When it comes to getting the most immersive audio presentation from a standalone soundbar, no one has managed to outclass Sennheiser’s Ambeo. And considering that device’s sky-high $2,500 price, you’d expect it to deliver a sublime home theater experience. At IFA 2022, Sennheiser is adding to the Ambeo lineup by introducing the new Ambeo Soundbar Plus. The price is slightly lower but will likely still leave this one out of reach for many consumers. It costs $1,499.95, and preorders begin today.
The Plus model is advertised as “the world’s first 7.1.4 standalone soundbar.” Sennheiser’s original Ambeo will remain for sale and is now being rebranded as the Ambeo Soundbar Max. It’s still larger than the new Plus, so the name makes sense in that regard. The words “more compact” are mentioned several times in the company’s press release, so Sennheiser is really trying to underline that difference. It’s not a tiny soundbar by any means, but it comes off as less imposing than the Max.
But even at a smaller size, the Ambeo Soundbar Plus offers the same captivating 3D sound output as the original, a secret sauce that Sennheiser created in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS. Read any review of the original Ambeo Soundbar Max, and yeah, the surround sound effect is genuinely impressive.
“Ambeo self-calibration reads a room’s acoustic properties and then positions seven virtual speakers around the listener, plus four more overhead,” Sennheiser’s press release states. “Users get to experience the depth, impact, and spaciousness of a movie theatre at home — without the fuss of extra cables or satellite speakers.”
That’s right: Sennheiser (again) isn’t offering any kind of satellite speakers for the Ambeo Soundbar Plus. But it is announcing a new, standalone subwoofer to go along with it. The $699.95 Ambeo Sub pairs an 8-inch woofer with a 350W class-D amplifier, and the company claims it can deliver “audiophile-grade bass down to 27Hz.” You can wireless link up to four Ambeo Subs together in one home theater setup. The Sub is designed to self-calibrate and leverage built-in mics to optimize performance for a room’s unique acoustics.
The Ambeo Soundbar Plus’ list of supported audio formats includes Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and 360 Reality Audio. Sennheiser says owners will be able to “upmix stereo and 5.1 content to create thrilling 3D sound experiences that make it sound like the artist is in the room.” As with the Ambeo Soundbar Max, you also get a wide array of built-in streaming integrations, including Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect, and Google Chromecast. Those features were added in March with the launch of Ambeo OS.
Clearly, Sennheiser is happy to continue competing in the ultra-premium soundbar market against the very best from Sony, Sonos, Bose, and others. The company isn’t (yet) interested in producing a soundbar for under $1,000, let alone anything budget-priced.
Both the Ambeo Soundbar Plus and Ambeo Sub will be available in stores on September 22nd.