Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Mini review: Beam me up

Soundbars are an interesting conundrum – it’s now an open secret that they’re a shortcut to massively upgraded sound for even the most premium of 4K TVs, so basically everyone wants one.

Cheaping out is still a bad idea, though, and it can be a challenge to find a truly great-sounding soundbar that isn’t absolutely massive. One hugely popular pick is the Sonos Beam, and now Sennheiser has dropped the Ambeo Soundbar Mini, a pretty direct rival that costs a little more. I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks to see how it compares.

Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Mini 1


Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Mini


Sublime sound

This is a brilliant compact soundbar that doesn’t come cheap but sounds simply excellent. It’s a fantastic upgrade for your TV but will also be a massive asset for music lovers and serial party hosts.


  • Great compact design
  • Sound is brilliant
  • So many connection options
  • Nice virtual surround sound


  • 79 x 21 x 14cm
  • Remote and HDMI included
  • Available in black only

Sennheiser has positioned the Ambeo Soundbar Mini carefully from a design standpoint, and that’s a very sensible move – it already has two bigger soundbars in the form of the Max and Plus, leaving a clear slot open for a smaller option.

Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Mini 6

This makes the Mini immediately far more attractive to anyone with a smaller TV stand or a desire to have their sound system take up a little less visual real estate.

It’s almost exactly the same size as the first-generation Sonos Beam I swapped it out for, and that means it has pretty perfect dimensions in my view – big enough to ensure that the audio isn’t too diminished by being compact, but small enough to genuinely fit into most setups.

The Soundbar Mini has an attractive mesh wraparound on its outside but is topped by a smooth and premium plastic plane. This houses buttons for controls as well as a handy LED bar that can give you an idea of your volume, the progress of an update and more, all at a glance.

The mesh comes up to the top of the soundbar with a bit of a lip, which looks really nice, while there’s also a white Ambeo logo on the front, at the bottom right, to let you know if Sennheiser’s surround mode is active.

Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Mini 8

At present there’s only a black version of the Ambeo Soundbar Mini on the horizon, which is a bit of a shame for those with other aesthetics in mind, but it’s a really slick and well-built device that screams solidity and high-quality materials.

As with much TV tech, there is a tendency to pick up dust at a rate that will have you breaking out the feather duster more often than you’d like, but it’s rare that this isn’t a problem on most TV stands.

Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Mini 4

Finally, the soundbar comes with a nice remote as standard, solid and metallic with all the buttons you’d need to control things – including toggles for various modes.

Sound quality

  • 7.1.4 virtual surround sound
  • Dolby Atmos, DTS:X support

I’ve mentioned the Sonos Beam a couple of times because to my eyes it’s the clearest competitor on the market, but Sennheiser has priced the Ambeo Soundbar Mini a level above the Beam, at a chunky $800 or £700, and that means the Mini needs to excel on the sound front.

Thankfully, it’s been seriously impressing me ever since I installed it, with virtualised surround sound that genuinely works and power that belies its size.

Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Mini 3

Sennheiser is touting the Mini as boasting 7.1.4 surround sound thanks to its Ambeo system of virtual and beamforming sound, and I’ve kept Ambeo on almost the whole time I’ve been testing it, with great results.

This is a compact soundbar that can indeed rival actual reverse surrounds – it’ll never be able to truly match them, but I’ve repeatedly noticed details that sound like they’re coming from either side while watching Atmos-mixed content like Silo on Apple TV+.

There’s detail and clarity that the first-gen Beam can’t match, but more to the point, there’s also a really impressive bass performance that gives it a proper sense of oomph.

Sennheiser loaned me an Ambeo Sub along with the soundbar, which obviously enormously and immediately beefs things up when connected, but I’ve largely disregarded it since most people probably won’t add it to the Ambeo Soundbar Mini.

Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Mini 9

The fact that this hasn’t felt like a major sacrifice in sound terms is a real marker of how well the Mini performs on its own. While turning off Ambeo does lose you some of that fun virtualisation, it’s also true that for some content (especially older stuff) you might end up preferring its slightly clearer edge.

Under the hood, there’s support for a huge range of codecs here, so whatever low-latency, high-definition source you’re aiming for, you’re likely to be able to enjoy it to the fullest.

With its profile and the likes of Apple AirPlay 2 built in, the Mini also makes a really excellent speaker for music – filling a room easily and giving the same sense of balance and power that it manages for video content.


  • Alexa built-in; works with Google Assistant

For the sort of price Sennheiser’s attached to the Ambeo Soundbar Mini, you really want to have no issues whatsoever with setting things up and getting connected.

Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Mini 7

Good news, then – there’s basically every form of connectivity that I’d hope for in one package here. AirPlay 2 is one of those options, thanks to its Wi-Fi connection, as is Spotify Connect and Tidal Connect.

You can use Chromecast to send your music to it, and there’s also basic Bluetooth there for a backup, with Alexa completely built-in and Google Assistant compatibility if you have another smart speaker.

That’s a great array of smart options, all of which are on top of the basic level that HDMI eARC adds when you plug it into your actual TV. There’s only one HDMI port, but I can’t imagine most users will have any issues with that.

All of this can be calibrated and controlled through Sennheiser’s Smart Control app (the same you might use for its over-ear Momentum 4 headphones), which works smoothly and quickly connected to the soundbar for setup.

Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Mini 2

Firmware updates are handled through the app, as is a room-sensing option just like Sonos’ equivalent, which pings sounds around to help the soundbar calibrate itself.

Sennheiser has added voice enhancement and night modes that boost dialogue and suppress bass respectively, both hugely handy for different situations if you’re trying to avoid making enemies of your neighbours.

The soundbar also has on-board microphones to enable the smart assistant compatibilities mentioned above – these can be muted by a button on the top of the bar, which Sennheiser says has to be tapped again to unmute, meaning there’s no software workaround there.


The Ambeo Soundbar Mini is exactly what Sennheiser’s claiming – a really effective all-in-one solution for those looking to massively upgrade their TV’s sound in a compact footprint.

That it’s also an excellent smart speaker and can be connected to in a host of ways is a welcome bonus, and while it’s not the cheapest soundbar by any stretch, it sounds as good as any compact option we’ve tested, making it a serious contender.