While some people look to 8K video and beyond in film, most of us want better sound, though a full-fat home theater setup just isn’t feasible for many of us with smaller homes, which require wires and speakers everywhere. don’t want But without a proper home theater system, how do you get the full experience of Dolby Atmos and the other 3D codecs that make movies so impressive these days?
Sennheiser believes it has the answer in the form of the brand new AMBEO Mini, a fun-sized soundbar designed for most of us who don’t have large homes or bottomless pockets. This brand new soundbar is the third model in the Sennheiser AMBEO range and follows the AMBEO Max and AMBEO Plus. Sennheiser has been making soundbars since 2019, and the company’s engineers have taken the proverbial duck to water-like motif.
The new AMBEO Mini is just 700mm tall and small enough to fit comfortably in front of a 40-inch screen. That said, it can partner with very large TVs because, despite its compact footprint, its sound is loud and it ticks almost every box you’d want to tick if you’re buying a new soundbar. Are.
As well as eARC HDMI inputs, the AMBEO Mini offers Apple AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast and Bluetooth. It even has Alexa built-in, so you can simply ask it to perform Alexa tasks. The Mini’s built-in microphone can be disabled using the touch controls if you’re itching for that sort of thing. In addition, the Mini OK works with Google and Apple’s Siri. It’s quite the multitasker.
There are six drivers built into the AMBEO Mini: two 4-inch woofers and four full-range 40mm drivers. Clever virtualization algorithms enable the AMBEO Mini to produce 7.1.4 virtual sound, which exceeds any other soundbar currently on the market. It can be controlled using the excellent Sennheiser Control app or the high quality remote control that comes with the Mini.
The AMBEO’s sound can also be controlled using your TV remote when connected via HDMI CEC. One thing to note here is that there is only one HDMI input. Although this should be sufficient for most people’s needs, it’s worth noting for those who prefer to connect Blu-ray or PlayStation via soundbar rather than TV.
Although the Mini has two woofers that knock down the frequency to 43Hz, you can give the Mini even more oomph by adding four stunning Sennheiser AMBEO wireless subwoofers. Trust me when I say it’s all worth getting as the low-level grunt and growl gets reduced to 27Hz, which makes any movie come alive and streamed music and spatial audio a real pleasure Is.
So how does a compact soundbar produce sound good enough to mimic a 7.1.4 home theater system? The answer is, as it often is these days, algorithms. The AMBEO Mini uses beamforming to pump out the sound so that the helicopters in the movie sound like they’re flying over your head.
AMBEO Mini produces a rear speaker effect that sounds almost as if you have rear speakers installed. The effect is impressive, although perhaps not as impressive as an expensive full-fat home theater system. However, let’s say you’ve always wanted better movie sound with that home theater experience, but can’t stand the thought of all those extra speakers and cables around your living room. In that case, the Sennheiser AMBEO Mini is the next best way.
Setting up the AMBEO Mini is very easy. There’s no Ethernet port so the Mini connects to a network using 2.4 or 5GHz Wi-Fi. This is a seamless process and only needs to be done once. Sennheiser has also included a self-calibration routine that tests your room’s acoustics and adjusts the soundbar’s output by measuring how long it takes for sound to bounce back from the room’s walls, corners, and ceiling. It takes very little time to complete and does a great job of reproducing a spatial sound. Mini Dolby Atmos, DTS
Touch controls on the top of the Mini enable quick volume adjustments etc., but you can also use your iOS or Android phone running the Sennheiser Smart Control app or the supplied remote. The LEDs on the top of the soundbar are easily viewed from the couch, so there’s no need to get up to check the status lights.
As well as automatic sounds, Sennheiser has programmed presets for the sound levels you want, depending on whether you’re watching sports or music. There is also a speech clarity setting that can boost vocals and you can also adjust the volume of the center speaker to provide more clarity on surround sound effects. It’s all very clever and infinitely customizable.
The sound clarity function works brilliantly and boosts the midrange without reducing the bass response. And for those who like to watch movies late at night, there’s a Night Mode that lowers the bass boom so you don’t wake up the rest of the household.
The sound of AMBEO Mini is impressive and creates a natural cinematic effect. This is one of the best visualizations of Dolby Atmos I’ve ever heard from a soundbar. It’s even more impressive when you realize that this tiny 700mm soundbar packs 250W Class D amplification. This is the epitome of acoustical engineering genius. In all fairness to Sennheiser, the company’s engineers have created the perfect surround sound effect out of a soundbar.
The overall build quality of the Mini is on par with the best devices produced by Sennheiser. No corners have been cut and I love the backlit AMBEO logo and illuminated codec indicator on the top of the soundbar. The AMBEO Mini has been given a lot of thought and I would not be surprised if it receives several awards. The AMBEO offers the price, size, and performance most of us want from a soundbar.
Decision: The Sennheiser AMbeo Mini is a great kit. I spent two weeks with a loan unit to write my review. During that time, I had never seen so many movies and box sets and enjoyed them so much. This is a great piece of audio engineering. For those who don’t have the space or money for a huge home theater system, the AMBEO Mini with Sennheiser Wireless Subwoofer is the perfect setup for under $1,500. At only 700mm tall, the AMBEO Mini is compact enough to use in a bedroom or kitchen. Support for Apple AirPlay 2 and Chromecast allows the Mini to fit perfectly into multi-room audio setups. It also supports Spotify and Tidal Direct, two essential boxes ticked right there. There’s nothing to criticize about the AMBEO Mini, except perhaps, I would have liked to see a second HDMI port. If you buy yourself the Sennheiser AMBEO Mini Soundbar and Wireless Subwoofer, you will not regret it.
Pricing & Availability: The Sennheiser AMBEO Mini soundbar will be available from September 1st and will sell for $799 / £699 / €799. Sennheiser’s AMBEO wireless subwoofer is also available now and costs $699.95 / £699 / €749.
more info: www.sennheiser.com
- Woofers: 2 x 4-inch cellulose cone drivers.
- Full Range Drivers: 4 x 1.6-inch cellulose cones.
- Frequency Response: 43Hz – 20kHz.
- Amplifier 6 x Class D.
- Power: 250W (RMS).
- Audio Processor: Quad-core 1.8GHz SoC.
- Connectivity: Chromecast Built-in, UPnP, Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect.
- Input: 1 x HDMI 2.1 eARC.
- Alexa Built-in: Yes.
- Works with OK Google: Yes.
- Remote: Yes.
- App Control: Yes.
- Wi-Fi: 2.4 and 5GHz IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax.
- Bluetooth: 5.0 BLE
- Codecs: AAC, SBC.
- Dimensions (LxDxH): 700 x 100 x65 mm.
- Weight: 3,300 grams.