Apart from two-channel audio systems, we often seek simplicity, intelligence, and convenience – the ability to enjoy music in our daily lives effortlessly. This has led to the emergence of all-in-one wireless speakers in various forms.
Celebrating its 110th anniversary, Denon has also introduced three different-sized products: Home 150, Home 250, and Home 350. In this review, we will evaluate the series’s largest model, the Home 350. Additionally, within the same lineup, there’s a model specifically designed to complement home theatre setups, known as the Home Sound Bar 550.
The Home 350 features overall dimensions of 38.0 x 22.5 x 18.0 cm and incorporates a total of 6 drivers (2x 3¾” tweeters, 2x 2″ mid-range, and 2x 6½” woofers). Its dedicated Class D amplifier individually powers each of these drivers. The buttons on the top of the Home 350 are touch-sensitive, automatically illuminating when someone’s hand approaches and turning off when the hand is removed. The numbered buttons 1 through 6 can be assigned as memory presets for source selection.
Moving to the rear panel, the interface includes:
- A power input.
- Bluetooth pairing button.
- AUX IN analogue signal input.
- USB (for connecting USB drives).
- Network port.
- CONNECT button (used for WiFi setup).
Once the Home 350 is powered on, the crucial step is downloading the official Denon HEOS app swiftly. All functionalities of the Home 350 are conveniently managed through this powerful HEOS app. After launching the HEOS app and connecting to the Home 350, you gain access to various supported digital streaming services, controls, and settings.
We logged into our TIDAL account for playback (the TIDAL account requires a separate subscription). Whether its navigation or playback, everything feels exceptionally smooth without encountering any issues. The music note icon in the upper right corner displays the current playlist.
The Denon Home 350 is purpose-built for home entertainment, with the Home series encompassing a total of 4 different models. Among these, the 550 model is a SoundBar, ideally positioned below a television. The Home 350, however, closely resembles the contemporary wireless speaker design we’ve become familiar with. The Home 350 offers more flexibility in placement.
It’s suitable for TV pairing and can enhance spaces like dining rooms, study rooms, offices, or any corner of a living room. An important feature of the Denon Home 350 is its wireless connectivity. It requires minimal wiring, essentially just a power cord. Music signals can be transmitted via Bluetooth or WiFi, making their use extremely convenient.
Although Bluetooth connectivity may be the initial choice for many due to its ubiquitous presence in our devices, I recommend utilizing WiFi for the Home 350. Given its indoor use and power requirements, it’s not designed for outdoor portability. A WiFi connection is highly recommended since it’s intended for indoor spaces.
For instance, when I chose Spotify through the HEOS app – a Denon-developed application – I could use AirPlay or WiFi to deliver music signals to the Home 350. However, the two methods show a noticeable difference in sound performance. This difference arises from the distinct signal transmission mechanisms.
AirPlay relays the music signal from the tablet via the home’s wireless network before being transferred to the Home 350 through AirPlay. A similar approach is taken with Bluetooth, where the communication process involves file conversion and dual-path output.
This significantly increases the likelihood of compressed signal alterations or interference. Despite the high specifications of Bluetooth, I must admit that in my extensive experience, notable losses are often encountered. Yet, with WiFi transmission, the signal bypasses the tablet as an intermediary, directly reaching the Home 350 through the home’s WiFi network.
The result is substantially improved sound quality compared to AirPlay and Bluetooth. Moreover, WiFi connectivity grants direct access to music services such as Internet radio and Tidal.
Typically, all-in-one wireless speakers emphasize their low-frequency capabilities. These products can generate considerable vibrations, and when placed on a surface, they might trigger resonance and vibration, leading to less clear audio.
Some might place these all-in-one speakers in corners or against walls, contributing to muddled low-frequency sound or uncomfortable auditory experiences. Both situations should ideally be avoided. Within the Denon Home 350’s built-in EQ settings, you can choose from three presets based on the placement:
- An open area, like a table without surrounding walls or cabinets
- A location with a rear wall, such as next to a wall-mounted TV
- A spot flanked by two walls, like a corner of a room
Each preset modifies the sound to match the acoustic conditions of the chosen location, effectively functioning as a low-frequency adjustment. During my testing, I found that these three presets produced significant changes in sound quality, with noticeable effects.
After selecting the appropriate placement setting, you can further fine-tune the perception of high and low frequencies using another EQ setting. This capability allows you to tailor the sound balance to your preferences precisely.
Listening to pop music like Ed Sheeran’s new song “Bad Habits,” the Denon Home 350 delivers strong and well-defined rhythmic low frequencies. The Home 350 offers ample energy and clean transitions, particularly when properly adjusted. Its low frequencies exhibit commendable depth, which remains clean and distinct. Despite its substantial weight and chassis thickness, the vibrations it produces are notably less pronounced compared to many other all-in-one speakers.
