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Top things to know about the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar

written by gregor August 15, 2019
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Top things to know about the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar

Is your TV lacking oomph in the audio department? A soundbar can help. Soundbars are a great way to upgrade your TV’s built-in speakers – without taking up a lot of space. Not all soundbars are created equal, though. The latest models feature Dolby Atmos technology designed to put you in the heart of the action.

I recently had the chance to test the new Ambeo Soundbar  in my Home, and was extremely impressed with its ability to produce compelling, room-filling surround sound from a single box.

Here are the Top things to know:

 

Size & Unpacking

I carefully whacked Sennheiser’s new soundbar out of its box. After all, the 1.25 meter long loudspeaker weighs in at almost 20 kilos. This at least makes it feel valuable. But it should at a price of almost 2500 Euro.

Those who are willing to spend so much money on a sound bar will not only get a lot of weight but also plenty of technology. Sennheiser has installed a total of 13 loudspeakers in the soundbar.

Seen from the outside, they all look identical, but things look different under the protective fabric cover: Six bass loudspeakers radiate directly to the front, while of the five smaller tweeters only three radiate to the front and one each is located in the left and right sides. In addition, full-range loudspeakers are installed on the left and right of the upper side, which emit their sound to the front and upwards. What this looks like under the fairing is shown in our photo gallery:

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The result, the manufacturer promises, makes it possible to experience “5.1.4 home entertainment with a single all-in-one device”. This means, for example, films with a Dolby Atmos soundtrack for spatial sound effects. In order to hear them in full splendor, you normally need ten loudspeakers that are carefully placed in the room. Four of these are on the ceiling, two behind the viewers, two to the left and right of the TV, one below and a sub-woofer.

In order to create a three-dimensional sound impression with a single sound bar similar to that produced by such a complex setup, Sennheiser has developed a technology together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (Fraunhofer IIS) with which virtual loudspeakers can be placed in the room.

A bit like a submarine

The basis for this is a technology developed by Fraunhofer IIS called “upHear” Immersive Audio Virtualizer. This ultimately ensures that the many loudspeakers in the Sennheiser sound bar use the walls, ceiling and floor of the room as reflective surfaces, via which sounds are specifically redirected in such a way that the impression is created that one is literally surrounded by loudspeakers.

For this to work, the sound bar must first understand how the room is structured. To do this, you place a supplied measuring microphone where you usually sit when watching television. The sound bar then generates a series of sounds to check the size of the room. (Including furniture, Open or closed doors,…)

 

The Sound

What is Dolby Atmos?

In short, it simulates the kind of captivating 3-D audio experience you would experience in the cinema. Most Dolby Atmos sound bars use upward-facing drivers to spread the sound over your head, with the effect of speakers standing in the ceiling. As a result objects on the screen, such as birds, helicopters, can be heard in stunning clarity all around you.

In recent years, a series of Dolby Atmos soundbars have come onto the market, and there are now several models that fit most budgets. Atmos soundbars aren’t inexpensive, but more you spend, the more bells and whistles you can expect. You also don’t have to search far to find content. Apart from Blue-ray discs, Amazon and Netflix offer many Atmos-enabled movies and TV Shows on demand. Are you ready to boost your binge watching with Dolby Atmos soundbar?

And how does it sound?

The result is impressive. In films with elaborately produced Dolby Atmos sounds, such as “Star Wars”, sounds sometimes seem to float in space. Although the soundbar is standing in front of me, some sounds clearly come from behind me. But there is only the wall behind me 😉

Sennheiser Ambeo has a very clear never strained sound and produces a very relaxing sound drop.

But with appropriately controlled film effects, it can also be powerful in the bass range and shake the room. This is not quite as effective as with a dedicated sub-woofer, but it is quite enough to let my neighbors participate in the cinematic events. Switched to the “Music” mode, it is also suitable as a party Stereo System, which is able to produce a very wide stereo sound feeling.

 

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To Summarize

I am not prejudiced against new products, but I have to admit that I didn’t expect the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar to be almost as good as it is.

It’s expensive for a sound bar, pretty big and pretty tricky to position, but those design decisions were made on behalf of the superior sonics, and they seem to have paid off.

By using larger, higher quality speakers, the Ambeo Soundbar is able to produce audio with rare, natural tonality, cohesion and solidity, and the 3D audio processing is absolutely compelling.

This is the best sound bar I have tested and the best way to bring surround sound into your room without filling it with a lot of individual speakers.

In my brief listening experience with the Ambeo soundbar, I found that it delivers on its promises of excellent sound quality, surround imaging and an incredibly large sound-stage from a single device without external speakers.

The Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar is online available in Europe. (Click the Link to the official Sennheiser Online Shop)

It is sold for € 2.499 Euro

 

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In wonderful cooperation with Sennheiser

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