Compared to most of the best soundbars, the Denon HEOS 3 looks a bit monolithic, but it sounds great and has one of the most user-friendly companion apps we tested. It has only two amplified speakers, but the unique rear-ported enclosure design makes the speaker sound larger than others we tested. We pushed it well over 95 decibels in our tests without any signs of distortion, making it the loudest speaker we reviewed. We have some concerns about the durability of the buttons and enclosure, especially because the vertical orientation is susceptible to tipping over. We suggest placing the HEOS 3 on its side if you have the shelf space.
We tested the audio quality of every speaker by playing a diverse selection of musical genres for a panel of reviewers. Our panel filled out a survey rating each speaker’s treble clarity, bass response, vocal clarity and overall sound quality. The HEOS 3 received consistently high marks in each category and scored well above average for overall sound quality. This speaker offers a wide and detailed sound stage with low frequencies that cradle the mid-range and treble frequencies at perfect proportion. This is the only speaker we tested with a ported enclosure, and it performed well. It is perfectly suitable as a bookshelf speaker, but we suggest giving the rear port some room to breathe.
The HEOS mobile app is one of the best we tested. It makes the setup process quick and easy. It streams music from all the popular platforms in the HEOS app, including Spotify, Amazon Music and Pandora. If you have multiple HEOS speakers, use the party mode to play the same song, perfectly synchronized, in multiple rooms. Or, you can play different songs on each speaker. The app also has treble and bass controls to help customize the sound of the speaker to fit your room and favorite genres of music.
Music plays via Bluetooth, WiFi, wired auxiliary input or from a USB drive. The app allows you to switch the input source, or sync the HEOS 3 with an Alexa-enabled smart speaker to control volume and song selection with your voice. Like the Sonos PLAY:1, this speaker is available in black and white to blend in with your home furnishings.
Should I buy the Denon HEOS 3?
The Denon HEOS 3 sounds great and is user-friendly. We suggest placing it somewhere it doesn’t get bumped from its resting place because the plastic enclosure feels fragile. It has a great selection of compatibility features including intuitive app support and voice-control provided by Alexa-enabled smart speakers.