Picture of the Denon S-32 Wireless Internet Radio Music System, Front View, from Top.

Denon S 32 WiFi Internet Radio Music System Review

Rich full stereo sound. Over 16,000 Internet radio stations to choose from. An AM / FM radio too. Plus, a full-function remote control.  In short, these key features describe the 2007 vintage Denon S 32 internet radio and wireless network music system.

This high fidelity system has an easy-to-ready back lit LCD display.  Its high contrast appearance looks like those bright LED displays of decades past.

This receiver has been on the market for many years now. Its technology is aging, and may be nearing its end-of-life.  No new new firmware updates have appeared for quite some time.

Nonetheless, if you can find this on eBay or amazon for a good price, take it.

Warning: Denon says on the website portal that said support could go away without notice.  So far though, we’ve enjoyed two of these music systems in our home for nearly a decade.  Very few service dropouts noted.

Picture of the Denon S-32 Wireless Internet Radio Music System, Front View, from Top.
Denon S 32 wireless internet radio music system, front view, from top.
Picture of the Denon S-32 Music System with Internet Radio, back view from the top.
Denon S 32 internet radio and music system, rear view from top.

Benefits, Features, Advantages, and Pros of the Denon S 32 Internet Radio

Both Local and Remote Control

The unit has a jog wheel menu system. We find also several buttons that navigate around and change settings. You see what you’re doing on the built-in LCD display.  But you can control most radio functions with the remote control. Also note that control of basic streaming is also possible, from your internet-connected computer.  Just pull up the Denon radio portal website and log into your radio’s account there.

Full-Function Remote

Next, the remote is about the right size for comfortable fitting into most average sized hands. It 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.
  • 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.

Many Audio Stream Formats Supported

We checked that you can play MP3, WAV, WMA, FLAC formatted audio streams.  But we have not found any AAC or AAC+ streams that this receiver plays.  But the documentation says that it can indeed play AAC.

Wifi and Ethernet

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, S 32.  Now the only problem we saw was a “device charging not supported” message. Otherwise, the iPod played flawlessly.

Note that the forward and back controls navigate through the iPod’s music library stored on the iPod.  You can bring up  the iPod’s Playlists, Songs, Artists, and Albums views.  Also, the display on the radio shows what file is currently playing. This only works so long as you play tagged media files on your iPod. The radio’s remote also controls a docked iPod too.

uPnP Support

The Denon S 32 supports Universal Plug-and-Play.  UPnP allows you to play audio recordings stored elsewhere on your network on the radio.  We enjoyed 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.

Dual 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.  Note that the radio must connect to a network with internet access for this to work.  Time syncing happens within ten seconds of pressing the power-on button.

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.

Playable Without Logging On to the Portal Site

Work the jogging control, return, source, previous and next buttons.  With these, you can fully navigate the internet station and podcast library from the radio itself.  You need no computer to enjoy the bulk of the radio’s functionality.

Picture of the top view of the Denon S32 Remote Control.
RC-1089 remote control for the Denon S 32 internet radio, top view.

Disadvantages, Cons, Problems, Limitations of the Denon S 32 Network Music System

No AAC+ Stream Support

To start with, 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 the old days.  These, when hi-fi all-in-one receivers had tubes and heavy transformers.

Warm Operation

The case heats considerably during operation. Even when you turn off the radio, it still heats whenever connect to AC power.

Multiple Radios Cannot Easily Share the Same Station Playlists

Each Denon S 32 has a unique serial numbered account on the portal website.  So if you own two S-32s, as do we, you must program the stations for each radio separately.  There is though, a way to link radios together.  This way, they all see the same content.  But you must call customer service for that.  They will ask for the MAC addresses of all  radios that you want to show the same content.

Sometimes, the Portal Site Goes Down for Days

We saw days-long outages.  While these occurred, the S-32 would not play any internet stations.  The screen displayed a “No network connection” message, even though our internet connection worked correctly.

No Longer Made

According to Amazon.com, this net radio is no longer manufactured.  Now the internet technologies evolve rapidly.  Thus as with most devices, it’s only a matter of time, before the S 32 stops working.

Kind of Big for a Clock Radio

Next, this system features a dual-alarm clock. This can switch on the radio at the scheduled times.  But as a clock radio, the Denon S 32 is a bit unwieldy for a bedside night stand.

Does Not Support 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.

Suggested Improvements

Add AAC+ Stream Support

Many Internet stations have moved to Advanced Audio Coding stream format.  Why?  Because AAC has better audio frequency response at lower data rates. Fortunately though, most of the bigger stations still supply the older format MP3 and WMA streams.  However, without legacy stream support, this radio will become less usable over time. Indeed, these streams will likely go offline as time goes forward.

Allow Multiple Radios to Easily Connect to Same Denon Portal Account

That way, you wouldn’t have to program, in duplicate, the same sets of playlists for each radio you own.

Our Rating

At last, we like the spacial imaging performance of the Denon S 32.  Plus, the speakers sound further apart than they actually are.  This separation gives a richer stereo listening experience.  Like the older Q-Sound technology, instruments and voices come from places where there’s no speakers.  In fact, you might hear a guitar from way left of where the radio is.  Or, a voice that seems to come from all around you.  It’s an awesome sound stage effect.

Finally, we wish this radio was not “on the way out”. We feel though, that its 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. Indeed, buy one if you can get it for less than $200.  Note that this is possible on e-commerce sites like eBay and Amazon.  We like this enough that we bought two of them.  So, overall, we’d rate the S32 at 93 out of 100.

Suggested Reading

Disclaimers

  • 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.

References

Revision History

  • 2019-03-17: Added more subheadings, tags, and key phrase targeting. Shortened sentences and fixed some typos too.
  • 2015-12-21: Added appropriate tags.
  • 2015-02-28: Originally published.