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Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Mini Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v1.3
Reviewed Dec 12, 2023 at 10:55 am
Latest change: Writing modified Feb 23, 2024 at 04:20 pm
Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Mini Picture
7.1
Mixed Usage
7.7
Dialogue/TV Shows
7.0
Music
6.7
Movies

The Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Mini is a smaller alternative to larger setups from the manufacturer like the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus. It's a great choice if you're low on space, and it still offers many of the same premium features. For example, you find built-in voice assistant support as well as lots of sound enhancement features, including room correction. Despite its small size, it's advertised to create a wide and immersive sound in your living room through a sound processing feature called AMBEO Virtualization. You can even add on a separate sub to enhance its bass performance.

Our Verdict

7.1 Mixed Usage

The Sennheiser AMBEO Mini is decent for mixed usage. This small soundbar is a good alternative if you don't have a lot of space in your living room. It offers a balanced sound with lots of sound enhancement features and support for many commonly found audio formats. However, it lacks a lot of thump and rumble in the bass, and it doesn't bring the same immersive feel to multi-channel content as other soundbars with discrete surround channels.

Pros
  • 4-band EQ.
  • Gets loud.
Cons
  • Lacks low-bass.
  • Okay stereo soundstage.
7.7 Dialogue/TV Shows

The Sennheiser AMBEO Mini is good for dialogue-centric content like TV shows and podcasts. Though it lacks a discrete center channel, it can still reproduce dialogue with clarity and detail. As a result, it's easy to follow along with conversations in your favorite shows. Many sound enhancement features are also available, including dialogue enhancement.

Pros
  • 4-band EQ.
  • Gets loud.
  • Dialogue enhancement tool.
Cons
  • Some compression at max volume.
7.0 Music

The Sennheiser AMBEO Mini is decent for music. This soundbar comes with a room correction tool designed to optimize the bar's sound based on the unique acoustics of your space. With it on, the bar has a neutral and even sound suitable for many different genres. You can customize its output with its 4-band EQ, too. However, given that it's a standalone bar, it struggles to bring out the deep thump and rumble in the bass.

Pros
  • 4-band EQ.
  • Gets loud.
Cons
  • Lacks low-bass.
  • Some compression at max volume.
6.7 Movies

The Sennheiser AMBEO Mini is fair for movies. This small soundbar supports many different audio formats you'll likely find on both streaming platforms and Blu-rays, including Dolby Digital and Dolby Atmos. Dialogue is clearly reproduced, though it lacks a lot of rumble in the low bass. Plus, this smaller bar struggles to bring a truly immersive feel with multichannel content, so you don't get the same sense of height as with other small bars.

Pros
  • 4-band EQ.
  • Supports many different audio formats.
Cons
  • Lacks low-bass.
  • Okay stereo soundstage.
  • 7.1 Mixed Usage
  • 7.7 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 7.0 Music
  • 6.7 Movies
  1. Updated Feb 23, 2024: Following the bar's conversion to Test Bench 1.3, we've added text to the Audio Latency: ARC box to better explain our results.
  2. Updated Feb 23, 2024: We've converted this review to Test Bench Update 1.3. If applicable, we've retested stereo sound based on the manufacturer's recommendations. Additionally, we've expanded our audio latency tests to the following boxes: Audio Latency: ARC, Audio Latency: HDMI In, and Audio Latency: Optical. You can see the full changelog here.
  3. Updated Dec 12, 2023: Review published.
  4. Updated Dec 04, 2023: Early access published.
  5. Updated Nov 28, 2023: Our testers have started testing this product.
  6. Updated Sep 29, 2023: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  7. Updated Sep 22, 2023: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Sennheiser AMBEO Mini is only available in Black. You can see the label for the model we tested here.

Let us know in the forums if you encounter another version of this soundbar.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The Sennheiser AMBEO Mini is the manufacturer's response to other small, premium soundbars like the Sonos Beam (Gen 2). Both products offer smart features like voice assistant support in a compact and stylish package, with lots of sound enhancement features to make the most of your listening experience. However, the Sennheiser doesn't provide as life-like or immersive a sound as the similarly-sized Sonos, even though it also has side-firing drivers.

