You know that a proper audio solution is the key to getting the most from your HD or 4K TV. But sometimes, the size and expense of a sound bar and subwoofer combo can mean people want to wait. Now there’s a much more compact option. Polk MagniFi Mini is a small home theatre solution that can improve your TV audio and provide a speaker for listening to music too.
I recently received a loaner of the MagniFi Mini for a few weeks of use in my home.
What is Polk MagniFi Mini?
The Polk MagniFi Mini is an ultra compact sound bar and wireless subwoofer combo with a remote control. It connects to your TV using an (included!!) HDMI cable and provides greatly improved audio from your TV. Most flatscreen TVs internal speakers are too thin and basic to provide audio quality that can match the TVs video resolution. This is a compact solution.
Setting up Polk MagniFi Mini
I love the fact there’s an HDMI cable included with this set up. Most sound bars don’t come with one, meaning if you don’t know or forget to get one, it’s back to Best Buy before you can use it. This kit has the cable, so thumbs up to Polk for that.
The kit actually comes with three connection options; an (ARC) HDMI cable, which you’ll use only if your TV has a special ARC HDMI port in the back. Otherwise you can use the optical audio cable or if your TV is older, like mine is, you can connect with the aux connector.
I connected the power and the aux cable, then plugged in the Subwoofer. The manual says the two should find each other and pair together on their own and they did for me, as evidenced by a green light on the rear of the Sub.
When I went to play something from my Apple TV, however, there was no sound. I fiddled with the cables, checked volume and power, but no dice. I then streamed some music from my phone just to check the audio. Streaming worked fine (and sounded great! More on that later.) but I couldn’t seem to get any sound out of the TV.
Vexed, I called Polk’s toll free customer service line to ask for help. Turns out there’s a button on top that switches the source into the sound bar, and you’ll need to hit it a couple times to swap between connecting via Bluetooth, Aux or optical audio (it doesn’t automatically find and output the source for you).
A couple of clicks and I had audio!
Polk MagniFi Mini Specs
The Polk MagniFi Mini is a 13″ wide 150 watt sound bar with two half inch tweeters, and four 2.25″ midrange drivers. There are HDMI ARC, Optical, 3.5mm (analog) inputs.
Preset audio settings
If you’re the type that doesn’t love fiddling with your settings, you’ll like the preset audio settings available with the MagniFi Mini. There’s settings for Movie, Music, and Sports.
I didn’t notice a lot of difference between the Movie and Music settings; perhaps they have a bit more bass to them. The Sports preset definitely cranks the high end and the voices.
Voice Adjust feature
Polk promises “crystal clear dialogue with Polk Voice Adjust Technology.” This option lets you customize the voice levels to reproduce dialogue better.
I found that when watching some programs, this setting did definitely help the voices cut through better. It somehow enhances them and just makes them more noticeable over background scene noise.
How does Polk Magnifi Mini sound overall?
The sound on this little bundle is insane. The sound bar is so compact, but it’s very powerful and sounds rich and full, just like a full size sound bar. The bass is great, thanks to that massive subwoofer. Dialogue comes through clearly and sounds accurate too. Overall, this soundbar sounds great.
Listening to music on the MagniFi Mini is really nice too; it sounds great and can easily rival any speaker like a Sonos PLAY:1 or a Google Home Max. It sounds dynamite, and the streaming process is easy and stutter-free.
Polk MagniFi Mini Night Effect feature
A neat feature of the sound bar is Night Mode. This feature is cropping up in home theatre audio more often because it’s handy and solves a home theatre issue many of us have. Night Mode lets you lower the bass level while increasing the voices and keeping the volume level consistent, so you don’t need to wake the family or strain to hear your program.
When I tested it, it does noticeably drop the bass level, but things still sound good and clear.
How does Surround Sound sound?
The MagniFi Mini has surround sound capabilities that works to mimic the effects of a full surround sound system, with just the sound bar. The effect is created using Polk’s patented surround technology and 5.1 Dolby Digital decoding. Polk says it “creates incredible room-filling surround sound.”
So does it? I wouldn’t say it made me think I was in a full home theatre with surround sound. It’s nice and full and gets loud, yes, but in terms of mimicking a true 5.1 system… no.
I should also point out that the speaker sounds much better if you’re sitting right in front of it. If you’re off to the side, the audio sounds more directional and narrower, where right in front, you do get a wider soundscape.
How to Stream via Bluetooth and Google Cast
To stream, you’ll be able to use two options. One; you’ll need to connect Google Home and the other will be to connect directly to your phone’s Bluetooth so you can stream content from your phone.
To connect your phone, head to your phone’s Bluetooth settings menu, and just look for the Polk MagniFi Mini. Mine popped up right away and I clicked to connect, and was able to stream music instantly. If you have trouble, you can activate the Bluetooth manually with a button on the back of the sound bar.
When it comes to Google Home, I had some trouble. Google Home connection should allow me to talk to the speaker using my Google Home smart digital assistant. I tried to connect to the Polk MagniFi Mini in Google Home and while my first attempt saw the connection process get all the way to the last step before giving me a failure message and then vanishing from the app, I found i was unable to connect again. Google Home seemed unable to locate the MagniFi after numerous attempts. I reset the MagniFi, tried engaging the Bluetooth and nothing.
I decided to give up for the day.
I came back to it another day and this time when I opened up Google Home, there it was. The Google Home app saw it, and helped me get it connected.
After that, it was easy to say “OK, Google, Play music on MagniFi Mini.”
Overall thoughts on Polk MagniFi Mini
Overall there’s plenty to love about the Polk MagniFi Mini; the sound quality is outstanding, whether it’s TV audio or music streaming. The compact size of the sound bar is nice, and it’s deceptively powerful.
If there are an cons, it’s that the shape of the sound bar might be one reason I would opt not to get to it. Though small, it’s rather bulbous. Plus, it can’t be wall mounted, so it needs a piece of furniture to sit on, meaning if you have a wall mounted TV as I do (and no furniture underneath) it’s may not be an option, or you may need a shelf. Though I already have one, the Mini is too wide for it.
The size of the wireless subwoofer is also a bit off-putting; given that the sound bar itself is so small and easily stored, it’s much harder to find a place for the sub that’s out of the way. While the sound bar may be incognito, hiding in plain sight, the sub is a blimp in your living room by comparison.
I did like the MagniFi Mini, but it needs to be used in just the right room; you want a piece of furniture to put it on, and you should sit directly in front of it for the best sound.