Soundbars are an fascinating conundrum – it is now an open secret that they seem to be a shortcut to massively upgraded sound for even the most premium of 4K TVs, so principally everybody needs one.
Cheaping out continues to be a foul thought, although, and it may be a problem to discover a actually great-sounding soundbar that is not completely large. One massively common choose is the Sonos Beam, and now Sennheiser has dropped the Ambeo Soundbar Mini, a fairly direct rival that prices a bit of extra. I have been utilizing it for a few weeks to see the way it compares.
Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Mini
It is a good compact soundbar that does not come low cost however sounds merely glorious. It is a unbelievable improve on your TV however may even be an enormous asset for music lovers and serial celebration hosts.
- Nice compact design
- Sound is good
- So many connection choices
- Good digital encompass sound
- 79 x 21 x 14cm
- Distant and HDMI included
- Accessible in black solely
Sennheiser has positioned the Ambeo Soundbar Mini rigorously from a design standpoint, and that is a really smart transfer – it already has two larger soundbars within the type of the Max and Plus, leaving a transparent slot open for a smaller possibility.
This makes the Mini instantly way more enticing to anybody with a smaller TV stand or a need to have their sound system take up rather less visible actual property.
It is nearly precisely the identical dimension because the first-generation Sonos Beam I swapped it out for, and meaning it has fairly good dimensions in my opinion – large enough to make sure that the audio is not too diminished by being compact, however sufficiently small to genuinely match into most setups.
The Soundbar Mini has a gorgeous mesh wraparound on its exterior however is topped by a easy and premium plastic airplane. This homes buttons for controls in addition to a helpful LED bar that may give you an thought of your quantity, the progress of an replace and extra, all at a look.
The mesh comes as much as the highest of the soundbar with a little bit of a lip, which seems to be very nice, whereas there’s additionally a white Ambeo emblem on the entrance, on the backside proper, to let you understand if Sennheiser’s encompass mode is energetic.
At current there’s solely a black model of the Ambeo Soundbar Mini on the horizon, which is a little bit of a disgrace for these with different aesthetics in thoughts, however it’s a extremely slick and well-built machine that screams solidity and high-quality supplies.
As with a lot TV tech, there’s a tendency to choose up mud at a fee that may have you ever breaking out the feather duster extra typically than you want, however it’s uncommon that this is not an issue on most TV stands.
Lastly, the soundbar comes with a pleasant distant as commonplace, stable and metallic with all of the buttons you’d want to manage issues – together with toggles for numerous modes.
Sound high quality
- 7.1.4 digital encompass sound
- Dolby Atmos, DTS:X help
I’ve talked about the Sonos Beam a few occasions as a result of to my eyes it is the clearest competitor in the marketplace, however Sennheiser has priced the Ambeo Soundbar Mini a degree above the Beam, at a chunky $800 or £700, and meaning the Mini must excel on the sound entrance.
Fortunately, it has been critically impressing me ever since I put in it, with virtualised encompass sound that genuinely works and energy that belies its dimension.
Sennheiser is touting the Mini as boasting 7.1.4 encompass sound because of its Ambeo system of digital and beamforming sound, and I’ve stored Ambeo on nearly the entire time I have been testing it, with nice outcomes.
It is a compact soundbar that may certainly rival precise reverse surrounds – it will by no means be capable to actually match them, however I’ve repeatedly observed particulars that sound like they’re coming from both aspect whereas watching Atmos-mixed content material like Silo on Apple TV+.
There’s element and readability that the first-gen Beam cannot match, however extra to the purpose, there’s additionally a extremely spectacular bass efficiency that offers it a correct sense of oomph.
Sennheiser loaned me an Ambeo Sub together with the soundbar, which clearly enormously and instantly beefs issues up when related, however I’ve largely disregarded it since most individuals in all probability will not add it to the Ambeo Soundbar Mini.
The truth that this hasn’t felt like a serious sacrifice in sound phrases is an actual marker of how effectively the Mini performs by itself. Whereas turning off Ambeo does lose you a few of that enjoyable virtualisation, it is also true that for some content material (particularly older stuff) you may find yourself preferring its barely clearer edge.
Beneath the hood, there’s help for an enormous vary of codecs right here, so no matter low-latency, high-definition supply you are aiming for, you are possible to have the ability to get pleasure from it to the fullest.
With its profile and the likes of Apple AirPlay 2 in-built, the Mini additionally makes a extremely glorious speaker for music – filling a room simply and giving the identical sense of stability and energy that it manages for video content material.
- Alexa built-in; works with Google Assistant
- HDMI eARC
For the kind of value Sennheiser’s hooked up to the Ambeo Soundbar Mini, you actually need to haven’t any points by any means with setting issues up and getting related.
Excellent news, then – there’s principally each type of connectivity that I might hope for in a single package deal right here. AirPlay 2 is a type of choices, because of its Wi-Fi connection, as is Spotify Join and Tidal Join.
You need to use Chromecast to ship your music to it, and there is additionally fundamental Bluetooth there for a backup, with Alexa fully built-in and Google Assistant compatibility when you’ve got one other good speaker.
That is a terrific array of good choices, all of that are on high of the fundamental degree that HDMI eARC provides while you plug it into your precise TV. There’s just one HDMI port, however I am unable to think about most customers can have any points with that.
All of this may be calibrated and managed via Sennheiser’s Sensible Management app (the identical you may use for its over-ear Momentum 4 headphones), which works easily and shortly related to the soundbar for setup.
Firmware updates are dealt with via the app, as is a room-sensing possibility similar to Sonos’ equal, which pings sounds round to assist the soundbar calibrate itself.
Sennheiser has added voice enhancement and evening modes that enhance dialogue and suppress bass respectively, each massively helpful for various conditions should you’re making an attempt to keep away from making enemies of your neighbours.
The soundbar additionally has on-board microphones to allow the good assistant compatibilities talked about above – these might be muted by a button on the highest of the bar, which Sennheiser says must be tapped once more to unmute, that means there is not any software program workaround there.
The Ambeo Soundbar Mini is strictly what Sennheiser’s claiming – a extremely efficient all-in-one resolution for these trying to massively improve their TV’s sound in a compact footprint.
That it is also a wonderful good speaker and might be related to in a bunch of how is a welcome bonus, and whereas it is not the most affordable soundbar by any stretch, it sounds nearly as good as any compact possibility we have examined, making it a severe contender.