At CES 2017, held in Las Vegas from January 5 to 8, Sennheiser is showcasing for the first time the new AMBEO® Smart Surround – a compact earphone for immersive 3D audio recording. This breakthrough product lets consumers capture and listen to binaural audio recordings on their smartphones with unprecedented simplicity. Following the unveiling of Sennheiser’s AMBEO 3D audio technology program and the introduction of the AMBEO VR Mic at CES 2016, the Smart Surround will be the audio specialist’s first AMBEO consumer product.
Binaural audio delivers an incredibly immersive 3D experience, placing the listener inside the soundscape and replicating the direction of sounds and spatial characteristics of a given environment. Whether it is a concert hall, a rainforest or a buzzling city – binaural sound makes you feel like you are there. With the creation of the AMBEO Smart Surround, Sennheiser will bring this sophisticated recording technology to an intuitive pair of consumer earphones for the first time. This easy-to-use product creates immersive, binaural audio that complements the high-quality video that is available from a wide range of consumer devices such as smartphones.
“Today’s consumers are accustomed to capturing incredibly realistic video, producing 4K and 360° videos. Yet as mainstream technology makes immersive visual experiences ever more accessible, the power and emotion of this footage is too often let down by the quality of sound that these devices can capture. AMBEO Smart Surround is an innovative solution that closes this gap,” explains Dr. Andreas Sennheiser, co-CEO of Sennheiser. “With AMBEO Smart Surround we are taking the next step into the future of audio. We are inviting consumers to experience immersive sound by adding a recording earphone into our AMBEO technology program,” adds Co-CEO Daniel Sennheiser.
Simple and spontaneous
The new AMBEO Smart Surround features a compact in-ear design that makes it ultra-portable and ideal for use with mobile devices. It also shares the convenience and simplicity of the smartphone experience: The intuitive handling makes the spontaneous capture of brilliant binaural sound as easy as shooting a high-definition video, and the 3D sound files recorded with the AMBEO Smart Surround can be enjoyed through any pair of stereo headphones.
For the binaural audio recordings, the earhooks of the AMBEO Smart Surround are fitted with two quality microphones. The incredibly realistic, immersive effect is made possible by reproducing the subtle differences in timing, volume and timbre that occur as sounds from different directions reach each ear.
Bringing binaural audio to the smartphone generation
With AMBEO Smart Surround, Sennheiser has reimagined binaural audio for a new generation. Previously, such recordings were made using dedicated professional solutions such as dummy heads. However, the new earphones apply today’s leading-edge technology, including the introduction of digital connectors such as Apple Lightning and USB-C, to offer this capability in a consumer device.
Daniel Sennheiser explains that the product draws on the company’s 70-year heritage of innovation and its vision to shape the future of audio: “Perhaps more than any other company, Sennheiser can claim to have started the very first wave of binaural audio in the 1960s, with the creation of the first open headphone model – the HD 414.”
“This same passion for innovation in audio will inspire a new wave of binaural sound for the digital age. We are very excited to see how consumers will embrace the creative possibilities that are opened up by this exciting technology,” Andreas Sennheiser says.
Experience Smart Surround
At CES, visitors will be given the opportunity to try the new prototypes for themselves in Sennheiser’s 3D Audio Experience Room. Inside, they will be surrounded by acoustical and visual impulses – an immersive experience that they are invited to explore and record with a pair of AMBEO Smart Surround and a smartphone. At the end of the demo, they can watch and listen again, and even share their videos online – all enhanced with stunning binaural sound.