Tom's Guide Verdict
Undeniably compact and simple to set up, the Ambeo Soundbar Mini boosts TV sound. But you'll need to add the matching Ambeo Sub, which pushes the price beyond rivals.
Boosts dialog quality over most TVs
Pleasingly compact and small footprint design
Worthwhile Ambeo room tuning process
Alexa voice assistant compatible
Weak bass output
Ambeo Sub costs extra
Why you can trust Tom's Guide
Price: $799 / £699 / AU$1,299
Ports: 1x HDMI out (eARC/ARC)
Speakers: 6 (Specified: 4x full range; 2x woofers)
Audio channels: 7.1.4
Audio formats: Dolby Atmos; Dolby Digital; DTS:X, Sony 360 Reality Audio
Power output: 250W
Wireless: AirPlay 2; Bluetooth SBC, AAC; Chromecast; Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect
Smart assistant: Alexa; Siri
Subwoofer: Available separately
Dimensions: 28 x 4 x 2.6 inches
Weight: 7.3 pounds
Wall mountable: Yes
The Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Mini was announced at IFA 2023. It's the latest addition to the company's popular single soundbar series and the third model in German audio company's Ambeo Soundbar range. It joins the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Plus that arrived earlier this year.
As the name suggests, the Mini is the smallest model in the Ambeo series so far, and in terms of its footprint it's akin to the Denon Home Sound Bar 550. In keeping with the compact form factor though, it shirks some facilities and performance power of the 5 best TV upgrades I've tested, and is aimed at mid-sized TV screens such as the best 50-inch TVs. It's not cheap though!
Despite its more diminutive size, it claims 250W power output to 7.1.4 channels — seven phantom full range channels, plus one sub bass, and four Dolby Atmos channels. Like its bigger brothers, the Soundbar Mini uses Ambeo virtualization tech to deliver Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Sony 360 Reality Audio soundtracks, as well as up-mixing stereo TV and music content. It's not quite the same as having dedicated surround speaker behind you, but can be more effective when it comes to delivering an immersive viewing experience once the Ambeo speaker has been through its self-calibration process to adapt its output sound to the room acoustics it's placed in.
To find out how the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Mini compares to the company's other Ambeo models as well as Tom's Guide's pick of the best Dolby Atmos soundbars right now, keep scrolling to read my full review.
Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Mini: Price and availability
The Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Mini is available now priced at $799 / £699 / AU$1,299 via the Sennheiser store and online retailers including Amazon. That's around half the cost of Ambeo Soundbar Plus, which launched earlier this year at $1,499 / £1,299 / AU$2,399, and around a third of the cost of the original Ambeo Soundbar Max priced at $2,499.
Despite the new low price point for a Sennheiser Ambeo model, it's only $100 less than the Sonos Arc, one of the best Dolby Atmos soundbars and Sonos' flagship soundbar. The catch is that Sennheiser's Ambeo immersive tech doesn't come cheap, which makes the Soundbar Mini price seem high for a single soundbar, especially when you consider the new Yamaha SR-B40A comes with Dolby Atmos and a wireless subwoofer for $399.
With the Sennheiser you'll need to factor in the extra for the Ambeo Sub, which is priced separately at $699 / £649 / AU$1,119, although a new Ambeo Soundbar Mini with Ambeo Sub package deal can be found for $1,399 at Amazon right now.
Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Mini: Design, connectivity, and controls
As you'd expect given the name, the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Mini is nicely compact. It measures around 28-inches long and 2.6-inches tall, and weighs around 7.3 pounds, making it more living-room friendly than the Ambeo Soundbar Plus. Build quality feels good, and the Soundbar Mini has a black cloth grille similar to the Ambeo Soundbar Plus.
Wireless connectivity runs to streaming via Bluetooth, AirPlay 2, Chromecast, Tidal Connect, and Spotify Connect. Physical ports have been trimmed back on the Soundbar Mini and run to 1x HDMI output port (with eARC support) only. There's a powered USB port but no Ethernet socket. Alexa and Siri voice assistants are built in, and it can be wall mounted.
