Its main symbols are raised slightly so you get a better idea of what youre pressing in a dark room, and there are explicitly marked buttons for different sources rather than an all-in-one source button.
What's nice about the Google Home app is that, at least in the iOS version, it shows you links to all the Cast-compatible apps that are already loaded on your device--in my case, that included Google Play Music, Spotify, Pandora, and iHeartRadio. There was a problem. Some competitors might provide two digital audio inputs, while the Mini substitutes the HDMI ARC port for one of them. What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Brent Butterworth actually sent me this VIZIO as an example of a low-priced soundbar that performs well, so it's no slouch.
Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Whenever you want to enable a Bluetooth source, you have to walk over to the soundbar and hit the top-panel Bluetooth button. The 3.88-pound cabinet has a trapezoidal shape with rounded edges. I moved the system to multiple locations throughout the course of the review, and I never experienced any pairing problems between them. What Hi-Fi? In addition to built-in Bluetooth, the Mini also has 802.11ac Wi-Fi and support for Chromecast built-in, so you can stream audio from any Cast-compatible application on your mobile device or computer. There are no individual adjustments or audio connections on the sub itself--just a power port and an LED light that indicates whether or not it's paired with the soundbar. In this era of the ever-shrinking soundbar, thin is most certainly in. I instantly liked what I heard from the MagniFi Mini. Comparison & Competition To my eye, the MagniFi Mini looks more like a Bluetooth speaker--and technically, it is a Bluetooth speaker. Also, the Polk sub had more control over the pounding bass notes, whereas the VIZIO sub was pretty boomy. Its pretty competent around the treble too when listening to Isnt She Lovely on Stevie Wonders Live At Last Blu-ray, the high-pitched harmonica comes across clearly without sounding too bright or brittle. It doesn't really look like soundbar at all. It presented a nicely balanced sound. Vizio M70Q7 Quantum M-Series 70-Inch LED TV Reviewed, Tozo T12 True Wireless Earbuds Review: Good Sound, Bottom Dollar Price, Black Friday in July Sale: Samsung 85" QN90A $2299.99, Full-Size, Noise-Canceling Premium Headphones, New Monolith THX Certified In-Wall Speakers, Klipsch Jubilee Speaker is New Heritage Flagship, Bowers & Wilkins 805 D4 Review: Super Sexy Speakers Sound Spectacular, LG's Innovative DualUp PC Monitor Saves Space, Speakers, Subs, Soundbars & Headphones Reviews. The Bose Solo 5 TV soundbar ($249.99) has a larger cabinet design but no subwoofer.
I had no issues pairing the bar to my iPhone 6 and MacBook Pro via Bluetooth, and signal reliability was excellent. I did some direct A/B comparisons with VIZIO's SB3821-C6, a 2.1-channel soundbar that uses dual 2.75-inch drivers with a separate five-inch subwoofer. Again the VIZIO had more midrange presence, but the Polk's bass performance was tighter and cleaner, and its high-frequency effects were clearer and more precise.
That soundbar measures just two inches high by two inches deep, but you'll notice that it's still 45 inches long. published 21 February 17, A small soundbar that needs a bit of refining before it can be a big fish in this particularly crowded pond. This is a big-sounding recording, and the SDA technology did a nice job of conveying that sense of space, and the two-piece speaker/subwoofer combo allowed for a much fuller, more complete presentation than your typical Bluetooth speaker. With a couple clicks up on the VoiceAdjust function, male and female vocals were crisp and clear without sounding thin or overly artificial. All four of the Mini's midrange drivers work at the same time--with one pair of L/R speakers emitting the stereo signal and the other pair emitting the inverse signal to create the crosstalk cancellation. When I did feel the need for a little more bass, I could easily get it with a couple clicks of the remote's bass control. Vocals that should feel wide and open, such as Colin Farrells rendition of East Wind on the Saving Mr Banks soundtrack, sound closed-in. The subwoofer also has a rounded cabinet design with the same brushed-black finish as the bar's top panel. More straightforward recordings like The Bad Plus's "1979 Semi-Finalist" and Tom Waits' "Long Way Home" still had a natural quality, albeit with the same high-frequency emphasis I heard with movies. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. To see how the Mini would handle this environment, I binge-watched season three of Amazon's Mozart in the Jungle--a show that bounces between dialogue and classical music. At just 35cm long and 7cm tall, its little bigger than your average lunchtime baguette. Other products I've tested, like the VIZIO and Fluance models, have a direct Blueooth button. Additional Resources Check out our Soundbar category page to read similar reviews. Visit the Polk website for more product information. Settings can either be adjusted on the soundbar or the remote, which is pretty nice to use. I know I did. And in those moments when I did feel compelled to push the volume to hear the music in all its glory, the Mini showed off its dynamic prowess, with a bigger sound and a more spacious soundstage than you'd expect from a box so tiny. Heres why you can trust us. Perhaps that's why Polk's MagniFi Mini soundbar might catch your eye as you peruse the many soundbar options available for $200 to $300. Just hit the link to launch the app, then hit the "Cast" button to send music to your MagniFi Mini. Polk MagniFi Mini 2.1-Channel Soundbar Reviewed. The Mini definitely emphasizes high frequencies in order to deliver that clarity. The VIZIO bar is three times bigger than the Polk, yet the Polk's SDA technology did a more convincing job of producing a broad soundstage. Particularly in the sub-$500 market, the goal for most soundbar manufacturers seems to be making the bar as short and shallow as possible. The arrogant verbal shrug in the climax of Kanye Wests Power is lacking and a little lost, showing the MagniFi Mini could do with more insight across the board.
