What a week Sennheiser had in the south of Spain at the 2019 IFA Global Press Conference. There, the company was introduced as the first ever IFA Global Audio Partner in front of a collection of more than 300 members of the global media. But, on top of that, the brand was able to demonstrate their forthcoming AMBEO Soundbar to those same media members in what amounted to one of the most impressive presentations of our week there.
Launching in June—and with a rather hefty $2,500 price tag—the soundbar produced one of the most exceptional soundstages that I’ve ever experienced in a product from this category. With that kind of price point, you’d hope for nothing less than that, but the AMBEO Soundbar goes above and beyond anything you could imagine out of a single product.
Through the AMBEO 3D technology built into the soundbar, Sennheiser is able to create a 5.1.4 home entertainment experience that’s delivered through a single device. They accomplish that by packing the soundbar with an exorbitant amount of sound technology: 13 separate drivers including two 3.5-inch top-firing speakers, and deep bass response that drops to an impressively low 30hz. (The soundbar can pair with third-party subwoofers, but the performance of the device itself renders them almost pointless.) The result is a sound experience that’s truly immersive. Sennheiser explained that, in addition to the speakers themselves, the soundbar uses a combination of acoustic wave-guides and digital processing—not unlike other soundbars on the market—combined with the directional speakers to produce its surround sound effect.
That technology was most notably on display during a demo that dropped us in the middle of a rainforest. The soundbar was able to produce an audio experience that made it feel like there were speakers completely surrounding us. Truthfully, the demo area was designed perfectly for the soundbar, but the device really didn’t need the extra help in creating the magical audio experience that it did.
The AMBEO Soundbar from Sennheiser has plenty of other smart technology packed into it as well, including advanced room calibration that will precisely tailor the sound to the room that the device is placed in, Bluetooth 4.2 capabilities, built-in Google Chromecast support, a connected app experience that lets the user tailor the audio experience to their liking, and compatibility with Dolby Atmos, MPEG-H, and DTS:X, among many other features. Notably, Apple Airplay 2 support is missing, but there’s plenty of functionality available out-of-the-box to keep users more than satisfied.
Visually, the AMBEO Soundbar is an impressive piece of equipment as well. Sennheiser designed the device with anodized, brushed aluminum and lacquered surfaces for a premium, finished feel. It is, however, a rather hefty device, measuring roughly 6.7 inches deep and just over 5-inches tall. That’s massive in terms of the physical profile of a soundbar—worth it, for sure, given the audio performance. But it will make positioning the product in front of non-wall-mounted TVs a challenge.
Bottom line, the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar is an exceptional product that takes the home theater experience and simplifies it down into a single soundbar. Consumers looking for a strong home audio experience that doesn’t take up a large physical footprint in a room—at least compared to a full-scale surround sound system—would be wise to keep an eye out for this product when it drops in June.