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Check Out: Sennheiser Ambeo

Ambeo is a rather unique product, one that adds an extra dimension to the videos you capture. Binaural audio may not itself be a new thing, but kudos to Sennheiser for making it far more accessible and mainstream

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At first glance, the Sennheiser Ambeo Smart Headset looks like a regular pair of fitness headphones, yet to term it so might be a gross oversimplification. Look closely, and you will notice each earbud has a visible grille, which houses an omnidirectional microphone, so the Ambeo not only plays sound in each ear, but also records sound coming into your ears — these earphones are capable of recording ‘binaural’ sound or surround/3D sound, spatial audio which captures the difference in audio coming into each of your ears.

Recording spatial audio with the Ambeo works only with iOS devices for now, although there is a version for Android devices in the offing. The results, captured even in the native camera app are pretty spectacular, even on a regular pair of headphones. The microphones are incredibly sensitive and can capture even the softer, less easy-to-discern sounds around you, and the positional audio effect is something you have to experience to believe. To test the binaural audio recording, I stood near a busy traffic intersection recording a video, with the reduced recording level meant for noisy environments turned on. What I got was an audio equivalent of a 360-degree camera, the kind where I could close my eyes and relive the entire scene. 

The microphones enable a couple of additional capabilities. One is a regular active noise cancellation mode, and the other a transparent hearing mode, which pipes in external sounds to give you added situational awareness, such as when you are walking in traffic or at an airport. For audio playback, the earphones themselves offer detailed sound across the spectrum, with excellent bass, crisp vocals and an expansive soundstage.

In all, the Ambeo is a rather unique product, one that adds an extra dimension to the videos you capture. Binaural audio may not itself be a new thing, but kudos to Sennheiser for making it far more accessible and mainstream.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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Magazine 31 March 2018 Sennheiser Ambeo gadgets

Tushar Kanwar

The author is Technology Columnist and Program Manager in Bengaluru, India

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