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Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.2
Reviewed Nov 30, 2022 at 09:58 am
Latest change: Writing modified Dec 12, 2023 at 12:51 pm
Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus Picture
7.6
Mixed Usage
8.1
Dialogue/TV Shows
7.1
Music
7.5
Movies

The Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus is a standalone soundbar released in 2022. It's a smaller and more affordable version of the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar MAX, offering a cinematic sound in a standalone soundbar setup. Like the MAX, the bar supports many different audio formats, including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, though it adds built-in voice assistant support for those who want to control the bar with their voice. With the AMBEO 3D feature, you can upmix stereo content to virtual surround using one of the bar's three presets: Light, Standard, and Boost.

Note: The manufacturer advertises this bar as a 7.1.4 setup. However, after testing the bar, we have determined that it is physically more in line with a 5.1.2 soundbar. It has surround channels on each side, along with left and right stereo channels and a center channel. There are also two up-firing drivers and the integrated dual subwoofers. Our impressions appear to be confirmed by an exploded view of the bar's setup found on the manufacturer's website. The bar is marketed to use its room correction technology to position seven "virtual" speakers around you and four overhead, which is likely why it's advertised in this way.

Our Verdict

7.6 Mixed Usage

The Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus is good for mixed usage. This premium setup has a solid build and supports lots of different audio formats that you're likely to come across on different streaming platforms and Blu-rays. With its AMBEO 3D mode, you get an expansive surround sound, and it does a decent job with Atmos content for a standalone bar. Without a dedicated sub, it lacks thump and rumble in bass-heavy music and action-packed movies.

Pros
  • Room correction feature.
  • Graphic EQ and presets.
  • Dolby Atmos support.
Cons
  • Lacks low-bass.
8.1 Dialogue/TV Shows

The Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus is great for dialogue-centric content like TV shows and podcasts. Its discrete center channel improves overall vocal reproduction, so dialogue sounds clear and present in the mix. There's a dialogue enhancement tool on hand, too, if you want to make voices more crisp. Plus, podcasts and audiobooks are easy to stream right to the bar over a wireless connection.

Pros
  • Room correction feature.
  • Dialogue enhancement tool.
Cons
  • Compression at max volume.
7.1 Music

The Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus is decent for music. It comes with a room correction feature that automatically adjusts the bar's sound based on the unique acoustics of your room. However, since it lacks a dedicated subwoofer, it can't reproduce the deep rumble in the low-bass that's commonly found in bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop. Overall, its sound profile is fairly neutral, with a touch of extra brightness due to the lack of bass. You can adjust its output if you wish, using the graphic EQ and presets available in its companion app.

Pros
  • Room correction feature.
  • Graphic EQ and presets.
Cons
  • Lacks low-bass.
  • Compression at max volume.
7.5 Movies

The Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus is good for movies. It supports 5.1 surround sound formats like Dolby Digital as well as lossless and object-based formats like Dolby Atmos, which you're likely to find on lots of different streaming services. Its virtual surround mode, called AMBEO 3D, brings an additional richness to audio. It offers a pretty immersive listening experience for a standalone bar; however, it lacks rumble in the low-bass and can't replicate height with the same accuracy as other setups.

Pros
  • Room correction feature.
  • Dolby Atmos support.
Cons
  • Lacks low-bass.
  • 7.6 Mixed Usage
  • 8.1 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 7.1 Music
  • 7.5 Movies
  1. Updated Dec 12, 2023: Added market comparison with the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Mini in the Dimensions - Bar box.
  2. Updated Jun 19, 2023: Converted to Test Bench 1.2. Updated the results for audio format support via ARC/eARC, HDMI In, and Optical. Added Video Passthrough to TV results as well.
  3. Updated Mar 13, 2023: Added cable lengths to In The Box.
  4. Updated Mar 10, 2023: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. With this update, we've added a Mounting test and added information aboutSubwoofer Output, Spotify Connect, and Microphone Mute.
  5. Updated Nov 30, 2022: Review published.
  6. Updated Nov 28, 2022: Early access published.
  7. Updated Nov 21, 2022: Our testers have started testing this product.
  8. Updated Nov 14, 2022: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  9. Updated Sep 28, 2022: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus is available in Black. You can see the label for the model we tested here.

