Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar vs Sonos Arc which is better?

Today’s epic battle is the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar vs Sonos Arc! I have spent a ton of time with the Sonos Arc. Fairly recently I put together this Klipsch Cinema 1200 vs Sonos Arc which is better? article which was a lot of fun and really put the Arc through its paces. With the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar, we have a new challenger (Street Fighter reference for you there) and it is perhaps the biggest test the Sonos Arc has had yet. Sure, there is a massive and I mean massive price difference between these two competitors, but is one worth the extra money? That is what I am looking to find out today.

The Price

The price is always where I start these things off, but with this Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar vs Sonos Arc battle, the price is a major factor in comparing these two. When you have soundbars that are so far apart in their pricing it can be hard to justify all that extra money if you ask me!

Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar:

When the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar arrived at my house for me to review it and I told my wife how much it cost if we were to buy one “HOW MUCH???” was what she said at the top of her voice. This when it was first released would have cost you $2,499.99! That is no typo, the RRP on this thing was over 2 grand! You can find this for around £2000 now, but that is still a lot of money for a soundbar. This is very high-end stuff we are talking about here so I get the price tag, I really do. However, I just do not see the average movie lover being able to justify such a massive price increase over what Sonos is asking for the Arc.

Sonos Arc: 

Usually when I talk about the Sonos Arc I mention how it is pretty expensive. The thing is, $799.99 is no small chunk of change, but when side by side with the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar, it is a hell of a lot cheaper that is for sure! This is a very popular soundbar and even when you shop around, you very rarely find it for a significant amount under that RRP. You can sometimes if you are lucky find a store that may have 50 or 25 bucks knocked off the price, but it is pretty rare. Sometimes sellers on Amazon and eBay are selling this for even more than the RRP!

The Verdict: 

I am not going to sit here and say that I feel the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar is overpriced. It is very expensive? You bet your butt it is expensive, but that does not mean it is overpriced. However, this is a direct comparison and there is no way I could justify to one of my friends or a family member that it is worth 1200 bucks more than the Sonos Arc.  

The Design

Design is always a category I look forward to when I start writing one of these articles and this Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar vs Sonos Arc contest is no different. These are two very different looking soundbars, one is curvy and the other more angular so I feel this one is going to come down to your personal preference.

Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar:

Before I give you my opinion I want to recommend that you check out this Sennheiser Ambeo: Full Review video as it gives you an idea of just how large the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar really is! I do not think I have tested a larger soundbar than this. It comes in at ‎49.8” x 6.73” x 5.31” and it is not that 49 inches of length that I am freaking out over. Although, the chances of you fitting this between the legs of your TV may be slim. It is the over 6 inches in height. This is quite a tall soundbar, so you may not even be able to have this in front of your TV, even if you have 65 inches plus TV as it may cover up the bottom of the screen. While it is large, it is also very heavy coming in at 40 pounds. However, as soon as you take this out of the box, you will know that you are dealing with a very well made and high-end piece of technology.

This has quite an angular design to it and while at first glance it may look like a rectangle, it is actually angled on the sides which helps with the way it pushes the sound through the room. It makes it look like a movie theatre speaker and that is something I think is very cool indeed. Now, covering the speakers on the front and the sides of the soundbar is a fabric grille. I have to be honest here and say that I am not the biggest fan of a fabric grille. Granted, you can take it off if you want, but then the drivers are exposed. Fabric grilles can get dirty and damaged easily. There is a little LCD to let you know what input and so on you have selected and this is a very nice touch. On the top of the soundbar, you have plastic in the middle and then on the sides, there is this metal which I really do like.

Once you flip this thing around which due to the weight and size takes some serious strength, you will see just how ready to be connected the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar is! This thing is stacked with connectivity options. You have an HDMI Arc and then there are three further HDMI ports as well. They also give you an optical port, but if you use that you lose Dolby Atmos! There is even an RCA port on here which kind of blew my mind. You also have an ethernet port as well as a USB in case of any future firmware updates.

Sonos Arc: 

I really like what Sonos has done with the design of the Sonos Arc. If you look at this Unboxing SONOS ARC video, you can clearly see why I am so high on the design of this soundbar. This is a large soundbar, but at 45” x 3.4” x4.5”, it is considerably smaller than the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar. Do not get me wrong, it is still pretty damn long, but the height of this is much smaller and that makes a big difference in regards to how you display this with your TV. This can probably sit between the legs of most 55 inches and up TVs that are on the market, but be sure to do your homework first. As soon as you open up the box for the Sonos Arc, you can tell right away you are dealing with something that is very high-quality. It has a solid build to it and in all, it is easily one of the best built soundbars that Sonos have. Actually, it was the top in my opinion until the Sonos Beam Gen 2 was released.

