Sennheiser Ambeo Headset review: Storytelling through sound

We often forget how much of the world we experience through our audience. Many of us take it for granted, assuming that the view is the main informant of our environment. But the Sennheiser Ambeo Headphones make a case for storytelling through sound. However, how realistic can the audio of a small handset be?

Who is the Sennheiser Ambeo Headset for?

Each Sennheiser Ambeo Headset has a microphone covered by a grill for 3D recordings.

  • Content creators. YouTube users and documentalists who are looking to change the audio production mode should sit down well. Let's suppose it is a travel channel and you want your viewers to feel immersed in their adventures, the Ambeo headphones are an easy way to achieve that does not require an excess of postproduction … without leaving 6 thousand in another VR microphone. [19659006] Fans of the horror movie. If you're waiting for a Netflix message that asks you: "Hey, are you okay?" Because of all the horror movies you've seen, these may be the improvements you need to fascinate your horror movie.
  • Those who need the last and the greatest. Hey, there's no shame. Sometimes, we just want the newest gadget, because we want it. Even if the need does not exist, if you want to experience your music in a different light, but do not want to disburse for a Dolby Atmos system, you have come to the correct review.

What is binaural recording?

  Sennheiser Ambe headset - Beyerdynamic Fox USB microphone: Lily using the microphone on her desk. It is connected to a microphone stand using the included adapter.

For something like an interview, a binaural recording style can distract listeners.

Binaural recording records the sound through two microphones, allowing the user to recreate a 3D sound environment. It is much more realistic than if you record with a single microphone, and it is useful for the content of virtual reality (VR). Instead of perceiving things clearly to the left and to the right, a player feels enveloped by sound. They will want to turn on their heels if they hear something in their six.

What's inside?

For $ 300, you get the Ambeo Sennheiser Headset, a cloth carrying bag and three pairs of ear tips. You will also get a quick start guide, which you will have to use instead of guessing the controls during the first 24 hours of use. As fun as it was to learn on the fly, I could have seen at least one episode of Better Call Saul at the time.

How is the Ambo Sennheiser Headphone built?

Predominantly plastic compound, these do not feel high-end. But, unlike the Master & Dynamic MW50 Wireless, you're not buying the Ambeo because you want something nice. You are buying them because you want something great, and maybe also functional.

  Sennheiser Ambeo headphones: Aerial shot of the iPhone 8 Plus in pink gold with the headset with both headphones and the control module in the frame.

headphones cost just under $ 300, so it's a little less than half the price of the lower-level iPhone 8 Plus.

One of the first things that stand out from the Senseheiser Ambeo Headset are the elven hooks. You'll look a lot like the Legolas-meets-Blade-Runner cosplayer when you use them. It is unavoidable.

The ridiculousness aside, the flexible and soft rubber texture makes them comfortable to wear despite the uncomfortable control block that weighs things down. This would be good if the ear hooks were not made for larger ears. My ears often slid under the hooks, causing the headphones to hang from my ear in the mouthpiece while the hooks fluttered.

  Sennheiser Headphones Ambeo: Lily with the headphones facing left. The wireless connection falls naturally to the torso.

Given its irregular shape, headphones are surprisingly comfortable to wear with or without glasses.

Looking out on the plastic housing of each earphone is a microphone for 3D recording. The placement of each microphone helps to emulate the human ear. As for the ergonomics of the headphones, the angle nozzles facilitate a more comfortable fit, so it is not necessary to hook them and cause pain in the ear canal.

So many switches, so little time

Equipped with a large online control module, these feel like a type of product "microphone first, listen second". This large rectangle houses all the Senseheiser Ambeo Headset controls that include basic reproduction and volume buttons, an active transparent noise and hearing cancellation button, an LED that turns red when recording and a slider that allows you to toggle between reduced noise and the natural sound modes.

  Sennheiser Ambeo headphones: a slightly tilted image showing the control module and all its switches. It is based on an iPhone 8 Plus.

The online control module is large and easy to understand. Everything you can control here is also available through the Sennheiser Ambeo Headset app.

If you are not fond of using the monstrosity of a remote control, you can adjust all of these settings in the Ambeo application. But it's wise to make blind changes on the fly, especially if you're getting familiar with Ambeo headphones.

Headphones Sennheiser Ambeo vs. Ambeo VR Microphone

Sometimes, the best thing for work is the easiest use, and the headset follows the "connect and use" philosophy. Sure, you could invest $ 1,650 and something else in the Sennheiser Ambeo VR microphone, but unless you work with a production company that can afford it, that's a foolish sale price. It is true that Ambeo Headset does not offer the same four-channel output as the dedicated microphone. For most of us, however, the built-in microphones are more than enough.

  Sennheiser Ambeo headphones: an image that shows how the control module falls on the body.

The control module swings a lot when walking and weighs on the Sennheiser Ambeo Headphones.

In addition, the two products are designed for two completely different target audiences. On the one hand, you have prosumers and enthusiasts. They may not have the means to invest completely, but still want to try their luck with 3D sound. If that is the case, then the Sennheiser Ambeo Handset is the smartest choice.

