The Sonos Beam has been our top pick for compact soundbars for some time now. It affords lots in a small package deal and the second-gen model additionally helps extra immersive Dolby Atmos audio. The Beam doesn’t have any upfiring drivers although, so the influence of that spatial sound is restricted. That’s not a problem with the Ambeo Soundbar Mini ($799.95), Sennheiser’s smallest soundbar but to function its spectacular Ambeo 3D audio expertise. It cranks out extra sonic oomph with twin upfiring woofers on prime of all of its virtualization tips, in a unit roughly the identical dimension because the Beam. The larger sound comes at a considerably larger worth, although.
Whereas the general form of the Ambeo Soundbar Mini is much like the Sonos Beam, there are variations within the particulars. Most notably, Sennheiser has opted for illuminated (dimmable) Ambeo branding on the entrance proper nook. The highest panel of the mini additionally slopes again to entrance and the edges are wrapped in a cloth all the way in which round. Up prime, there are controls for quantity, playback, Bluetooth, enter choice and muting the microphone. There’s additionally a white gentle that will get longer from left to proper as you improve the quantity.
The Ambeo Mini is about an inch and a half wider than the Beam at round 27.25 inches, however the peak and depth are almost an identical. Not that you just’ll be shifting the speaker round a lot, however the Mini can also be nearly a pound heavier than its main competitors. Nonetheless, it is a compact unit that’s completely sized for smaller dwelling rooms and areas the place you don’t have the true property for a much bigger soundbar.
Inside, there are 4 1.6-inch full-range drivers. Two of them are entrance going through whereas two extra are on the ends, angled barely outward. A pair of four-inch woofers are positioned close to the center of the soundbar, however they face upward. Sennheiser has additionally included six class D amplifiers able to 250 watts of energy. 4 far-field microphones deal with the room calibration and also you’ll want to verify they’re unmuted earlier than that course of could be accomplished.
Sound high quality
It’s spectacular what Sennheiser has managed to get out of a small speaker. When listening to music, there’s nice bass that gives loads of low-end thump to the driving drum beats of TesseracT’s prog steel and the hip-hop musings of Kaytraminé. Even when a soundbar has woofers, many of the front room audio system can’t muster sufficient bass for them to be helpful as a music setup with out an extra sub. That’s not the case right here. Nonetheless, you’ll wish to think about an Ambeo Sub should you’re planning to make use of it in a medium-to-large room because the bass tends to get misplaced in larger areas. The Mini additionally helps Sony’s 360 Actuality Audio and MPEG-H should you’re into them, however the Ambeo does an ideal job upscaling stereo content material.
The Ambeo Soundbar Mini’s key function is Sennheiser’s 3D audio tech. It has been a staple of the corporate’s soundbars since the first Ambeo model in 2019. Each of the bigger, pricier Sennheiser soundbars have extra drivers, together with two upfiring models along with the 2 upwards going through woofers contained in the Ambeo Soundbar Plus. The Mini does a strong job with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X content material, however the impact isn’t as enveloping because it’s extra reliant on virtualization. I significantly loved the immersive, directional audio in quidditch matches throughout my annual fall viewing of the Harry Potter sequence.This soundbar nonetheless offers you a 7.1.4 setup after the room calibration locations digital audio system round. That’s the identical channel structure because the Plus, although that larger unit has seven complete drivers and two woofers for a fuller sound and extra immersive expertise.
Software program and options
Like quite a lot of smaller soundbars lately, the Ambeo Mini connects to your TV by way of HDMI eARC. It helps HDMI 2.1, which is the most recent spec that permits larger decision (as much as 10K) and better body charges (as much as 120fps) due to elevated bandwidth. Most new TVs have at the least one HDMI 2.1 port and each PS5 and Xbox Collection X help it.
All the settings for the Ambeo Soundbar Mini are accessible in Sennheiser’s Sensible Management app. This contains the preliminary setup and room calibration, the latter of which takes about three minutes to finish. First, you’ve gotten the flexibility to vary the sources between HDMI, Bluetooth or Spotify Join. There’s a quantity slider right here too and slightly below reside the Ambeo 3D audio on/off buttons. The corporate affords a couple of sound presets subsequent, with Adaptive, Music, Film, Information, Impartial and Sports activities as the alternatives. Throughout my checks, I discovered Adaptive finest suited to most viewing and listening, so I stored it locked there. Lastly, the app’s predominant interface supplies entry to Night time Mode and Voice Enhancement options do you have to want these.
There’s a extra detailed settings menu, however I’ll solely level out one merchandise. Underneath each Audio and System is the place you’ll must go so as to add an Ambeo Subwoofer to the Mini (the identical stuff is accessible from each locations). When you do, you’ll have the flexibility to regulate the extra speaker’s quantity and allow a device referred to as Part 180. This balances out the low-end from the sub when it is positioned near the soundbar. Sennheiser says in any other case the bass can have a hole character and this helps appropriate that. You’ll additionally must recalibrate the system when you add a sub, which you are able to do from this menu.
The Mini runs Sennheiser’s Ambeo OS, which permits a complete host of connectivity choices. You’ll primarily join by way of Wi-Fi, however as I’ve already talked about Bluetooth is right here as properly. Wi-Fi offers you the selection of Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Join and Tidal Join, along with Alexa built-in and Google Chromecast. The wi-fi connectivity lets you simply use the Mini as a part of a multiroom setup too. I used to be capable of choose it and a HomePod from the connections menu in Apple Music with no extra setup required. The corporate guarantees “a future-proof expertise” due to “common” Ambeo OS updates as properly.
As you’ve in all probability guessed, the Ambeo Mini’s main competitors is the Sonos Beam. The second-generation model of which debuted in 2021, most notably delivering Dolby Atmos and a brand new cowl. Whereas the speaker sounds nice and does an admirable job with Atmos, it doesn’t have any upfiring drivers, so the impact of the immersive audio is restricted. Nonetheless, Sonos nonetheless achieves a degree of immersiveness by way of some virtualization tips with further peak and encompass channels. Plus, it’s $300 cheaper than the Mini, even after Sonos raised the value to $499. You’ll in all probability desire a sub for the Beam too, which is one other $429 or $799 relying on which mannequin you select (there’s a Beam and Sub Mini bundle that saves you $45).
When you’re offered on the Ambeo tech regardless of the associated fee, the Plus and Max soundbars are price a glance. Sennheiser has dropped the costs since their debuts because the Plus is now $1,119.95 and the Max is $1,999.95. Just like the Mini, neither of these include an Ambeo Sub which is an extra $599.95 and the one one these soundbars are suitable with. There’s no denying these Ambeo fashions can muster some wonderful audio, however you’ll pay a premium for the tech.
With its smallest soundbar but, Sennheiser continues to indicate how good its 3D audio tech is. The Ambeo Soundbar Mini affords spectacular sound in a small package deal, together with nice low-end thump and not using a devoted wi-fi sub. It does an admirable job with Dolby Atmos content material, although the Mini does its finest work in smaller rooms. There’s no denying it is a superb house leisure speaker for the scale, however the firm makes you pay dearly for its fancy expertise.
This text initially appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/sennheiser-ambeo-soundbar-mini-review-excellent-and-expensive-183045244.html?src=rss