I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve watched the epic rooftop showdown scene from The Matrix that first released in 1999. And yet watching this scene at an experience zone set up in 2020 felt like a whole new experience. Sennheiser bills this as a key moment in its India journey that began in 2003. It’s why Daniel Sennheiser, Co-CEO and grandson of the founder of this 75-year old German company was at the unveiling of the brand’s ambitious new home entertainment product.
The last decade has changed Content consumption like no other in recent memory. From casting platforms like Netflix to gaming on smartphones and cloud music platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, change has been the only constant. We’ve also seen many consumers ditching conventional home theatre systems with multiple speakers. Aesthetics and the desire to ditch wires has been one of the catalysts and so has the rise of soundbars. We’ve seen stellar products from the likes of Bose (the Bose Soundbar 700). Sennheiser takes it to the next level with AMBEO, it’s brand new soundbar that delivers a 5.1.4 home experience from a single device.
The first differentiator is the set-up. This soundbar takes everything from your room size, ceiling height to the number of windows, out of the equation. An automatic calibration process just takes three minutes to configure the sound for your room and preferred seating position. The AMBEO is a good looking soundbar, one that won’t look out of place alongside your living room artefacts. We dig the lacquered and brushed aluminium finish. It’s powered by 13 drivers and the latest virtualisation technology co-developed with Fraunhofer IIS (a German research organisation). If the move from Mono to Stereo was one of the big jumps in the 20th century, we’re seeing a clear move to immersive sound driven by changing sound environments that now include gaming. Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro touted its spatial audio feature to create a more immersive experience for smartphones.
I walked through a variety of sound experiences with the AMBEO – from the high adrenaline of a Formula 1 racetrack to an intensive gaming experience. This device is compatible with Dolby Atmos, MPEG-H and DTS:X. It was the ‘Upmix’ Technology that elevated the Matrix Rooftop showdown scene – the soundbar can recreate stereo and 5.1 Content in stunning 3D. You can switch between five pre-sets that include movie and music mode that adjust not only the frequencies but also the 3D sound characteristics.
A companion app (on your smartphone – both iOS and Android) takes the remote out of the equation; you can control the soundbar from your phone as you flip tracks on your preferred music playlist. Advanced connectivity options include built-in Google Chromecast, Bluetooth and HDMI eARC/CEC. There are three further HDMI inputs, an optical audio port and an AUX (RCA) input. Sennheiser’s AMBEO doesn’t come cheap but delivers a brilliant, immersive experience that takes you one step into the future.
Sennheiser’s AMBEO soundbar costs Rs 1,99,990