Denon Home Sound Bar 550 Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed May 27, 2021 at 10:24 am
Denon Home Sound Bar 550 Picture
7.0
Mixed Usage
7.3
Dialogue/TV Shows
6.8
Music
6.9
Movies
Channels
4.0

The Denon Home Sound Bar 550 is a 4.0 setup that you can upgrade with a dedicated subwoofer and satellites, sold separately. It has a compact design, and it offers a slightly boomy sound profile out-of-the-box. However, it struggles to reproduce a thumpy low-bass, so you don't feel the deep rumble in action-packed movie scenes. Also, it doesn't get very loud, and there's compression at max volume, so it isn't suitable for listening at loud volumes.

Our Verdict

7.0 Mixed Usage

The Denon Home Sound Bar 550 is decent for mixed usage. Out-of-the-box, this soundbar has a slightly boomy though fairly neutral sound profile. However, it struggles to reproduce a deep low-bass, so you don't feel the thump and rumble in bass-heavy music or action-packed movies. It supports surround and Atmos content, but it doesn't provide the most immersive listening experience. Also, it doesn't get very loud.

Pros
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
  • EQ presets.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
  • Lots of compression at max volume.
7.3 Dialogue/TV Shows

The Denon Home 550 is satisfactory for dialogue-centric content like TV shows. Thanks to its balanced mid-range, voices are reproduced clearly and with detail. There's also a Dialogue Enhancer to make voices more crisp and clear, as well as an auto-volume mode to help balance the volume across different programs. Unfortunately, it lacks a discrete center channel, so voices don't reproduce as accurately.

Pros
  • Dialogue enhancement feature.
Cons
  • Mediocre center channel performance.
6.8 Music

The Denon Home 550 is okay for music. Out-of-the-box, it has a slightly boomy, though still pretty neutral sound profile that adds a little extra bass to your audio. It struggles to reproduce a thumpy low-bass, which can be disappointing for fans of bass-heavy genres. There are some EQ presets as well as bass and treble adjustments to help you customize its sound. However, it lacks a full graphic EQ, and it doesn't get very loud.

Pros
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
  • EQ presets.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
  • Lots of compression at max volume.
6.9 Movies

The Denon Home 550 is fair for movies. Its balanced mid-range can reproduce dialogue clearly, but it lacks low bass, so you don't feel the deep thump and rumble in action-packed scenes. It can play Atmos and surround content, but it doesn't offer the most immersive listening experience. Also, it doesn't get very loud, and there's a lot of compression when you play it at max volume.

Pros
  • EQ presets.
  • Dialogue enhancement feature.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
  • Lots of compression at max volume.
  • 7.0 Mixed Usage
  • 7.3 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 6.8 Music
  • 6.9 Movies
  1. Updated May 27, 2021: Review published.
  2. Updated May 25, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The Denon Home Sound Bar 550 is a 4.0 soundbar released in 2021. It's the first Denon soundbar that supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X content. It also supports HEOS Built-In, so you can control it and other Denon Home products like the Denon Home 350 using the HEOS app. You can also upgrade it with a dedicated subwoofer and satellites sold separately. Its main competitors include the Samsung HW-S60T, the Sonos Beam, and the Bose Smart Soundbar 300.

Design
Design
Style - Bar

The Denon Home 550 is a simple soundbar. It's mostly plastic, with a tight fabric wrapping around the front and sides of the bar. There's a sensor panel on the top that lights up with the controls when your hand is nearby.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

The Denon Home Sound Bar 550 doesn't include a subwoofer, but you can purchase the Denon DSW-1H subwoofer separately if you want.

Design
Style - Satellites

This setup doesn't include satellites, but you can pair any HEOS-enabled speaker to the bar if you purchase them separately.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Width 25.6" (65.0 cm)
Height 3.0" (7.5 cm)
Depth 4.8" (12.2 cm)

The Denon Home Sound Bar 550 has a very compact design. It should easily fit between the legs of a 55" TV stand. Also, it isn't very tall, so it shouldn't block your TV screen unless your TV sits flush on your table.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A
Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A
Design
Back - Bar
Bar Mounting
Universal (holes on back)

The back of the bar has an opening for the power cable and the inputs. There are also two universal holes if you want to wall-mount it.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
No Subwoofer
Design
Back - Satellites
Mounting
No
8.0
Design
Build Quality

The Denon Home Sound Bar 550 has a great build quality. It's mostly made of plastic, which feels solid and durable. There's also a fabric covering the front and sides of the bar, which feels nice and tight. However, it could collect dust over time.

