The advent of object-based audio technology is motivating more companies to enter the home entertainment segment. Sennheiser will launch its Ambeo soundbar with Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and MPEG-H in May 2019 for $2499 / €2499.
Potent all-in-one soundbar
We first experienced the soundbar at IFA 2018 and at CES 2019 Sennheiser was once again showcasing its so-called Ambeo. It is an integrated design – without rear speakers or subwoofer – that Sennheiser claims can deliver a 5.1.4-channel listening experience.
- “We believe that the Ambeo Soundbar will set a new reference in sound quality,” said Maximilian Voigt, Product Manager, Sennheiser. “It delivers the spatial ‘as if there’ experience of a 5.1.4 sound system and powerful bass, but without the need for additional speakers or an external subwoofer.”
The soundbar supports three different object-based audio formats, namely Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and MPEG-H. These three formats are all characterized by sounds being encoded as objects rather than being assigned to fixed channels. Sound objects can be positioned inside the 3-dimensional listening environment for a more accurate and immersive listening experience. The soundbar can also up-mix stereo and 5.1 surround to its many built-in units. Included in the box is an external microphone for room calibration.
It supports Bluetooth and Chromecast for music playback but lacks Apple’s Airplay 2 that is quickly growing in popularity. UHD Blu-ray players and other playback sources can be connected directly to the soundbar via one of the three HDMI ports or looped through an eARC-compatible TV.
After having listened to the soundbar more than once, we can comfortably say that it delivers a powerful and encompassing audio experience that surpasses most other soundbars that we have listened to. The fully integrated design has some limitations, though. It uses up-firing and side-firing units to imitate top and rear speakers but even in a rectangular room sound objects that are supposed to come from behind rarely make it past the seating position. It cannot fully match discreet rear speakers. Still, the soundbar delivers promising performance and we hope to get our hands on a sample for a full review.
Sennheiser’s Ambeo soundbar will be available in the US and Europe from May 2019 for $2499 USD / €2499.
Sennheiser Ambeo soundbar - specifications
- Immersive 5.1.4 sound from an all-in-one device that delivers incredibly deep bass without an additional subwoofer â€¨ - Optimized listening experience for every room with easy calibration via the included external microphone â€¨ - Compatibility with Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and MPEG-H â€¨ - Upmix Technology to recreate stereo and 5.1 content in immersive 3D â€¨ - Five different presets to adapt the sound frequencies and 3D characteristics â€¨according to content type, with presets for movie, music, sports, news, and neutral â€¨ - Easy adjustment of acoustic settings and presets, and selection from three different â€¨AMBEO Modes (light, standard and boost) via Sennheiser’s Smart Control App for iOS â€¨and Android â€¨ -A total of 13 drivers including 6x4” long throw woofers for deep bass, 5x 1” alloy fabric â€¨dome tweeters and 2x 3.5” top-firing speakers â€¨ - Connectivity options include built-in Google Chromecast, Bluetooth and HDMI â€¨eARC/CEC â€¨ - Flexible input management with 1x HDMI eARC, 3x HDMI, 1x Optical and 1x AUX (RCA) â€¨inputs â€¨ - High frequency response of 30Hz (-3dB) – 20,000 Hz and 26Hz (-6dB) – 20,000 Hz â€¨ - New features will be added via WiFi and Sennheiser Smart Control updates â€¨ - Sleek, premium design with lacquered and brushed aluminum surface â€¨