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Can a single bar with 13 drivers give an immersive Dolby Atmos expertise?


I’ve at all times stated {that a} price range of Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 is an excellent price range to get a soundbar that not solely packs a punch when it comes to sound high quality, but in addition comes with a number of good options and connectivity choices. Thereby including a degree of comfort to customers. An amazing instance of that is the Sony HT-G700 (assessment). A price range of Rs 1,00,000 can also be an ideal price range to get a soundbar for an immersive encompass sound expertise. On this price range, we even have some modular soundbars just like the Bose Soundbar 700 (assessment) that allow you to add rear encompass audio system at a later date. One other modular soundbar price testing is the Sony HT Z-9F (assessment). 

Soundbars at this time include a bunch of handy options as effectively, like the power to regulate the soundbar with a smartphone app, HDMI pass-through with help for Dolby Atmos and Dolby Imaginative and prescient, digital encompass sound, and room calibration. Immediately, we’ve got with us the Sennheiser Ambeo soundbar priced at Rs 2,00,000. It not solely boasts of a whopping 13 unbiased drivers, but in addition claims to create a room-filling encompass sound expertise with out rear audio system. Is it the penultimate soundbar expertise or are you higher off investing in a house theatre?

Sennheiser Ambeo: What’s within the field?

Within the field, you get the soundbar itself together with the distant management. There is no such thing as a subwoofer with this soundbar, though you may have the choice to buy one individually should you like. You additionally get an HDMI cable, energy cable, and calibration mic together with the person handbook. Total, the packaging is minimal. 

The Sennheiser Ambeo supports Dolby Atmos.

Sennheiser Ambeo: Connectivity choices

Relating to connectivity choices, the soundbar is fairly packed. You’ve one HDMI eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) port that connects to the TV. There are additionally three HDMI 2.0a passthrough ports to attach gadgets similar to your Apple TV or Hearth TV Stick (assessment). The passthrough port helps 4K HDR together with Dolby Imaginative and prescient. There’s additionally an optical port, an AUX port, one USB port (for service and updates), one ethernet port, subwoofer out, one mic enter, Bluetooth 4.2, and Chromecast connectivity. It additionally helps Wi-Fi (2.4GHz and 5GHz bands). 

The Sennheiser Ambeo has 3 HDMI pass through ports.

Whereas the connectivity choices are plentiful, there isn’t any good assistant that comes constructed into the soundbar, which, at this time, can really feel like a bummer, particularly when price range bars just like the Yamaha YAS-209 have applied it so effectively. The dearth of Bluetooth v5.0 can also be missed, however nothing price complaining about.

Organising the Sennheiser Ambeo

Organising the Ambeo soundbar could be executed in lower than 10 minutes. Since there isn’t any subwoofer, or wi-fi surrounds to be added, all you should do is join the soundbar to your TV through the eARC port. Now we have an LG B9 OLED TV to check the soundbar with. This TV has an eARC port. Nevertheless, the soundbar will work effectively even in case you have an older TV with an ARC port. As soon as related, you may join your different gadgets like a Hearth TV Stick or Hearth TV Dice, or Blu-ray participant on to the soundbar should you like because it has three HDMI passthrough ports. Nevertheless, for a tool like a gaming console, we suggest connecting it on to the TV, particularly in case you have a brand new TV with HDMI 2.1 to take advantage of options like ALLM, 4K at 120Hz, and VRR. 

The Sennheiser Ambeo has 13 drivers.

As soon as the soundbar is related to the TV, you need to obtain the Sennheiser Good Management App. Observe the on-screen directions to attach the app to the soundbar. You can even use the Google House app to attach the soundbar to the Wi-Fi, though we marvel why you can’t join the soundbar to the Wi-Fi through Sennheiser’s personal app. A slight inconvenience, however nothing that detracts from the general setup course of. 

As soon as related to the Wi-Fi, you need to examine for any firmware updates for the soundbar. On the time of assessment, there have been no updates out there for the bar. 

You must then join the bundled mic to the soundbar through the mic port in entrance, place the mic in your listening place and press the Ambeo button on the soundbar. Observe the directions on the show of the soundbar (you should use the app as effectively) to calibrate the sound output to the construction of the room. This course of takes not more than 5 minutes, and it is suggested you step apart whereas the calibration sounds are taking part in. 

The Sennheiser Ambeo comes with a calibration mic in the box.

As soon as calibrated, all you should do is energy in your favorite film and you might be good to go. 

