• 5.0 out of 5 stars

    Great Headset!

    These headphones sound amazing, and the recording feature is an additional bonus. The ability to blend the sounds of your environment with the music from your phone is the best!

    5 of 5 people found this useful

  • 3.0 out of 5 stars

    Good recording, lousy Active Noise Cancellation

    Comes with three pairs (S/M/L) of silicone ear pieces. I had to use the largest to seal the ear canal and get any bass response. Output sound is decent, and better than stock Apple earbuds, but nothing outstanding (to my ears, a bit cold, thin and brittle).

    The real highlight is the binaural recording. The sound is flat and accurate, and the Apogee A/D converter seems to be of high quality. There may be some background hiss, but I don’t have a quiet space to measure this or get an accurate sense of signal/noise ratio.

    The Situational Awareness/Transparent Hearing features are kind of cool, basically using the external microphones to re-inject ambient noise back into the sound signal, helping with awareness of external sound deadened by the sound-isolating silicone ear pieces. Yes, the silicone ear plugs do muffle outside sound, which makes it more challenging to record binaural audio without Transparent Hearing acting as a low-latency monitor, but I worry that activating this mode discolors the recording with slight feedback.

    The Active Noise Cancellation is a joke. Compared to BOSE QuietComfort 35 headphones and BOSE QuietComfort 20 ear buds (which is a fairer apples-to-apples comparison), the ANC on the AMBEO Smart Headset is ineffective and almost useless. Upgrading to the latest firmware did not make a difference.

    The control module can feel a bit bulky and unwieldy, as with any ear bud-type headset with active electronics, but Sennheiser/Apogee packed some useful control buttons on it, including an assignable Smart Slider, which may be configured to launch certain apps, mute the phone, charge recording levels or listening modes, etc.

    In my case, the Smart Slider switch was defective, so I’ll probably have to return for exchange. Apogee’s support has not been helpful so far: they said they believe the problem is an “old app”, which makes no sense. Hopefully the exchange will reveal that the Active Noise Cancellation on my first unit was also defective, but I suspect this is not the case (just ineffective).

    Overall, I really like this headset just for its immersive recording abilitiies. For listening to music in a quiet space, and for Active Noise Cancellation in noisy spaces, I much prefer other products (even to play back sounds recorded with this headset). Still, the AMBEO Smart Headset really shines at what makes it unique: an immersive digital binaural recorder.

    4 of 12 people found this useful