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I feel like HEOS is overlooked!

Lattiboy

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Hi all,

I have now owned 3 Denon / Marantz receivers with HEOS (3500, 3600, and SR6012). I always discounted it as a solution for the lazy or as a Sonos replacement, never thinking it was up to snuff for my “serious” (lol) listening practices. I previously used a Chromecast Audio into a DAC into the CD analog input on my receivers.

Well, after running Audyssey on my new 3600 I thought I’d give it a test just to mess about.... holy hell! It works incredibly well and has integration with practically every service out there! Upnp shares, Plex, Tidal, Spotify, SoundCloud, Amazon Music, TuneIn radio, USB drives, and more! It supports absurd bit/sample rates up to 24/192. No weird RaspberryPi quirks, no random drop outs like the CCA, just rock solid performance across all the services I used.

I find the app pretty intuitive. It’s not graphically beautiful, but for Tidal you get access to the music discovery playlists and all your saved music in a logical order. For the Plex / upnp section it really shines. Album art is pulled correctly and you have almost unlimited options for sorting your music if properly tagged.

Combining this practically ubiquitous source compatibility and the simplicity of using the Denon 3600H as a preamp and DAC all controlled from your phone! The pre outs let me run my mains off any absurd power amp I choose. It even has a 12v trigger!

As has been proven through testing, the 3600 has an impeccable DAC and (often overlooked) incredible preamp section along with Audyssey DSP. Add Airplay 2 support to all of this and I cannot figure out how this isn’t the default all in one solution for the vast majority of digital audio nerds out there.

PS prices for the 3600/3700 are distorted right now because of COVID, but historically you could get the previous years Denon model refurbished for $450-600 all day long. The 3400 and 3500 followed this price path. Although even at $1000 I think it’s a very solid deal, forgetting about the fact it is an excellent home theater receiver and has a quite good internal amp section.
 

ririt

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Hi all,

I have now owned 3 Denon / Marantz receivers with HEOS (3500, 3600, and SR6012). I always discounted it as a solution for the lazy or as a Sonos replacement, never thinking it was up to snuff for my “serious” (lol) listening practices. I previously used a Chromecast Audio into a DAC into the CD analog input on my receivers.

Well, after running Audyssey on my new 3600 I thought I’d give it a test just to mess about.... holy hell! It works incredibly well and has integration with practically every service out there! Upnp shares, Plex, Tidal, Spotify, SoundCloud, Amazon Music, TuneIn radio, USB drives, and more! It supports absurd bit/sample rates up to 24/192. No weird RaspberryPi quirks, no random drop outs like the CCA, just rock solid performance across all the services I used.

I find the app pretty intuitive. It’s not graphically beautiful, but for Tidal you get access to the music discovery playlists and all your saved music in a logical order. For the Plex / upnp section it really shines. Album art is pulled correctly and you have almost unlimited options for sorting your music if properly tagged.

Combining this practically ubiquitous source compatibility and the simplicity of using the Denon 3600H as a preamp and DAC all controlled from your phone! The pre outs let me run my mains off any absurd power amp I choose. It even has a 12v trigger!

As has been proven through testing, the 3600 has an impeccable DAC and (often overlooked) incredible preamp section along with Audyssey DSP. Add Airplay 2 support to all of this and I cannot figure out how this isn’t the default all in one solution for the vast majority of digital audio nerds out there.

PS prices for the 3600/3700 are distorted right now because of COVID, but historically you could get the previous years Denon model refurbished for $450-600 all day long. The 3400 and 3500 followed this price path. Although even at $1000 I think it’s a very solid deal, forgetting about the fact it is an excellent home theater receiver and has a quite good internal amp section.
How the sound quality compares with your previous solution (Chromecast +Dac)?
 
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Lattiboy

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How the sound quality compares with your previous solution (Chromecast +Dac)?

