a wireless surround sound setup. Line in play for offline support and other connectivity. 3 Subwoofers although I couldn't find the size.


Cons: No Presets. No USB support.


On to the Sound Bars because grilling out doesn't always have to be in the backyard.


Denon DHT-S5166H vs Sonos Beam


Denon DHT-S516H Home Theater Slim Soundbar System with Wireless Subwoofer | Bluetooth & HEOS | Amazon Alexa Compatibility | Quick Setup - All Cables Included | Wall-Mountable | Black


About this item

  • BRING YOUR TV TO LIFE – Equipped with dual 5" full range drivers, (2) detailed crisp 1" tweeters, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS, you will IMMERSE YOURSELF IN VIRTUAL SURROUND SOUND AT HOME WITH THEATER QUALITY AUDIO

  • DEEP POWERFUL BASS – Give your favorite movies, music & shows the deep, rich bass they deserve. No unsightly tangled wires or cables. Just place the included wireless subwoofer (with dual 5.25" drivers) anywhere in the room and let the whole place rumble

  • HEAR EVERY WORD WITH DIALOGUE ENHANCER Denon brings to you an intelligent way of enhancing dialogue making it sound crystal clear without adjusting the volume. Even the most complex audio tracks will now be loud and clear

  • LOW PROFILE DESIGN FOR UNINTERRUPTED VIEWING – At just under 3" tall, the sound bar fits below the TV and won't block the IR remote sensor. Place it on a shelf or wall mount it using the included mounting template

  • SINGLE CABLE HDMI CONNECTIVITY WITH ARC & HDCP2.2 SUPPORT Connect your TV to Blu Ray, gaming console or any audio source using the optical digital input or HDMI port via Audio Return Channel (HDMI & Optical cable included). It's easy to setup

  • EXTEND THE REACH OF YOUR MUSIC to any room with HEOS MULTI ROOM TECHNOLOGY, and WIRELESSLY STREAM MUSIC via Bluetooth, AirPlay 2 or HEOS from your favorite apps like Amazon Music, Pandora, Spotify, and others, with FULL VOICE COMPATIBILITY ON AMAZON ALEXA

  • With its 100 year legacy & Japanese precision technology, Denon BRINGS PURITY OF SOUND AND JOY TO YOUR LIFE. Immerse yourself in multi dimensional audio and Hi Fi surround sound with this soundbar & subwoofer for an exceptional home entertainment system

Pros:

Awesome deal and even comes with a sub! This is normally $799.00 MSRP. You can add two 150s for wireless rear surrounds.

Cons: The newer Home 550 supports Dolby Atmos this does not.


Sonos Beam - Smart TV Sound Bar with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black

About this item

  • Beam - The smart, compact soundbar for TV, music, and more.

  • High definition sound - Experience rich, detailed sound for your TV that fills the entire room.

  • TV, music and more - Play music, TV, movies, podcasts, radio, audiobooks and video games.

  • Easy control - Control Beam with your voice, remote, the Sonos app, and more.

  • Voice control - Amazon Alexa is built right in so you can play music, check news, set alarms, and more, completely hands free.

  • Compact size - At just 25.6 inches, Beam won't hang off furniture or block the TV.

  • Simple setup - Go from unboxing to listening in minutes with just two cords and automatic remote detection.

  • Build your system - Add Sonos One SLs for surround sound or Sonos Sub for added bass. Connect to other Sonos speakers to enjoy brilliant sound in any or every room.

Pros: This will be Sonos entry level sound bar with the Arc being the higher end. The playbase and playbar is replaced with the Arc.

Cons: Does not include the sub and doesn't support Atmos.


The latest and greatest best sound bars from Denon and Sonos.

The Denon Home Soundbar 550 vs. the Sonos Arc bar.


