Denon have created something special in the Heos Amp HS2
You may well be slightly confused, we were too after all the Heos Amp HS2 by Denon is meant to be a wireless Multiroom amplifier… isn’t it? Find out why this stereo amplifier is so much more than it was meant to be.
It was purely by chance that one day whilst showing someone how easy it was to set up a Heos product that I decided to connect it to the nearest pair of speakers I could find. After we had set the amp up we pressed play and quite frankly words cannot express the amazement we felt. The Heos Amp drove the Q Acoustics 3050 floorstanders with so much power that even the stairs to our Hifi demo lounge were vibrating, and they are pretty sturdy stairs! Lets go into more detail.
High end features and specs make the Heos Amp HS2 look good on paper, 100 watts per channel, Hi-Res Audio, built in Bluetooth, optical in, RCA input, Aux in and of course built in wireless Multiroom audio controlled by the Heos App are specs that would make a lot of stereo amplifiers quake in their boots. Although the Heos Amp is intended to be hidden away and perform its duties I believe the styling and compact form factor would be acceptable on even the most high end Hifi racks.
As we had already run the Q Acoustics 3050 speakers in we could get straight into how the Heos Amp sounds. A fine test for any piece of Hifi equipment is Rinzler by Daft Punk from the Tron Legacy Soundtrack it shows everything from deep lows to crisp highs and some complex sections where the timing needs to be impeccable otherwise the presentation will just sound like a complete mess.
I started off listening at a normal neighbour friendly level and it became immediately apparent that I was in for a treat. The opening scene starts slowly with a sudden jump in the dynamic range and the Heos Amp displays a fine ability to go from quiet to loud and render everything in between. A lesser amp would demonstrate the same scene but cloud the ambience around the quiet scenes making it seem like someone is just playing with the volume. This shows that the amp can create the tension within a soundtrack with ease.
As we move along the soundtrack becomes a little more complex with deep yet insightful lows and the trademark Daft Punk synth effects that give intense highs. Its here that we notice the tonal balance of the Heos Amp has been tuned rather well. The low end grunt is forceful yet insightful and the top end is slightly pronounced but well executed, the mid range is nicely balanced however not as prominent as the rest of the frequency range. A small note on the top end, the Q Acoustics 3050 speakers have quite a neutral top end but when playing on the Heos Amp we found it to be more pronounced, if that’s not to your liking you could always dial it down using the built in equalizer in the amp itself.
It was here that I decided to turn the volume up and up and up. The sheer level of power and accuracy on display here is mesmerising, the Heos Amp can happily drive the floorstanders to asbo levels with ease, it even had the stairs of our demo room vibrating to the beat. Just because it can play loud doesn’t always mean that it will sound good, that’s not the case here. In fact the more you increase the volume, the better everything gets. The drama within the soundtrack is amplified and the control over the complex beats is retained.
For £399 the Heos Amp HS2 is competitively priced both as a stereo amplifier and a wireless Multiroom amplifier, the fact that it performs so well in both forms makes it something of a bargain. The Heos Amp would make a fine building block for your Multiroom audio system that you could build upon with the rest of the Heos wireless Multiroom speakers and of course the forthcoming Denon AVRX4300H Wireless Multiroom AV Receiver.
Heos Amp HS2 Review
What can I compare this Amplifier to? Its designed to be a Wireless Multiroom Amplifier yet performs so well as a dedicated stereo amplifier making it something of a hybrid. The performance is easily comparable to dedicated amplifiers costing twice the price and the wireless design means that you can choose to hide it away or have it on display. The only reason that I had to give the amp four stars for features is that when compared to a traditional amplifier the number of inputs is slightly less. The built in Hi-Res Audio streaming means that even the most discerning audiophile would be happy to use the Heos Amp HS2 as a dedicated stereo amplifier. If you prefer things a little more traditional then you can still connect your CD player or Turntable to the amplifier and combine it with the built in modern features. All In all I believe its a no-brainer, Denon have created a whole new era of Hifi for the modern audiophile.