Design
In The Box
HDMI Cable Length
1.5 m (4.9 ft)
Digital Optical Cable Length
1.5 m (4.9 ft)

  • Quick Start Guide
  • Mounting template
  • 2x rubber mounting collars
  • Optical cable
  • HDMI cable
  • Remote with CR2025 battery

Sound
7.1
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Tested Preset
Stereo
Slope
-0.55
Std. Err.
2.88 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
55.8 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
18.8 kHz

The Denon Home Sound Bar 550 has a decent stereo frequency response. Out-of-the-box, it has a slightly boxy sound profile that adds a little extra boom in the bass range, which can please fans of bass-heavy music genres like EDM. The rest of the range is quite neutral and balanced, so vocals and lead instruments reproduce clearly. However, it struggles to reproduce an extended low-bass, so you don't feel the deep rumble in action-packed movie scenes. There are bass and treble adjustments, as well as EQ presets available to help you customize its sound.

Note: When you set up this soundbar using the HEOS app, it asks you whether you're placing the bar on a table or wall-mounting it. However, it doesn't calibrate the bar. We test soundbars on a table.

7.1
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
Stereo
Suggested Bass Setting
-3
Suggested Treble Setting
1
Slope
0.16
Std. Err.
2.67 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
59.9 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.3 kHz

With calibration, the Denon Home Sound Bar 550 has a decent stereo frequency response. With its bass set to '-3' and its treble set to '1', it offers a slightly more neutral sound profile which still offers a little extra boom in the bass range. It still struggles to reproduce an extended low-bass, which can be disappointing for listeners who like to feel the deep thump and rumble in their audio.

7.0
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
3.07 dB

The Denon Home Sound Bar 550 has a decent stereo soundstage performance. Its soundstage is perceived to be a bit wider than the bar itself, but the bar isn't wide to begin with. Its focus is okay, and sound seems to move in large chunks instead of from an accurate, pinpoint location.

5.2
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
87.8 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
5.50 dB

The Denon Sound Bar 550 has a disappointing dynamics performance. It doesn't get very loud, and there's a lot of compression when you push it to max volume. As a result, it isn't suitable for listening to audio at loud volumes at parties or in large rooms.

7.5
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.57
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.25

The Denon Sound Bar 550 has a good THD performance. At a normal listening level, the distortion falls mostly within good limits, resulting in a mostly clean and pure audio reproduction. There's a small jump in distortion when you push the bar to max volume, especially in the mid-range. However, this may not be too noticeable with real-life content.

6.3
Sound
Center
Localization
Phantom
Slope
-0.91
Std. Err.
3.70 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
90.0 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.97
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.31

The Denon Sound Bar 550 has a mediocre center channel performance. It doesn't have a discrete center channel, so it uses its left and right speakers to simulate a phantom center. However, this doesn't reproduce dialogue as clearly and accurately as a discrete setup.

5.9
Sound
Surround 5.1
Localization
Phantom (Front Firing, Bar)
Slope
-0.66
Std. Err.
3.04 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
89.6 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.86
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.30
7.1 Rears
No

The Denon Sound Bar 550 has a middling surrounds performance. It uses its side-firing speakers to represent surrounds objects in the soundstage, but this doesn't result in a very clear or accurate reproduction, especially when compared to discrete surround speakers. Also, its frequency response lacks low-bass, so you don't feel the deep rumble in action-packed scenes.

5.9
Sound
Height (Atmos)
Localization
Phantom (Front Firing, Bar)
Slope
-0.92
Std. Err.
3.77 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
85.0 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.90
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
0.82

The Denon Sound Bar 550 has a middling Atmos performance. It uses front-firing speakers to bounce sound off the walls and ceiling to give the illusion of height. However, this doesn't sound as clear and real as the discrete localization offered by down-firing speakers found with home theater setups.

Note: During our testing, the bar played Dolby Atmos files in 'Direct' mode by default. We changed it to the 'Movie' preset using the remote, also called the 'DTS Virtual:X' preset on the app, as it gave Atmos content a more pronounced sound.

4.6
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
No
Dialogue Enhancement
Yes
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
Yes
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
No
Bass Adjustment
Yes
Treble Adjustment
Yes
EQ
Presets
Surround Level Adjustment
No
Rear Level Adjustment
No
Height Level Adjustment
No
Virtual Surround
Yes

The Denon Sound Bar 550 has a poor selection of sound enhancement features. It comes with a few EQ presets, including 'Stereo' (or 'Music' on the remote), 'Dolby Audio', 'Dolby Surround', 'DTS Virtual:X' (or 'Movie' on the remote'), and 'Pure'. The 'DTS Virtual:X' preset doubles as a virtual surround feature to help immerse you in your audio. You can also use the app and the remote to access the Dialogue Enhancer and Night Mode features. However, it lacks a room correction feature, so the bar may sound different depending on the room you use it in.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Physical Inputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
1
HDMI ARC
1 (shared)
HDMI Out
1 (shared)
Full HDMI In
1
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
1
RCA In
No
USB for Files
1
Ethernet
1

The Denon Home 550 offers lots of physical inputs. There's a Full HDMI In port, so you can use it as a hub between different devices. Also, the AUX port lets you wire older devices to the bar for audio playback.