If you come across another version of this soundbar, let us know in the discussions, and we'll update the review.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus is a standalone bar that's smaller than the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar MAX. It supports many different audio formats and offers a lot of the same customization tools as the MAX, with added support for voice assistants built into the bar itself. That said, it doesn't bring the same punch with immersive audio formats, especially Atmos content, and you don't get the same feeling of height.

You can also check out our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best standalone soundbars, and the best Dolby Atmos soundbars.

Sonos Arc

The Sonos Arc and the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus are both very premium standalone soundbars with Dolby Atmos support. The Sonos has a wider, more immersive soundstage, which is especially noticeable with Atmos content. However, it doesn't come with HDMI In ports like the Sennheiser, and it doesn't support as many wireless playback options like Bluetooth.

Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar MAX

The Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar MAX is better than the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus. The MAX is a bigger setup with a lot more rumble in the bass, which is great for action-packed movies and bass-heavy music genres. Both bars support many audio formats and offer similar sound enhancement features, but the MAX's large design brings a more cinematic sound, especially with Atmos content. However, it doesn't have built-in voice assistant support like the Plus.

Bose Smart Soundbar 900

The Bose Smart Soundbar 900 and the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus are premium Dolby Atmos soundbars. The Bose's sound quality is superior, as it has a better soundstage that creates a more immersive listening experience. It's especially noticeable with Atmos content. However, it can't do video passthrough like the Sennheiser since it lacks an HDMI In port.

Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Mini

The Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus is better than the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Mini. As you can guess from their names, the Mini is a smaller, more compact bar better suited for smaller spaces. However, its soundstage and center channel performances aren't as good as the Plus. The Plus also has more connectivity options, notably a Full HDMI In port for video passthrough.

Bose Smart Soundbar 700

The Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus is better than the Bose Smart Soundbar 700. They're both very premium standalone setups, and the Bose has a better stereo soundstage, offering an immersive sound. However, it doesn't support Dolby Atmos content like the Sennheiser, so you can't take advantage of more immersive audio formats, and it lacks an HDMI In port for video passthrough.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style - Bar

The Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus has a sleek design with rounded edges. It's mostly made of plastic, and there are grilles on top to help protect the drivers inside. Tight fabric wraps around the edges.

Design
Style - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
No
Enclosure
Integrated

The subwoofers are integrated into the bar.

Design
Style - Satellites
Satellite Wireless
No
Design
Dimensions - Bar
Width 41.3" (104.8 cm)
Height 3.0" (7.5 cm)
Depth 4.7" (12.0 cm)

The bar is rather wide, so it doesn't fit between the legs of most 55" TV stands. It isn't very tall, either, so it won't block your TV screen unless your TV sits flush on your table. If you want a similar bar that takes up less room, check out the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Mini.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A
Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A
Design
Mounting
Mountable Bar
Yes
Bar Brackets Included
No
Mountable Satellites
No
Satellite Brackets Included
No
8.0
Design
Build Quality

The Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus has great build quality. It's mostly made of plastic, which feels very sturdy and solid. The grilles on top of the bar are designed to protect the drivers inside. The fabric wrapping around the sides has a tight fit, so it isn't likely to rip easily. Still, it might collect some dust and debris over time.

Design
In The Box

  • Manual
  • Power cable (6.2 ft / 1.9m)
  • HDMI cable (4.9 ft / 1.5m)
  • Remote with battery

Sound
7.3
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Tested Preset
Neutral
Slope
0.35
Std. Err.
2.55 dB
Channels
5.1.2
Low-Frequency Extension
52.6 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

The Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus has a decent stereo frequency response. Its low-frequency extension isn't as impressive as other bars with dedicated subwoofers, so there isn't as much thump and rumble in the bass range to bring bass-heavy genres like EDM to life. Its overall sound profile is fairly balanced but slightly bright. Voices and lead instruments are clearly reproduced, and they seem to sparkle due to the extra emphasis in the treble.

