• 3.0 out of 5 stars

    Good recording, lousy Active Noise Cancellation

    • Written by Daron K from New York

    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.

    13 of 24 people found this useful

  • 3.0 out of 5 stars

    Honestly disappointed

    • Written by Mike R from Edmonton

    I was looking forward to these so much. My hopes for this product was that I could do my activities outside or inside while being able to hear clearly what’s going on around me. This is not the case. You need to have your music so low and the transparent hearing on maximum amplify level to just scrape by at hearing what is around you. With any headphones volume that low I can still have a conversation I would have hoped that when you increase music volume that the amplifier would increase output with it so that you can enjoy the music while being able to hear around you. Yes with video the recording is really cool with the 3D sound. The sound quality of the video is great. Overall just disappointed with hopes this would make listening to music and the outside world at the same time easily doable without low volumes. Sound is ok with music once you find the EQ that you like best. I expected more for the price.