Marcus Hagen is a 24-year-old journalism student from Columbia University.
If there’s something that smartphones have truly popularized then it is taking photos and videos about everything. Just take a look at Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. There’s so much visual content that people love to share. But there’s one thing that hasn’t really improved over the years and that’s audio. The microphones you’ll find on smartphones sound really bad. They still record in Mono, which is kind of unheard of in 2018.
Which is why Sennheiser decided to improve it and bring the sound quality to the same level as video cameras. They released a device called the Sennheiser Ambeo, which is basically a headphone that has multiple microphones on the sides. And since the microphones are placed right at where your ears are, they record the sounds similar to how you would hear them. The quality is so good that when you later listen to the recording, you’ll even be able to tell if the sounds are coming from behind or in front of you.
Microphones & Noise Isolation
The Sennheiser Ambeo headphones can only be used with an iPhone. That’s because it only has a cable that has a Lightning connector. Unfortunately adapters don’t work either.
These headphones are solely designed for recording. Which is why the headphones itself aren’t anything impressive. They are just your average in-ears. Even the audio quality is quite average. So there’s really not much to talk about that side of them. In terms of design, the only extra is that the headphones also have a remote controller. You can use it to modify different settings and start recording.
The Sennheiser Ambeo comes with multiple microphones. They are designed to record everything around you. But the downside of in ears is that they suppress all sounds when you are wearing them. That’s why Sennheiser has included a feature called transparent hearing. It uses the two microphones on either side of the headphone to transfer the audio straight to your ears. This way you hear everything even when you are wearing the headphones.
This feature works incredibly well and I’m really impressed with it. You can even use the remote to adjust the volume of the outside world. Which means that you can even make everything around you completely silent. There is even an active sound isolation that you can just switch on if the noise gets too much.
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In addition, there is also a third microphone that isn’t exactly designed for high quality audio recording. This one is instead used when someone calls you. It’s basically a hands free microphone.
The headphones also sit inside my ears really well. They come with 3 different size ear tips that are pretty comfortable to wear and there should be a size for everyone.
The Sennheiser Ambeo also does come with an app as well. Obviously it’s only available on iOS as the headphones can only be used with an iPhone. You can use the app change the settings. For example, not only can you change the volume of the transparent hearing feature but also configure what the rest of the remote controller buttons do. Plus you can disable the audio notification system that lets you know when a different function is activated.
To be honest, I have been doing binaural recordings for almost a decade now. Which is why the 3D stereo audio effect is nothing new for me. However, up until now, it was never really convenient to do it with my phone. Sure it was possible but it was quite annoying. For example, I once tried doing it with my iPhone 5S. The whole setup included my phone, an audio adapter, an audio recorder, multiple microphones and cables that connected all of those devices. Just the wires alone made it such a hassle to record anything good.
And not only that, I also had to use headphones. Plus a power bank in my back pocket. I personally used the Anker PowerCore 26800 mAh battery as I received it as a birthday gift a while ago. This was the power source that kept all of the devices running. I’m still amazed that I had the patience to assemble it all.
But it’s not like you had much choice ever. All of these devices are necessary if you want to record a decent quality binaural audio. Which is why the Ambeo is so good in my opinion. It just combines all of them into one device.
Plus the recording quality is so good. Put on your headphones and listen to this audio example that’s been recorded with the Ambeo. You can tell exactly where the sound comes from as the video footage moves.
The Sennheiser Ambeo is the perfect solution for vloggers. It combines all of the devices necessary to record a high quality audio of your environment. The only downside of them is the hefty price. However, if you are a serious vlogger, then I definitely recommend checking them out.