This is just a placeholder for now to get things styled. SDA uses passive circuitry in the crossover network to cancel these time-delayed sounds by feeding an out-of-phase signal to the opposite speaker. Each sound mode has its own button, too: you can easily switch between movie, sports, and music modes. And, if you connect via HDMI to a TV with CEC, your TV remote will automatically control the Polk's volume and mute. The higher frequencies were more subdued, and dialogue was a little less clear. Night mode reduces the overall dynamic range, and increases the midrange to make things clearer at lower volumes. The complete system is powered by 150 watts of amplification. Like the Polk, it's a 2.1-channel system with 2.75-inch drivers and a 5.25-inch subwoofer. Future US, Inc. Full 7th Floor, 130 West 42nd Street,
You can set up Chromecast directly via the Google Home app.
In this era of the ever-shrinking soundbar, thin is most certainly in. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.
Theres also a decent amount of bass, courtesy of the subwoofer. Polk's own MagniFi One sells for the same price as the Mini but has the longer form factor of a traditional soundbar, with larger three-inch drivers and a seven-inch subwoofer--but no SDA or HDMI ARC connection. Yamaha's soundbar lineup includes one-piece bars like the YAS-107 that cost less than $200 and two-piece soundbar/sub combos like the YAS-203 that carry higher price tags than the MagniFi Mini. Visit our corporate site (opens in new tab). Youre more adept at playing hide and seek, are naturally better at potholing, and usually have a slight edge at limbo. It includes buttons for power, mute, volume, each source, and Night Effect (which reduce bass and overall dynamics while enhancing vocal clarity). The VIZIO SB3821-D6 is the updated version of the model I used for comparison. Polk Introduces Signature Speaker Series at HomeTheaterReview.com. Please refresh the page and try again. is supported by its audience. There are a number of 2.1-channel soundbar options in the $200 to $300 price range. All the different LED options are clearly explained in the manual. And theres no doubting the agility of the MagniFi Mini. The DownsideThe Mini has a fairly limited number of connection options, but it's on par with--and in some cases better than--other similarly priced soundbars. That soundbar measures just two inches high by two inches deep, but you'll notice that it's still 45 inches long. Season three is also filled with a lot of operatic singing. The nice thing about Chromecast versus Bluetooth is that it hands off the audio signal to the soundbar, freeing up your mobile device for other tasks. Music is the default, while the Movie and Sports modes alter the amount of bass and midrange power coming from the soundbar. See my recent review of the $500 VIZIO SB4551-D5 as an example. But it doesnt quite have the audio quality to get a wholehearted recommendation from us. Its a competent product with much to admire in terms of features and design. A string of LEDs light up on the Minis face to let you know which source is playing. Thank you for signing up to What Hi-Fi?. There are a lot of signals reflecting around that room when I watch movies and TV shows, and oftentimes it's difficult for me to hear dialogue clearly, especially when I'm trying to keep the volume lower in the evenings. With most of these lower-priced soundbar options, the common connection scheme is to run the AV sources into your TV and then pass the audio signal from the TV into the soundbar--usually via optical digital audio. What Hi-Fi? As I've stated in the past, I don't like to hear a lot of bass boom with my TV shows, and the Polk sub exhibited good control over the bass. I also experimented with music playback via Bluetooth and Chromecast. Front and center on the soundbar is a vertical array of five LEDs that light up in different colors and configurations to provide feedback on things like volume level, bass/voice level, source, Bluetooth/Chromecast usage, and Dolby Digital signal input (the soundbar has Dolby Digital but not DTS decoding, which is pretty common). But you do lose some weight and presence in those midrange effects. The living room in the house is completely different type of room: a big, carpeted room that flows into the dining room, kitchen, and upstairs walkways. True HDMI input/output pass-through is generally reserved for higher-priced soundbar systems. is part of Future US Inc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. I didn't have to play the volume up/down game to keep dialogue and bass in balance. To start with the obvious, its small. The Polk MagniFi Mini sits in a difficult position, able to beat neither alternative, larger soundbars nor smaller wireless speakers at this price. By When I connected the power cables to both devices and plugged them in, the soundbar and sub immediately paired with each other, with no action required on my part.
