New iPhone Headphones Turn You Into A Walking 3D Binaural Microphone

Apogee and Sennheiser have released the Ambeo Smart Headset – a set of iPhone headphones, designed to turn you into a walking 3D microphone.

The Ambeo Smart Headset connects to your Lightning port and fits in your ears like other earbud-style headphones.

But the earpieces are fitted with omnidirectional microphones, designed for creating binaural recording that matches what you hear as you walk around. The microphones also enable Transparent Hearing and Noise Cancellation features that allow you to blend the sounds of your surroundings with your music or tune them out.


  • Headphones with Lightning connection for iPhone and iPad (MFi certified by Apple)
  • Built-in professional microphones for 3D audio recording to capture sounds like you hear them
  • Effortless recording with any App that captures stereo audio, including iPhone Camera App
  • Transparent Hearing lets you hear the sounds around you and blend them with audio from your iPhone
  • Active Noise Cancellation blocks distractions in your surroundings
  • Additional telephone mic lets you take calls and operate voice control on iPhone
  • High-quality headphones with signature Sennheiser sound
  • Apogee’s proprietary Soft Limit and mic preamp plus precisely tuned A/D and D/A conversion

Pricing and Availability:

The Ambeo Smart Headset is available now for US $299.95.

12 thoughts on “New iPhone Headphones Turn You Into A Walking 3D Binaural Microphone

  1. It’s a great idea that is long overdue. The price is startling, though. I’m not sure the resulting sound quality justifies that price-tag.

    You have to use your lightning port to have headphones & mic-input, so you’ll need to be charged up. Does this allow you to charge somehow with a split adapter?

    There are plenty of good microphone options that could come in via CCK, or audio i/o. But this does have the advantage of just being an integrated earbud monitor plus human head boundary mic.

    Some people wouldn’t bat an eye to buy this. (I’m not one of those people).

    1. Binaural is a method of recording, not encoding (although you can get plugins that will process audio to create the binaural effect). Should playback fine on any stereo device.

      Agree it’s kind of pricy, but given how many people listen to music with headphones/earbuds these days, it could create some really startling effects.

  2. I’ve wanted this so badly, ever since the first day they revealed it, over a year ago. But alas, I am not, and never will be a member of the “Apple walled garden”. If they release an Android version, or any kind of more “open” version, I’m one of the people Stub describes above, who wouldn’t bad an eye to buy it.

    1. I think I will enjoy this headphone vegetable, along my no-latency fruit, my AU herbs, and massive amount of imaginative soft synth seeds in this oh so horrible walled garden.

      I guess I’m missing something though in not being able to brag about how principled I am by never buying Apple products. I hope I’ll be able to live with myself.

  3. Disappointing it’s tied to Apple devices only. Many years ago my Walkman (Sony WMR-15) was a recording Walkman with microphones on the bundled headphones, which is essentially the heart of what this is, The effect was superb and I took advantage of it regularly. Would happily get something similar again but not at this price – the hardware should not be all that pricey.

    1. I completely agree on both counts. But their design had to navigate the fact that Apple is phasing out headphone jacks, that you won’t always have a way to connect USB. If they’d made it Bluetooth, it would have had bandwidth limitations (I imagine) and/or latency.

      I would have liked to see them just have a little multi-pin connect and give the choice of a pair of stereo plugs, or a lightning connector as two bundled adapters.

  4. Given that audiophiles are already with copious amounts of audio equipment and consumers barely scratching above the prosumer market, I don’t really see the audiophiles jumping at this one. But Sennheiser might just be hoping those tethered cellphone types with constant phonecalls might like to hear their boss in 3D or their wives for that matter. Ouch.

  5. Hey all! Anthony, founder of Hooke Audio here. I see a lot of people here are frustrated by the Sennheiser’s iOS only functionality. Just thought I’d let you know, Hooke Audio has been doing this since 2014. We’ve invented the World’s first BLUETOOTH binaural microphone and have embedded the binaural recording tech into a pair of wireless headphones (just like Sennheiser). Hooke Audio is fully compatible on iOS, Android, GoPro, DSLR, Field recorders and more. We’ve built a custom Bluetooth recording codec that allows us to stream dual channel 24bit 48kHz audio over BT at a .0042 ms latency rate. Learn more: THANKS!

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