Finally, there's an Ethernet port for a wired network connection, as well as a Wi-Fi reset button. The Mini definitely emphasizes high frequencies in order to deliver that clarity. But you do lose some weight and presence in those midrange effects. The Polk MagniFi Mini sits in a difficult position, able to beat neither alternative, larger soundbars nor smaller wireless speakers at this price. 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. Male vocals, in particular, sound muffled and fuzzy, so I often resort to headphone use. Music is the default, while the Movie and Sports modes alter the amount of bass and midrange power coming from the soundbar. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. 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. 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. Like the Polk, it's a 2.1-channel system with 2.75-inch drivers and a 5.25-inch subwoofer. In this era of the ever-shrinking soundbar, thin is most certainly in. 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. I cued up chapter five from the San Andreas Blu-ray disc, the scene where the earthquake begins. I had no issues pairing the bar to my iPhone 6 and MacBook Pro via Bluetooth, and signal reliability was excellent. 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. Visit our corporate site (opens in new tab). The remote control works great and has a lot of helpful buttons, but I do wish it had a Bluetooth button. 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. 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. The Bose Solo 5 TV soundbar ($249.99) has a larger cabinet design but no subwoofer. 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.

You can set up Chromecast directly via the Google Home app. It presented a nicely balanced sound. In previous multichannel Polk soundbars, the technology helped improve the sense of surround envelopment without the need for dedicated surround speakers. Youre more adept at playing hide and seek, are naturally better at potholing, and usually have a slight edge at limbo. 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.

I also experimented with music playback via Bluetooth and Chromecast. I instantly liked what I heard from the MagniFi Mini. 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. 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. This is a 2.1-channel soundbar with six drivers--a pair of 0.5-inch tweeters and four 2.25-inch midrange drivers. Sign up below to get the latest from What Hi-Fi?, plus exclusive special offers, direct to your inbox! Adrienne Maxwell auditions Polk's MagniFi Mini 2.1-channel soundbar system. 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. The Fluance cabinet is almost larger than the Polk Mini soundbar and subwoofer cabinets combined. 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. It's only designed as an ARC port to receive audio back from your TV. Just hit the link to launch the app, then hit the "Cast" button to send music to your MagniFi Mini. But I also appreciate that the SDA technology didn't make music sound too artificial or processed to achieve that bigger sound. 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). A USB port is available, but it's for factory use only. The higher frequencies were more subdued, and dialogue was a little less clear. All the different LED options are clearly explained in the manual. 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. There are up/down controls for bass and Polk's Voice Adjust function, which isolates and adjusts the vocal channel level. The supplied IR remote also has a nice build with a rubbery top surface. 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. . 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. You will receive a verification email shortly. 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. NY 10036. Night mode reduces the overall dynamic range, and increases the midrange to make things clearer at lower volumes. SDA uses the principle of interaural crosstalk cancellation to help broaden the soundstage. 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. The wireless sub, which measures 14.4 by 14.4 by 7.4 inches, features a 6.5-inch down-firing woofer. Particularly in the sub-$500 market, the goal for most soundbar manufacturers seems to be making the bar as short and shallow as possible. Though the MagniFi Minis sound quality wont set any new standards, Polk has managed to pack in an impressive number of connections. 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. I moved the system to multiple locations throughout the course of the review, and I never experienced any pairing problems between them. 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. The MagniFi Mini ($299.95) measures 3.2 inches high by 4.2 inches deep, but it's only 13.4 inches long. Heres why you can trust us. The VIZIO SB3821-D6 is the updated version of the model I used for comparison. Accompanying the diminutive piece of kit is a notably larger subwoofer about as high as a coffee-table to deal with frequencies from 40Hz to 110Hz using its 16cm driver. 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. Interaural crosstalk occurs when the time-delayed sound emanating from the left speaker is heard by the right ear and vice versa. It delivers exactly what I want in a soundbar--clear dialogue, controlled bass, and great dynamics--in a very petite, easy-to-place package. 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. It was easy, and it worked great. ConclusionI'm thoroughly impressed with Polk's MagniFi Mini. See my recent review of the $500 VIZIO SB4551-D5 as an example. What Hi-Fi? It includes buttons for power, mute, volume, each source, and Night Effect (which reduce bass and overall dynamics while enhancing vocal clarity). 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. A string of LEDs light up on the Minis face to let you know which source is playing. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Comparison & Competition 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. 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. Behind its grille are two 10mm tweeters, and four 6cm drivers for the midrange. New York, When we think soundbar, we think long, skinny box--and that part of the design really hasn't changed. 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. Brent Butterworth actually sent me this VIZIO as an example of a low-priced soundbar that performs well, so it's no slouch. And theres no doubting the agility of the MagniFi Mini. 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. To start with the obvious, its small. 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. 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. What Hi-Fi?

JBL Cinema's SB250 ($299.99) and Klipsch's Reference R-10B ($299.99) are 2.1-channel options with Bluetooth.