See our recommendations for the best small soundbars, the best Dolby Atmos soundbars, and the best soundbars for movies.

Sonos Beam (Gen 2)

The Sonos Beam (Gen 2) and the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Mini are both premium small soundbars with built-in voice assistant capabilities. However, the Sonos is the best of the bunch since it does a better job of creating an immersive soundstage that stretches further past the edges of the bar itself. Unlike the Sennheiser, it also has a discrete center channel to improve vocal reproduction. However, the Sennheiser's graphic EQ gives you more control over its sound compared to the Sonos's bass and treble adjustments.

Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus

The Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus is better than the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Mini. As you can guess from their names, the Mini is a smaller, more compact bar better suited for smaller spaces. However, its soundstage and center channel performances aren't as good as the Plus. The Plus also has more connectivity options, notably a Full HDMI In port for video passthrough.

Sonos Beam

The Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Mini is more versatile than the original Sonos Beam. Unlike the Sonos, the Sennheiser supports Dolby Atmos content. However, it doesn't bring as wide a soundstage with stereo content. You might want to compare the Sennheiser with the Sonos Beam (Gen 2), as this next-generation bar adds Atmos support, too.

JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Mini or the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam. They're both compact soundbars designed for smaller spaces. Only the JBL has a discrete center channel to improve vocal reproduction. However, the JBL has to downmix Atmos content into surround sound, which isn't true of the Sennheiser. As a result, the Sennheiser brings a more clear and real sound with Atmos. The Sennheiser offers more sound enhancement tools, too.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style - Bar

As its name suggests, the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Mini is a smaller version of other bars from the manufacturer like the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus. It has a simple all-black design with a concave top, giving it a unique look.

Design
Style - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
No
Enclosure
Integrated

There are two woofers built into the bar itself. You can connect up to four dedicated subwoofers if you purchase them separately from the manufacturer.

Design
Style - Satellites
Satellite Wireless
No
Design
Dimensions - Bar
Width 27.6" (70.0 cm)
Height 2.7" (6.8 cm)
Depth 3.9" (10.0 cm)

The Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Mini fits between the legs of most 65" TV stands. It isn't very tall, so it doesn't block your TV screen unless your TV sits flush on the table.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A
Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Width N/A
Height N/A
Depth N/A
Design
Mounting
Mountable Bar
Yes
Bar Brackets Included
No
Mountable Satellites
No
Satellite Brackets Included
No

You can mount the bar to the wall, though you'll have to purchase the mounting accessory from the manufacturer separately. It's compatible with this soundbar as well as the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus.

8.0
Design
Build Quality

The Sennheiser AMBEO Mini has great build quality. Overall, it has a good, solid build. It's mostly made of plastic, and the speakers are covered in a tight mesh to protect the drivers inside. Rubber feet on the bottom of the bar hold it in place. You can see the IR receiver on the side here.

Design
In The Box

  • Remote
  • Power cable (6.3 ft / 1.9 m)
  • HDMI cable (4.9 ft / 1.5 m)
  • Manuals

Sound
7.3
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
Channels
4.1
Tested Preset
Adaptive (Default)
Slope
0.30
Standard Error
2.76 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
54.2 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

The Sennheiser AMBEO Mini has a decent stereo frequency response. It offers a pretty neutral sound, especially in the mids, where most voices and lead instruments are reproduced. Like most standalone bars, it lacks low-bass, so you don't notice as much thump and rumble in tracks like EDM and hip-hop. We tested the bar on its default Adaptive preset, which automatically analyzes the type of content you're listening to switch the bar to the relevant preset (so when you watch movies, for example, it switches automatically to the Movie preset.) You can see how it compares to the other preset modes and our target or reference response here.

It's also worth noting that while the manufacturer advertises this bar as a 7.1.4 setup, we can see from the exploded view here that the bar is a 4.1 setup in practice. This is consistent with our subjective impressions of the bar, too. The manufacturer likely advertises the bar in this way because of its sound processing technology called AMBEO Virtualization, which is meant to mimic additional speakers in the space around you.

