Denon introduced Wednesday the first weather-proof speaker option in its Heos line of wireless multi-zone speakers, designed to link directly with smartphones, tablets and other devices.

When it hits stores in June at a $199 suggested retail, the Heos 1 will be the least expensive speaker in Denon’s Heos wireless audio line, which made its debut last summer to go up against Sonos and about 10 other manufacturers trying to break into the multi-zone wireless music system business.

More on the Heos 1 after the break:

The wireless Heos 1 is a mono speaker, but can be paired with a second speaker on a Wi-Fi network to handle left and right channels. Later in the year, Denon plans to expand the Heos ecosystem to support home theater applications. More on that to follow later.

The Heos 1 is being added to a line that now includes three other Heos speakers: the $599 Heos 7, $399 Heos 5, and $299 Heos 3. The company also offers a $499 Heos Amp, which connects to any pair of passive speakers; the $349 Heos link preamp to connect the speakers to any Denon or Marantz AVR; and a $99 Heos Extend, a Wi-Fi range extender.

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Heos system speakers are designed for use with controller apps on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, as well as on the Kindle Fire, to send music throughout the house. Music sources include music stored on the mobile device, on networked sources such as NAS drives and PCs, and on USB sticks and USB hard drives plugged into a Heos device. Heos devices also stream cloud-based music services, including Spotify, SiriusXM, Pandora, Rhapsody, TuneIn, and iHeartRadio.

Currently, Heos does not have a device adapter to enable a Heos speaker to serve as a surround speaker or front speaker in a multi-channel home theater setup.

For outdoor applications, the Heos 1 speaker is designed to mate with an optional 6-hour battery pack, called the Go Pack ($99), for portable use.

The Go Pack includes a Bluetooth USB adapter and a Splashguard, rated for IPX4 water resistance, allowing the speaker to be used around a swimming pool or on a deck in rainy weather.

The Bluetooth adapter allows the speaker to connect to a Bluetooth music player when out of Wi-Fi network range.

Paul Belanger, D+M Group Canada technical product manager – Americas (pictured at top), said Denon sees the Heos 1 being used for a wide variety of applications.

“The Heos 1 could be used for a combination of things from a stand-alone speaker in the kitchen, for example, and if you have a deck or patio off the kitchen, you could just carry it outside the barbeque of poolside without having to worry about AC or splashing. You could bring it to the beach or give it a permanent spot in the bathroom,” said Belanger.

The Heos One is a two-way speaker with a 4-inch driver and is available in a choice of black or white. It will connect via 802.11n dual-band Wi-Fi, and supports custom active EQ and crossover, and MaxxAudio, a suite of sound-enhancing technologies from Waves.

By Greg Tarr

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