Sennheiser’s more-affordable soundbar remains to be a premium-sounding beast

Read Time:4 Minute, 44 Second

2022-09-01 20:48:25

Sennheiser’s debut soundbar, launched in 2019, was a distinct segment product for a few causes. The primary was the value. At $2,499.95, it rivaled the price of many conventional encompass sound techniques comprised of AV receivers and a number of audio system. However maybe extra vital was its dimension. I say this with love, however the unique Ambeo Soundbar (which has now been renamed the Ambeo Soundbar Max) was a chunky boy, which hardly made it a straightforward promote for anybody seeking to tuck it discreetly in entrance of their TV.

So though it’s $1,000 cheaper, I feel value would possibly solely be the second most vital change with Sennheiser’s second soundbar, the $1,499.95 Ambeo Soundbar Plus, which the corporate launched at present at an occasion in Berlin. As a substitute, I feel its decreased dimension is perhaps extra vital. It’s now simply 7 centimeters tall somewhat than 13 centimeters. Meaning you’re nonetheless going to have bother becoming it beneath a TV like LG’s C sequence, which has a notoriously brief stand, nevertheless it has a good probability at becoming underneath taller fashions, not like its predecessor.

The second soundbar within the Ambeo vary.
Photograph by Jon Porter / The Verge

After all, none of that issues if Sennheiser has needed to compromise on sound to trim {dollars} off the soundbar’s value and centimeters off its top. However from what I heard of the soundbar at present throughout a pair of listening classes, that doesn’t seem like the case in any respect.

First, some specs. The Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Plus has a complete of 9 drivers: two 4-inch woofers, plus seven full-range aluminum drivers. Two of those drivers are upward-firing to permit sound to bounce off the ceiling and work with 3D encompass sound codecs like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, two fireplace sideways from the ends of the soundbar, and three fireplace forwards. In complete, Sennheiser claims the soundbar is able to creating the impression of a 7.1.4 encompass sound system.

Word that I say it’s solely creating the “impression” of this 3D sound, as a result of, like its predecessor, the Ambeo Plus is virtualizing these channels. It doesn’t even assist pairing extra audio system to behave as devoted surrounds, as a result of Sennheiser argues its virtualization know-how is sweet sufficient that it doesn’t want it.

After having the prospect to hearken to the Soundbar Plus in an indication, I’m inclined to agree. Sennheiser’s reps rolled by way of a sequence of demo movies, together with some combined in Dolby Atmos. The extent to which it felt like sound was coming from throughout me was spectacular. At a few factors, the reps turned off the Ambeo virtualization, and the distinction of listening to all of the sound coming instantly from the soundbar made the encompass sound impact that rather more spectacular.

The Ambeo Soundbar Plus at its launch occasion.
Photograph by Jon Porter / The Verge

The Ambeo Soundbar Plus’s distant.
Photograph by Jon Porter / The Verge

It’s a must to prepare this virtualization by having the soundbar use its 4 built-in microphones to measure your room. It’s a course of that it’s a must to repeat in the event you ever transfer the soundbar between rooms, however contemplating the spectacular outcomes, it appears properly worthwhile. The Ambeo Soundbar Plus can be able to detecting what sort of content material is being performed by way of it, whether or not it’s sports activities, films, or music, for instance, and optimizing its sound accordingly. There are many handbook controls in the event you want.

Bass efficiency of the soundbar was just a little tougher to evaluate. Sennheiser’s demonstration initially had the soundbar paired with three of its new $699.95 Sennheiser Ambeo Sub subwoofers (it helps a most of 4). And as you would possibly count on from being surrounded by three 8-inch woofers, the impact was spectacular, with music tracks particularly providing an actual intestine punch of sound with every bass word.

Take away the elective subwoofers, and it’s onerous to not really feel just a little upset by what the Ambeo Plus can obtain by itself. That’s to not say it’s dangerous at bass — it was pretty and current, and it didn’t overstay its welcome by changing into booming or overwhelming. It simply can’t transfer air in the identical approach as a devoted sub.

A bevy of ports.
Photograph by Jon Porter / The Verge

The Ambeo Soundbar Plus is well-stocked with connectivity choices. There are a complete of three HDMI ports, one eARC for connecting to a TV and two common HDMI inputs, alongside optical and conventional RCA. There’s additionally a bodily port for connecting a wired sub, in the event you so select. Wirelessly, you’ve got a selection of a lot of requirements together with Bluetooth, AirPlay 2, Spotify Join, Tidal Join, and Chromecast in-built. It additionally has Alexa Constructed-in and is HomeKit appropriate.

With the unique Ambeo Soundbar Max, and now the Ambeo Soundbar Plus, it’s clear that Sennheiser desires to broaden the viewers for its soundbars from the audiophile excessive finish to a way more mass-market shopper. At $1,499.95, the Ambeo Soundbar Plus nonetheless gained’t be for everybody, nevertheless it might be one other convincing bar-shaped various to a conventional encompass sound speaker setup. On the very least, it would truly match underneath your TV this time.



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