OPINION: It was the story of two soundbar launches in Berlin. There was the extravagantly designed and extravagantly costly Beosound Theatre from Bang & Olufsen, and the extra sensibly designed and far cheaper Ambeo Plus bar from Sennheiser.
I can see the place Bang & Olufsen goes with the Beosound Theatre. I’ve not seen or heard it in motion myself, however one other journalist reported the Theatre was seen as a long-term funding in a product, one thing that will final ten years or extra, its modular nature permitting it to be upgraded to final even longer and sustain the most recent expertise.
However I don’t suppose that folks, particularly dwelling theatre followers, fairly care about that. I feel folks hold issues for so long as they need, and the house cinema market has at all times had a way of upgrading and scaling to your wants however shopping for a £5000+ soundbar locks you in. Shopping for the Beosound Theatre appears like a dedication, and for what is basically an audio improve, it’s a really huge dedication. You’re not shopping for this soundbar to spice up your Toshiba-branded TV.
The Ambeo Plus is, a minimum of for me, extra my vibe. It’s compact, modern, helps all the most important audio codecs out of the field, can stream from just about any wi-fi supply accessible and (hallelujah) has HDMI inputs to plug in different bodily sources. It’s a soundbar that, from a characteristic aspect, has all you’ll ever actually need.
And like its greater sibling, it sounds a lot bigger than its dimension would counsel, due to Ambeo processing mixed with bespoke upfiring drivers that produced a taller, greater sound. Within the transient demo I had, switching between having the Ambeo on and off resulted in a drastically completely different efficiency. With it off, the consequences gripped tightly to the display whereas with the Ambeo processing, the peak, area and width was expansive. You possibly can genuinely hear the rain drops from the Dolby Atmos demo excessive above.
Nevertheless, the problem with compact immersive soundbars is that they’re not actually immersive sufficient. The Sennheiser doesn’t help any rear audio system that I do know off to fill within the areas behind you, so they’re at all times front-heavy.
In contrast to the larger and renamed Ambeo Max soundbar, it may possibly’t produce that sense of results simply behind you or to your aspect. It could help as much as 4 subwoofers, which appears like overkill, however the three linked to the Ambeo Plus supplied loads of enjoyable and energy with the low-end frequency efficiency. What I might have favored is to have heard the bass efficiency with out the subwoofers linked as that will actually verify whether or not that is an ‘all-in-one’.
So there’s a facet of compromise with compact immersive soundbars – they’re compromised from the get-go as a result of they’re smaller – however from what I’ve heard the Ambeo Plus does a reasonably good job of getting round these points at a worth that gained’t scare as many individuals away.