Sennheiser named official Audio sponsor of IFA 2019, first Ambeo soundbar stuns at GPC

posted on Monday, 29th April 2019 by Steve May

Hi-fi  High-end  Soundbar  Dolby Atmos  IFA 2019  IFA GPC 2019 

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Sennheiser will ship its eagerly awaited Dolby Atmos Ambeo soundbar in a matter of weeks, it confirmed at this year’s IFA General Press Conference (GPC). The sound specialist demonstrated a production ready version of the 3D audio system, which uses proprietary virtualization technology, jointly developed with Fraunhofer, to create an immersive listening experience from a single box.

“We have worked hard to get a 5.1.4 experience from a single device. There’s no need for any more equipment, no subwoofer,” declared Sennheiser. In addition to Dolby Atmos, the system is compatible with MPEG-H and DTS:X. It also upmixes stereo and 5.1 sound.

Inputs include three HDMI (v2.0a) inputs, one HDMI Out (eARC, v2.0a), digital optical audio and aux-in. Both Google Chromecast and Bluetooth (4.2) are integrated, and it’s UPnP compliant.

The system takes advantage of any wall reflections and comes with a microphone and stand for bespoke calibration.

Inside CI had a chance to audition the system at the IFA GPC, and it is hands down the most immersive soundbar product we’ve ever heard. Powered by 13 drivers in total, including six long throw 4-inch woofers, five tweeters and two top mounted upfiring drivers, it produces a convincing 360 degree soundstage with atmospheric height effects and wraparound sound. The bass response is deep, dropping to 30hz.

Ambeo Bar Top View

In addition to Dolby Atmos movie and music clips, the IFA GPC demo included a football match recorded with an new Sennheiser Ambeo microphone array, able to capture atmosphere around a stadium. The results were stunning, although any opportunity to hear native Ambeo from a commercial source appear slim at present.

The bar itself is considerably larger than rivals, at 126.56 x 17.1 x 13.44cm (L/D/H), and weighing 18.5kg, don’t plan on using it alongside a screen on AV furniture. The finish is high end, combining brushed aluminium with clothe grille.

The Sennheiser Ambeo has a retail price of £2,200. In addition to retail distribution it will also be introducing a direct selling channel which allows users to trial the system for four weeks, and if not satisfied return it.

The brand also confided to Inside CI that there are cheaper, smaller iterations of the bar on its roadmap.

Sennheiser

Also at the IFA GPC, Sennheiser, pictured above (right) with Jens Heithecker, IFA Executive Director, was announced as official IFA Global Audio Partner to IFA 2019. The audio specialist will expand its footprint at the upcoming show, and provide behind the scenes audio support.

Speaking at the IFA GPC, Co-CEO Dr. Andreas Sennheiser, declared the partnership “particularly exciting as we will not only participate in IFA Berlin but will also be proud to support the international activities of IFA.”

Sennheiser will also participate in CE China and its Retail University. “These (events) provide outstanding opportunities to get closer to our customers in this vibrant marketplace, build ever stronger relationships and leverage exciting new opportunities.”

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology journalist, who also writes for T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice and ERT (amongst others).

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