Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus + Sub: enveloping and immersive 3D sound

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Mis à jour le 29 November 2022.

After the revolutionary Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Max, the German specialist returns with a more compact model: the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus. Thinner (77mm), this new Sennheiser soundbar can now fit under any TV but still wants to be ambitious, with a total audio power of 400 watts RMS and Dolby Atmos 7.1.4 compatibility. It keeps a lot of the same features as its larger counterpart, including the HDMI 4K, HDMI eARC, optical and RCA inputs, as well as wireless streaming. The Ambeo spatialization still uses automatic calibration, now carried out by integrated microphones. Those who enjoy powerful bass will also be pleased with the new Sennheiser Ambeo Sub wireless subwoofer. Can this package offer 3D sound that is as immersive as the iconic Ambeo Max?

The Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus promises to deliver a particularly immersive 3D sound in DTS:X and Dolby Atmos 7.1.4. It can also be paired with the optional Sennheiser Ambeo Sub wireless subwoofer for even more powerful bass.

Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus: packaging & accessories

The Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus comes in a long cardboard box alongside a power cable, an HDMI cable, a remote control with batteries and an installation guide. Because the Sennheiser Ambeo Sub is optional (€699), it is packaged in its own box. It comes with a power cable and a user manual. Inside the boxes, the products are neatly wrapped in recycled paper, just like Christmas presents!

The Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus comes with an HDMI cable, an infrared remote control, a power cable and a user guide.

Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus: presentation

The range

In 2019, the German manufacturer stepped out of its comfort zone (hi-fi headphones, Bluetooth headphones and True Wireless earbuds) and launched its first soundbar: the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar. This premium Dolby Atmos 5.1.4 model with a total audio power of 250 watts RMS made waves in the soundbar market, rapidly becoming a reference Atmos soundbar (read: Which soundbars are compatible with Dolby Atmos?) thanks to its ability to produce immersive 3D sound from a single device.

The manufacturer wants to repeat this success with the new Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus. The reference “Ambeo” is now the signature of the brand’s soundbar range. The first Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar model, renamed Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar “Max”, is the flagship of this series.

The Ambeo range now includes the prestigious Sennheiser SoundBar Max, the new, more compact Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus and the wireless Sennheiser Ambeo Sub.

Design 

Although the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Max is able to captivate any listener thanks to incredibly immersive sound for a soundbar, it has a big drawback: its imposing size makes it difficult to install in front of a TV without hiding the bottom of the image. A problem that the manufacturer has understood and taken into account for the design of the new Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus. As a result, it is a lot more compact, with a thickness of 77mm compared to 135mm. It could almost be added to the list of the best thin soundbars that will fit under a next-gen TV, but it is still a little too tall for the lowest screens.

Thinner than the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Max, the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus can be installed in front of the majority of televisions without hiding the bottom of the screen.

The Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus is more modern and elegant with its rounded, slim silhouette. Reminiscent of a Sonos Beam Gen 2, the Sennheiser Amebo SoundBar Plus emphasizes its visual identity with an acoustic fabric that covers its entire front and side panels. It slightly overlaps on the upper panel. The latter has a polymer honeycomb grid at both ends that hides the Atmos effects drivers. Between these two covers, the ABS chassis is left visible.

The Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus is more elegant thanks to its rounded edges and gorgeous fabric finish.

Acoustic design

The German manufacturer has managed to reduce the thickness of the new Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus while bringing the number of channels up to 7.1.4, compared to 5.1.4 for the Ambeo Max. This feat was made possible by the integration of nine drivers, seven of which are 1” full-range models. They are joined by two 4” drivers for the bass reproduction. Each driver is associated with its own amplification module to maximize the precision of the sound reproduction and ensure a better spatialization of effects. Thanks to its nine Class D amplifiers, the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus has a total power of 400 watts RMS. Enough to enjoy an optimal reproduction in any living room.

Thanks to its many drivers and output power of 400W RMS, the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus ensures an effective reproduction of movies, video games and music.

