• 5.0 out of 5 stars

    WOW - Incredible at recording loud sources

    I'm a music producer, and I've been using the Ambeo Headset to record pre production rehearsals with bands and artists. The sound quality of the recordings is astonishing, and incredibly detailed. The Headset has a "reduced record level" which keeps it from distorting when i'm recording loud band rehearsals. It works so well, that i actually did a fun little test where i had my buddy where the headset while he revved his Harley Motorcycle. The recording was flawlessly clean, so detailed and balanced.
    So far, i've never had to process the audio after recording it.

    Apogee has a recording app called Meta Recorder which is great if you want to record at higher resolutions like 96k.
    The transparent hearing feature is also really handy. Makes it easy to communicate with musicians while i'm wearing the headset.
    Don't find myself using Noise canceling all that often, but it seems to work fine.

    2 of 2 people found this useful

  • 4.0 out of 5 stars

    Unique High Quality Listening and Recording Device

    I've been testing the Sennheiser Ambeo headsets for a couple of weeks and have reached some preliminary conclusions. Right off the bat, I'll say they are excellent headphones, with a full tone, good bass, and clear mids and highs. The binaural recording capability is pretty amazing and seems to work very well, at least for simple recordings. I haven't recorded music yet, just voice and random sounds, and hope to report back at a later date with more details, but for now I'll say the 3D binaural recordings are very natural and easy to make using the iOS Voice Memos app. I've used the Ambeos with an iPhone 6, iPhone SE, and iPad and have had no major problems with any of those devices, except…

    The main issue I have with the Ambeos is the Apogee control App and the control pad on the headphones' cable. First off, the control pad is finicky. It does volume up/down OK, but pause/play is slow to react and skipping forward or back to the next or previous song is a hit or miss proposition. There is a "programable" slider on the controller that sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. The programming for the slider is also very limited. It mainly acts as a toggle between different headphone listening modes (more on this below). There's also a rocker that toggles between modes, but that's also finicky. It's hard to know which end of the rocker controls what. The whole slider/rocker thing, combined with the finicky skip/back button, makes controlling your music and the listening modes kind of like shaking a magic 8-ball. This is a real shame, because the modes are very useful (though not perfect). So it's better to use your iPhone to control the music and the Ambeo's Apogee app to select the listening and recording modes.

    There's a noise reduction mode that works very well. Maybe not as good as Bose, but it's pretty darn good. There's also a "transparent hearing" mode, which allows outside sound to pass through the microphones so you can hear the real world while wearing the headphones. Unfortunately, the transparent hearing mode does not have a setting that simultaneously brings down (or mutes) the level of the music when activated. So if you're on a plane and the flight attendant asks you a question, you'll still have to either take the headsets off or activate transparent hearing, then pause the music to have a conversation. That's too many steps if you're just trying to quickly confirm that they're asking about your choice of peanuts, pretzels, or cookies. On the plus side, there's an excellent graphic EQ that allows you to fine-tune the sound of the 'phones. I wound up rolling off the high end a bit.

    So that's it for now. Excellent raw sound quality, really unique recording capabilities, and a funky control system in need of some TLC, which I hope Sennheiser will give it soon. This review was written in March 2018 while using firmware version 1.0.45 and app version 1.01 (40).

    7 of 7 people found this useful

  • 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!

    10 of 11 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.

    7 of 17 people found this useful