Raum­feld One S

Tech Advisor - - REVIEWS - Chris Martin

Raum­feld is an au­dio brand that you might not have heard of be­fore, but it’s now owned by the long run­ning Ger­man loud­speaker spe­cial­ist, Teufel. Whether you’ve heard of ei­ther, Raum­feld prod­ucts are now easily avail­able in the UK and we’ve taken a look at the firm’s pint-sized multi-room speaker.

Although the Raum­feld One S is small, that doesn’t mean it’s cheap. This lit­tle speaker will set you back £199, although it’s the most bud­get of the brand’s wire­less speaker line-up. You might want to make a stereo pair with two and you can save £50 if you buy this way.

The price, size and fea­tures mean that the One S has some tough com­pe­ti­tion in the ever ex­pand­ing multi-room au­dio mar­ket. Sonos is recog­nised widely as one of the lead­ing brands and is some­thing of a bench­mark. Its latest speaker – the Play:1 – costs £169 and is a fan­tas­tic lit­tle speaker, so let’s see whether it’s worth pay­ing ex­tra for the One S.

Like the Sonos range, the Raum­feld is avail­able in black or white, with the lat­ter be­ing the com­pany’s clas­sic op­tion. The de­sign is square and in­dus­trial with straight lines, which is dif­fer­ent from Sonos’ ap­proach but may fit in bet­ter with the style of your home.

The One S mea­sures just 18cm wide and weighs 1.4kg, so if space is lim­ited, then it’s well suited to squeez­ing into nar­row and tight gaps. We like the sim­plis­tic ap­pear­ance with the fab­ric wrap­ping around to the sides. The build qual­ity is ex­cel­lent and there are some nice de­tails such as the spun fin­ish on the power but­ton.

A ma­jor ad­van­tage of the One S is that’s it’s de­signed to work in bath­rooms and kitchens thanks to a hu­mid­ity re­sis­tant de­sign. A rub­ber cover seals all the phys­i­cal ports on the rear, although you won’t be able to use any apart from the power ca­ble when this is at­tached.

There’s an eth­er­net port that is partly for set up, but you can use it for con­nec­tiv­ity if you like. There’s also a USB port, but it’s down­ward fac­ing which is some­thing of a de­sign flaw since there’s not enough room for a nor­mal sized flash drive.

Like other mul­ti­room sys­tems, you can sim­ply start by buy­ing one speaker and adding more as and when you choose (or can af­ford to). If you have more than one Raum­feld speaker, you can place them in dif­fer­ent rooms around your house and choose what mu­sic to play on each – or syn­chro­nise them to play the same tunes.

We found that the sys­tem works well, and you can con­trol ev­ery­thing with the free app for iOS and An­droid. The app is de­cent but not a patch on the pol­ished Sonos app. It’s in­tu­itive to use and we like the vir­tual vol­ume dial and the ad­di­tion of an EQ, even if it is lim­ited to sim­ple bass, mid and tre­ble slid­ers.

There are phys­i­cal but­tons on the top of the Raum­feld One S, which are un­der a rub­ber cover (to keep any mois­ture out if you’re us­ing it in a bath­room or kitchen). You’ve got vol­ume con­trol as you would ex­pect and four other but­tons sim­ply la­belled 1 to 4. These work like a car stereo and al­low you to cre­ate pre-sets. Long press­ing one while lis­ten­ing to a ra­dio sta­tion, al­bum or playlist will as­sign it then in fu­ture you can just press the but­ton to start it up. It’s a shame not to have play/pause or skip but­tons, though.

Whether you con­nect your One S to the net­work via eth­er­net or Wi-Fi, you can stream mu­sic from var­i­ous dif­fer­ent sources in­clud­ing com­put­ers on your net­work or the de­vice you have the Raum­feld app in­stalled on. It’s much more clunky than Sonos, but works.

It’s easy to lis­ten to ra­dio sta­tions with TuneIn, but things are some­what lim­ited when it comes to other ser­vices with just Spo­tify and Tidal avail­able, both re­quire sub­scrip­tions. This means, to name a few, Ama­zon Mu­sic, Google Play Mu­sic and Deezer are all miss­ing.

If you’re happy with Spo­tify and/or Tidal, then the sound qual­ity of the One S is very good. Although Teufel has been mak­ing loud­speak­ers for decades, the speaker uses a Class D amp, which is a shame but also not a sur­prise.

The One S uses a two-way coax sys­tem with a 90mm mid-range driver and a 25mm tweeter. These are joined by side-mounted 95mm pas­sive bass ra­di­a­tors (one on ei­ther side). The re­sult is well-rounded and suits the vast ma­jor­ity of mu­sic gen­res but sounds muddy at times.

With the two Class D amps out­put a max­i­mum of 40W RMS, and we were im­pressed with how loud you can pump the One S with­out los­ing sound qual­ity and in­tro­duc­ing dis­tor­tion. Even with a lower qual­ity ra­dio stream, you’ll won’t be­lieve the sound is com­ing from this tiny box. Pair­ing two speak­ers into a stereo pair cre­ates a huge sound stage.

With the EQ you can tweak the sound to suit your taste, the room your in or the mu­sic you’re lis­ten­ing to, but most of the time we found lit­tle need. The mid and bass fre­quen­cies tend to dom­i­nate at de­fault set­tings, so we rec­om­mend boost­ing the tre­ble a lit­tle.

Ver­dict

The Raum­feld One S is im­pres­sive with its sleek de­sign and de­cent sound per­for­mance. Pre­set but­tons are handy and the hu­mid­ity re­sis­tant de­sign make it per­fect for the kitchen. How­ever, it’s more ex­pen­sive than the Play:1, lacks some mu­sic ser­vices and the app could be im­proved.

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