10
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - ARC
eARC
Yes
Dolby Atmos
Yes
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
Yes
DTS
Yes
DTS:X (eARC only)
Yes
Dolby TrueHD (eARC only)
Yes
DTS-HD MA (eARC only)
Yes
5.1 PCM (eARC only)
Yes

The Denon Home Sound Bar 550 has incredible ARC support. It supports Dolby Digital, the most common format for surround sound often found on Blu-ray discs and streaming platforms. Also, it supports lossless and object-based formats like DTS:X.

10
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Full HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
Yes
DTS:X
Yes
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
Yes
DTS
Yes
Dolby TrueHD
Yes
DTS-HD MA
Yes
5.1 PCM
Yes

The Denon Home Sound Bar 550 also offers fantastic audio format support via Full HDMI In. It supports more common audio formats like Dolby Digital, as well as object-based formats like Dolby Atmos.

10
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Optical
Dolby Digital
Yes
DTS
Yes

This soundbar supports both Dolby Digital and DTS via Optical. These formats are mostly on Blu-ray discs and streaming platforms.

8.7
Connectivity
Latency
ARC
15 ms
Optical
38 ms
Full HDMI In
-56 ms

The Denon Home 550 has an excellent latency performance. It has fairly low latency via ARC, Optical, and Full HDMI In, so you shouldn't notice a delay between the audio you hear and the video you see. As a result, it's suitable for watching videos and movies over these connections. However, some apps and TVs compensate for latency differently, so your real-world experience may vary.

9.0
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
Yes
Chromecast built-in
No
Apple AirPlay
Yes

This soundbar has incredible wireless playback support. You can wirelessly stream audio from your mobile devices to the bar via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Apple AirPlay 2.

Connectivity
Other Input Specifications
4k @ 60 Hz Passthrough
Yes
4k @ 60 Hz @ 10 bit Passthrough
No
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 Passthrough
Yes
HDR10 Passthrough
Yes

The Denon Home Sound Bar 550 can passthrough some of the highest bandwidth signals, so if you connect the bar to your TV and your PC, text on the screen appears clear and crisp. However, it can only do 4k @ 60Hz @ 8-bit passthrough instead of 10 bit, which can be disappointing for some gamers.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
No
Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
No
Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
No

There's a small light in the middle of the bar that flashes when you adjust a setting on the remote. It turns orange when you update the bar's software, and it turns green during setup.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

On top of the bar, touch-sensitive buttons let you play/pause your audio and adjust the volume. There's a sensor, so when your hand is near the buttons, they light up.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
No

The remote is simple and lets you access the EQ presets, change the input, and adjust the bass. However, it isn't a universal remote, so you can't control your TV with it.

Additional Features
Voice Assistants Support
Amazon Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Apple Siri
No

The Denon Home Sound Bar 550 doesn't have built-in voice assistant support. The manufacturer says that Amazon Alexa built-in will be added with a software update in Spring 2021. We'll update this review when we have more information.

Additional Features
App
App Name Heos
iOS Yes
Android Yes
Acts As A Remote
Yes
Controls Soundbar's Settings
All
Casts Device Files
Yes

The HEOS app acts as a remote and lets you control all of the soundbar's settings. You can switch between different EQ presets, change the bass and treble levels, and access the Dialogue Enhancer and Night Mode features. It also offers integrated support for music streaming services like Spotify, Amazon Music HD, TIDAL, TuneIn, and Deezer, though you may need a separate subscription to access some of them. The manufacturer also says that you can use the app to manage and group multiple Denon Home products, but we don't test this.

Additional Features
Other Features
Power Saving
No
HDMI CEC (TV Remote Control)
Yes

Thanks to HDMI CEC support, you can use your TV remote to control the Denon Home Sound Bar 550's basic functions. However, it doesn't have a power-saving feature, so you need to shut it off manually.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Denon Home 550 is available in 'Black', and you can see the label for the model we tested here.

If you come across another version, let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The Denon Home Sound Bar 550 is a 4.0 soundbar setup from 2021. It has a very compact design, but like many small soundbars, it doesn't get very loud. It also struggles to reproduce a thumpy low-bass, though you can add on a subwoofer and satellites sold separately. That said, thanks to HEOS Built-In, you can control it and group it with other Denon Home products using the HEOS app.

