In this review we look at the small soundbar with wireless subwoofer from Polk Audio, namely the Polk Audio Magnifi Mini. This soundbar has a price of around four hundred euros.
Polk Audio Magnifi Mini – design
The Polk Audio Magnifi Mini is a small soundbar for under the television. The soundbar is slightly larger than a bluetooth speaker that costs between two and three hundred euros. The front and part of the back are covered with a soft fabric, while the top is made of hard material. On that back, we find the connections, such as the power cable input, the HDMI connection (with ARC), the connections for an optical cable and an audio cable. There is also a USB port and an Ethernet connection.
On the top of this low but wide soundbar there are a number of buttons that are easy to reach. From left to right we find the on / off button, as well as the buttons for bluetooth, changing buttons, evening mode and volume. All these functions can also be operated with the remote control, but it is nice that it can also be used on the device itself. When you use the soundbar, a red, inconspicuous light appears on the front. When you adjust the volume, white lights appear.
It will undoubtedly be done consciously, but the design of the Polk Audio Magnifi Mini is very unobtrusive. There are no noticeable elements present, so the speaker may well disappear in your setup. We prefer to see this as a big advantage, because it does not get in the way of the viewing experience and the interior. At the same time, it is true that this design does not reflect the four hundred euros that you have to put down for it, but because the soundbar is not in the way of the viewing experience, not even with its lights, we do not lift too heavily on it.
We would have liked to say the same about the supplied wireless subwoofer. But unfortunately, this turns out to be a big piece of plastic in a – it is personal – not too eye-catching and indeed eye-catching design. The subwoofer is extremely light for such a product and is more of a thorn in the eye in terms of design. There is one connection on the back of the subwoofer: for the plug. For the rest you can manually synchronize with the soundbar, if necessary, and you can check if it is in standby mode.
Polk Audio Magnifi Mini – specifications
The Polk Audio Magnifi Mini has six drivers: two for the higher tones and four for the tones in the middle. It is possible to play sound in surround sound via the device, because of that setup. In addition, the set comes with a remote control, but you do not need it. You can also use the remote control of your television, so you will not suddenly be saddled with an extra remote. There is also support for Google Cast present, which is always a plus in our booklet.
Polk Audio Magnifi Mini installation
Installing the Polk Audio Magnifi Mini is a piece of cake. You pick up the subwoofer and the soundbar, take the power cables and the hdmi cable, stop those plugs where they belong and you can start listening right away. The sound adjustment is unfortunately not possible: you will have to do with the pre-installed possibilities, in the form of the presets for Film, Sports, Music or the evening mode. However, you can set the level of the subwoofer (but there are not many possibilities), and the same also applies to speech.
Polk Audio Magnifi Mini – use
When you have installed the soundbar (that’s a matter of minutes), you immediately notice how fast the soundbar goes into using your setup. Because the Polk Audio Magnifi Mini can be used with your own remote control (an aspect that we do not need to do, this worked without us having to set anything up), you do not need a second remote control and you can control the device with the remote that is already there. That helps with the experience, because the soundbar becomes part of the TV.
The soundbar also has no secrets or hard-to-reach settings. You can control a number of (important) parts with the buttons on top of the wide speaker, but you can also use the included remote control. This allows you to switch between audio sources at lightning speed – if you want to use it as a bluetooth speaker for example – or sound mode. It is an extremely simple remote, which you do not have to get used to. You press the function of your choice and the soundbar responds immediately; nothing difficult.
What is unfortunate is that there is no HDMI input port present. This means that all sound is sent to the soundbar via the TV. You do not notice anything in practice (for example in the form of a delay in the sound, that is not there), but that also means that there is no support for audio in higher resolution, sent from a media player, game console or blu-ray player. Anyway, on the other hand, you have to take into account that this is a very compact soundbar.
That way you play music through Google Cast
Playing music via Google Cast, from a smart device to a suitable speaker, is very simple. If you have completed the installation process and Google Home indicates that the speaker is ready, you can start immediately. The screenshots below are made with Google Play Music, but in principle it works for all Cast apps. In the picture you see a Cast icon (in the middle, at the bottom). Tap it once. Then you choose the speaker you want to cast to. That’s it! At the bottom you now see that the speaker is connected.
Polk Audio Magnifi Mini – audio quality
You do not always have to find a design to be able to enjoy it properly. Although the soundbar can stand unobtrusively beneath your television (although it is a bit apart with a 55-inch TV), you can put the subwoofer next to or behind the cupboard if you do not like that thing. What sounds like a soundbar, big and small, is the reproduction of the sound. We have positive and negative words for that, but we start positive. The bass reproduction is excellent and gives real power to content.
Whether you play a game or watch a movie or series; the scene, environment or situation is much more impressive with the Polk Audio Magnifi Mini under your television. By that we mean the exciting or dynamic scenes with which a nice bass layer is mounted underneath. It is not so bad that you are overloaded when the game or film suddenly gives a blow and that has to do with the subtle bass reproduction of the subwoofer. This is certainly present in the background, but never really exceeds the sound of the small soundbar.
However, where the Polk Audio Magnifi Mini goes wrong, is the display of the middle and higher tones. It is not that the soundbar can not reproduce these tones at all, but we have the idea that it will skip layers. For example, we played Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with this soundbar and missed, for example, the sound of approaching items in the background. At that moment you realize how much you lean on the sound with such a fast and hectic racing game as Mario Kart. We also missed some guitar riffs in the soundtrack.
It did not matter in which position we had the soundbar. Both Film and Music did not let these sounds. And if we had the Sport mode on, then the bass just fell away a little and the whole thing started to sound shrill. That experience seeped to other games, films and series, so we soon could conclude that the Polk Audio Magnifi Mini is not capable of reproducing a very broad spectrum of sound. Yes, you can hear high tones and sounds from the middle segment, but the subtle details unfortunately disappear.
What the soundbar is doing well is clearly showing the conversations (and voices in films and series). The dialogues sound very loud and clear, a real addition to the experience. That does the soundbar without blowing up the other sound strokes. You can also turn on the audio of the voices so that they sound incredibly audible, while you calm down the rest of the sound and move to the background. But sometimes the voices sounded a little bit packed.
Polk Audio Magnifi Mini – conclusion
A conclusion to the Polk Audio Magnifi Mini is a difficult task. On the one hand, the soundbar offers plenty of connectivity, there is support for Google Cast, the layer reproduction is incredibly powerful, we are talking about the voice boost function and the set is very easy to use. But on the other hand, our enthusiasm is tamed by a not too good representation of the middle and higher sound segment, making the sound sometimes dull and packed.
And when it comes down to it, we ultimately look at the sound reproduction. Because that sound field is not very wide and there are too many details missing, the soundbar is not the best recommendation. There is now still quite expensive for that. In addition, the design of this device also plays a role in that opinion: although the soundbar itself is unobtrusively absorbed in your setup, it is the subwoofer that throws in the food with its cheap appearance. This soundbar is great for action-packed films and series in which a lot is spoken. But if you are a fantastic gamer or someone who listens to a lot of music, then you can best skip it.