I didn't spot it initially, but tucked away in the packaging is a remote control covering all the basic controls and preset modes. To discover more in-depth facilities and features though you're going to want to download the Sennheiser Smart Control app, which provides full and reliable control over the Ambeo Soundbar Mini. There are also some touch controls along the top surface, but I found that I didn't need to use them.
One odd thing though that is also true of the Ambeo Soundbar Plus' design, is the light strip that shows the volume level setting is located at the far side of the Mini's top plate. From my seated sofa position, I was barely able to see the display and the volume level at all.
Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Mini: Performance
As with my review for the Ambeo Soundbar Plus, Sennheiser supplied a matching Ambeo Sub. Also powered by Ambeo virtualisation technology, it claims an 8-inch woofer driven by a 350W Class-D amplifier. Once configured as part of my Soundbar Mini setup, the self-calibration process optimizes its performance to integrate with the Soundbar Mini and the room acoustics. If you're a fanatical tweaker (as I am), the settings can be further adjusted to your own tastes via Sennheiser's Smart Control app.
On its own, the Ambeo Soundbar Mini did a decent job of elevating on screen dialog to bring more weight to voices during news broadcasts than mt TV's built in speaker can deliver. TV dramas like Breaking Bad on Netflix also put in a mostly rewarding performance, but the lack of bass weight when using the Soundbar Mini on its own did make the viewing experience patchy. You really do need to add in the sub if you want a good dose of oomph with heavy-weight dramas and atmospheric movies.
Hans Zimmer's Dune movie score sounded dramatic and immersive with the Ambeo Sub paired to the Soundbar Mini. There was plenty of depth and scale with the Sub attached; without it you really are very likely to feel short changed, especially if you like to experience movies with a big impact.
I also found that I preferred to have the dialogue mode selected to help lift the speech frequencies above the main action. Without it enabled voices sounded fuzzy and dialogue became less easily deciphered. This mode even helped on clearly spoken news broadcasts, making voices sound more intelligible through the Mini and easier to follow.
The room calibration mode appeared to give a worthwhile boost to the Sennheiser's overall sound performance during my short hands-on test. And enabling Ambeo mode gave a slightly more expansive soundstage with some sense of a wrap around effect.
As with the Ambeo Soundbar Plus, the Adaptive Ambeo mode switches according to what kind of content is being played through the speaker, or users can choose from five preset modes including Music, Movie, Neutral, News, and Sports. Movie mode gave the most consistent and satisfying results for my room and ears.
Based on my listening, I feel that most users will want to add the Ambeo Sub to beef up the Mini's sound output which can feel a little underpowered on its own. The sub helps extend the lower part of the frequency range, but there are still some low-mid frequencies that neither the Soundbar Mini nor the Ambeo Sub manage to output. This can leave some TV programmes sounding a little thin when watching regular studio broadcasts where the Sub isn't being called into action, but it does come into its own with multi-channel soundtracks on some of the best streaming services with multi-channel soundtracks.
Although it brings a worthwhile boost to Sennheiser's Ambeo Soundbar collection, the Ambeo Sub isn't the best model I've encountered; it's easy to overdrive and too often drew attention to itself when called upon to deliver powerful bass effects instantaneously. It's worth noting though, that if you want to go all out, the Soundbar Mini can be partnered with up to four Ambeo Subs for the what Sennheiser calls its ultimate immersive bass experience. That might sound like over kill, but could prove useful if you're experiencing difficulties driving your room and energizing it with high-octane sound.
Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Mini: Verdict
Sennheiser's Ambeo Soundbar Mini really does look neat. The virtual Dolby Atmos sound experience impresses from a soundbar with such compact dimensions, but I'm less impressed by Sennheiser's pricing structure. Although the Soundbar Mini is a good deal less than the Soundbar Plus version, the $799 / £699 / AU$1,299 price still feels high, particularly when the majority of buyers are going to want to add the matching sub for the best performance.
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As a former editor of the U.K.'s Hi-Fi Choice magazine, Lee is passionate about all kinds of audio tech and has been providing sound advice to enable consumers to make informed buying decisions since he joined Which? magazine as a product tester in the 1990s. Lee covers all things audio for Tom's Guide, including headphones, wireless speakers and soundbars and loves to connect and share the mindfulness benefits that listening to music in the very best quality can bring.