Conveniently, the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus is compatible with DTS and Dolby formats, including DTS:X and Dolby Atmos. To reproduce these soundtracks over 7.1.4 channels and via nine drivers, the soundbar uses a cutting-edge virtualization system created in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (IIS). This system can recreate a three-dimensional sound space, even with stereo and 5.1 programs.

The Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus uses a powerful spatialization system to reproduce any audio stream in 7.1.4 channel Dolby Atmos.

The Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus’ virtualization system has three levels: Light, Regular and Boost. It is therefore possible to modify the width of the soundstage according to your preferences or the characteristics of the room. To optimize the reproduction of the various effects, the Sennhesier Ambeo SoundBar Plus is equipped with an automatic calibration mode. Unlike the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Max, which uses an external microphone, the SoundBar Plus has built-in microphones that are much easier to use. Consequently, the soundbar can easily measure the acoustic characteristics of the listening room and adapt the sound reproduction accordingly. Lastly, the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus features several presets, including Voice, Sport, News, Music, Movie and Adaptive to adjust the sound according to the content you’re watching or listening to. To create a personalized listening profile, there are several customizable equalizers. Convenient, a Night mode compresses dynamics to reduce the shifts in volume when watching movies or series late at night.

Many audio modes are accessible on the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus’ remote control to modify the sound according to the program or your preferences.

Connectors

The Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus is equipped with two HDMI 2.0A inputs so that it can be connected to the different sources in an audio-video system. These allow you to connect a set top box, a network player or a video game console to retrieve the sound and retransmit the image on the TV via an HDMI 2.1 output. This output is compatible with UHD 4K HDR programs and eARC. It can therefore retrieve the sound of the program viewed on the TV, whether it is played via a VOD service or an external source connected to the TV. With a TV that is not eARC/ARC compatible, the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus can be connected via optical or RCA. Like the Ambeo Max, the Ambeo Plus also has a dedicated output so you can connect any subwoofer, as well as the wireless Sennheiser Ambeo Sub model.

The Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus can be easily connected to a television via HDMI eARC, optical or RCA. It can also receive video sources thanks to its UHD 4K HDR compatible HDMI inputs.

Streaming 

In addition to its wide range of connectors, the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus benefits from many streaming options for music playback. Like its larger counterpart, it is AirPlay 2, Chromecast and Bluetooth compatible to play music streamed from a smartphone, a tablet or a computer. The Sennheiser Ambeo Plus also supports Tidal Connect and Spotify Connect thanks to the latest AMBEO|OS operating system, which was also recently added to the Max version: Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar: now with AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect and Tidal Connect.

Controls

At the center of its top panel, the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus features a touch sensitive control interface. The latter lets you adjust the volume, select the source and launch Bluetooth pairing. Unlike the Ambeo Max, the new Ambeo SoundBar Plus can be controlled vocally thanks to the integration of Amazon Alexa. Naturally, it is possible to deactivate the voice-control microphones to safeguard your privacy.

The Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus can be easily controlled using its touch sensitive interface, the remote control or the mobile app. It can also be controlled vocally thanks to Alexa.

Moreover, the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus can be controlled using its infrared remote control. The latter provides additional controls, including quick access to the various presets. It can also activate the voice assistant and the calibration system. Finally, the Smart Control app for iOS and Android lets you adjust the brightness of the different LEDs dotted across the soundbar. They can also be completely deactivated.

The Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus features several LEDs to indicate the listening mode or the format of the program being watched. They can be dimmed or turned off to avoid any light pollution.

Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus: key specifications

  • 7.1.4 channel soundbar
  • Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, MPEG-H and 360 Reality Audio compatible
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, AirPlay 2 and Chromecast compatible
  • Amazon Alexa built-in
  • Tidal and Spotify Connect compatible
  • Control app
  • Acoustic calibration with built-in microphone
  • Equalizer
  • Total audio power: 400W RMS
  • 4K HDR HDMI inputs and output
  • Dimensions with feet (WxHxD): 1051 x 77 x 121mm
  • Weight: 6.3kg

Sennheiser Ambeo Sub: presentation

The Sennheiser Ambeo Sub is designed to work wirelessly (Bluetooth LE) with the Sennheiser Ambeo Max and Plus soundbars, but can also be connected to any AV receiver or hi-fi amplifier via a cable. This subwoofer has a black ABS chassis. The top panel is covered with acoustic fabric and features the brand’s logo. An aesthetic element that ties in with the new Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus. Although it is almost 40cm tall, the Sennheiser Ambeo Sub can be placed in any nook or cranny of the living room as it is only 27cm wide and deep. Moreover, its port-free design means that it can be placed anywhere, even next to a wall.

