Mis à jour le 6 September 2023.
The entry ticket to the Ambeo range, the new Sennheiser Ambeo Mini soundbar is intended to be a more affordable and compact solution than the current Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Max and Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus models. It uses the same Ambeo spatialization technology and automatic calibration system with its built-in microphone to create a three-dimensional Dolby Atmos/DTS:X sound over 7.1.4 channels (without a subwoofer). With a power of 250W RMS, can this €799 Sennheiser soundbar provide the same level of immersion as the other Ambeo models?
Sennheiser Ambeo Mini: packaging & accessories
The Sennheiser Ambeo Mini soundbar comes in a recycled cardboard box inside of which it is properly secured and protected. It comes with a power cable, an HDMI cable, a remote control and batteries, as well as a quick start guide.
Sennheiser Ambeo Mini: presentation
In 2019, the German manufacturer launched its first soundbar: the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar MAX. This model was an instant success, setting a new high-end standard thanks to its unprecedented ability to create a highly immersive sound environment in Dolby Atmos and produce deep bass without the need for a subwoofer. It is still ranked among the best Atmos soundbars on the market. In late 2022, Sennheiser applied the same formula to a more streamlined format with the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus (read our review of the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus). With the new Sennheiser Ambeo Mini, the German specialist is now aiming to win over the general public with a more affordable soundbar that can be easily installed under the TV.
While the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Max enthralls with its incredible immersion, it has a major drawback: its imposing size makes it difficult to integrate in front of a screen. A problem that the manufacturer took into consideration with the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Plus by reducing the thickness to 7.7cm, compared to 13.5cm for the first iteration. However, it was still too tall for certain televisions. The new Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Mini is therefore the most compact model in the range, with a height of only 6.5cm, allowing it to be classified as an ultra-thin soundbar that fits under a TV.
To live up to the name “Mini”, the width of this new Sennheiser soundbar has been reduced to 70cm, compared to 150cm for the Ambeo Plus and 126cm for the MAX. As a result, it looks very discreet in front of the television and can even be placed in an AV cabinet. This compact size puts it on a par with the Sonos Beam Gen 2, whose influence extends to the rounded edges. However, the SoundBar Mini has its own visual identity, with an acoustic fabric finish that covers the entire front panel and the sides. The fabric extends slightly over the top of the soundbar, which is made entirely of ABS.
Conveniently, the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Mini is compatible with both DTS and Dolby formats, notably DTS:X and Dolby Atmos. Unlike its larger counterparts, however, it doesn’t feature any dedicated upward-firing drivers. Its acoustic design features four 1.6” full-range drivers positioned on the front panel and on the sides of the bar, as well as two 4” woofers. These drivers are powered by six class D amplifiers with a total power output of 250W.
Soundtracks are therefore reproduced over 7.1.4 channels virtually thanks to Ambeo technology. Refined with previous soundbars in the range, this cutting-edge system designed in collaboration with the Fraunhofer IIS Institute is capable of generating multiple phantom speakers to create a room-filling soundstage. It is incredibly effective, enabling the manufacturer to unashamedly proclaim “the world’s most immersive sound in a compact device.” The effects are incredibly well positioned in space and flow efficiently all around the listener.
To optimize the reproduction of the various effects, the Sennheiser Ambeo Mini is equipped with an auto-calibration system. Thanks to its four built-in microphones, it can easily measure the acoustic characteristics of the listening room and adapt the reproduction accordingly. In addition, several presets (cinema, music, news, neutral and sport) are available to adjust the result depending on the content you’re watching or listening to. An adaptive mode lets the bar automatically activate the preset best suited to the situation. Lastly, a very convenient night mode compresses the dynamic range to limit volume variations when using the soundbar while others are sleeping.
The Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Mini features only an HDMI eARC input for connection with a TV. Other than the powered USB port, it’s the only connector available on this soundbar, which must therefore be used with a television equipped with an HDMI ARC or eARC port. It can then retrieve the sound of the program you’re watching on a VOD service or via an external source connected to the TV. Lastly, the lack of a subwoofer output means that bassheads can only opt for the Sennheiser Ambeo Sub wireless model.
The Sennheiser Ambeo soundbar benefits from numerous streaming options. Like its predecessor, it is compatible with AirPlay 2, Chromecast, Bluetooth and uPnP to play music streamed from a smartphone, tablet or computer. Access to Tidal Connect and Spotify Connect is provided by the native apps of each streaming service.
