A sound recorder that hears as ears hear

The Sennheiser Ambeo is a stereo microphone that doubles as a set of regular headphones and captures sounds as we hear them

Sennheiser Ambeo Smart Headset, £259.99
Sennheiser Ambeo Smart Headset, £259.99 | Image: Hugh Threlfall

Now that HD video is standard on phones and cameras, we must turn to the generally poor quality of sound recording on these devices. Different phone makers have striven to improve it, but it can still be pretty mushy and the stereo separation is never quite perfect. 

However, a new generation of microphone is adding lifelike “3D” sound to those ever-more vivid vids. First up is Sennheiser with these stereo microphones for Apple devices that double as regular earphones. Each headphone in the Ambeo Smart Headset contains a microphone that captures sounds binaurally, just as we hear them. I shot a couple of sequences in New York, first using the iPhone Xs Max, then with the Ambeo. The Ambeo recordings were better by far, better even than the human ear. I thought the device might pick up my breathing, but it didn’t. 


Unless you’re someone who’s happy to walk around in a pair of ear-mounted microphones on the off-chance of catching some unmissable footage, the Ambeo is not for instant videos on the fly. But for calculated filming, it’s a revelation.


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