Denon has released a series of wireless audio products including the Home 150, Home 250, Home 350, and the latest Denon Home SoundBar 550 have provided streaming services through its proprietary HEOS system. Not only can these products play music from major streaming platforms, but they also support the high audio resolution, and products from different series can be linked to create a Multi-room music streaming structure.
In this post, I will review Denon’s latest product, Home Sound Bar 550 for the series. Under the HEOS system, it can be used with Home series speakers and also supports the most popular surround decoding technology on the market today, providing excellent listening quality for both music and movies.
One of the main differences between the Home Sound Bar 550 and other Soundbars on the market is its powerful streaming capabilities, which directly support Spotify, TIDAL, and Deezer. You can listen to music through the HEOS App and also connect to Apple devices through AirPlay to share music. In addition, you can use the app to connect to your own NAS and play music, and the digital music file resolution supports 24bit/192kHz.
Of course, the most important thing is that the Home Sound Bar 550 can be linked with other HOME series speakers to create a multi-room music playback system. If you want to pair wireless surround speakers with the Soundbar through this linking method, you can do so by upgrading the firmware through the App. The linking options are quite diverse and can be freely combined according to your needs.
The Home Sound Bar 550 is a compact Soundbar with a sleek black body and fabric mesh front, giving it a unique design aesthetic. This type of Soundbar has been very popular in recent years because it allows consumers to place it on top of a TV cabinet without taking up much space, while still enjoying the visual aesthetics of a small and elegant audio device.
The Denon Home Sound Bar 550 is a short Soundbar with a length of 650mm, which is suitable for even medium to small size TVs. Its thickness of 75mm does not block the TV screen, and its one-piece design is flexible in terms of placement. In addition to placing it on a table, it also supports wall mounting.
The Soundbar itself is equipped with 2 19mm tweeters, 4 55mm full-range drivers, and 3 50mm x 90mm passive radiators to enhance the bass effect.
Surprisingly, this small Soundbar supports both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, although it outputs 3D sound through simulation, the actual surround effect is quite good.
Many small Soundbars generally simplify their I/O design, but the Home Sound Bar 550 does the opposite and has a very complete terminal interface, including an HDMI input, an HDMI output with eARC function, a USB port for playing digital audio files, a fiber optic input, an AUX in analog input, an Ethernet port, etc. In other words, people can maximize the value of this Soundbar for use with other devices.
Since it supports the eARC function, when the TV plays streaming movies such as Netflix and Apple TV+, the surround sound can be returned to the Sound Bar 550 for output, which is simple and direct.
The top of the Soundbar has a convenient and attractive proximity-sensing design by Denon Home, and the touch-sensitive buttons will automatically light up. There is also a small remote control, but the best way to use it is still through the HEOS mobile App, which allows you to set EQ and other advanced settings, and control music playback with one App.
As a new member of the Denon Home series, the Sound Bar 550 of course also supports the rich network streaming functions of HEOS. It is equally convenient to listen to music. In addition to being compatible with streaming platforms such as Spotify, TIDAL, and Deezer, it also supports AirPlay 2.
Users can easily stream music from their phone or home NAS to the Sound Bar 550 through the HEOS App, or even play music via Bluetooth or USB thumb drive without being connected to the network. The latter supports 24bit/192kHz and DSD 5.6MHz Hi-Res music playback. After upgrading the firmware, you can also use other Denon Home series speakers as wireless rear speakers to further enhance surround sound performance.
The HEOS network functions of the Denon Home Sound Bar 550
- Support for Spotify Connect, Apple Music, TIDAL, Deezer, and other streaming platforms
- Support for AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth wireless connection
- Play music from your phone or through DLNA from your home computer or NAS
- USB port for playing music files
- Stream music from a USB-connected storage device to other HEOS speakers
- Support for 24bit/192kHz FLAC, WAV, ALAC, DSD 2.8/5.6MHz Hi-Res music playback
- Combine with other HEOS speakers to form a multi-room system
- Share music from a phone connected to a HEOS speaker to all HEOS speakers
- Use other Denon Home series (150, 250, or 350) as wireless rear speakers
In terms of theater sound decoding, the Home Sound Bar 550 also supports the most popular Dolby Atmos and DTS:X sound effects on the market. The audio processing chip can directly decode these surround sound formats and then use computational techniques to render virtual surround effects, providing a clear theater sound with a strong sense of surround and sound movement.
Although the Denon SoundBar 550 is a relatively short all-in-one Soundbar, the sound quality is quite good, with about half the volume being enough to fill a space of about 100 feet. Although it outputs low-frequency sound using four full-range units and three passive radiator units, the sense of volume and impact of the low frequencies are quite good for small to medium-sized listening spaces.
The subwoofer does not dive deep, but it can create a sufficiently enveloping sense of surround sound. Some explosion and gunfight scenes are quite impressive.
The simulated 3D sound independently processes Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, and the actual sound can be presented in some effects above the front and even above the side, such as rain and wind, etc. The overall sense of direction is quite clear and can present a somewhat three-dimensional sound in small to medium-sized spaces.
Music playback is also a strong point of the Denon Home Sound Bar 550. Previously tested Denon Home series Wi-Fi music speakers, the sound quality is quite good, although the Sound Bar 550 is a Soundbar design, but the sound has the taste of the Denon Home series.
The three-frequency separation is excellent, the vocals are clear and three-dimensional, and the bass continues to maintain good performance with sufficient volume and moderate extension. In particular, the sound units on the left and right sides of the Sound Bar 550 are separated by a certain distance, which can bring a good sound image, coupled with a three-dimensional balanced sound.
The performance is like a mini-amplifier. In addition, its rich music streaming function and sound color adjustment such as EQ are also well-prepared for listening to music.
I was immediately attracted to the sound of this Soundbar. Just by playing music through my phone via Bluetooth, I heard a sound with very dense and rich detail, with a wide range of sampling elements in popular music vocals and arrangements being clearly reproduced. The low and mid-frequency bands also have a certain sense of energy and impact, with the electronic drum beating creating a lively rhythm. Therefore, the songs sound full of life.
Listening to classical music, I was also able to clearly understand the layering of string and brass instruments when they intersected. The single unit lined up in a row not only creates a spacious effect but the sound positioning and depth of the sound field are also very specific. This effect is completely unheard of on most Soundbars of the same size.
The sound quality of the movie is also excellent. Although the Home Sound Bar 550 does not have physical top channel units and cannot use ceiling reflection to assist in surround sound, the “virtual surround” effect presented through DSP technology is remarkably good.
When playing Dolby Atmos sound format sources, not only does the sound field become more three-dimensional, but the movement of sound within the space is also very obvious. The tracks of left and right transverse and front and back flying can basically be grasped, so it can bring a very good sense of sound surround. In addition, the bass can create a certain degree of impact and energy release, and in terms of mini Soundbar homogeneity, the Home Sound Bar 550’s theater performance is more than enough.
The Sound Bar 550 is a Soundbar that combines a compact design, rich music functions, and 3D surround sound, which is quite rare. Its short, all-in-one design is perfect for small to medium-sized homes and does not sacrifice sound quality.
It has good surround sound performance and can even present a certain 3D sound effect; it maintains the rich network music streaming functions of the Denon Home series and provides a detailed and three-dimensional sound, making the Sound Bar 550 suitable for watching movies, gaming, and listening to music at the same time.
With easy connection and placement in front of the TV, the Sound Bar 550 can greatly improve the sound for home music playback and movie watching experience and can be fully controlled with the HEOS app, which is simple and convenient.