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Sennheiser’s 13-speaker soundbar will launch in May for $2,499

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Sennheiser’s first consumer speaker, the Ambeo Soundbar, is now available to preorder for $2,499. That makes it one of the most expensive soundbars out there. But coming from Sennheiser, it ought to be one of the best-sounding ones, too.

The Ambeo Soundbar is meant to deliver virtual surround sound in a 5.1.4 configuration. That’s the five speakers and a subwoofer from a normal 5.1 surround sound system, plus four additional speakers in each corner of the room. Sennheiser says the soundbar will transform stereo and 5.1 content so that it can take advantage of its additional virtual speakers.

The soundbar is made up of 13 drivers: six four-inch woofers, five one-inch tweeters, and two 3.5-inch top-firing speakers. There’s also a microphone on board so that the soundbar can learn the shape of your room and adjust its playback to properly place each speaker channel around you.

While the soundbar is certainly smaller than a true nine-speaker system would be, it’s one of the largest soundbars out there. Cheaper alternatives are much slimmer, whereas the Ambeo Soundbar is going to look like a pretty chunky device when it’s sitting on your TV stand.

Image: Sennheiser

The soundbar is compatible with Dolby Atmos, and it supports streaming content over Bluetooth and Google Cast. You’ll also be able to control the soundbar’s settings from a mobile app.

The Ambeo Soundbar was first announced a year ago, and Sennheiser had originally planned to bring it out by the end of 2018. While that date has obviously passed, the product doesn’t seem to have been dramatically delayed.

I had a chance to listen to a prototype of the speaker last year, and it sounded great (albeit, that was in a controlled setting designed by Sennheiser). But with all the power built into this thing and an additional year of tuning, it should sound pretty good in typical use.

Despite being so well-known in audio circles for its excellent headphones, this soundbar is actually Sennheiser’s first consumer speaker. The company does offer studio monitors through Neumann, another brand it owns, but this is the first time Sennheiser has tried to make a speaker for the home.

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