Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Denon Heos 1 vs AIWA EXOS9




This is one of the review quickies.

This is a review that compares the DENON HEOS 1 to the AIWA EXOS 9


First off the specs of each are the following presented in a comparison table, where the differences are presented accordingly.


HEOS 1
AIWA EXOS 9
Connectivity (a/v)
Aux (3.5mm),
Aux (3.5mm)
Connectivity (Network)
RJ45, Dual band 802.11N wifi (2.4Ghz and 5Ghz)
Bluetooth/NFC/Linking with other ExOS9s
Software controllers
Android 2.3 or higher and Apple iOS app based controllers
No apps but managed with Bluetooth host
Speaker config and specs:
Dual “wide range” drivers
2x tweeters,2 x midrange, 1 6.5 in subwoofer
Speaker linking
Yes
Yes (bluetooth direct)
Night modes
No
No
Includes cables
Yes
Yes





Setup comparison (hardware/software)

Both home/on the go speakers are easy to setup and get the party going

They both had great cables included and plugged in fine to my A/V gear.

Here’s a table outlining my experience with setup and config of both units:


HEOS 1
AIWA EXOS 9
Ease of installing app
4/5 (app install was short)
N/A (bluetooth direct only
Wifi association
5/5 (worked the first time
N/A (bluetooth only)
Input selection
4/5
4/5
Music server/services
4/5 (worked great with both local and streaming, however some playlists were out of order on emby and serviio servers [DLNA], recognized very quickly though and work well)
N/A Works with Bluetooth only.
Control responsiveness (HW)
5/5 hardware buttons work well
3/5 touch buttons do not work consistently every time, sometimes executes wrong action
Control depth (audio)
2/5 lacks EQ, just bass bass/treble
4/5 Has 5 band EQ with presets





Sound quality:

Both speakers have pretty good sound quality. I’ve tested with several types of music. We’ve added the movie category as an “overall” rating and will not break down movie genres.

Here’s a rundown of the highs and lows of both units:


HEOS 1
AIWA EXOS 9
Music (all genres)
3.5/5
3.5
europop/dance
3/5
5/5
pop/rock
4/5
2/5
symphonic/heavy
3/5
4/5
trance/harddance
4/5
3/5
Movies
 4/5
 4/5





Overall Performance:

Both speakers have done relatively well as a whole, however I’ve presented the high and low points of both:


HEOS 1
AIWA EXOS 9
Connectivity perf (A/V)
4/5 Simple connectivity with aux jack, intermittent connectivity with WLAN.No Bluetooth
3/5  Solid aux but iffy Bluetooth connectivity.
Services
Works great with media servers (local and online)
N/A
Overall
3/5
4/5

Closing thoughts:

Both speakers sound decent. The Exos 9 has more of a “party speaker” signature and the HEOS1 has a more theater signature. Both cope with songs very differently. The thing I hope for with the Exos is that Aiwa adds an app and wifi which is better than using bluetooth, and to make firmware upgrades easier as well as providing access to streaming. Using both Exos units as linked makes for an interesting PC audio setup. They are currently mostly tied due to the connectivity features of the HEOS and the Pretty good sound quality of the Exos. If connectivity and multiroom is more important than sound get the HEOS. If big sound with simple setup is more important get the Exos. However the Exos had lag with pairing, and one unit's firmware would not update.


Overall the ratings for both are as follows:

Denon HEOS:  3.8/5
AIWA EXOS 9:  4/5