Note: We tested the bar after running the room correction feature. Its AMBEO 3D virtual surround mode was set to Regular to mimic a typical listening experience. When you play stereo files with this feature, the bar upmixes the content, so you hear audio from all channels except the center.

7.4
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
Neutral
Suggested Bass Setting
2
Suggested Treble Setting
N/A
Slope
0.14
Std. Err.
2.34 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
51.1 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

The Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus doesn't come with bass or treble adjustments. However, the companion app has a four-band graphic EQ for each preset. We used the Foundation band to adjust the bass, which you can see here. With an additional two decibels added, the bar's sound is a bit more balanced with stereo content. Voices and lead instruments in your favorite tunes are still clearly reproduced, and you get a touch of extra punch in the bass. However, the EQ can't add to the low-frequency extension, so the deep rumble in the low-bass is still missing.

7.5
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
2.57 dB

The Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus has a great stereo soundstage. Its soundstage is perceived to be a bit wider than the bar itself, which is nice. Also, it has good focus, so it's easy to pinpoint sound effects to an accurate location in the mix. For example, if you listen to an orchestral recording, each instrument seems to come from the same location it would on the stage.

6.7
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
96.8 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
4.68 dB

The Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus gets loud, so you won't have any trouble filling larger and more open spaces with sound. As you crank up the volume, there's some compression and pumping artifacts present that distort the sound.

8.1
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.25
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.66

The bar's distortion falls within good levels at a normal listening volume, so audio reproduction is clean and pure. There's a slight jump when you push the bar to max volume, which is common with most soundbars. However, distortion is hard to hear with real-life content, so unless you're an astute audiophile, it isn't an issue.

8.7
Sound
Center
Localization
Discrete
Slope
0.48
Std. Err.
2.08 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
93.4 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.22
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.44

The bar's discrete center channel is designed to improve vocal reproduction. Its frequency response is even and balanced, albeit a touch on the bright side due to the lack of bass. As a result, dialogue reproduces with clarity, and you don't have any trouble following along with the action on screen.

6.2
Sound
Surround 5.1
Localization
Phantom (Front Firing, Up Firing and Side Firing, Bar)
Slope
0.95
Std. Err.
3.58 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
94.3 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.57
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
3.57
7.1 Rears
No

The bar performs okay with 5.1 surround content when using its AMBEO 3D mode. Content plays from the side-firing and front-firing speakers on the bar, as well as the up-firing drivers. For a phantom localization, it does well, so sound effects seem to stretch into the space around you. However, it doesn't seem as real-to-life as a setup with discrete surround speakers.

6.1
Sound
Height (Atmos)
Localization
Phantom (Side Firing and Up Firing, Bar)
Slope
0.95
Std. Err.
3.55 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
82.5 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
1.64
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.02

With its AMBEO 3D mode turned on, the bar is a fair choice for height content like Dolby Atmos. It uses its side-firing and up-firing drivers to simulate height in the space around you. The frequency response on these channels is fairly even but a touch bright due to the lack of bass.

Subjectively, the bar's soundstage with Atmos content is just okay. Sound stretches wide into the space around you, aided by the AMBEO 3D mode. However, you don't notice sound effects in the space above you or behind you, which takes away from the overall immersive feel. Details are a bit diffused at times, too, as the volume is high on some effects and low on others.

7.4
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
Yes
Dialogue Enhancement
Yes
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
Yes
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
Yes
Bass Adjustment
No
Treble Adjustment
No
EQ
Graphic + Presets
Surround Level Adjustment
No
Rear Level Adjustment
No
Height Level Adjustment
No
Virtual Surround
Yes

The Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus offers a lot of sound enhancement features. There's a room correction tool that optimizes its audio reproduction based on the unique acoustics of your room. Also, it comes with a virtual surround feature called AMBEO 3D, which you can set to one of three different intensity levels: Light, Regular, and Boost. Subjectively, we found that audio sounds richer with the AMBEO 3D mode turned on.