The remote control can't be programmed to control other devices; however, you can easily teach its codes to your TV or set-top box remote. Despite its small stature, the Mini feels like a sturdy, well-built speaker. I also compared the MagniFi Mini with Fluance's $250 AB40 soundbase, which is a single-box solution that puts four 3-inch drivers and two tweeters into a flat cabinet designed to sit under your TV. It was easy, and it worked great. In previous multichannel Polk soundbars, the technology helped improve the sense of surround envelopment without the need for dedicated surround speakers. JBL Cinema's SB250 ($299.99) and Klipsch's Reference R-10B ($299.99) are 2.1-channel options with Bluetooth.
In terms of dynamic ability, the two products were quite similar--which speaks to the impressive prowess of the tiny Polk--but their sonic qualities were very different. There are a few benefits to being small. On the wireless side, it has both Bluetooth, wi-fi and the surprising bonus of built-in Google Chromecast - so youre able to stream audio from your smartphone or tablet via Spotify, Tidal or other compatible apps. When we think soundbar, we think long, skinny box--and that part of the design really hasn't changed. If you prefer a more laidback sound, the Mini may not be the best choice, but I never felt that the high frequencies were bright, harsh, or grating.
One that just so happens to come with a wireless subwoofer and a host of TV-friendly features that you won't find in many Bluetooth speakers.
New York, The Mini is the first bar I've auditioned to include the HDMI ARC port, which gives you a bit more flexibility to feed your TV audio back into the soundbar via HDMI, leaving the optical digital audio input free to connect to another audio source, if desired. A USB port is available, but it's for factory use only. The Fluance cabinet is almost larger than the Polk Mini soundbar and subwoofer cabinets combined.
They're also used to signify volume, bass, and centre channel levels the last two being managed by the Bass and Voice buttons on the remote. It's only designed as an ARC port to receive audio back from your TV. There are up/down controls for bass and Polk's Voice Adjust function, which isolates and adjusts the vocal channel level. An acoustically transparent fabric grille wraps all the way around, while the top panel has a brushed-black finish with a rubbery button panel that offers buttons for power, source, Bluetooth, Night Effect, and volume. Interaural crosstalk occurs when the time-delayed sound emanating from the left speaker is heard by the right ear and vice versa. This little guy punches far above its weight class and deserves a serious look from anyone shopping in the $300 soundbar category. Adrienne Maxwell auditions Polk's MagniFi Mini 2.1-channel soundbar system. The sub filled in the lower registers nicely without drawing too much attention to itself, and I didn't hear male voices in the sub. During my official movie auditions, I fed optical digital audio directly from my Oppo UDP-205 player to the MagniFi Mini. Its MSRP is $219.99. Male vocals, in particular, sound muffled and fuzzy, so I often resort to headphone use. They might seem confusing at first; however, once you've used the soundbar for a bit, I think you'll find them to be quite helpful. As with most small soundbars, the midrange was somewhat lean, but the blend between the subwoofer and soundbar was good. This is the static ad content. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. NY 10036. When I opened the app on my iPhone, it immediately recognized that a new device was awaiting setup, and the process of adding the Mini to my Wi-Fi network was simple and straightforward. I just appreciated how clear and clean things sounded. With the Polk, the dialogue was easily discernible through all the chaos, and the dedicated subwoofer was better able to reproduce the lower-end rumbles of the falling building and explosions. Round the back there's an ethernet port, HDMI and USB inputs, an optical input and a 3.5mm connection.
