Where it excels, however, is in creating atmosphere. The same test disc carries a couple of tracks with Atmos turned on and off. With it on, the solid rain from the thunderstorm is deliciously accurate. If you want immersive movies and you’ve only got room for one speaker this is the one. Mind you, it’s a very large soundbar; 127 cm long, 13.5 cm high and 17 cm deep and it weighs almost 19 kilograms. It’s best handled with a person at each end. If your telly is stand-mounted rather than on the wall you may have to stick a few books under the stand. The two-volume Shorter Oxford Dictionary is ideal.
The sound from Blu-rays is fabulous, but don’t use movie mode, use music – it widens the soundstage markedly; clear and sharp, beautifully defined and totally involving, just don’t expect surround sound. The post office robbery from Baby Driver, backed by Hocus Pocus by Focus, is tremendously exciting and the first ten minutes of Prometheus, the waterfall scene and then the cave discovery, is engrossing. Makes you wonder why people go to cinemas.
Musically it’s the best soundbar I’ve heard. I’ve never been a great fan of Copland’s Old American Songs (apart from the cat that says fiddle-i-fee) but I listened to them in full when they followed Appalachian Spring simply because they sounded so good.
There were some vicissitudes. The Bluetooth refused to pair with either of my Walkmans but happily paired with the computer (who cares, it’s only basic SBC). And there were times the Ambeo refused to acknowledge the Blu-ray player or the television (sometimes individually, sometimes both). The cables were fine as were the connections. Once it co-operated it kept on doing so for the rest of the session. Weird. I simply exercised patience and persisted, it was character building. Tip: Let it run through its 15-second boot-up before turning any connected equipment on.