When Sennheiser debuted the original Ambeo Soundbar in 2019, it was the company’s only living room speaker to carry its immersive audio tech. It was also very expensive at $2,500. That model, now dubbed the Ambeo Soundbar Max, is still $2,000 and its big sonic chops come in a massively large package. Last year, Sennheiser revealed the Ambeo Soundbar Plus: a $1,500 option that carried much of what makes Max such an acoustic marvel in a smaller design and a lower price (which is now $1,200). Today, the company announced the most affordable Ambeo model yet, the Ambeo Soundbar Mini, which packs that immersive audio tech in a much smaller speaker. It’s a bid to take on the likes of Sonos Beam, but this Mini is still comparatively pricey at $800.
Sennheiser says the Ambeo Soundbar Mini is less than half the size of the Ambeo Soundbar Plus. The smaller stature alleviates potential obstruction when you place it in front of your TV and the company says it’s compact enough to put on your desk. Despite the reduced footprint, the Mini still packs 250 watts of amplification power behind four full-range drivers and two four-inch subwoofers. Sennheiser says these components combine for the “sharp fidelity, impactful bass and crystal-clear presence” exhibited by the larger two Ambeo soundbars.
The main attraction here remains the company’s immersive Ambeo technology. Sennheiser’s 3D audio system uses the Mini’s four microphones to calibrate the soundbar to any space. This process takes into account room size, reflective surfaces and textures. The one-touch process adjusts the speaker’s 7.1.4 surround sound virtualization for the best performance. The Mini supports Dolby Atmos, DTS:X MPEG-H and Sony’s 360 Reality Audio while connecting to your TV or display through a single HDMI 2.1 (eARC) port. While Sennheiser says the soundbar is capable of “room-filling sound and impactful bass” down to 43 Hz, it gives you the option of connecting up to four Ambeo Subs ($600 each).
The Ambeo Soundbar Mini is equipped with WiFi and Bluetooth, both of which can be used to stream music from the likes of Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify and Tidal. Sennheiser says the speaker’s Ambeo OS allows quick access to audio via Chromecast, AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect and Tidal Connect. The Mini’s microphones can also be used for voice commands via the built-in Alexa compatibility, but leveraging Google Assistant or Siri will require Chomecast or AirPlay, respectively.
If you wish to expand your Ambeo setup beyond the Mini, your only option is to add an Ambeo Sub. The soundbar doesn’t support subwoofers from other companies and there’s no compatibility with wireless rear satellite speakers. That’s due to the lack of Ambeo integration on both (Sennheiser really needs to make a set of rear speakers ASAP). This, in addition to a lower price, is a key difference between the Mini and the Sonos Beam. Sonos’ second-gen compact soundbar adds Dolby Atmos, but it doesn’t have up-firing drivers so the overall effect is limited. Still, a bundle that includes the Beam, a Sub Mini and two Era 100 speakers is available for $1,356 — around $50 less than the Ambeo Soundbar Mini and its compatible sub.
The Ambeo Soundbar Mini will be available on September 1st.
This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/sennheisers-ambeo-soundbar-mini-crams-3d-audio-in-a-beam-like-design-220051570.html?src=rss