What first caught my eye about the Sonos Arc when I originally tested it out (which feels like a lifetime ago) was that they got rid of the fabric grille that they used with their original Sonos Beam. Instead, we have a strong and pretty thick plastic grille. I like this from a design point of view, but also for cleaning and protection it is better in my opinion. The way the grille is curved is great, actually, the whole soundbar has a curvy design which is going to make it look fantastic no matter where you decide to have this in your home. This can be purchased in black and white and for me, black is the way to go, but if white is more your jam by all means go for that one. They are both made the same, it is just the color that is different.

On the back of the Sonos Arc, you can see how you connect this to your TV. On one hand, I love how a company like Sennheiser gives you a ton of different connectivity options. However, there is also something to be said about Sonos who like to keep it nice and simple. They have on the back of here an HDMI port and that is it. This is a Dolby Atmos compatible soundbar and to make use of that you need HDMI so that makes sense. If for some reason you do need to connect this to your TV via optical cable, you can as they give you an HDMI to optical cable which is a very nice touch.

The Verdict: 

The real deciding factor for this one has to be the fabric grille on the front of the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar. It looks great, but I feel a soundbar at this price range really should have a plastic grille on there. I do not mind how large it is, as a matter of fact, I think it is pretty cool. However, I am giving this round to the Sonos Arc, I have always liked the design of this soundbar, and the fact that Sonos ditched the fabric grille of the Sonos Beam for a plastic one here is awesome.

The Sound

Now, this is the main event of our Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar vs Sonos Arc title fight! The big question most people will be asking here is if the sound the Sennheiser produces is worth over a grand more than the Sonos Arc! These are both Dolby Atmos soundbars so that right away has me invested in what is about to go down!

Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar:

The wording of “mind blowing sound” that this Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar – Blow your mind 3D AUDIO – Listen here! – REVIEW video has is right on the money if you ask me. I was legit floored the first time that I fired up the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar and that was without even playing with any of the settings that it offered. This thing offers a cinema quality sound that you cannot get from the majority of other soundbars. I have said that other soundbars have had cinema like sound before, but that is nothing compared to this. This is not designed to be in your living room, this deserves to be in a theatre room with at least a 120 inch screen and a 4K projector. I watched Sonic the Hedgehog with my son and as well as being an awesome movie, the 4K release has a tremendous Dolby Atmos track. The 3D surround sound that this thing offers truly is second to none and many other soundbars that claim to offer surround sound come nowhere close to this

The sheer power that this thing offers is very impressive. You may think that it has a subwoofer built in, but it does not. Still, the level of bass that this provides is great, sure a dedicated subwoofer is always going to be better. However, when watching Tenet, I never once found myself having an issue with the bass. The Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar has some very well-balanced sound. I was very impressed all around and I think no matter what you are watching with this, it is going to sound great.

In keeping with the well balanced sound thing, I do have to say that the clarity of dialogue here is outstanding. My wife and I loved the series, Pretty Little Liars well apart from Spencer sounding like Dick Van Dyke in the end, seriously how did the rest of the cast keep a straight face? Well, the point I am trying to make here is that the dialogue through this soundbar really could not be any clearer and my wife was very impressed when we watched a couple of episodes. I do not think it matters if there is a big car chase, some kind of explosion, or Optimus Prime smashing Megatron in the face, you will still be able to hear what people (or Transformers) are saying nice and clearly!  

Sonos Arc:

Earlier in the year I had my head turned by Dolby Atmos and since then I am all about it, just check out this Sonos Arc: How to Play Dolby Atmos video if you want to know more about it. I want to talk to you guys about The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy which I recently picked up on 4K. As well as the outstanding picture, each of the three movies has a Dolby Atmos track that is amazing. The way the sound truly moves around and hits you from every angle is amazing. The part when they are climbing the snowy mountain is what really blew me away. Oh and the Battle For Helm’s Deep as well was just incredible. You know, if I had an electronics store and wanted to show off Dolby Atmos, I think I would have Helm’s Deep scene playing over and over again. The Sonos Arc is one of the best soundbars when it comes to Dolby Atmos and usually, it comes out on top when I do one of these VS articles.

You may think that comparing these two is a bit unfair, but I will say that as the Sonos Arc is so much cheaper you could actually consider adding the amazing Sonos Sub Gen 3 to your package. The Sonos Arc on its own does provide a decent amount of bass and one movie in particular that springs to mind is Pixels which is a fun family movie. Anyway, the bass really shined through and I was thoroughly impressed. You could throw in the Sonos Sub and still be under the asking price of the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar so I do think that is something for you to consider.