See our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best Dolby Atmos soundbars, and the best small soundbars.

Sonos Arc

The Sonos Arc is a better soundbar than the Denon Home Sound Bar 550. The Sonos is a 5.0.2 setup that comes with a discrete center channel. It has a better soundstage performance, gets louder, and comes with a room correction feature. You can also upgrade it as the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers. However, the 4.0 Denon is smaller, and it comes with EQ presets and a Full HDMI In port.

Sonos Beam

The Sonos Beam is a better soundbar than the Denon Home Sound Bar 550. The Sonos has a better soundstage performance, and it gets louder. It also comes with a room correction feature and a discrete center channel. However, the Denon supports Atmos content and Bluetooth connectivity. It also comes with EQ presets and a Full HDMI In port.

Samsung HW-Q950A

The Samsung HW-Q950A is better than the Denon Home Sound Bar 550. The Samsung is an 11.1.4 setup with a dedicated sub and discrete satellites. It reproduces a more extended low-bass, and it gets louder. It also has better soundstage, center, and surround performances. There are even more sound enhancement features, including a graphic EQ and room correction. However, the 4.0 Denon is better built, and it has a more compact design that some users may prefer.

Samsung HW-Q700A

The Samsung HW-Q700A is better than the Denon Home Sound Bar 550. The Samsung comes with a dedicated sub, so it can reproduce a more extended low-bass. It has better soundstage and center performances, and it can get louder. It also comes with a graphic EQ, unlike the Denon. That said, the Denon has a better surrounds performance.

JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam

The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam is a better soundbar than the Denon Home Sound Bar 550. The JBL is a 5.0 setup that offers a discrete center channel to help reproduce dialogue more clearly. It also gets louder and comes with a room correction feature. However, the 4.0 Denon comes with a dialogue enhancement feature, and it has a better Atmos performance.

JBL Bar 9.1

The JBL Bar 9.1 is better than the Denon Home Sound Bar 500. The JBL is a 5.1.4 setup that comes with a dedicated sub, which helps reproduce a more extended low-bass. It has better soundstage, center, and surround performances, and it gets louder. It also supports more wireless playback options, and it has a room correction feature.

Samsung HW-Q800A

The Samsung HW-Q800A is better than the Denon Home Sound Bar 550. The Samsung comes with a dedicated sub that helps reproduce a more extended low-bass, and it gets louder. It has better soundstage and center performances, and it comes with built-in voice assistant support. You can also customize its sound profile using its graphic EQ. That said, the Denon has a better surround performance.

Samsung HW-Q600A

The Samsung HW-Q600A is better than the Denon Home Sound Bar 550. The Samsung comes with a dedicated sub that helps reproduce a more extended low-bass. It gets louder, and it has a better center performance. There's even a graphic EQ if you want to customize its sound. That said, the Denon has a better surround performance and more wireless playback options.

Bose Smart Soundbar 300

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Bose Smart Soundbar 300 or the Denon Home Sound Bar 550. The Bose is a 3.0 soundbar with a better soundstage performance and a discrete center channel. It gets louder than the Denon, too. However, the Denon supports Atmos content and comes with more sound enhancement features, including EQ presets and auto-volume mode. Also, it has a Full HDMI In port.

Samsung HW-Q70T

The Samsung HW-Q70T is a better soundbar than the Denon Home Sound Bar 550. The Samsung is a 3.1.2 setup with a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box and a more extended low-bass, which some users may prefer. It gets louder, offers a discrete center channel, and has a graphic EQ for sound customization. However, the 4.0 Denon offers better Atmos and surrounds performances.

Bose Smart Soundbar 700

The Bose Smart Soundbar 700 is better than the Denon Home Sound Bar 550 for most uses. The Bose is better-built, and it gets louder. It also has a better soundstage performance. Unlike the Denon, it has a discrete center channel and built-in voice assistant support. That said, the Denon supports Atmos content and has a better surround performance. It also comes with a Full HDMI In port that supports high quality passthrough, unlike the Bose.

Bose Solo 5

The Denon Home Sound Bar 550 is a better soundbar than the Bose Solo 5. The Denon is better built and supports Dolby Atmos content. It offers more sound enhancement features like EQ presets and comes with a Full HDMI In port. Also, it has a better soundstage performance.

Samsung HW-S60T

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Samsung HW-S60T or the Denon Home Sound Bar 550. The Samsung has a better soundstage performance, and it gets louder. Also, it has a graphic EQ for sound customization. However, the Denon supports Dolby Atmos content and has a Full HDMI In port.

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