The arrival of the next generation of Sennheiser’s Ambeo Soundbar Plus (opens in new tab)in Berlin to IFA 2022 was no surprise as it had been leaked on Amazon a week earlier. Still, it was a pleasure to see Soundbar Plus in the flesh, and even more of a pleasure to hear it.
During the company’s press event, the smaller and cheaper version of the flagship Ambeo Dolby Atmos soundbar (which was a flexible technology meant to “prove what was possible” according to the company) was introduced as the next step in Sennheiser’s plan to “build a family of soundbars”. As the new Ambeo Soundbar Plus is $1,499 / £1,297, let’s hope there are even cheaper versions in the works!
Sennheiser says the Plus is the only integrated 7.1.4 soundbar on the market and is capable of bass extension up to 37Hz, courtesy of two built-in 4-inch subwoofers. Additionally, it features 7 full-range 2-inch aluminum drivers and uses Ambeo virtualization technology developed with Fraunhofer to deliver Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks along with Sony’s 360 Reality Audio and upmixing from stereo sources.
Ambeo OS on Plus offers streaming via AirPlay 2, Chromecast, Tidal Connect, Spotify Connect and Bluetooth. Hardware connections include 3 HDMI ports (one with eARC), optical stereo analog and digital RCA inputs, a subwoofer output, and powered USB and Ethernet sockets.
There’s also automatic room calibration, which is performed via the soundbar’s four built-in microphones and can be conducted using Sennheiser’s control app or directly from the front panel display with the included remote.
As if a new, cheaper Ambeo wasn’t enough, the company has also released its Ambeo Sub subwoofer ($699/£605). The Ambeo Sub is relatively compact and features an 8-inch woofer powered by a 350-watt amplifier. It also has its own built-in microphone and processor, allowing it to be calibrated along with the soundbar during initial setup.
As previously reported in our coverage of the Amazon Ambeo Plus leak, the new soundbar can be paired with up to four separate Ambeo Subs for more even, evenly distributed bass. At launch, only a single Sub can be calibrated with the soundbar, although Sennheiser expects to extend this option to multiple subs over the next couple of months.
How does the Ambeo Plus plus Sub subwoofer sound?
Sennheiser’s Ambeo Plus demo used a configuration with 3 subwoofers – a good decision, as the room used for the presentation was relatively large and occupied by a considerable group of listeners.
It was hard not to be overwhelmed by the system bass in that setup, which was deep and powerful, but also impressively clean. It clearly rivaled what I’ve heard from high-end home theater systems that used more expensive and certainly more complicated equipment.
Along with movie clips, Sennheiser played a Dolby Atmos mix of a Ligeti symphony recorded live – a bold move for a soundbar demo. It was the right move, however, because it showed what the new Plus was truly capable of: the strings sounded smooth and full, the woodwinds were textured, and the percussion instruments in the back of the orchestra were presented in a spatially accurate way. You can also feel the vertical swell of the orchestra as it reaches a dynamic crescendo – Dolby Atmos processing in action.
Sennheiser Ambeo Plus is now available for pre-order and will be released on September 22nd. If you haven’t already guessed, we’re in line to review one, and yes, there’s a solid chance it will end up on our list of the best soundbars.
IFA 2022 is Europe’s biggest technology fair, and is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and announcements, as well as our hands-on first impressions of the new TVs, wearables, audio devices and other gadgets on display.