The Sennheiser Ambeo Sub is very elegant with its acoustic fabric covered top panel. It can be easily integrated into any room.

The Sennheiser Ambeo Sub is equipped with a 7.9” long-throw driver inside a sealed enclosure. The driver works alongside an amplification module capable of developing 350 watts RMS. Like the new Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus, it has a built-in microphone for acoustic calibration. The bass reproduction can therefore be adapted to the characteristics of the room. On paper, this design allows the Sennheiser Ambeo Sub to go down to 27Hz. However, it doesn’t seem to actually go that deep. 

Thanks to its 7.9” driver and 350W amplifier, the Sennheiser Ambeo Sub claims to offer a low frequency reproduction reaching 27Hz.

Sennheiser Ambeo Sub: key specifications

  • Wireless or wired subwoofer
  • Wirelessly compatible with the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus and Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Max
  • 7.9” driver
  • Acoustic calibration with integrated microphone
  • Total audio power: 350W RMS in class D
  • Frequency response: 27Hz to 80Hz
  • Dimensions with feet (WxHxD): 274 x 369 x 274mm
  • Weight: 8.2kg

Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus + Sub: configuration

Once connected to the different sources and the TV (via HDMI eARC for this review), the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus is easy to set up via the Sennheiser Smart Control mobile app for iOS and Android. The soundbar is automatically detected and you simply have to connect to the WiFi or Ethernet network for the system to be operational.

The Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus is set up in a few simple steps using the Sennheiser Smart Control app.

It is also possible to perform an acoustic calibration. To do this, the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus emits a series of loud sounds to measure the reverberation of the room using the integrated microphones. With these measurements, it adapts the sound reproduction to always provide the best possible experience.

Thanks to its integrated microphones, the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus can perform an acoustic calibration to adjust the spatialization of the different effects according to the room’s acoustic properties.

If you want, you can also pair the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus to the Sennheiser Ambeo Sub. Once again, the setup process is quick and only includes a few steps. Once the subwoofer is connected to the mains, you simply have to go into the mobile app to activate it. It is then automatically paired to the soundbar.

With the mobile app, the Sennheiser Ambeo Sub only takes a few seconds to pair with the soundbar.

Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus + Sub: listening impressions

Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus by itself

It is necessary to activate the Ambeo spatialization using the remote control or the mobile app for the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus to provide the best performance. Once we had done this, the soundbar blew us away with its ability to produce a vast soundstage. The soundtrack spread out in all directions and with ease, far beyond the limits of screen. The lateral effects seemed to fly throughout the room. The separation of the different channels was pronounced and coherent. With the movie Inception, the Debussy cafe scene in which the entire Parisian neighborhood explodes was brilliantly reproduced. We were transported to the heart of the image, with debris coming at us from all sides and from above us. Although the film is not shot in Dolby Atmos, the Ambeo spatialization managed to add a nice sense of height.

The soundbar provided a vast soundstage. The Ambeo spatialization managed to add a nice sense of height, even with non-Atmos programs.

The Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus was good at highlighting the voices in the soundtrack. The dialogues were clear and always intelligible, even during action scenes. The Voice mode further improved this separation by increasing the volume of the dialogue, giving the impression that there was a center speaker placed in the middle of the screen. 

The Voice mode of the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus gave the impression that there was a genuine center speaker and provided clear, intelligible dialogue.

The Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus’ ability to perfectly reproduce the atmosphere of a program proved to be an advantage for documentaries. With the series Our Planet available in Dolby Atmos on Netflix, the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus transported us to the tropical rainforests. The sound of birds flying overhead was incredibly realistic. When closing our eyes, it was easy to imagine that we were in the wilderness. 

The Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus brilliantly reproduced the sound of our programs and plunged us into the heart of the image.

Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus + Sub 

Even without its subwoofer, the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus managed to produce powerful and intense lows. In a room of around 20m², the explosions and action scenes were gripping and could be felt physically. In a room of 60m², the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus remained perfectly balanced and still had a nice energy in the lows. Without being abyssal, the bass was tight and made the action scenes more credible. However, the physical aspect was less pronounced. 

Without its subwoofer, the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus delivered energetic lows that added rhythm to the action scenes.

When paired with the Sennheiser Ambeo Sub, the difference was subtle. In our living room, we had to increase the level of the subwoofer by 10 dB to really notice it. It then injected the lows with more impact and energy. The bass gained in power and intensity, without going much lower. Explosions and action scenes were more believable, but the physiological effect wasn’t very present. In a room with a surface area of more than 30m2, it would therefore be better to use a larger subwoofer connected to the soundbar’s dedicated output. 

The Sennheiser Ambeo Sub provided the lows with more support and energy, but lacked power for large rooms.

Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus + Sub: compared to…

Sonos Arc + Sub: available for €1,699 with its subwoofer (€979 without the sub), the Sonos Arc soundbar ensures a 5.1.2 channel reproduction. It supports many audio formats, including DTS:x and Dolby Atmos. The spatialization offered by this Sonos soundbar is very effective, with pronounced lateral effects and clear dialogues. However, the soundstage delivered by the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus is much more enveloping, with stronger Atmos effects. Without a subwoofer, the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus offers tighter and more powerful lows than the Sonos Arc. That said, when the Sonos Arc is used with its subwoofer, it delivers bass that is much more powerful and deep than those produced by the Ambeo Plus + Sub. This can easily be remedied by opting for a different subwoofer.

The Sonos Arc soundbar is more modular. It can be paired with the powerful Sonos Sub and a pair of connected Sonos speakers to reproduce surround sound effects.

Devialet Dione: sold for €2,190, the Devialet Dione soundbar has the undeniable advantage of offering extremely deep and powerful bass without a separate subwoofer. By itself, it manages to produce more intense and physical lows than the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus + Sub duo. However, the Sennheiser model is more immersive, with a wider soundstage and more realistic Atmos effects. Both the vertical and horizontal effects move effectively through the room. 

The Devialet Dione soundbar can deliver powerful and intense bass without a separate subwoofer.

Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus + Sub: who are they for?

The Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus is ideal for enjoying an enveloping sound without having to install numerous elements in the room. The immersion is much better than with the TV’s built-in speakers, with superior spatialization as well as true lateral and Atmos effects. In rooms smaller than 30m², this Sennheiser soundbar provides great bass that makes action scenes more realistic. In larger rooms, users who enjoy deep bass will want to add a subwoofer. It is best to opt for a model with a larger driver than the Sennheiser Ambeo Sub. The latter is more suited to small spaces.

The Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus is a great solution to enjoy an enveloping sound without having to install numerous elements in the room.

Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus + Sub: conclusion 

With the new Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus, the German specialist offers an excellent alternative to the popular Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Max. It has the same incredible spatialization abilities in a more compact format, so it can now be installed in front of the majority of televisions. The Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus is one of the best on the market, with an innate ability to distribute sound to every corner of the room and the ceiling. The Sennheiser Ambeo Subwoofer is a good companion in rooms smaller than 30m² for even deeper bass. In larger living rooms, you should choose a more powerful model with a larger driver.

We liked:

  • The wide and enveloping spatialization
  • The clear and intelligible voices 
  • The acoustic calibration

We would have liked:

  • A more powerful subwoofer
  • An even slimmer format

1 COMMENT

  1. Great, in-depth review! What are your thoughts on this soundbar in an open living room where there are only three walls (left side of room is open to dining area)? Thank you!

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