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Polk MagniFi Mini Listening Tests

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Although the MagniFi Mini can easily be used as a wireless speaker system, it is designed to be a soundbar for your display.  In order to get a sense of what the MagniFi Mini had to offer in the way of a complete surround sound experience I decided on a few different themed movies and TV shows.

Apocalypse Now

The first movie I decided to watch the 1979 Viapocalypse nowetnam War classic Apocalypse Now. Although the version I watched did not have the more modern immersive sound capabilities, this movie has always been known for its range and quality of sound effects, and allowed me to get a great sense of just how much the Mini has to offer the common cinephile. During the opening voiceover, I was very impressed with the clarity and authenticity of the sound for the size of the product As the action started to progress, I did start to feel that the system lost a bit of clarity when the subwoofer and bar were working together, although they did manage to produce a cohesive audio experience. This loss of clarity was most noticeable during the famous Ride of the Valkyries helicopter scene, as a bit of distortion occurred during some of the explosions and the voice clarity diminished as more sounds were introduced. This is despite Polk’s patented Voice Adjust technology, which is meant to emphasize dialogue amidst a flurry of background noise. This is not to say that the Mini performed poorly in this regard, but there were some noticeable differences between the performance with and without lots of bass blasts going on in the background. For the size of the sub, the bass was robust and added much depth and warmth, much more than I would have expected from such a small unit, and I was very pleased with the force and presence it added to the famous scene. The side-firing speakers on the bar were enough to provide a decent surrounding experience, comparable to bars twice its size, although not quite as well as a setup with multiple satellite speakers, but this is to be expected with almost any sub $300 sound bar. I could really feel the power of the helicopters rumbling over the Asian countryside. There was no need to ride the volume throughout most of the film, as I was able to find a happy medium where the explosions and action shots sounded loud enough to be felt, but the whispers and sounds of running water that quickly followed were still clearly audible and did not feel boxy. During the tense moments of the film, the system captured the intensity and urgency in the characters’ voices, while still maintaining a fair amount of quality for the sounds of the jungle in the background. As the movie progressed, I was very pleased to forget that such quality sound was coming from such a small sound bar. I had to keep reminding myself of the small size of the unit, as the sounds did not come off as harsh and edgy, but were instead pointed and sharp when needed, yet warm and soothing at the lower frequencies. The high note of the experience was certainly the bass, as it managed to fill the room with sound and capture the thunderous claps present throughout the film. The treble was decent, and is about what you would expect for the size of the bar.

Mad Max: Fury Road

The opening scene to Mad Max: Fury Road is my go to reference materialmad max for movies. It also has plenty of highs and lows as well as periods of dead silence. Even when the opening credits are rolling backed by Tom Hardy's edgy narration there is a galore of other background sounds and voices to really try out your home theater.  Although small, the 6 driver array did an adequate job of separation. When Max is standing in front of his car overlooking a plateau listening- or trying not to listen to the voices in his head, the MagniFi Mini revolves them around the room giving a decent affect of 3D sound. Again, the mids were lacking, and the highs were a bit pinchy.  The skittering of the two headed lizard was better, as was the thump from the sub as Max crushes it with his boot and proceeds to eat it.

When the War Boys enter the scene a few seconds later, the sub kicks in again providing the much needed depth lacking in the small stature of the sound bar. In the proceeding chase scene, the MagniFi Mini handles the alterations of volume well.  It's ability to play at high volumes for its size is rather remarkable although the laws of physics limit some of the clarity at higher volumes.

With so much going on in this film I decided to try out the Polk Voice Adjust Technology which allows you to customize the voice levels in the sound bar to help reproduce a clearer, crisper dialogue. The Voice Adjust button did in fact make it easier to understand some of the garbled dialog scenes. Max is a man of few words, and many of them hard to understand.

Conclusion

The Mini may not compare directly with the larger more expensive bars, but it does compete at its price point and delivers a sound experience worthy of a listen for anyone looking for a nice, affordable sound bar to greatly improve the quality from their TV speakers. We really liked the ease of setup compared to other soundbars and wireless home systems and the optional bluetooth or wireless steaming made this product much more than just a soundbar. I would recommend this product to anyone looking to boost the sound of a display in a smaller room, office, or bedroom who also likes the option of having a wireless music system available to them.  The built in Chromecast was a nice feature as well and if your home is already finding itself in the Chromecast environment then the Polk MagniFi Mini might be right for you.

The Score Card

The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:

Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating

Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.

Audioholics Rating Scale

  • StarStarStarStarStar — Excellent
  • StarStarStarStar — Very Good
  • StarStarStar — Good
  • StarStar — Fair
  • Star — Poor
MetricRating
Build QualityStarStarStar
AppearanceStarStarStar
Treble ExtensionStarStarStar
Midrange AccuracyStarStarStar
Bass ExtensionStarStarStar
Dynamic RangeStarStarStar
Fit and FinishStarStarStarStar
PerformanceStarStarStarhalf-star
ValueStarStarStarStarhalf-star
About the author:
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Tony is our resident expert for lifestyle and wireless products including soundbars. He does most of the reviews for wireless and streaming loudspeakers and often compares soundbars in round ups and helps us cover the trade shows.

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Recent Forum Posts:

Spawn1980 posts on September 08, 2018 23:45
everettT, post: 1268292, member: 78951
Inviting trouble. The sound would be a muddy mess.
Thank you
everettT posts on September 08, 2018 22:47
Spawn1980, post: 1268291, member: 86374
Question can I connect the sound bar with another one? 2 Polk mini bars to make a barrier sound
Inviting trouble. The sound would be a muddy mess.
Spawn1980 posts on September 08, 2018 22:44
Question can I connect the sound bar with another one? 2 Polk mini bars to make a barrier sound
gene posts on August 29, 2017 01:22
vSces-WmvHI
gene posts on July 25, 2017 02:14
If you want surround sound for your living room or man cave, but you just don’t have the space for a large, bulky system, then look no further than the Polk Audio MagniFi Mini Sound Bar System. The MagniFi Mini is a quality sound system that can fit in just about any limited space and at a reasonable price. The sound bar itself is about the size of a large alarm clock radio and includes a small subwoofer to help with the bottom end. Even though it’s tiny, the system still offers a 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound experience exemplifying again that good things do come in small packages.



Read: Polk MagniFi Mini Home Theater Sound Bar System
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