Last month, I wrote about Sennheiser’s new AMBEO Smart Headset, a $300 device that works as both a 3D recording system and a noise-cancelling headset. I questioned if it could be the coolest new gadget on the market. After three weeks of using it, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”
The AMBEO isn’t a wireless headset — something I’ve been obsessed with on this blog. It’s actually a wired headset with a lightning port for you iOS device. Sennheiser claims it’s working on a version for Android phones. However, since the most popular Android phones, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S8, record stereo sound, the AMBEO isn’t needed as much on those devices.
I’ve always questioned why Apple has never included stereo microphones on the iPad or iPhone, but plugging in the AMBEO headset takes care of that. You don’t need any special software at all (although there is an app from Sennheiser). Just record videos with the camera or any sound recording app and you can watch them with stereo audio. The sound is more “3D” than stereo as it records more realistic sound than anything I have recently heard. It’s like listening to “virtual reality” sound.
Here is a clip I recorded this past weekend and have uploaded to YouTube.
The AMBEO only loses some quality when recording in Windy situations. However, there is a button on the AMBEO app that allows you to reduce wind noise, though it makes the sound less realistic. When I say realistic, I mean that if you close your eyes and listen to a recording you made, you feel like you are right back in the same place and time. You really have to listen to understand how well this records.
Of course, the AMBEO smart headset is made for listening as well, and it does a great job at that. Like other Sennheiser wired headsets, the AMBEO offers audiophile quality sound, which most people will love. But some who are used to the artificially pumped-up bass on headsets by Beats or even Bose may be a little disappointed.
The AMBEO also offers active noise cancellation, which works very well, but not as well as it does on recent headphones from both Bose and Sony. Still, for a feature that’s not advertised as a major one, it works well enough. You can also amplify noises around you, and that works better than just about any other amplification feature I’ve heard on competing headphones.
Sennheiser may have started a trend with these new 3D sound-recording headphones. At least for now, Sennheiser has created the ultimate device you never thought you needed until you tried it.