Sennheiser Ambeo: Construct and design

Big is the very first thing that may come to thoughts once you see the Sennheiser Ambeo for the primary time. It has fairly an enormous and commanding presence in your front room/leisure room. In my case, I needed to take away every thing from the desk that housed my gaming consoles and my soundbar. The Ambeo took up your complete area. In case your TV is on a tabletop, you may relaxation assured that the soundbar will block a good portion of the TV from view so it is suggested to wall mount your TV and place the soundbar under the TV. 

The Sennheiser Ambeo has 13 drivers – six 4-inch long-throw woofer (cellulose sandwich cone), 5 1-inch tweeters (aluminium dome tweeter), and two 3.5-inch full-range drivers (top-firing). The entrance and side-firing audio system are coated in a tough cloth mesh with a slight convex design the place the drivers are positioned. The highest firing audio system are hidden beneath a honeycomb grill which can’t be eliminated. The highest of the soundbar has a premium metallic end with a brushed metal-like design making the entire soundbar really feel very premium. The entrance additionally has a crisp show supplying you with info like sound mode and supply, whereas the appropriate entrance has the Ambeo brand which lights up when the soundbar’s encompass sound mode is enabled. There is no such thing as a method to make the show go utterly black nor the Ambeo brand when in use and for some this can be a bit distracting for these pitch-dark film nights. However truthfully, I grew used to them fairly shortly. 

The Sennheiser Ambeo drivers are covered with a fabric mesh.

The again is the place all of the ports are hidden and it’s possible you’ll need to take into account cable administration earlier than organising the soundbar as attending to the again of the soundbar is not very simple as soon as it’s positioned. 

Total, the Sennheiser soundbar oozes a premium construct. It additionally has a commanding presence in your room to make sure these which might be there discover it. Nevertheless, its design blends into a house theatre setup particularly when the lights go down for an entertaining movie-watching expertise. The bodily buttons on the soundbar are tactile sufficient to present you a satisfying refined click on when used. 

Efficiency

Earlier than we get into the efficiency, I need to get one gripe out of the best way. Not like the Sony HT-Z9F that has a menu that pops up on the TV, it’s a must to depend on the soundbars show or the app for among the settings of the soundbar. Whereas using the show on the TV is just necessary through the preliminary setup, I want it had been there to have the ability to conveniently tinker with the settings. However this can be a small private gripe, one which others could not face. 

Coming again to the core efficiency, elegant, room-filling with clear channel separation is the very first thing that may come to thoughts once you begin listening to the Sennheiser Ambeo soundbar. When you have content material mastered in Dolby Atmos, be it through the Apple TV, a bodily Blu-ray or just streaming companies, you might be in for a deal with. I used to be stunned as to how effectively the channel separation felt when consuming content material from the soundbar. 

The Sennheiser logo is in the bottom left of the Ambeo soundbar.

Let’s get our expectations clear – for the reason that soundbar depends on bouncing sound from the wall and ceiling to simulate Dolby Atmos, I didn’t count on the sound to come back from behind me or above me very prominently. However contemplating the variety of drivers and their place, I used to be anticipating an excellent 180-degree protection round me from the entrance. In some circumstances, my expectations had been met, in others they had been surpassed, and infrequently was I dissatisfied. 

As anticipated, the sound didn’t come from behind me. There have been just a few situations in Prepared Participant One the place it felt like among the motion was coming from just a little behind my proper ear. When the automobiles had been flying everywhere in the display through the race on the 11-minute mark, the channel and top separation was improbable. I couldn’t solely really feel the automobiles whizzing from the left and proper however the dynamic vary made it really feel as if among the sound was coming from above. In a roundabout way above me, however at an angle. It is not the most effective nor the right illustration of Dolby Atmos, but it surely does give the most effective Dolby Atmos “really feel” from a single bar. We performed Prepared Participant One utilizing an Apple TV 4K field the place we bought the film. 

Even in a film like Mission Not possible: Rogue Nation, when Tom Cruise is whizzing left and proper on his bike, there’s clear channel separation. Even in Spider-Man Homecoming, when Spider-Man is scaling the Washington Monument, there’s clear encompass sound and channel shift when he’s whizzing throughout the display. Each films are in 5.1 encompass sound on Netflix and we left the Ambeo sound mode switched on for the most effective expertise.

The Sennheiser Ambeo has a commanding presence.

Now we have a Dolby Atmos demo disc with the identical content material you’d expertise in an Atmos theatre earlier than a film begins. From the leaf falling demo to the forest rain demo, all of them convey an immersive degree of element and vary to the sound, with the one draw back being that the rain wasn’t coming from above, however within the neighborhood thereof. However as soon as once more, contemplating the projection of sound in several components of the room, the expertise was extraordinarily immersive. 

