Sennheiser is well known for their headphones and ear buds, boasting some of the best models you can ever put on, whether you’re listening to music, playing a game, or pretending to understand what’s going on in an audiobook. This time around, the outfit is branching out from their specialty to enter a whole new category with the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar.
That’s right, the German audio company has just dropped their first-ever speaker and it’s one designed to make its home right next to your living room TV. Granted, how good a speaker from the outfit will sound is still up in the air at this point, but given their penchant for quality headphones, headsets, and other audio equipment, we’re hopeful they can put together something good.
The Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar is an erstwhile normal-looking soundbar with a slim profile that’s designed to fit right under the TV, whether it sits right in front of the stand or mounted below it up on the wall. It delivers a 3D spatial sound that accurately reproduces 5.1.4 surround, which adds four height channels to the five full bandwidth channels and one low-frequency effects channel of the traditional 5.1 setup, creating an especially immersive experience for movies and TV shows, along with a deep bass response that goes as low as 30 hz, making it just as good of a speaker for listening to your favorite tunes. And yes, all of this is produced from a single soundbar enclosure without an external subwoofer or amplifier.
It produces all that sound using 13 independent drivers, including two 3.5-inch top-firing units and six four-inch long-throw woofers, each one directing sound at different angles to help create the illusion of 3D. According to Sennheiser, it uses virtualization technology they developed with Fraunhofer to automatically calibrate a space, identify the position of sound-reflective surfaces, and adapt its acoustics to take full advantage of the room’s layout. The ideal setup, by the way, is to have all walls and ceilings approximately five meters from the speaker, just in case you’re willing to customize the room layout to get the best possible sound.
The Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar is compatible with all three main audio formats, namely Dolby Atmos, MPEG-H, and DTS:X, so you can enjoy most any type of audio content natively, all while automatically upmixing stereo and 5.1 surround sound to the three-dimensional 5.1.4 format. It has three HDMI inputs, one HDMI output, an optical slot, and an aux-in port for hooking up to your A/V rig, with built-in Bluetooth and uPnP for a wireless connection to other devices. Google Chromecast is also onboard, so you can enjoy it without the need for one of Google’s streaming dongles.
Housing all that hardware, of course, isn’t easy. That’s why the soundbar, with its brushed aluminum shell and lacquered surfaces, has quite the substantial size, measuring in at 49.8 x 6.7 x 5.3 inches (width x depth x height), which is a little taller than most products in the category. Yes, you can still fit this under most TVs on a desk stand, but, for the most part, a wall mount will probably be the ideal option.
The Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar will be available next month, priced at $2,499.