AT A GLANCE
Convincing immersive sound
Chromecast built-in for music streaming
Heavy and large
Sennheiser's first foray into home theater was worth the wait. The Ambeo soundbar, with Ambeo 3D processing, is currently the best soundbar on the market.
The compactness and convenience that soundbars offer has always been appealing, but their actual sound has too often been a letdown. Many have failed to create an authentic sense of surround and most also require an external subwoofer to provide substantial bass. Sennheiser's new Ambeo soundbar looks to buck that trend by delivering an immersive 5.1.4 surround experience while confidently eschewing a separate subwoofer. On paper, it looks to be the first soundbar designed to truly replace a standard home-theater surround setup. But does it deliver the goods?
AT A GLANCE
Clean, dynamic sound
Compact form factor
Limited connection options
JBL's desktop monitors deliver crisp, distinctive sound in a compact and affordable package.
When shopping for desktop speakers, the line between consumer and pro gear can sometimes get blurred. That's because the differences between compact powered bookshelf speakers (consumer) and desktop monitors (pro) ultimately aren't that dramatic. Generally, it comes down to features: consumer gear is more likely to provide things like Bluetooth and phono inputs and a subwoofer output, while pro gear eschews such frills. Another key difference can be the sound: while consumer speakers are voiced to simply sound good, pro versions are designed for "accuracy." But does accurate necessarily equate to good? Let's listen to the JBL One Series 104 Powered Reference Monitor ($129) and find out.