Built into the top panel, the Sennheiser Ambeo Mini soundbar’s touch-sensitive interface allows you to adjust the volume, select a source and initiate Bluetooth pairing. Voice control is possible thanks to the integration of Alexa and Google Assistant. Naturally, you can deactivate the voice-control microphones to protect your privacy.
Furthermore, the Sennheiser Ambeo Mini can also be controlled using the infrared remote control. The latter provides a lot of additional controls, including direct access to various presets. It can also activate the voice assistant and launch the calibration system. Last but not least, the Smart Control app for iOS and Android lets you adjust the brightness of the LED lights on the soundbar. It is also possible to deactivate them entirely.
Sennheiser Ambeo Mini: key specifications
- 7.1.4-channel soundbar
- Dolby Atmos and DTS:X compatible
- WiFi, Bluetooth, AirPlay 2 and Chromecast compatible
- Alexa and Google Assistant built-in
- Acoustic calibration with microphone
- Dimensions (WxHxD): 700 x 65 x 100mm
- Weight: 3.3kg
Sennheiser Ambeo Mini: configuration
Once paired with the TV via HDMI eARC, the Sennheiser Ambeo Mini soundbar is easily set up using the Sennheiser Smart Control mobile app for iOS and Android. It is automatically detected and you simply have to connect to the WiFi network for it to be operational.
It is also possible to perform an acoustic calibration. To do so, the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Mini emits a series of loud sounds to measure the reverberation of the room using the built-in microphones. Using these measurements, the bar then adjusts its reproduction to always provide the best audio experience possible.
Sennheiser Ambeo Mini: listening impressions
With the Ambeo mode activated, movie soundtracks were effectively distributed in all directions. For instance, with the film 6 Underground in Dolby Atmos, the car chase through the streets of Florence was reproduced with great realism. The soundstage was extremely wide, successfully filling our 60m² living room. At the front, dialogues were always centered and intelligible. Lateral effects were clearly defined and really emanated from the far corners of the room.
The Ambeo Mini accomplished a real feat by providing a credible simulation of surround sound effects. Surround effects are usually the trickiest to reproduce with a single piece of equipment, but the Ambeo Mini rose to the challenge with remarkable ease. The effects were so well spatialized that they created the illusion that surround speakers were placed behind the listener. In the movie The Adam Project (Dolby Atmos), the opening scene plunged us into the cabin of the spaceship, with sound alerts, creaks and impacts originating from every direction. It was incredibly immersive!
During the same movie, the scene with the flaming trees created the impression that the sparks coming off the blaze were falling on us. The effects seemed to be slightly reinforced at the front of the scene, positioned just above the TV. This sensation of height was also present with films that weren’t in Atmos or DTS:X, thanks to the Ambeo system, which achieved very convincing spatialization with all types of content.
With the movie Godzilla II, the Sennheiser Ambeo Mini soundbar proved to be highly dynamic, effectively pacing action scenes. Explosions were intense and impactful. The excellent energy in the lows made the giant creatures’ footsteps, which materialized with aplomb, truly believable. Fans of abyssal bass will still gain from pairing the soundbar with the Sennheiser Ambeo Sub wireless subwoofer, especially in a large living room (over 35m²).
Sennheiser Ambeo Mini vs Sonos Arc
Available for €999, the 5.0.2-channel Sonos ARC is the Sennheiser Ambeo Mini’s main rival. It provides great spatialization, with very pronounced vertical effects and perfectly clear dialogue, as well as Atmos channels. However, the Sennheiser Ambeo Mini provides an even more immersive soundstage, with more striking surround effects.
Sennheiser Ambeo Mini: who is it for?
The perfect alternative to classic home theater systems, the Sennheiser Ambeo Mini is a must-have for those looking to enjoy a highly immersive experience from a single, compact device that’s easy to install under a TV. Whether it’s with movies, series or video games, the Sennheiser Ambeo Mini creates a three-dimensional soundstage by effectively diffusing the sound to every corner of the room, plunging the listener into the heart of the action.
Sennheiser Ambeo Mini: conclusion
With the Sennheiser Ambeo Mini soundbar, the German manufacturer keeps its promise of providing “the world’s most immersive sound in a compact device”. This new model retains all the advantages of the previous Ambeos in a mini format that is easier to place in front of a television. Its compact size in no way detracts from the Sennheiser Ambeo Mini soundbar’s ability to create an extremely wide soundstage. The faintest effect is correctly spatialized, whether in front of, behind or above the viewers, who find themselves totally surrounded by the soundtrack of the content they are watching.
- The compact size
- The spacious and enveloping spatialization
- The realistic surround effects
We would have liked:
- More connectors (optical input and sub output)
- Even deeper bass