Product: Denon Cocoon
Rating: Weak Recommend*
With speaker docks becoming the boombox of today, it's no surprise that Denon has finally come to the table with its own offering. Features for ease of use are always important, but a full listen often reveals the true tonal balance capabilities of any speaker system. Here we'll dive in and evaluate the true sonic signature of this new Sound Dock from Denon.
The Cocoon Home speaker dock enters the market at a strange time since the dock itself is only compatible with 30 pin iPhones (not the iPhone 5). Luckily, AirPlay and Android wireless streaming methods allow to circumvent this connection roadblock. For owners of older iPhones, a simple press of the OLED display ejects, offering a physical dock to mount for play.
Internally, the Denon uses efficient Class D amplifiers to power 4 speakers; 2 tweeters and 2 woofers. The Cocoon connects to your home network wirelessly or through a simple Ethernet connection. Since pairing was required with the wireless connection (meaning physically docking and iPhone 4 or earlier to establish), I chose to connect my wireless network via the Ethernet jack. This way my iPhone 5 could wirelessly transmit tunes using AirPlay.
Touch sensitive controls are flush and illuminate off the glossy back of the Denon Cocoon. Unfortunately, I found these controls weren't as responsive when pressed, the activation area being small. You can avoid using these controls by choosing to use the Denon Cocoon app. This app provides full control of your music library and radio streaming to your Cocoon speaker dock. I ended up using the iPhone Music app to play music since the Denon app crashed too often.
Other than the Ethernet option and AirPlay, a USB input helped me get my iPhone 5 digitally connected to the Cocoon without using AirPlay. Frustratingly, the connection would drop when I tried to change songs, Ugh!
Also, an 1/8 inch stereo input allows for an analog connection from iPods or other music devices. The "Loudness" button/control increases the low and high frequencies for supposed better listening at lower volume settings.
A glossy black remote matches the curvature of the Denon Cocoon and provides simple yet worthwhile control for the main options; volume, play/pause, track, source, and on/off.
Listening: I picked out a variety of musical styles to audition on this Denon speaker dock. Without the loudness button engaged, I found the Cocoon to have a somewhat bloated sound in the bass region. Engaging the loudness button proved to be useless. This furthered the bass being overly extended and it didn't even sound good at lower levels. The space or room of a recording was masked preventing me from hearing the spacial decay of sound - something I love about music recording.
As you might expect, this speaker dock provides very little stereo imaging or separation from right to left. Digital processing is starting to become more used for recreating a stereo image from speaker docks, and unfortunately Denon has done little to convince me of a big stereo image. At CES this year I was introduced to similarly priced docks that provide a much greater immersion into the stereo field.
When compared to similarly priced sound docks, the Denon Cocoon falls short of providing quality balanced sound and decent stereo imaging. At nearly $600, the Denon Cocoon merely amplifies your music without truly convincing me of its value.
Pros: Fits with modern decor (white and black colors), provides wireless solution for music,
Cons: Bass is somewhat overly extended or bloated, USB input is problematic, expensive modern boombox, only has a 30 pin iPhone dock, Denon remote app crashes, touch controls on Cocoon are picky where you touch. priced high for what you get, Stereo music becomes small and mono almost.
(Images: Vahan Baladouni)
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. This specific product was provided by the manufacturer for testing and review purposes.