Sennheiser has shrunk its impressive Ambeo surround sound technology into its smallest speaker yet with the newly announced Ambeo Soundbar Mini. It looks just like a smaller version of the excellent Ambeo Soundbar Plus, with a footprint that’s nearly identical to the Sonos Beam Gen 2 and the Bose Smart Soundbar 600. But at $800, it’s considerably more expensive than either of those Dolby Atmos soundbars. The Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Mini will be available starting September 1 at sennheiser-hearing.com and select retailers.
At the opposite end of the size spectrum from the colossal Ambeo Soundbar Max, the Ambeo Soundbar Mini might look a lot like its larger sibling, the Ambeo Soundbar Plus, but the similarities aren’t much more than skin deep. Where the Plus has nine discrete drivers, including dedicated up-firing height speakers and dual subwoofers, the Mini maintains the dual subwoofers, but relies on just two front-facing and two side-firing full-range drivers for most of its sound. Though it can still process 7.1.4 channels, the height and surround channels are handled via virtualization.
The Mini has also been given a pared-down set of inputs. All that remains of the Ambeo Soundbar Plus’ multiple HDMI, optical, and analog ports is a single HDMI ARC/eARC port. There’s no longer the ability to use a wired subwoofer, and even the Ethernet port has been removed, leaving the Mini with just Wi-Fi for network connectivity.
Still, you can pair the Ambeo Soundbar Mini with up to four of Sennheiser’s wireless Ambeo Subs. The speaker also benefits from Sennheiser’s easy and effective room calibration software, and its many settings can be accessed via the intuitive Sennheiser Smart Control app for iOS or Android. For quick adjustments, Sennheiser includes the same robust remote control that it supplies with its larger Ambeo soundbars.
Support for wireless connections, audio formats, and streaming services is excellent — among the most comprehensive in the soundbar world. The Mini works with Apple AirPlay 2, Chromecast, Tidal Connect, Spotify Connect, and Bluetooth, and is compatible with Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, MPEG-H, and Sony’s 360 Reality Audio (360RA) immersive 3D audio format.
You can also configure the Ambeo Soundbar Mini as a smart speaker using Amazon Alexa. Doing so also lets you add the Mini to Amazon’s multiroom speaker function.
Despite these desirable features, there’s no getting around the fact that the $800 Ambeo Soundbar Mini is the most expensive virtual Dolby Atmos soundbar you can buy — eclipsing even Sony’s HT-A3000 by $100.
Digital Trends received Ambeo Soundbar Mini for evaluation, but some unexpected glitches with way the speaker handles low-end bass has temporarily halted the review process. Sennheiser has promised firmware fixes for the problems within the week, so we expect to be able to give you our full impressions of the smallest Ambeo soundbar shortly after it goes on sale.
We know you’re wondering whether the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Mini is worth $800 — so are we — and we’ll have an answer for you very soon. Stay tuned!