I could not tell a significant difference using a Topping DX7S being fed a CCA. Before that I used a Maverick Audio DAC Magic D1+. The D1+ has a tube buffer built in, so it does sound a bit different, but you could re create it with a $40 tube buffer if you wanted.

Honestly, I discounted it for a while because you are kind of trained to ignore all-in-one solutions as being “consumer grade”, but if Amir’s testing is to be believed, we’re all kind of fools for using external DACs if we have a good performing AVR.
 
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Lattiboy

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I should also mention I’m running Infinity Renaissance 80s, which are the most revealing speakers I’ve ever owned. So I don’t think there’s much “hidden” resolution I’m being denied here.
 

ririt

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I could not tell a significant difference using a Topping DX7S. Before that I used a Maverick Audio DAC Magic D1+. The D1+ has a tube buffer built in, so it does sound a bit different, but you could re create it with a $40 tube buffer if you wanted.
Thanks for your feedback. Good to know since I am envisaging to use a Denon 3700h (full pre amp mode) as the core of my future HC/ HIFI system. Prior to your post, I was hesitating between a Node 2i + DAC (connected to the Cd input) or the internal HEOS streaming capabilities of the 3700h. It seems that the Denon alone is doing a great job!
 
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Lattiboy

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Thanks for your feedback. Good to know since I am envisaging to use a Denon 3700h (full pre amp mode) as the core of my future HC/ HIFI system. Prior to your post, I was hesitating between a Node 2i + DAC (connected to the Cd input) or the internal HEOS streaming capabilities of the 3700h. It seems that the Denon alone is doing a great job!

Yeah, it seems insane to me to spend over a few hundred bucks on a streaming solution. It’s bits! The Denon catches the bits and converts them properly! For under 1k you get.... everything. A good amp, a home theater solution, DSP. It’s nuts!
 
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Lattiboy

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Is HEOS playback "gapless"?

You mentioned Raspberry Pi; is there a HEOS player app for RPi?

Yes, FLAC and WAV playback is gapless, but I’m not sure about mp3s since I don’t own any.

I’m pretty sure HEOS is limited to Denon / Marantz products. You could connect to a raspberry pi server using Upnp
 

Kaiede

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My main issue is that the phone/tablet app is not great. I’ve also hit issues where Tidal decides it wants to change the quality on you due to network conditions (even if the network is fine), and so HEOS just drops the audio completely while acting like it is still playing.

I wouldn’t discount it either since it does work for the most part, and is baked into Marantz/Denon stuff... but I don’t think it quite reaches the attention and care a dedicated streaming device does. The audio quality is there, which is good, but the functionality and polish isn’t. My take on it is that I wouldn’t buy something because of HEOS (especially devices like the ND8006). But if you buy something that has it, it could hold you over.
 

misteracng

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I know that Yamaha has a similar few ire with MusicCast, but it can also be used to wirelessly context some surround speakers, in not sure HEOS can do this, but upgrading this feature for more of the surround speakers would make life easier for installs, I think they should work on this feature and make it more stable
 

Alexanderc

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Can you still not play Amazon music playlists through HEOS? That was apparently an Amazon issue, not a HEOS issue.
 

Chromatischism

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HEOS is nice. My issues with it:
  • Not gapless with mp3 over network, but close
  • No fast forward/rewind/seek with network files
  • No PEQ
If they could solve those issues, it would be incredible.
 
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Haint

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Hi all,

I have now owned 3 Denon / Marantz receivers with HEOS (3500, 3600, and SR6012). I always discounted it as a solution for the lazy or as a Sonos replacement, never thinking it was up to snuff for my “serious” (lol) listening practices. I previously used a Chromecast Audio into a DAC into the CD analog input on my receivers.

