Sennheiser’s new Ambeo Soundbar Mini is the German audio brand’s third and most affordable soundbar. At $799 (€799 / £699), it’s still an expensive AV accessory, but in the context of the company’s original $2,499.95 Ambeo Soundbar Max and $1,499.95 Ambeo Soundbar Plus, the Mini’s asking price almost looks almost entry-level in comparison (almost).
The Ambeo Soundbar Mini maintains many of the core specs of Sennheiser’s previous soundbars. It still supports a range of 3D surround sound formats like Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, 360 Reality Audio, and MPEG-H, it can still be paired with an utterly excessive four Sennheiser Ambeo Subs, and it still supports a full array of streaming options like Bluetooth, Spotify Connect, Chromecast built-in, and AirPlay 2.
But, as its price implies, the Ambeo Soundbar Mini has been paired back compared to its older siblings. For starters, Sennheiser advertises that the Mini is less than half the cubic volume of the Soundbar Plus at 70 x 10 x 6.5cm in size. That means there’s less space for drivers (the Mini has just six drivers — four full-range and two woofers — versus nine in the Plus), and none of the full-range drivers face upwards to bounce audio off your ceiling and make it appear as though audio is coming from above you. Instead, it’s relying purely on virtualization tech for its height channels, kind of like the second-gen Sonos Beam.
Despite the lack of dedicated up-firing drivers or the option of buying and pairing external rear surround speakers, Sennheiser says the Ambeo Soundbar Mini is capable of virtualizing 7.1.4 channels of audio. It’s a bold claim that we’ll definitely be putting to the test in our forthcoming review since we’ve found that even with the more expensive Ambeo Soundbar Plus, there were limits to the amount of surround sound the speaker could provide from a single location.
Another compromise versus Sennheiser’s more expensive soundbars is physical connectivity. The Ambeo Soundbar Mini offers just a single HDMI eARC port for plugging in your TV, with no optical or aux inputs nor any HDMI passthrough. That means the soundbar is going to take up an HDMI port on your TV without offering any additional ports to replace it, and it also means you’re at the mercy of the formats that your TV is able to pass through or output.
Otherwise, the Ambeo Soundbar Mini supports a broad range of wireless audio streaming options. In addition to the services listed above, you get support for Tidal Connect, and the soundbar has Alexa built-in for directly responding to voice commands picked up by its microphones. Those same microphones can also calibrate the soundbar to the room it’s placed in, and the soundbar also has night mode and voice enhancement audio options.
Sennheiser’s Ambeo Soundbar Mini will go on sale on September 1st. Stay tuned for our full review, coming soon.