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Sennheiser’s AMBEO soundbar promises acoustic alchemy

Sennheiser headphones and mics are held in excessive esteem by way of shoppers and audio execs alike, however the corporate is a babe within the woods when it comes development loudspeakers for the house theater. In keeping with what we heard at CES of its AMBEO soundbar—an all-in-one Five.1.Four design without a fewer than 13 drivers—Sennheiser will haven’t any downside shooting a slice of the marketplace on the excessive finish.

The AMBEO soundbar targets to “set a brand new reference in sound high quality” for this class, mentioned Maximilian Voight, the Hanover, Germany-based product supervisor at Sennheiser and our host for an indication on the Las Vegas Conference Heart.  “It delivers the spatial ‘as though there’ enjoy of a Five.1.Four gadget and robust bass, with out the desire for extra audio system and even an exterior subwoofer. AMBEO covers the overall spectrum from 30 Hertz to 20 Okay, +/- 3db.”

After simply ten mins of snippet listening, certainly one of my audition colleagues declared “It’s the most efficient soundbar I’ve heard on the display. Can I purchase one now?” In reality, he’ll have to attend till Might and pay a vital $2,499 to procure one.

sennheiser soundbar demo Jonathan Takiff

Sennheiser went to nice lengths to give you the concept audio setting to demo its AMBEO soundbar at the another way noisy CES display flooring. (The instrument to the left of the speaker that appears like an antenna is in truth the room calibration mic that ships with the speaker.)

Whilst my rapid influence was once likewise fairly favorable, the cynic in me questioned if the rabid fanatic may well be a plant. How lots of the skidillion soundbars unveiled on the display may he have most likely heard?

I additionally couldn’t lend a hand however understand how sparsely this devoted listening room were arrange to succeed in optimal functionality, with floating ceiling and sidewall panels, and particular acoustic therapies at the similar. It was once rarely your standard CES audition house—high-end audio tools is normally demoed in curtained and carpeted suites on the Venetian. Maximum telling: Whilst an obnoxiously loud online game soundtrack was once blaring from an adjoining sales space simply out of doors our listening room door, the quiet within the Sennheiser display house was once comparable to that during a sealed anechoic chamber.

Nonetheless, the seriousness of Sennheiser’s aspirations was once additionally evident from the git-go within the assemble of this bulked-up (but wall-mountable) speaker, from its lacquered and brushed-aluminum enclosure to Sennheiser’s primary splurge on high-performance drivers: Six forward-positioned, Four-inch long-throw woofers; 3 front-firing, 1-inch alloy material dome tweeters; two side-firing tweeters; and two upward-firing, three.Five-inch full-range audio system, jointly pushed by way of 500 watts of Elegance D amplification.

sennheiser soundbar exposed Sennheiser

Peel off the luxurious casing and also you’d to find this considerable array of 13 drivers, powered by way of a 500-watt Elegance D amplifier.

The Sennheiser audio heritage is most evident within the incorporated exterior microphone, a wand-styled factor of good looks fixed on a stand that’s “used only for room calibration after which set aside,” Voight sighed. Not like different room-calibration headsets and mics that listeners will have to place at numerous room places for multichannel sound gadget balancing, this one is so correct “you simply position it in a single location and let it do its factor.” For optimum sound-throwing thrills, this beam-forming speaker rig must be located in a room with aspect partitions no farther than 5 meters (16.Four toes) to the left and proper of the soundbar, and with a ahead throw from bar to again wall of 5 to 10 meters (32.eight toes) max. 

Additionally telling is Sennheiser’s developmental collaboration with Fraunhofer IIS, the well known German analysis establishment. Fraunhofer holds many essential audio patents, together with one for the multichannel immersive audio codec MPEG-H Audio that also is on the middle of Sony’s 360 Fact Audio mission. The AMBEO soundbar is likewise suitable with the Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-based multi-channel codecs, Voight mentioned as he performed the preferred Dolby Atmos “rain woodland” clip, along side snippets of performances by way of classical track ensembles.

The use of Fraunhofer’s Upmix Generation virtualization era, the AMBEO soundbar can upconvert stereo and Five.1 content material to immersive 3-D. Customers song the traits consistent with content material sort. Presets come with impartial, film, sports activities, information, and track. When Voight demonstrated the final of the ones, the track exhibited modest box enlargement however superb instrumental detailing on a fraction of The Eagles observe “Resort California.” The impact was once much more relaxing when carried out to a live performance clip from Imogen Heap (a British skill after all incomes Stateside popularity as composer for the Broadway hit Harry Potter and the Cursed Kid.)

4 ambeo totale front hires cmyk Sennheiser

Sennheiser’s AMBEO soundbar is compatible with Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and MPEG-H Audio.

I didn’t sense that the processing just piled on echo to move the sound outwards, nor did it alter tonal characteristics to make individual instruments pop. There’s more intelligent steering and deception going on here. And Voight hinted that it could be tweaked even more so in the future, via firmware updates to the soundbar and enhancements to its Sennheiser Smart Control companion app, delivered over Wi-Fi.

Ready to serve a variety of masters, connectivity options include built-in Google Chromecast, Bluetooth, and the latest iteration of HDMI with eARC (enhanced audio return channel, which provides more bandwidth than first-generation ARC). Users will also find three standard HDMI ports, one optical input, and one analog stereo RCA Aux input.

You won’t be able to talk to this soundbar, but Sennheiser is making a good case to just shut up and listen. I’m looking forward to doing that in a more real-world space.

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