Denon Home Sound Bar 550 - Compact 3D Surround Sound, Dolby Atmos & DTS:X, Built-in HEOS, Amazon Alexa, Seamless Integration with Denon Home 150, 250, 350 Wireless Speakers for Multi-Room Hi-Res Audio


  • POWERFUL AUDIO FROM A COMPACT SOUND BAR - Upgrade your movie & music experience with the 4.0 driver configuration in its slim 26" design that saves space and delivers balanced sound everywhere

  • IMPACTFUL 3D SURROUND SOUND - With the combined effect of premium .75" soft dome tweeters, 2.15" full-range drivers, and 2.15" x 3.5" passive radiators, the sound bar delivers immersive 3D surround sound in hi-res audio formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X

  • EXTRAORDINARY VISUALS - Enjoy an extraordinary cinematic experience on your 4K HD TV with HRD10 and Dolby Vision support for stunning, nuanced contrast and detailed imaging with brilliant colors and depth that bring your songs and movies to life

  • WIRELESS WHOLE HOME AUDIO - With HEOS built-in, access millions of hi-res audio tracks from popular streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, TIDAL, and and play them on all your Denon connected devices

  • EFFORTLESS VOICE CONTROL - Using voice commands, change tracks, adjust volume, switch inputs, audio levels and modes with Alexa built-in and enjoy seamless control over Smart Home Automation Systems like Control4, Crestron and other major services

  • VERSATILE CONNECTION OPTIONS - Features (1) 4K HDMI Input, (1) HDMI eARC Output, (1) Optical Input, (1) AUX Input and (1) USB to play music from various sources. HDMI and optical cables are included for quick, hassle-free setup

  • BUILD A WIRELESS HOME THEATER SETUP - Pair optional Denon Home 150, 250, or 350 speakers to create a seamless Denon Home ecosystem or connect any HEOS speaker for a multi-room HEOS synchronized audio system. For additional bass, add the Denon DS-W1 Sub

Pros: latest and greatest. Cables included

Cons: 8k not supported but not yet a standard anyways so mostly a moot point. Sub also not included.


The Sonos Arc Bar


Is not yet available on Amazon. It retails for $799.00 directly thru Sonos.


They do have the Playbar:

About this item

  • The mountable soundbar for TV, movies, music, and more

  • Enjoy crisp dialogue and impressive bass from wall to wall with Playbar. Control it with the Sonos app, your remote, and more

  • Whether you mount it on the wall or place it below your TV on a stand or console, Playbar automatically tunes itself for the best possible sound

  • Playbar was specially tuned by Oscar-winning sound engineers to emphasize the sound of the human voice so you can always follow the story

  • Easily connect Sonos speakers in different rooms over WiFi to create a home sound system that brings every room and everyone together


For $100 more just go to Sonos.com and buy the Arc.




You can find older models of the Denon products for much cheaper and as mentioned they will continue to work with future models.


For an "old school" set up with wired speakers (generally wired is better, wifi goes out party foul!)


Denon AVR-S540BT

I've got some Bose bookshelf speakers to connect to this but if you are handy and have access to wire to the ceiling. Grab some Polk audio speakers or the larger MC80s to wire in the ceiling and a Klipsch Sub! Don't forget the speaker wire to wire it all and grab some banana plugs to connect to the receiver.

Or if you can wire to a patio grab a pair of Polk Audio Atrium outdoor speakers and set it up on a separate zone with the Denon AVR-S750H Receiver 7.2 Channel


Then go for the older model Denon HEOS 1 for the backyard (or garage in my case) I can easily move it to the backyard for the kan jam and corn hole.


My neighbor has the glow in the dark version.... why didn't I think of this?!?!?! It always sucks trying to play in the dark. You no longer have to worry! With glow in the dark light up Kan Jam! The frisbees are heavier which made my Kan Jam game much better.




Corn Hole!



Corn hole also sucks when it gets dark out. Problem solved by a quick Amazon search it reveals these products below !!!!


and

Now you can keep the party going all night long!




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