Add the exclusive Sennheiser Ambeo audio processing to Dolby Atmos and you’ll get what’s arguably the soundbar that sounds the best on the planet. A superb cinematic sound from a single-box solution – and a wonderfully musical music.
- Beautiful 3D audio performance
- As well with music as movies
- Water is expensive
- Big and not really pretty
- Price of the opinion: £ 2199
- Ambeo immersive audio processing
- Built-in subwoofer
- Dolby Atmos & DTS: X
What is Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar?
Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar, which finally emerges from its hell for development, is the first incursion of the audio specialist in the home cinema. Rather than releasing only another sound tile, Sennheiser rethought the entire immersive audio proposal, adding his own proprietary treatment to the mix.
Sennheiser describes these debut as a 5.1.4 listening experience, without the need for additional rear speakers or a separate subwoofer. Sound bars have long promised a more practical home theater experience, but few of them are really effective. The sound bar Ambeo is one of the few.
Ambeo, in case you’re not paying attention, is an immersive, multi-faceted audio codec. It can be used for native audio recordings or applied – as is the case here – on Dolby Atmos and DTS: X. It is compatible with Atmos supplied via Dolby Digital Plus (used for streaming and streaming ) and TrueHD (like on a Blu-ray disc).
He also does some pretty wonderful things with the vanilla stereo …
Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Design and Build – An absolute barbell monster
With more than one meter in diameter and a considerable weight of 18.5 kg, this Ambeo is far from being an amoeba. It is clearly designed for screens 65 inches and up. He may not win any beauty contest, but the quality of the construction is remarkable.
In total, there are 13 speakers on board, including six 4-inch long focal length woofers and five tweeters, driven by 250W amplification.
Above the front row of speakers, two Dolby Atmos pilots have allowed the sky to look skywards, while lateral projection cones lead the neighboring walls to resonate their sound. The bar itself rests on two rather small rim feet, although there is a wall mounting option.
The inputs include three HDMI outputs (v2.0a), an HDMI output (eARC compatible, with Dolby Vision HDR), optical digital audio and auxiliary input. Google Chromecast and Bluetooth (4.2) are integrated. The soundbar is also compatible with Chromecast and the Google Home app.
A rather small remote control allows access to a variety of audio presets (movie, music, news, sports, neutral and night), as well as source selection and volume control. Sennheiser also suggests downloading the smart control partner application, which adds an equalizer. In truth, this application is not particularly refined and it is hard to believe that people will use it with the greatest pleasure.
If you need it, there is also a selection of commands on the body.
Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Functions and Setup – Calibration is possible, but you will need to choose your listening position carefully …
This soundbar does not work only with Dolby Atmos and DTS: X, it is also compatible with MPEG-H, a competing immersive audio codec that seems to be gaining ground in the Asian market. Thus, all format bases are covered … as long as you do not count Auro 3D.
The bar comes with a high quality calibration microphone. It plugs into a 3.5mm audio jack on the front fairing and does not take any time to complete its routine. There is no display on the screen; instead, the bar communicates via a small status window and a selection of chimes and beeps.
Interestingly, the calibration microphone only measures one point of listening. So be sure to measure from your favorite chair.
Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Performance – Muscular and totally convincing by its immersiveness
With a connected Blu-ray player and a stack of Dolby Atmos and DTS: X discs in hand, this Sennheiser does not waste time impressing.
The standard Atmos test clips confirm that the Ambeo Sound Bar has no problem choosing an immersive speaker layout. Insects surround the listening position, birds flit and tropical rains descend from above.
The influence of Ambeo treatment is dramatic. off, the sound stage loses height and width. Ambeo treatment is available in Light, Standard and Boost forces. With Light, there is very little post-processing at work, while Boost openly expands the sound stage but suffers from a lack of subjective concentration. The effect is a little cooking pot. For the most part of this hearing, we have focused on the implementation of the standard, which gives an increased sense of ambiance.
It may be an all-in-one, but the sound level is based on substantial bass. LFE hits hard and fast. If you are not convinced by the slam, you have the option of connecting a subwoofer, with a predefined 80Hz crossover. We did not feel the need to add an extra deep bass woofer. The Ambeo bar can drop to 30Hz.
There is no shortage of muscle. The sound system sings as you turn up the volume. his output is prodigious. Mid-range delivery is impeccable, and voice and cinematic dialogs are handled competently.
What really strikes you is the complexity of the sound field. Depth and nuance, musicality and raw power. It may be one physical box, but it does not look like another. The blazing futuristic sound of Blade Runner 2049 (UHD Blu-ray) is both oppressive and hypnotic.
The good news is that the soundbar does not only favor Dolby Atmos; That’s just as impressive with DTS: X. Kingsman: The Secret Service is a true sonic adrenaline rush, with the same sonic attributes. Whatever the source, it is a truly cinematic sound system.
Of course, Ambeo is not just for movies. With a standard 5.1 multichannel mix, you get a real feeling of improved space. And the work that Ambeo does with two-channel sources is almost miraculous. It works just as well with stereo TV shows as it does with music.
When the bar increases its sound level, it does not add a whimsical surround direction. In addition, he creates layers of detail and a pitch. This blurs the border between two-channel audio and dedicated 3D audio.
Should I buy Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar?
There is no doubt that this audio solution is expensive, but since it challenges the performance of a set of AVR and high-end speakers, it is not excessively expensive. Some might even think it’s a premium option offering good value.
If you simply do not have the room or inclination to install a complete home theater system, this is the most convincing alternative we’ve heard so far. It does not try to mimic a conventional home theater system, but offers something cooler. Sennheiser took the concept of a Dolby Atmos soundbar and elevated it to another level. Theatrical audio has evolved.
Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar
Verdict Add the exclusive Sennheiser Ambeo audio processing to Dolby Atmos and you'll get what's arguably the soundbar that sounds the best on the planet.
The price written on this page is true as the time it is written. It may change at any moment.