7.4
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response With Preliminary Calibration
Suggested Preset
Adaptive (Default)
Suggested Bass Setting
0
Suggested Treble Setting
0
Slope
-0.10
Standard Error
2.63 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
51.9 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

This soundbar doesn't have traditional bass and treble adjustments, but in the app, you find a 4-band EQ to help customize its sound. If you prefer a more neutral sound with stereo content, we recommend setting the Foundation to +5dB and the Low-Mid to +2dB.

6.5
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
3.08 dB

The Sennheiser AMBEO Mini has a fair soundstage performance. The soundstage is perceived to be about as wide as the bar itself, and at times, it extends a tiny bit further. It's a bit disappointing that it doesn't do more, especially considering the bar has side-firing drivers and competing products like the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) perform better. That said, focus is still good, so it's easy to pinpoint sound effects to exact locations in the soundstage.

7.4
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
94.7 dB SPL
DRC @ 90dB
1.12 dB
DRC @ Max Volume
4.43 dB

This bar gets loud enough to fill larger and more open rooms with sound. However, as you push it to max volume, there's quite a bit of compression, especially in the bass range.

7.2
Sound
Center
Localization
Phantom
Slope
0.43
Std. Err.
2.04 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
94.9 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
0.44
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.64

This soundbar lacks a discrete center channel to improve vocal clarity in the mix. Instead, it uses its left and right stereo channels to simulate a phantom center. The frequency response on this channel is still quite even, so dialogue is reproduced with clarity and detail.

5.0
Sound
Surround 5.1
Localization
Phantom (Side Firing, Bar)
Slope
1.50
Std. Err.
6.59 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
91.8 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
3.03
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
2.64
7.1 Rears
No

Side-firing drivers built into the bar itself are used to simulate a phantom surround with 5.1 content like Dolby Digital. It's not as life-like as what you get with discrete surrounds. The channels' frequency response is rather uneven, so sound effects aren't reproduced as accurately.

5.4
Sound
Height (Atmos)
Localization
Phantom (Side Firing and Front Firing, Bar)
Slope
0.86
Std. Err.
5.45 dB
SPL @ Max Volume
87.2 dB SPL
Weighted THD @ 80dB
1.21
Weighted THD @ Max Volume
1.97

This soundbar uses its side-firing and front-firing drivers to simulate height in the space around you when you listen to content like Dolby Atmos. Its AMBEO Virtualization sound processing feature is meant to create the illusion of additional speakers in the space around you, too. The frequency response on these channels is rather uneven, though, meaning that sound effects aren't as accurately reproduced.

Additionally, we take a subjective evaluation of the bar's soundstage performance with Atmos content. Overall, it does improve the breadth of sound in all directions, especially horizontally. Details are clear, though it lacks a lot of rumble in the bass range. Unfortunately, it doesn't bring a lot of height to the soundstage, especially compared to other setups with up-firing drivers. For example, in the opening scene of the movie Gravity (2013), you don't get the sense that space expands all above your head. Instead, it seems more concentrated in the space in front of you.

7.4
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
Yes
Dialogue Enhancement
Yes
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
Yes
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
Yes
Bass Adjustment
No
Treble Adjustment
No
EQ
Graphic + Presets
Surround Level Adjustment
No
Rear Level Adjustment
No
Height Level Adjustment
No
Virtual Surround
Yes

The Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Mini has a decent selection of sound enhancement features. The 4-band EQ in the app lets you customize its sound to your liking, or you can opt for one of its preset modes, like Adaptive, Music, Movie, News, Neutral, or Sports. The Adaptive preset is designed to automatically analyze the content you watch and adjust to the relevant preset, which is cool. There's even a room correction tool to optimize the bar's sound based on the unique acoustics of your listening space. If you add a separate subwoofer, you can adjust the subwoofer level, too.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Inputs/Outputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
No
HDMI Out
eARC
HDMI 2.1 Class Bandwidth
No
Full HDMI In
No
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
No
RCA In
No
USB for Files
No
Ethernet
No
Subwoofer Output
No

You can connect the bar to your TV over HDMI. There's also a USB port, but it doesn't seem to allow for audio playback, so it's likely only for service updates or charging devices like a smartphone. Without a Full HDMI In, though, you can't use this bar as a hub between different devices like a TV and a gaming console.