However, if you know you are working on a large-scale project that will bring down other films at the box office. Your best team does not skimp on the recording method, especially if $ 1,600 is just a drop in the company cube.

  Sennheiser Ambeo Headphones: A close-up of the Lightning connector with an iPhone 8 Plus in the background.

Limited using the Lightning cable, the Sennheiser Ambeo Headset is not compatible with Android devices.

In summary, the Sennheiser Ambeo Headset presents what the Ambeo VR microphone does not have: portability, ease of use and general comfort. If those factors take precedence over audio quality and greater post-production flexibility, then, of course, invest in the Sennheiser Ambeo Headset.

These microphones eject all other in-line microphones out of the water

… and into the adjacent lake.

Before I tested these headphones, I thought of 3D recording as a fun trick, but I did not understand their attraction beyond that … outside of the dedicated ASMR fan, anyway. However, after playing casual recordings that I took with the Sennheiser Ambeo Headset, the binaural recording significantly impacts the immersion of videos, audio as well.

Inside the microphone

For a microphone that is in a pair of ears, this is a real featured product; largely in part due to Sennheiser's use of the Apogee mic preamp. Great, but what is a preamp?

  Sennheiser Ambeo headset: the right earphone in the foreground (on the left) with an iPhone 8 Plus at the entrance from the right side of the image. An olympus lens is in the background.

The ear hook is a flexible rubber material while the bottom with the mouthpiece for microphone and earphone is a plastic material.

Think of the mic preamp as preparation of your dinner ingredients. Covering the onions and cutting the peppers makes it easier to sauté them instead of tossing each whole vegetable. Well, a mic preamp does the same. Prepares the microphone signal so that it can be processed by another equipment. Otherwise, just as a whole onion in a pan would not cook properly, a microphone signal that is not treated by a preamplifier may not be processed correctly.

Should I use natural level or reduced level recording?

If you are recording in a controlled environment, say in your apartment or in a studio, natural recording is preferred. As its name suggests, it records things, well, naturally. A little environmental noise is recorded, giving your recordings a more realistic quality.

  Screenshot of Sennheiser Ambeo Headset from the main menu of the application.

One of the most useful features of the application is the ability to adjust its EQ. [19659011] If you're recording something in a city with headphones, low-level recording is the way to go. Otherwise, you will see that the natural level seems to amplify the sound of passing cars and the wind too much, which can ultimately endanger all your recording.

Connectivity: Lightning only means limited ability to use

There is not much to say about the lightning connector other than that it is a pain to deal with it. I'm really baffled by the exclusivity of this handset, but who knows? Perhaps a USB-C option is published and becomes a small list of decent USB-C headphones.

How does the Sennheiser Ambeo Headset sound?

While sound quality is probably not attractive to headphones, things sound good AND transparent noise and hearing cancellation options are advantages for travelers. That said, if you're familiar with open hearing aids, like Monolith Monolith or Beyerdynmaic DT 1990 Pro, they will not impress you.

  Sennheiser Ambeo headphones: direct connection of the connected headphones to an iPhone 8 Plus.

Using the Sennheiser Ambeo Headset is as easy as downloading the application, plugging in the headphones and recording … but only if you have an iPhone.

Since "soundscape" or soundstage is the main selling point of the Sennheiser Ambeo Headset, one would think it would be amazingly good. While this may be the case if you come from the gas station headphones, many haggard people do a good job in this price range of more than $ 100. If you are working with similar headphones now, then the Ambeo is not worth it buy only for the sound studio.

Ultimately, they sound good and you can always adjust the playback through the application by choosing a preset equalizer or adjusting the response to your liking. For the sake of this review, I will be listening with active noise cancellation in and with the flat equalizer, because that is the default value of Ambeo.

Low and Medium

In The Fool Pt 1 (Get it Right) by Shad, bass is over emphasized, but that's very common for internal consumers, and probably what he is used to. This makes it a more attractive sound and one that is easier to hear in a crowded space, but this exaggerated bottom end masks Shad's voices throughout the song. A great example of this masking is at 0:54, when it says: "… the system is built on that". At this point, there is a bass fall that makes it difficult to hear the word "built" in relation to the rest of the music.

Highs

Glad I Tried by Matt and Kim uses bells in the choir at 0:46, and harmonic resonance it is easy to distinguish above the voices of the duo and the sounds of synthesis that accompany it. The highest frequencies here are audible and resonate until the next bell is played.

Should you buy it?

If you're an enthusiast who has tried to add 3D sound to your production, then yes. Although $ 300 is a lot of money, it's not much in the great recording tools scheme, especially if you plan on making binaural recording a part of your style.

  Sennheiser Ambeo headset: The headset control module leaning against a box full of pens. A Zoom H5 recorder is in the background and the image is illuminated by a magenta LED.

Although the audio quality is not as clear as the recording with Zoom H5, Ambeo Headset is much more portable and less intimidating to use in most consumers.

However, if you are interested in these headphones because you want your music to sound differently, you will listen in a disappointing way. These sound good and the custom EQ option is fantastic, but the sound alone does not guarantee a few hundred dollars. In addition, I and others still resent the fact that they are only iOS.

Still looking? Read on our list of the best wireless headphones

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