Count me in, guys. I had been in the market for a soundbar to replace my traditional Yamaha/B&W 5.1 setup as my significant other doesn‘t like speakers all over the place. So I went to visit some local hifi dealers to listen to a bunch of soundbars from different manufacturers. But I couldn’t find a single one that could even come close to what I was looking for. Luckily, I don‘t live far from Sennheiser‘s headquarter in Germany. I popped around for a visit and listened to the awesome Ambeo soundbar. Boy, what a great sound experience.
Even though the Ambeo was about double the price I initially planned spending, I had to take it home. It really is true what everyone is saying. This thing is a beast. And it is not easy to position, depending on your room. I had to drill some extra holes into the wall mount to properly mount it. And it was worth the effort.
I played with the Ambeo soundbar for a couple of days. Not only does it come very close to the sound I had before. It even beats my old 5.1 setup in certain areas. What strikes me most is the feeling of being in some kind of immersive „sound bubble“. Before, I could always tell which speaker a certain effect comes from. Now, the sound comes „from behind“ or „from above“. It is much broader. When there is a movie scene where it rains, the Ambeo gives me the impression of rain all around (and above) me. With my old 5.1 setup it was more like an open window behind me where I could hear it rain. And the Ambeo always sounds natural, light-footed and never feels strained or harsh.
The second best surprise was how nice stereo music sounds in Ambeo music mode. It really is a pleasure to listen to. And it get’s even better with some minor tweaks to the EQ in the smart control app. I mainly like funk and R&B. When I cast music with my Apple TV and Airplay 2 hooked up to the Ambeo, it even synchronizes perfectly with my HomePod in the kitchen. There is no lag or latency whatsoever. I only wished, the Ambeo soundbar had Airplay 2 itself. Then I wouldn‘t need to run the TV when listening to music. But maybe this feature will be added in a future firmware update.
For me, the Ambeo Soundbar definitely is a keeper. And I will sell my old 5.1 setup. Maybe I keep the sub, as I could connect it to the soundbar. But, honestly, I don‘t really feel that is necessary. The bass of the Ambeo is so pronounced and at the same time well integrated.
The only downside so far is that the handshake between my Apple TV 4K and the soundbar doesn‘t always get the codec right. Even with the latest firmware installed (.16) it sometimes falls back to 2 channel PCM. Switching from HDMI 1 to HDMI 2 and back usually fixes that. When I set the Apple TV to only decode Dolby Digital 5.1, everything works fine and I even see the Dolby Logo in the smart control app and have the extra controls like dialogue neutralization that don‘t appear when the decoder shows 6 channel PCM. I even have the impression that the sound is more spatial in Dolby Digital 5.1 mode. But that may well be in my fantasy only. And of course I will have to change this setting in the Apple TV whenever I want to listen to an Atmos movie.
Is there anyone else still having the PCM problem with the most recent firmware or is it just me?