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Hands on with Sennheiser’s Ambeo Smart Headset



sennheiser film Sennheiser

  • Sennheiser’s $300 Ambeo Smart Headset is a pair of earphones
    that also has a powerful binaural mic — meaning it can capture 3D
    sound through a microphone in each ear. In other words, the audio
    capture is in stereo, reproducing exactly where the sound was
    coming from. 
  • Sennheiser teamed up with director Roxanne Benjamin to
    produce a thriller short film called “Final Stop,” which was
    recorded using an iPhone and Sennheiser’s Ambeo Smart
  • When viewed with a pair of stereo headphones, the film is a
    great example of how you can get professional-quality film and
    audio on a consumer-level budget — you don’t need to spend
    thousands of dollars on video and audio equipment to produce a
    thrilling and immersive experience. 

If you’ve ever jumped into the
weird world of ASMR
on YouTube, you’ve probably come across
someone using a binaural microphone. Put simply, it’s a
microphone that can record 3D audio — sound that really seems to
be coming from anywhere around you when you play it back. 

However, recording and reproducing spacial, binaural audio can be
expensive and difficult. If you want to give the viewer/listener
the feeling of being in a room, you need to
position the microphone (or microphones) in the correct fashion,
and you might need some pretty expensive recording

$300 Ambeo Smart Headset
is an attempt to alleviate the
issues that come with 3D recording. The headphones double as a
binaural recording device. Each earbud has a microphone that
picks up audio all around the wearer — which means when you
listen back to the recording, it sounds like you’re standing
right where the audio was recorded, and you hear things right
where they happened. 

After briefly testing out the headset in an ‘experience’ room
that Sennheiser set up, I was impressed with how accurately the
device was able to replicate the sound of what I had just
experienced in person with my own two ears. 

As long as you keep the phone’s camera pointed in the direction
you’re looking, the audio comes out sounding spot-on. The
headset also has active noise cancelation, and an amplification
feature that provides real-time sound monitoring and amplified
audio of what’s happening around you. While these features
can be a fun novelty in daily use, there’s a very promising
real-world application that Sennheiser recently showed off:
amateur filmmaking. 

sennheiser ambeo headset
Ambeo Smart Headset features active noise cancelation, noise
amplification, and records 3D audio around the


The German audio company teamed up with director Roxanne
Benjamin to produce a short film, titled “Final Stop.” Watch
the full film by Roxanne Benjamin
. It’s best (and recommended) to wear stereo headphones
while watching. 

The short thriller was recording using an iPhone, and the audio
was captured through an Ambeo Smart Headset that was worn by the
cameraman. The result is a film shot with gear you can carry with
you in a backpack, but that has truly immersive sound. 

Throughout “Final Stop,” viewers are subjected to various creepy
sounds that, when coupled with the positional audio, sound like
you’re really experiencing them. Stereo audio is able to provide
an enjoyable listening experience when it comes to music, and is
perfectly fine for watching films and TV, but true binaural audio
is on a whole different level of immersion. Things that happen
behind, above, or next to the cameraman are reproduced exactly as
he would have heard them. 

The fact that the film was made on an iPhone is also impressive.
It’s long been said in filmmaking that who’s behind the camera
matters more than what kind of camera you use, and mobile
cinematography has started to grow a following  in recent
years as phone cameras have improved.

But this film has effectively shown that by coupling a smartphone
you probably already have, and a $300 audio device from
Sennheiser, you could have the tools — if not the cast and crew —
to make a reasonably immersive film on the cheap. 

While the price point might be a bit high for someone who just
wants a pair of quality headphones, and the market for 3D audio
might not quite be there yet, I came away seriously impressed by
this headset. The Ambeo Smart Headset certainly isn’t for
everyone — and it’s not marketed for everyone. But if you want a
portable, discreet, and easy way to record 3D audio of what’s
happening around you, it gets the job done — and impressively

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