• 4.0 out of 5 stars

    Unique High Quality Listening and Recording Device

    • Written by Dean F from Fort Lee

    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).

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