Rich full stereo sound, over 16,000 Internet radio stations to choose from, an AM / FM radio, and full-function remote control. These key features describe the 2007 vintage Denon S-32 Internet radio and wireless network music system.
This high fidelity system is a fully self-contained unit with an easy-to-ready back lit LCD display, whose high contrast appearance resembles those bright LED displays of decades past. This receiver has been on the market for several years now, and though its technology is aging, and may be nearing its end-of-life, they recently released a new firmware version that further improved the radio’s stability and reduced keypad lockups. So if you can find this on eBay or amazon for a good price, take it. Just beware though that Denon warns on the supporting website that said support could be removed at any time, without notice. So far though, we’ve enjoyed two copies in our home for nearly three years, without significant service dropouts.
Benefits, Features, Advantages, and Pros
Both local and remotely controlled. The unit has a jog wheel menu system and several buttons for navigating through and changing settings, using the built-in LCD display. However, most of the functions may also be controlled by the remote control, and basic streaming functionality can be controlled also, from your Internet-connected computer on the Denon radio portal website.
Full-function remote. The remote is about the right size for comfortable fitting into most average sized hands, and features a rich set of buttons including: Sleep, On / Off, Source input selection (Internet radio, FM / AM, iPod, Aux, and PC music), Play / Pause, Play Mode, Display, Volume up and down keys, Favorite, Mute, Preset FM / AM station selection, Display Dimmer, Return, and the navigation ring buttons, including back -, forward +, up, down, and enter.
Mute / Snooze button.
Adjustable display format and brightness.
Front panel AUX and Earphone jacks.
Can play Rhapsody recordings. Requires a Rhapsody account.
Numerous audio stream formats supported. We’ve verified that you can play MP3, WAV, WMA, FLAC formatted audio streams. However, we haven’t been able to find any AAC or AAC+ streams that this receiver plays, though the documentation says that it can indeed play AAC.
Wifi and Ethernet networks supported. You can connect to any 802-11 b/g wireless network, or via an Ethernet network cable, to your home network.
Plenty of volume. Deep, full-bodied bass. 20 watts of total audio power. 10 watts per channel, as fed to the built-in speakers. Exceptional sound for speech records, and reasonably decent sound for well-recorded high fidelity music recordings and streams.
iPod docking provided. We played our third generation iPod touch through the Denon, and the only problem encountered was a “device charging not supported” message. Otherwise, the iPod played flawlessly, and you can use the forward and back controls on the radio, or on its remote, to navigate through the music library stored on the iPod, including the iPod’s Playlists, Songs, Artists, and Albums views. Also, the display on the radio shows what file is currently playing, so long as the media files on your iPod are correctly tagged.
uPnP support. Universal plug-and-play is supported by this radio, allowing you to direct audio recordings stored elsewhere on your network, to play on the radio. We’ve enjoyed success playing our media library on the S-32 via Microsoft’s Windows Media Player Connect software. Not always stable, but it usually works well.
Can control the S-32 from your computer. You can change stations and adjust volume levels from your computer, via the portal website.
Functions as a 2-alarm clock radio.
Sub woofer mono output supplied. An RCA-style plug supplies mono line-level output for feeding amplified sub woofers.
Automatic clock setting. The built-in clock sets itself to Internet time when the radio is plugged in and connected to a network with Internet access. Happens within ten seconds of pressing the power-on button when valid Wifi network login information has been entered previously.
Removable antennas. Comes with a wire FM antenna and a screw-on Wifi WLAN areal.
Plays podcasts. The portal website provides numerous podcasts for this radio.
Stations and podcasts playable without longing onto the portal site. By working the jogging control, return, source, previous and next buttons, you can fully navigate the included Internet radio station and podcast library from the radio itself. You don’t need a computer to enjoy the bulk of the radio’s functionality.
Disadvantages, Cons, Problems, Limitations
No AAC+ stream support. This radio does not currently play AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) or AAC-plus radio streams.
No tone controls. You cannot adjust bass or treble levels. You get very good, but essentially flat response from the ten watts-per-channel speaker and amp system.
Bulky and heavy. At over 13 pounds, this internet radio reminds us of the days when hi-fi all-in-one receivers utilized tubes and heavy transformers in their amplifiers.
Warm operation. The case heats considerably during operation, and even when the radio is powered down, and in standby mode.
Multiple radios cannot share same station playlists. Each S-32 has a unique serial numbered account on the supporting Internet radio portal website. So if you happen to own two of these, as do we, you have to program the stations you want each one to access separately.
Sometimes, the portal site goes down for days at a time. We’ve experienced days-long outages, where the radio would not play any Internet stations due to a “No network connection” message, even though our Internet connection was functioning correctly.
No longer made. According to Amazon.com, this net radio is no longer manufactured. So, given the evolving and fleeting nature of Internet and computer-based technologies, it’s only a matter of perhaps a little bit of time, before this device becomes obsolete and non functional.
Kind of big for a clock radio. Though this system features a dual-alarm clock that can switch on the radio at the scheduled times, it’s a bit unwieldy for a bedroom night stand beside the bed.
Does not support later model iPods with lightening connectors. Only a classic-style iPod docking connector is provided. However, with appropriate audio cabling, you could play lightening iPods through this sound system. But you may have to control the iPod using its own touchscreen, rather than the S-32’s music navigation controls.
Add AAC+ stream support. Many Internet stations have migrated to Advanced Audio Coding stream format, due to its better audio frequency response at lower data rates. Fortunately however, most of the bigger stations doing this, are still supplying the older format MP3 and WMA streams for legacy devices like this one. However, without this ability, this radio will become less usable over time, as more Internet broadcasters take down these older formats.
Allow multiple radios to share same Denon portal account. That way, you wouldn’t have to program, in duplicate, the same sets of playlists for each radio you own.
We’re pleased with the spacial imaging performance of the Denon S32. The speakers sound further apart than they actually are, for a richer stereo listening experience that is similar to the older Q-Sound technology, in which instruments and voices seem to come at you from places in the room where there are no speakers. It’s an awesome sound stage effect. We wish this radio was not “on the way out,” is great sound and reliability should be virtually timeless qualities. But aside from the near end-of-life-cycle for this product, we see no reason not to own it, especially if you can procure it for less than $200. This is often possible on e-commerce sites like eBay and Amazon. We like this enough that we bought two of them, and so, overall, we’d rate the S32 at 93 out of 100.
- The comments in this review apply to S-32 radios running the latest firmware version, as of February 28th, 2015. Use the check-for-updates feature to verify that you’re running the latest version.
- Denon Internet Radio Portal Website
- S-32 Wireless Network Music System Owners Manual
- Where to buy the Denon S-32 Internet Radio
- 2015-12-21: Added appropriate tags.
- 2015-02-28: Originally published.