Sennheiser unveiled its Ambeo Soundbar Plus at IFA 2022 held in Berlin earlier this month, and although it's not officially available until September 22, it already looks set to rank as one of the best Dolby Atmos soundbars we've seen.
Despite being named 'Plus,' Sennheiser's latest Ambeo soundbar is smaller and more affordable than the Ambeo Soundbar Max (a monster 13-driver) that features among one of the 5 best TV sound upgrades I've tested.
The Ambeo Soundbar Plus has a significantly smaller footprint than its hulking sibling and is more akin to the size of the Sonos Arc. Despite its more diminutive size, it claims 400W power output to 7.1.4 channels — to you and I that's seven active full range speaker channels, plus one sub bass, and four up-firing height channels. Like its 'Max' brother, the Plus uses Ambeo virtualization tech to deliver Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Sony 360 Reality Audio soundtracks, as well as up-mixing stereo TV and music content.
Wireless connectivity runs to streaming via Bluetooth, AirPlay 2, Chromecast, Tidal Connect, and Spotify Connect. Physical ports at the back are available for wired connectivity including 3x HDMI ports (one with eARC support), as well as a optical digital audio port, and stereo RCAs for analog audio. Plus, there's a subwoofer output, as well as a powered USB port and Ethernet socket. Alexa and Siri voice assistants are built in and it can be wall mounted.
To partner the Soundbar Plus, Sennheiser has also introduced a matching Ambeo Sub. Also powered by Ambeo virtualisation technology, it claims an 8-inch woofer driven by a 350W Class-D amplifier. As with its Ambero soundbars, the Sub uses advanced self-calibration via a built-in far-field microphone to allow it to optimize performance to the acoustics of your surroundings, and can be further adjusted to your own tastes via Sennheiser's Smart Control app.
Product Manager for Sennheiser's Ambeo Soundbars, Maximillian Voigt, commented: "The Ambeo Soundbar Plus and Ambeo Sub build on the success of the award-winning Ambeo Soundbar Max, ranked by reviewers as the best soundbar in the world. Thanks to the deep, immersive sound and more compact housing, our new Ambeo Soundbar Plus offers even more choices for those who want a home theatre experience with audiophile-quality sound."
In terms of availability, the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Plus and Ambeo Sub, can be pre-ordered now via the Sennheiser website. The Ambeo Soundbar Plus will be priced at $1,499 / £1,299, with the Ambeo Sub at $699 / £599 when they go on full sale on September 22.
Analysis: Can the Ambeo Soundbar Plus match the Max?
One of my main criticisms of the Ambeo Soundbar Max was its bulk and price, so I am pleased to see that both of these factors have been addressed with the introduction of the Ambeo Soundbar Plus. It has a more compact form that's much closer to the proportions of the Sonos Arc and Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3. It measures 41-inches long, 3.3-inches tall, and weighs around 14 pounds, making it far more living-room friendly than the Max at almost 50-inches long, 5-inches tall, and weighing in at 40 pounds.
Although the price is significantly less than the Max, the Plus still looks a bit steep especially if you factor in the extra for the sub. All will be forgiven though if the Plus can get close to the gloriously rich and room filling sound achieved by its pricey sibling. The Max filled the room with the full power of high-octane movie effects, while also delivering dialog that sounds natural and entirely understandable, and is among of the best soundbars I've heard.
Update: Find out more in the full Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Plus review.