You can also customize its sound to your liking. There aren't traditional bass and treble adjustments, but the app has four-band graphic EQs with each preset: Adaptive, Music, Movie, News, Neutral, and Sports. Through the equalizers, you can adjust the bass, the mids, and the treble, which is handy.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Inputs/Outputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
1
HDMI Out
eARC
HDMI 2.1 Class Bandwidth
No
Full HDMI In
2
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
No
RCA In
Yes
USB for Files
No
Ethernet
1
Subwoofer Output
Yes

You can connect the bar to your TV over Optical or HDMI connections. The two HDMI In ports are great if you want to use the bar as a hub between different devices, like your TV and your PC. You can even add an external subwoofer to your setup using the blue RCA input. The USB input is only for firmware updates, so you can't use it to playback audio files.

10
Connectivity
Audio Format Support: ARC/eARC
Dolby Atmos
Supported
Dolby Digital
Supported
Dolby Digital Plus
Supported
Dolby TrueHD
Supported
DTS
Supported
DTS:X
Supported
DTS-HD MA
Supported
PCM Channels
Up To 7.1

The bar supports lots of different audio formats that you're likely to come across on both streaming platforms and Blu-rays discs. It can playback 5.1 surround sound formats like Dolby Digital as well as lossless and object-based formats like Dolby Atmos.

10
Connectivity
Audio Format Support: HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
Supported
Dolby Digital
Supported
Dolby Digital Plus
Supported
Dolby TrueHD
Supported
DTS
Supported
DTS:X
Supported
DTS-HD MA
Supported
PCM Channels
Up To 7.1

The Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus supports the most advanced sound formats via HDMI In. You can playback surround sound and object-based formats like Dolby Atmos or lossless formats like PCM 5.1. They're more and more commonly found with streaming services for both movies and TV shows.

10
Connectivity
Audio Format Support: Optical
Dolby Digital
Supported
DTS
Supported
PCM Channels
2.0

Over Optical, the bar supports both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 surround sound formats.

7.6
Connectivity
Latency
ARC
77 ms
Optical
102 ms
Full HDMI In
-26 ms

Latency is low when you connect the bar over ARC or HDMI In, so the audio you hear is in sync with the video you see on the screen. You may run into lip-synching issues if you connect over Optical, though. However, there's a lip-synching tool in the bar's companion app that lets you adjust the delay, which can help if you run into issues.

8.0
Connectivity
Video Passthrough To TV
1080p Max Refresh Rate
120Hz
1080p @ 4:4:4 Max Refresh Rate
120Hz
4k Max Refresh Rate
60Hz
4k @ 120Hz @ 10-Bit
Not Supported
4k @ 4:4:4 Max Refresh Rate
60Hz
8k Max Refresh Rate
30Hz
HDR10 Passthrough
Yes
HDR10+ Passthrough
Yes
Dolby Vision Passthrough
Yes
HDMI Forum VRR Passthrough
No
FreeSync Passthrough
No
G-SYNC Passthrough
No
ALLM Passthrough
No

The bar can passthrough some of the highest-quality bandwidth signals, including Dolby Vision Passthrough. That said, it can't do 4k @ 120Hz.

10
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi Playback
Yes
Chromecast built-in
Yes
Apple AirPlay
Yes
Spotify Connect
Yes

You can stream audio wirelessly to the bar over lots of different connections. The manufacturer says that you can connect to the bar over music services like Spotify, Amazon Music, Tidal, and TuneIn in the future.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
No

The Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus doesn't have a display. Instead, it uses status lights that flash different colors and patterns depending on the settings you adjust. You can control the light's brightness in the app, which is handy.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

There are some physical controls on top of the bar itself. They let you adjust the volume, activate Bluetooth pairing, change the source, and mute the microphone. There's also a multi-purpose O button that lets you play/pause your music and activate the voice assistants.

Additional Features
Remote

The remote is pretty simple and lets you control most of the bar's settings from your couch. However, it's not universal, so you can't use it to control your TV. If you prefer, the Sennheiser Smart Control app also acts as a remote on your smartphone.

Additional Features
Voice Assistants Support
Amazon Alexa
Yes (Built-in)
Google Assistant
Yes (Built-in)
Apple Siri
No
Microphone Mute
Yes

You can control the bar with your voice using its built-in voice assistant features. If you don't want it to listen to you, you can mute the microphone.