There’s one audio demo that actually reveals the ability of the soundbar on the demo disc and that’s of an aeroplane taking off. It is among the most immersive demos to expertise on the Ambeo. Even watching TV reveals like Younger Sheldon, or Pals had depth and element we haven’t heard earlier than. The soundbar is actually spectacular. 

When consuming content material at low quantity or utilizing the soundbars “night time mode” we thought there could be lack of readability or particulars within the vocals, however as soon as once more this wasn’t the case. Dialogues had been immensely clear even at low volumes and blended audio with dialogues was simply distinguishable at low volumes.  

The soundbar has physical controls on the top.

Music

Relating to music, the Sennheiser Ambeo is an effective soundbar, however not for die-hard music lovers. To start with, the dearth of bass is straight away felt in a music like Over and Over by Scorching Chip. Whereas the dearth of bass is not instantly felt when watching films, because the built-in drivers are sufficient to get the job executed, bass-heavy music style lovers will miss it right here. The typical joe who desires to “forged” music from his/her smartphone to the soundbar will get pleasure from it. You get room-filling sound at greater quantity and the main points and definitions in devices and vocals are very clear. 

The Sennheiser Ambeo has a display on the front.

Gaming

For gaming, we performed Marvel Spider-Man Miles Morales (assessment), Dust 5 (assessment), and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (assessment) utilizing this soundbar and a PS5 (assessment). From the swishes in Spider-Man’s webs to the ‘zings and zhangs’ of swinging a lightsaber, the gaming audio is immersive. Even the grumble of the automobiles’ engines in Dust 5 was enjoyable to hearken to and immersive when gaming. Whereas the encompass sound results weren’t as efficient as Sony 3D audio headphones expertise, it was greater than sufficient to immerse me with enough channel separation in a sport like Spider-man Miles Morales. This soundbar undoubtedly gives a cinematic gaming expertise. 

Distant management

The distant management that comes with the Sennheiser Ambeo soundbar is fabricated from plastic, but it surely doesn’t really feel low cost in any respect. It additionally has a tapering design, being thick on the prime and skinny on the backside. It doesn’t have a textured again, however manages to present a really comfy grip and really feel. The distant management gives the fundamental controls like supply choice, quantity, sound mode, change on/off Ambeo encompass and energy. To delve deep into the settings of the bar, you’ll have to resort to the smartphone app. 

The Sennheiser Ambeo comes with a premium remote control.

App

To delve deep into the settings of the Ambeo, you’ll need the Sennheiser Good Join app. For its half, it really works fairly effectively, supplying you with a easy UI to navigate and no setting is hidden too deep for consolation. It is purposeful and straightforward to make use of and I’ve solely two issues with it. One is that you simply can not hook up with the Wi-Fi straight and must resort to a third-party app like Google House and secondly, each time you navigate away from the app, and reopen it, it takes a few seconds to search out the soundbar. There are occasions once I needed to faucet the reconnect button on the app a few occasions earlier than the bar was discovered, which at this worth, is a small dent within the in any other case handy expertise the app presents. 

You can control the Sennheiser Ambeo with the companion soundbar app.

Backside line

The Sennheiser Ambeo general is a superb soundbar with what it brings to the desk. It may possibly produce room-filling immersive sound and packs a theatre-like punch with good channel separation. Whereas the encompass sound depends on bouncing hold forth the partitions, you do not want a symmetric room to have an ideal expertise due to the calibration mic. Whereas sound-absorbing parts like a curtain can hamper the encompass sound expertise, the general expertise from the bar for watching films and gaming is superior to a variety of soundbars we’ve examined merely due to the standard of sound output. The music output is sweet too. It additionally comes with ample connectivity choices. Whereas the companion app could have some niggles, and the bar could also be too cumbersome for some leisure setups, the sound output is certainly spectacular. And in order for you, you may at all times add a subwoofer for added bass. Whereas it isn’t honest to check the Sennheiser Ambeo to cheaper soundbars we’ve examined, the one various we will consider is the Sony HT-ST5000. Whereas we have not reviewed the soundbar, on paper, it seems to be like one which may give the Sennheiser a run for its cash when it comes to options. If you’re available in the market for a premium plug-and-play residence theatre answer to go with your model new 65-inch OLED TV, then you may undoubtedly take into account the Sennheiser Ambeo.



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