Ed Sheeran’s vocals, characterized by their clean and delicate male timbre, need little introduction due to his widespread popularity. The Home 350 effectively captures this essence in its playback. The final sound performance heavily depends on placement and EQ adjustments, significantly impacting the result. Nevertheless, the Home 350’s inherent quality is already quite impressive.
Switching to jazz or light music, the Home 350 maintains clear and robust sound across various frequency ranges, with a particularly satisfying sense of energy. In essence, this is a product I would consider purchasing for home use. It ranks among the top wireless speakers regarding connectivity, stability, and versatility.
It’s a feature-rich device that allows for precise sound adjustments. Considering its overall performance, the Denon Home 350 is worth serious consideration.
Playing tracks from Jack Johnson’s 2006 album “Jack Johnson and Friends: Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George,” the cover art piques interest and provides a general idea of the instrumentation used. The opening track, “Upside Down,” is filled with instrumental textures. It starts with drums accompanied by a tambourine, evoking a tropical ambience that vividly sets the thematic tone. The Home 350 demonstrates focused low-frequency handling with a satisfying sense of depth. This is evident from the outset of the instrumental performance.
When the guitar and vocals join in, the rich tonality of the high-frequency guitar notes is evident, free from any thinness. The guitar exhibits a gentle yet detailed sound quality. Combined with Jack Johnson’s warm vocals, the musical atmosphere evokes a chill island vibe. The spatial sense is retained without audio scattering all over. The music’s thematic contours are distinctly preserved. In conclusion, the Home 350’s performance as an all-in-one wireless speaker is worthy of praise.
The Home 350 has a dedicated app, HEOS, which supports music streaming platforms. For instance, during this listening session, I connected to Spotify. The app-switching process is seamless and doesn’t interfere with music playback.
If connected to Tidal, you can operate it directly within the dedicated app, eliminating the need to switch between apps. The Home 350 caters to individuals seeking a simplified way to enjoy high-quality music. Its aesthetic quality is also noteworthy, making it exceptionally convenient overall.
The Home 350’s dedicated app, HEOS, is user-friendly. You can access the operation page by clicking the settings icon at the top left corner or the three dots below the album artwork (e.g., for adjusting high and low frequencies). The Home 350 employs responsive technology: when your hand approaches the top panel or the side of the unit, the top panel illuminates with play and volume adjustment buttons.
The brightness of the top panel, speed of illumination, and status indicator lights on the unit can all be adjusted within the app. This is an intelligent design. The bass optimization feature allows for three distinct settings based on speaker placement.
Throughout my listening experience, I switched between the three optimization modes, each offering slightly different sonic characteristics. I prefer the first mode (“open space, away from walls”) for its balanced representation of high and low frequencies, resulting in resonant harmonics between the two instruments. The second mode (“Next to one wall or on a shelf”) might appeal to those favouring more pronounced highs. In this mode, the sound exhibits a brighter tonal character.
The overall performance of the piano accompaniment remains vibrant and true. From the rich, rounded lows at the start to the crystalline, clean midrange portraying high notes like water droplets, and the varied sound changes in the final chords, the Home 350’s handling of both instruments is flawless. Even in confined spaces, with this device and proper mode and volume adjustments, you can immerse yourself in a live-like atmosphere.
the Denon Home 350 is a dedicated home entertainment sound system that delivers high-quality audio experiences. Within the Home series, featuring different models tailored to various preferences, the Home 350 truly shines as a versatile addition to any indoor space. Its sleek design and robust construction make it a fitting companion for settings ranging from living rooms to dining areas, study rooms, and more.
The Home 350’s wireless connectivity options provide exceptional convenience, enabling effortless music streaming without extensive wiring. While Bluetooth might be the go-to choice due to its familiarity, the Home 350 truly comes alive when connected via WiFi. This alternative ensures a higher-quality sound experience, circumventing the signal degradation that can occur with other wireless transmission methods.
When put to the test with a diverse range of music genres, the Denon Home 350 consistently demonstrates its prowess. From pop tracks with powerful low frequencies to jazz compositions rich in instrumental nuances, the speaker handles each note with precision and depth. With customizable EQ settings based on placement, the Home 350 can be tailored to your room’s acoustics, resulting in an optimal listening experience.
The dedicated HEOS app and compatibility with streaming platforms like Spotify and Tidal further enhance the user experience. The seamless app integration and stable connectivity contribute to the Home 350’s convenience, while its ability to produce balanced and immersive sound makes it a compelling choice for music enthusiasts.
Ultimately, the Denon Home 350 emerges as a standout candidate for those seeking a comprehensive wireless speaker solution that doesn’t compromise sound quality. With its sleek aesthetics, intelligent technology, and versatile performance, the Home 350 is a valuable addition to any home, promising countless hours of musical enjoyment while effortlessly complementing your living space.