While the Sonos Arc is great when it comes to action movies and stuff like that. One area I have not talked about is the way dialogue sounds through this. I have to say that people focus on the Dolby Atmos and how loud the Arc can be and often do not give it the credit it deserves for when it comes to the level of clear voice it offers. If you were to watch a movie like The Green Mile, for example, you will notice a massive and I mean absolutely massive difference in the vocal clarity when compared to your TV speakers. So much so that you will wonder how you ever watched a movie with your TV speakers. Overall, even without adding the Sonos Sub, the Sonos Arc offers an immense and balanced sound and that is why it is so popular.

The Verdict: 

I would say that more often than not the Sonos Arc is going to come out on top when it comes to sound, especially in regards to Dolby Atmos. However, side by side there is no denying that the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar is more impressive and offers a more movie theatre like experience. To be fair, it is over double the price so that is to be expected. Still, I have to say that the winner of this round is Sennheiser.  

The Remote Control

We come to the part of this Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar vs Sonos Arc that makes it seem like I am picking on poor old Sonos! Whenever I do one of these things, I always end up giving Sonos the business, but it is nothing personal! Anyway, let’s get this over with and see how you control these things.

Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar: I expected the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar to come with a very futuristic and feature packed remote control. To be honest with you, I do feel this was a perfectly reasonable expectation for me to have, after all this thing can cost over 2 grand! While we do get a remote control with this soundbar, it is not as feature packed as I would have liked. It gives you the basic control of the soundbar decently enough. You have dedicated buttons for a few presets such as sport and movies. However, you need to use their app in order to get access to all of the features this soundbar offers and it offers a whole lot of presets and playing around that you can do. The app is fine, but I just wish I could control everything with the remote control.

Sonos Arc: The Sonos Arc does not come with a remote control. I have talked about this a million times and from the first time I experienced a Sonos soundbar (I think it was the Beam) that did not come with a remote, I have been happy with it. Now, Sonos feel that everyone has a smartphone on them these days so a remote is not necessary. Plus, this is compatible with Alexa and there are controls on the bar. The app actually is great and gives you all the control you need. Still, Sennheiser gives you a basic remote that controls the basic functions and I think Sonos needed to do this too.

The Verdict: While the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar wins this one by default, it is not the one sided victory that usually comes at the expense of Sonos. I think at the price they are asking, Sennheiser should have made a remote control that gave you full control over all the features that the soundbar offered. The remote is well made, and looks cool, but it is greatly lacking in terms of what it can actually do.

What Is In The Box?

In the final category of our Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar vs Sonos Arc battle, we are taking a look at exactly what you can expect for your money if you were to buy either of these. Here we will see what is waiting for you in the box when it arrives at your house.

Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar:  I do have to take a moment to mention that the box for the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar is freaking huge! Getting this thing in the back of a car would be a real pain in the butt. My wife has a Nissan note and if I asked her to pick something like this up from the store, I would be divorced and living in the giant box! Anyway, inside the box we have the soundbar, power cable, and remote control. There is an instruction leaflet and you also have an HDMI cable. They do also give you this room correction microphone that is there to help you set it up perfectly. It is a fun gimmick that they have added here, but I would probably never use it.

Sonos Arc: Sonos makes sure that anyone who buys the Sonos Arc has all they need when they bust the box open. This is packaged very well, Sonos is one of the best when it comes to how they package their products. You get your Sonos Arc soundbar and its power cable. You also get your instruction manual too. Sonos gives you an HDMI cable and as this is a Dolby Atmos compatible soundbar, that is exactly what you need. Still, they do give you this handy little HDMI to optical cable that will allow you to still connect this to your TV via its optical port if you want. Just remember, you do that and you lose Dolby Atmos.

The Verdict: Both Sonos and Sennheiser are giving you what you need here. I do think I have to give Sonos an extra bit of oomph in the high five I am giving them for having that little HDMI to optical cable thing.

What Is The Best?

So, we have come to the end of our Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar vs Sonos Arc battle of excellence. Putting these two side by side I have to say that the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar is the better soundbar. At the end of the day, the sound is what we should be judging these on and out of the box the Sennheiser gives you a much closer cinema type experience than the Sonos Arc does. However, it does cost over double the price and that is a lot of extra money and to be honest with you I am not sure it is over double the price better. Also, if you were to add the Sonos Sub to the Sonos Arc, things are actually a lot closer.

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