Wireless, lifestyle-oriented, self-contained streaming audio speaker systems are having a bit of a heyday lately, and one of the more serious contenders to make its debut at CES 2017 was the Samsung H7 Wireless Speaker. This minimalist, retro styled speaker is a surprisingly sophisticated audio offering that aims high in terms of look, feel, and fidelity.
Photos don’t do justice to the H7’s dimensions or build quality; is quite large and sturdy. Perhaps consequently, it’s surprisingly capable when it comes to reproducing sound. Samsung’s marketing gives the credit for how good it sounds to an upsampling algorithm that takes all audio and converts to 32-bit. But upsampling can’t create something that isn’t there to begin with, and it’s already proven that listeners have a very difficult time telling CD audio (16-bit, 44.1 kHz) apart from high-res audio. Rather, what makes the H7 shine is core competence—it’s a good speaker system. A built in downfiring woofer joins the two front facing speakers to generate dynamic, neutral, and engaging sound with physically tangible bass that goes down to 35 Hz.
“Delivering clear, crisp, immersive sound is very important to Samsung, and we always strive to create new products that further complement the user experience,” said Jurak Choi, Senior Vice President of Samsung Electronics. “This year, we focused on the audiophile who wants a single, simple solution that not only fits their lifestyle, but that simultaneously delivers an unparalleled home audio experience.”
One of the most surprising features of the H7 is the feel of the rotary control knob. Unlike some other wireless speaker systems, the Samsung H7 has streaming support built in. You can browse for music and choose playlists from a variety of streaming apps on an integrated display by twirling and pressing a metal knob that has the weighty, damped feel of a high-end stereo’s volume control. It’s a nice tactile touch and a genuinely useful feature. A second, identical knob serves as the actual volume control.
I had a chance to hear private demo of the H7 and it’s capable of Hi-Fi audio reproduction. Unlike many lifestyle audio systems, it will reward being fed high-quality content. Furthermore, it’s large enough that the stereo speakers create a bit of separation.
The H7 includes Wi-Fi connectivity and works with Samsung’s MultiRoom app. It can be used as part of a larger, networked audio system consisting of multiple compatible Samsung components.
When it comes to audio, Samsung’s recent investment in a world-class audio research lab in Valencia California appears to be paying dividends. The Samsung H7 it is a thoughtful lifestyle audio solution that offers notably good fidelity. No word yet on pricing or availability.