10
Connectivity
Audio Format Support: ARC/eARC
Dolby Atmos
Supported
Dolby Digital
Supported
Dolby Digital Plus
Supported
Dolby TrueHD
Supported
DTS
Supported
DTS:X
Supported
DTS-HD MA
Supported
PCM Channels
Up To 7.1

The bar supports lots of audio formats, including common 5.1 surround sound like Dolby Digital and DTS. It can even playback lossless and object-based formats like Dolby Atmos.

0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support: HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
Not Supported
Dolby Digital
Not Supported
Dolby Digital Plus
Not Supported
Dolby TrueHD
Not Supported
DTS
Not Supported
DTS:X
Not Supported
DTS-HD MA
Not Supported
PCM Channels
Not Supported
0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support: Optical
Dolby Digital
Not Supported
DTS
Not Supported
PCM Channels
Not Supported
6.3
Connectivity
Audio Latency: ARC
PCM-2.0 ch
N/A
PCM-5.1 ch
N/A
Dolby MAT (PCM) Atmos
104 ms
Dolby Digital
127 ms
Dolby Digital Plus
132 ms
Dolby Digital Plus Atmos
138 ms

This soundbar has relatively low audio latency over an ARC connection with common audio formats like Dolby Digital. The audio you hear is largely in sync with the visuals on screen, making it more than suitable for watching movies and videos. You can manually adjust any delay with the Sennheiser Smart Control app, which is a nice touch. Note that we couldn't test the bar's performance with PCM 2.0 or PCM 5.1 content due to an issue with our Murideo testing device, which made it impossible for us to gather data for these audio streams. The bar can still play back PCM content, so you shouldn't run into any issues with real-life use.

not tested
Connectivity
Audio Latency: HDMI In
PCM-2.0 ch
N/A
PCM-5.1 ch
N/A
Dolby MAT (PCM) Atmos
N/A
Dolby Digital
N/A
Dolby Digital Plus
N/A
Dolby Digital Plus Atmos
N/A
not tested
Connectivity
Audio Latency: Optical
PCM-2.0 ch
N/A
Dolby Digital
N/A
0
Connectivity
Video Passthrough To TV
1080p Max Refresh Rate
Not Supported
1080p @ 4:4:4 Max Refresh Rate
Not Supported
4k Max Refresh Rate
Not Supported
4k @ 120Hz @ 10-Bit
Not Supported
4k @ 4:4:4 Max Refresh Rate
Not Supported
8k Max Refresh Rate
Not Supported
HDR10 Passthrough
No
HDR10+ Passthrough
No
Dolby Vision Passthrough
No
HDMI Forum VRR Passthrough
No
FreeSync Passthrough
No
G-SYNC Passthrough
No
ALLM Passthrough
No
10
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi Playback
Yes
Chromecast built-in
Yes
Apple AirPlay
Yes
Spotify Connect
Yes

It's easy to wirelessly stream audio to the bar over lots of different platforms.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
No

While there's no display, a light bar on the top of the bar indicates the bar's status. It shows if a specific codec like Atmos is playing on the bar and when AMBEO Virtualization is activated.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

A few buttons on top of the bar let you control its most basic settings. You can adjust the volume and hold down both volume buttons at once to activate the room correction tool. Plus, you can change the source, mute the microphone, and activate Bluetooth pairing. The multifunction button lets you play/pause music and skip to different tracks, too. If you set up Alexa, the playback controls are disabled, and the multifunction button activates the voice assistant instead.

Additional Features
Remote

The bar comes with a remote. You can also use the Sennheiser Smart Control app to adjust its settings from your mobile devices.

Additional Features
Voice Assistants Support
Amazon Alexa
Yes (Built-in)
Google Assistant
No
Apple Siri
No
Microphone Mute
Yes

Alexa is built into the bar. You can also use Google Assistant, but you need to connect a third-party Google Assistant device to the bar to use it.