Denon is adding a firmware update to its “Denon Home” range of premium wireless speakers and soundbars bringing built-in Alexa AI voice control to the devices.

The full-range of Denon Home speakers will get the firmware update bringing built-in Alexa assistant smart speaker capability while the Denon Home Sound Bar 550 will also get true wireless 5.1 surround sound capabilities and enhanced bass support, the company said.

The Denon Home U26 firmware update is available now for the majority of Denon Home users worldwide, the company said.

Along side this firmware update, owners of many new and legacy HEOS wireless multi-room speakers will be seeing a refresh of the HEOS app interface, making their user experiences easier to navigate, the company said.

Owners of the Denon Home soundbar will be able to pair Denon Home wireless speaker models 150, 250 or 350 as wireless rear channel speakers for the Denon Home 550 soundbar to get a fully immersive multi-channel surround sound experience, the company revealed. Additionally, the Denon Home Sound Bar 550 is getting a DSP boost upgrade that delivers improved bass response.

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Once the U26 firmware update is in place, Denon Home premium wireless speaker models 150, 250, 350, and Denon Home Sound Bar 550, will no longer require a separate Alexa receiving device, like an Echo or Dot, to use spoken commands to activate the popular Alexa digital assistant functionality, Denon said.

According to the company, “To use voice control on Denon Home products, owners must first turn on the built-in microphones within the HEOS app and link the speaker to their Alexa account. Users can tell if the microphone is activated via the front light strip, which was previously dormant. Once turned on, users can ask Alexa to play music, hear the news, check the weather forecast, control smart home devices, and much more. For complete privacy, the microphones in Denon Home speakers will remain disabled and unpowered unless users choose to enable Alexa.”

In addition, two new capacitive touch buttons will be activated on the top panel of Denon Home speaker models. This can be used to control Alexa two ways: One button mutes the microphone, the other allows owners to set Alexa to actively listen, the company said.

“When Alexa is set to actively listen, users can speak their voice command without having to use the wake word, ‘Alexa.’ When muted, the front light strip will briefly glow red to indicate the mic is off, while the touch button will remain red until the mic is unmuted,” Denon advises.

New to the Denon Home Sound Bar 550 soundbar is full 5.1-channel Surround Sound capability using wireless rear channel speakers.

The company said this will enable the soundbar’s owners to take full advantage of the built-in Dolby Atmos and DTS:X 3D audio formats by wirelessly connecting a pair of Denon Home speakers as rear surround channels to create an immersive surround system.

For larger rooms and even more impressive bass, users can also pair a Denon DSW-1H subwoofer to complete support of the bottom end.

Denon’s audio filtering will be performed automatically to provide the best possible sound, redirecting lower frequencies to the subwoofer so the soundbar’s other drivers can concentrate on greater clarity and precision. Setup for any of these configurations is possible within seconds from the HEOS app, the company said.

Another benefit bringing improved bass response leverages advanced DSP technology to apply performance improvements retroactively to existing products. As a result, the firmware update will enable the Denon Home Sound Bar 550 to deliver more precise, faster and controlled bass for both music and movies.

The simultaneous refresh of the HEOS App brings a new new look to new users and long-time owners of HEOS built-in products, alike. Denon said any HEOS Built-In product will find the app interface easier to navigate and use to control their multi-room music system.

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By Greg Tarr

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