Well, after running Audyssey on my new 3600 I thought I’d give it a test just to mess about.... holy hell! It works incredibly well and has integration with practically every service out there! Upnp shares, Plex, Tidal, Spotify, SoundCloud, Amazon Music, TuneIn radio, USB drives, and more! It supports absurd bit/sample rates up to 24/192. No weird RaspberryPi quirks, no random drop outs like the CCA, just rock solid performance across all the services I used.

I find the app pretty intuitive. It’s not graphically beautiful, but for Tidal you get access to the music discovery playlists and all your saved music in a logical order. For the Plex / upnp section it really shines. Album art is pulled correctly and you have almost unlimited options for sorting your music if properly tagged.

Combining this practically ubiquitous source compatibility and the simplicity of using the Denon 3600H as a preamp and DAC all controlled from your phone! The pre outs let me run my mains off any absurd power amp I choose. It even has a 12v trigger!

As has been proven through testing, the 3600 has an impeccable DAC and (often overlooked) incredible preamp section along with Audyssey DSP. Add Airplay 2 support to all of this and I cannot figure out how this isn’t the default all in one solution for the vast majority of digital audio nerds out there.

PS prices for the 3600/3700 are distorted right now because of COVID, but historically you could get the previous years Denon model refurbished for $450-600 all day long. The 3400 and 3500 followed this price path. Although even at $1000 I think it’s a very solid deal, forgetting about the fact it is an excellent home theater receiver and has a quite good internal amp section.

The 3400/3500 were 7 channel amps with 7 channel processors and routinely sold for $500-$550 NEW from authorized dealers if you followed sales. Unfortunately the 3600/3700 have been upgraded to 9 channel amps and 11 channel processors and are never going to come close to $500. Precovid the 3600 generally followed the 4000 series pricing trends, which means $800-$900 is going to be the most common sale pricing when/if inventory is flush. I'm not sure Covid is entirely to blame though, AVR sales volume has been trending downward for years and Denon may be figuring they make more money keeping inventory low and selling at full MSRP.
 
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Killingbeans

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A few years ago, at my former workplace, the boss bought a handful of small active HEOS speakers for us to use as music souces in the production areas. They were awful. Most of the time the App failed to connect to the speakers, and when we tried to use the analogue mini jack input, they also failed to recognize what was going on. We ended up using the line-in on some old PA speakers in stead.

Maybe the system has reached maturity since then, but based on my one and only HEOS experience, it wouldn't exactly be my first choice if I were in the market for a music streaming system.
 

polmuaddib

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I don't think iOS app is intuitive for HEOS. I wanted to play the same music in main room on AVR and in the other room on Heos 1 speaker. It played, but there is a substantial latency of about a second or two... I read that there is a workaround, but come on... It should work out of the box.
Then when i couldn't put heos speaker in the same zone or whatever they are calling it, i accidentally pushed vol button on my iphone and AVR volume went to MAXIMUM right away! I ran so fast to turn it off and spent an hour checking for damage. I disconnected my power amp from the mains and the led indicator was lit for 15 minutes. I couldn't believe it. Only some breakers in the back went out, i pushed them back in and everything was okay.
But I am not trying to get multi room playback again over HEOS.
It's not just HEOS though, every app on mobile devices is just swipes and icons and no explanation. It's like playing a puzzle game from the 90s without tutorial.
 
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Lattiboy

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I will agree HEOS isn’t nearly as good as the individual 1st party apps like Tidal or Plex, but the ability to combine multiple services into a single interface is quite novel. I think the trade off is largely worth it, but many may not. Also, the ability to select sound profiles directly from the player is a huge deal to me. Allows you to switch from Pure Direct to Audyssey corrected in an instant. Good for A/B after you calibrate.

I’m just curious as to how HEOS is specifically transmitting the data from all these services. I would imagine it’s all being processed by the receiver through the Wi-Fi connection, but I think Airplay is somehow involved? It’s not 100% clear to me, but I could be a lil dense....
 

Chromatischism

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Airplay is definitely not involved. I don't use any Apple devices. It's UPNP.
 
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