Sennheiser Ambeo Mini soundbar review

hcchighreccomendThe original Ambeo soundbar was a sonic revelation. Now Sennheiser hopes to impress with its smallest model yet. Steve May downsizes his Atmos addiction

Intended for everyday living rooms and multimedia spaces, Sennheiser's Ambeo Mini wouldn't look out of place beneath a 42in or 48in screen. At less than half the cubic volume of its Soundbar Plus stablemate , and a fraction of the gigantic original Ambeo Max, you might even describe it as meek.

That would be a mistake. This third addition to the Ambeo clan might be cute and compact, but there's no compromise on power. Its Class D amplification, claimed at 250W, provides copious, distortion-free sound, while Ambeo processing still creates the illusion of multiple speakers.

Sennheiser hasn't skimped on build either. This looks like a premium piece of kit, with a wraparound cloth grille concealing its four full-range drivers, which fire forward and to each side, and two built-in 4in woofers.

Significantly, there are no upward-firing Atmos units here (by way of comparison, the Ambeo Plus and Ambeo Max have dedicated height drivers). Instead the Mini's top plate is reserved for touch-sensitive volume, Bluetooth pairing and input selection control. This means its immersive audio output is entirely virtualised. Even so, Sennheiser suggests the Mini can replicate a 7.1.4 soundstage. You may scoff, but it comes close.


Four full-range drivers and two woofers lurk inside Sennheiser's Ambeo Mini

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth ensure easy integration with Spotify, Tidal and the like, while codec support covers Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, MPEG-H and 360 Reality Audio. To the rear there's a single HDMI eARC connection (a second input would have been nice). The 'bar ships with a full-size remote, but you can also manage it through Sennheiser's app.

Chip off the old block
I don't mind admitting the Ambeo Mini surprised me. The soundstage created by this compact enclosure is remarkable, both in terms of its heft and height – it sounds far bigger than its physical dimensions suggest. It's not immersive in the literal sense, but it is cinematic. Any doubts that this diminutive newcomer doesn't merit its Ambeo status are quickly forgotten.

Fed stereo content, it keeps its soundstage relatively tight – the output is detailed and forceful, but travels in one direction. However, service it with Dolby Atmos over HDMI eARC and it blooms. The clashing of shinobi swords in House of Ninjas (Netflix) emphasises its realistic treble, while the show's percussion score is fulsome and deep.

When we get to the club scene in episode one, the 'bar is pumping out deep dance beats with the vigour of a system many times bigger. If you want more slam, you can add the optional Sennheiser Ambeo Sub (£649), but I suspect buyers won't feel the need.

And you really don't have to work very hard to make it sound this good. The Ambeo Self Calibration process, activated through the app, takes advantage of integrated microphones that are also used for Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri voice support. It's a quick and easy process.

The Kevin Hart heist comedy Lift (Netflix) has a full-blooded Atmos track with plenty of music, and again the Ambeo Mini defies expectations when it comes to its richness of tone. Dialogue is also well rounded and clear, ambience clearly defined. I auditioned the Mini with a 65in TV, and at no point was the audio overwhelmed by the visuals. A speedboat chase through Venetian canals sent spray into the far corners of my room.

Small bar, big impression
The Ambeo Mini's compact form factor and toppy price may be off putting, but the performance doesn't disappoint. If you're after big, high-quality widescreen sound from a ludicrously small soundbar, then this is probably the best game in town.

HCC Verdict: 4.5/5

Sennheiser Ambeo Mini

Price: £699

We say: Expensive, yes, but this Sennheiser 'bar offers a convincing cinematic experience despite the ridiculously small form factor.


DRIVE UNITS: 4 x 40mm full-range drivers; 2 x 4in Cellulose Cone subwoofers ONBOARD POWER (CLAIMED): 250W CONNECTIONS: 1 x HDMI eARC; powered USB DOLBY ATMOS/DTS:X: Yes/Yes SEPARATE SUB: No. Optional wireless Ambeo Sub REMOTE CONTROL: Yes DIMENSIONS: 700(w) x 100(d) x 65(h)mm WEIGHT: 3.3kg

FEATURES: Ambeo processing modes; Ambeo Self Calibration setup; Google Chromecast; Bluetooth 5.0; Wi-Fi; Reality Audio and MPEG-H compatible; Alexa and Apple Siri compatible