But Polk is attempting to get around this with the MagniFi Mini, which the company says will provide huge sound from a mini soundbar. You will receive a verification email shortly. In the two-channel MagniFi Mini, SDA is employed to help this small speaker produce a big, broad soundstage. What Hi-Fi? When we think soundbar, we think long, skinny box--and that part of the design really hasn't changed. This is a 2.1-channel soundbar with six drivers--a pair of 0.5-inch tweeters and four 2.25-inch midrange drivers. The MagniFi Mini gives you scope to adjust your audio for any occasion, with a variety of DSP settings including Music, Movie, Sports and Night Mode. The horns (known as Zimmer Horns by movie buffs because of how frequently they appear in Hans Zimmers scores) are prominent enough, but need to be tighter.
Pretty much all the competitors in this range offer Bluetooth, but things like Chromecast and the HDMI ARC connection are harder to find. Who needs it: I think The Beatles sound better in mono, PS5 restock news: where to buy a PlayStation 5 console in 2022, HDMI ARC and HDMI eARC: everything you need to know, The best home entertainment buying advice, Issues delivered straight to your door or device.
Yes, the MagniFi Mini is a great choice for a smaller space like an apartment, dorm room, or bedroom, but don't let its small stature fool you into thinking that it can only perform well in really small spaces. Though the MagniFi Minis sound quality wont set any new standards, Polk has managed to pack in an impressive number of connections. Yet the Mini had no problem filling this room, either--whether I watched movies or streamed music to it. Sign up below to get the latest from What Hi-Fi?, plus exclusive special offers, direct to your inbox! As part of my music auditions, I streamed some AIFF files over Bluetooth, including Pink Floyd's "Brain Damage." Of course if the TV lacks HDMI ARC, then you'll need to use the optical digital or 3.5mm aux input to receive those signals. You'll automatically be entered in the HTR Sweepstakes, and get the hottest audio deals directly in your inbox. PerformanceI began my evaluation of the MagniFi Mini in my apartment living room, which is made up of bare, angled walls, sliding glass doors, and wood floors. Even though Matthew Polk has long since departed the company that bears his name, his technological contributions live onand one of those patented technologies, called SDA, is the driving force within the MagniFi Mini. We plug in the optical cable and put on Interstellar, skipping to the point where Dr Joseph Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) detaches himself from the spacecraft and falls into the black hole.
Behind its grille are two 10mm tweeters, and four 6cm drivers for the midrange. ConclusionI'm thoroughly impressed with Polk's MagniFi Mini. The bass and VoiceAdjust controls on the remote do make it easy to tailor the low and high frequencies on the fly to obtain your preferred balance--and the bass notes in these tracks were tight and well controlled. And there are also other improvements needed: theres not quite enough sophistication in the midrange, and it can end up sounding congested. The Mini soundbar uses Polk's patented SDA technology to produce a much broader soundstage than you'd expect from such a petite package.
The HookupThe MagniFi Mini arrived in a secure box-within-a-box, and all the accessories (including a six-foot optical digital cable, 6.5-foot HDMI cable, and six-foot auxiliary cable) were neatly packaged. The MagniFi Mini ($299.95) measures 3.2 inches high by 4.2 inches deep, but it's only 13.4 inches long. This was an interesting comparison, as it really highlighted the differences between the one-piece soundbase and two-piece soundbar approaches.
SDA uses the principle of interaural crosstalk cancellation to help broaden the soundstage. Zvox offers the one-piece AccuVoice TV speaker for $249.99 or its one-piece SoundBase.570 for $299.99. The wireless sub, which measures 14.4 by 14.4 by 7.4 inches, features a 6.5-inch down-firing woofer. The soundbars side-firing drivers provide a spacious sound, stretching the soundtrack out to fill our medium-sized testing room. . I auditioned the MagniFi Mini in two different residences (house and apartment), connected to three different TVs (a Samsung UN65HU8550 LCD TV, an LG 65EF9500 OLED TV, and older Samsung LN-T4681 LCD TV) with a variety of source components. The only addition we would like to see is a dedicated button for Bluetooth connectivity and pairing, which unfortunately can be done only on the soundbar. Polk Audio's two new soundbars promise big sound from tiny packages, JBL Tune Flex are wireless earbuds that let you fine-tune the audio quality, Stereo? Take note: This is not a traditional HDMI input, so you can't connect an HDMI source to it. However, none of these really apply to soundbars a product that usually has to hit the sweet-spot between impressive audio and a compact body.