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Polk MagniFi Mini AX: A little package with a big sound!

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Since its release in 2016, Polk MagniFi Mini AX soundbar is a favorite of all of us — the little-but-mighty soundbar produces huge sound with a compact footprint. Polk has announced a new version of the MagniFi Mini AX, and it has some minor cosmetic improvements as well as Dolby Atmos compatibility.

It also comes at a significantly higher cost. The original MagniFi Mini from Polk costs $299, whereas the MagniFi Mini AX from Amazon costs $499.

Design 

Polk MagniFi Mini AX soundbar

The AX, like the original MagniFi Mini, does not appear to be your standard soundbar. It’s neither long nor thin, measuring 14.4 x 4.1 x 3.1 inches. It’s roughly an inch broader and an inch shorter than the original Mini. Another compact soundbar, the Sonos Beam, measures 25.6 x 3.9 x 2.7 inches.

The Mini AX’s height may impede the bottom of TVs that seem to be near to the surface, as well as the line of sight of your remote. You won’t have to worry about finding a lengthy surface to put it on, though.

The black plastic-and-mesh item will look best next to tiny TVs and computer displays, and the neutral design will blend in well.

Specifications

Polk MagniFi Mini AX soundbar

This Polk Audio MagniFi Mini AX seems to be a 3.1-channel soundbar with a trio of 51mm mid-range drivers for the left, center, and right channels, as well as 19mm tweeters for the left and right channels. A down-firing 127 x 178mm bass is used in the wireless subwoofer. You may convert the MagniFi Mini AX to a 5.1-channel system by adding Polk’s SR2 wireless surrounds speaker kit.

Upfiring drivers for bouncing Dolby Atmos & DTS:X height cues off the ceiling are missing from the MagniFi Mini AX. Instead, the soundbar use virtualization, in this case, Polk’s patented SDA 3D audio technology, to fool your ears into believing they’re hearing sound from above. In a moment, I’ll explain how well Polk’s SDA technology truly works.

Its fabric-wrapped MagniFi Mini AX is 14.4 x 4.1 x 3.1 inches (WxDxH) and has a curved front and yet a flatter back, giving it a narrow “D” form when viewed from above. While the soundbar is fairly small, it is also somewhat tall, which means it will most likely obstruct a piece of the bottom of your screen. The profile of the Mini AX did take a bite out of the bottom of the LG C9’s display, but it was just a small one.

Set up and connectivity 

Setup and connectivity

The Polk MagniFi Mini AX includes everything you’ll need, such as an HDMI cable, power cables, and remote batteries. Finding a discreet location for the power brick that links to the main soundbar may be the most difficult task.

Easy-to-reach connectors on the rear of the box allow you to connect to your TV through HDMI (with eARC compatibility), optical digital, or 3.5mm cables. HDMI passthrough isn’t possible because it just has one HDMI port. There are buttons for connecting to the integrated wireless subwoofer and optional surround speakers (the subwoofer is already associated with the soundbar, so you didn’t have to do anything). A USB connection is also available, however, it is exclusively for service.

The Mini AX has various wireless options, like Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay 2, and Chromecast, in addition to wired connectivity. The Google Home app is used to link to your Wi-Fi network. The software recognized my new device and guided me through the process of connecting it to the network. The unit’s firmware was immediately upgraded when it was connected.

Configuration 

Despite its resemblance to the original Mini, the AX has a distinct interior. Two 0.75-inch tweeters & three 2-inch midrange speakers are used in the AX, while two 0.5-inch tweeters & four 2.25-inch midrange speakers are used in the Mini. The AX’s bigger tweeters allowed it to produce richer high tones than the Mini.

Whereas the soundbar enables Atmos, it lacks upward-firing speakers, so you won’t be able to enjoy the height aspect of object-based audio. Given the Mini AX’s high price, this is something to consider.

The AX’s 15.6 x 14.6 x 7.2-inch subwoofer appears absurdly massive in comparison to the soundbar, but it isn’t very large by subwoofer standards. It has a 5 x 7-inch woofer to assist level out the audio of the soundbar and adding low-end effects to movies and TV shows.

Buttons, indicators, and remote

Buttons, indicatos, and remote

Bluetooth pairing, volume up, Power, input select, mute, and volume down are all buttons at the top of the Polk MagniFi Mini AX.

An OLED display peeks out from under the soundbar’s fabric covering, displaying the current input & sound mode, as well as the volume, which is shown by a nearby status light. Its bright display is simple to see, however, it fades away after a short time.

The MagniFi Mini AX’s remote is a welcome difference from other Polk soundbar remotes you’ve used. The flawlessly flat buttons have been replaced with more tactile molded ones. Polk smartly kept the logical button location, with the volume rocker in the center and the mute button beneath it. While bass and “Voice Adjust” controls flank its volume buttons (more on Voice Adjust later).

Sound quality

Sound QUality

This MagniFi Mini AX is a compact soundbar that impresses with its broad sound and strong bass from a wireless sub. The bigger — though still compact — Sonos Beam, on the other hand, sounds better overall & costs less. If the bass is the most crucial factor, the Mini AX outperforms the Beam. And the total performance is unbeatable given its small.

The voices were clear, albeit a little shallow at times. Oscar Issac’s British accent was simple to hear in Moon Knight, but the subwoofer didn’t kick in to offer depth. The subwoofer, on the other hand, gave great gravity when the Voice talked to Isaac’s character Steven. The subwoofer gave a nice rumbling with the bolts of lightning as Electro blasted the Peter Parkers in Spider-Man: No Way Home. The Mini AX made it seem like Stormbreaker was moving around the room. When Thor flung this at the Outriders in Avengers: End Game, the Beam performs a better job overall at giving the appearance of movement.

Because of its broad and bassy sound, the Mini AX is ideal for music. On “As It Was,” Harry Styles’ voice balanced well with the bass and synthesizers; on “Freedom,” the horns & bass sounded full without overpowering Jon Batiste’s vocals. Wet Leg’s “Too Late Now” featured shimmering guitars set against a thundering bottom rhythm. In a bedroom or small apartment, the Mini AX may easily serve as the primary music speaker.

The compact soundbar is loud enough for even big rooms, with a maximum output of nearly 90 dB. However, it seemed sharp and bright at that volume; listening was much more pleasant in the 75-85 decibel range, which was still quite loud.

Price and availability

Polk MagniFi Mini AX soundbar Price and availability

This Polk MagniFi Mini AX soundbar, which costs $499, introduces in March 2022. There is just one model available, and it is black.

Polk still sells the original MagniFi Mini for $299, minus Atmos and a few other features.

Conclusion

This Polk MagniFi Mini AX soundbar packs a punch in a little package: it produces a broad, bassy sound that stands out. It also takes up minimal space and can use with both small and large TVs and computer displays.

However, the premium price is difficult to justify. While the original Magnify Mini does not support Atmos, the overall impact of adding the newest surround sound technology to a soundbar that lacks upward-firing speakers is modest in the overall experience. A Sonos Beam, a superior all-around soundbar with more realistic virtual surround sound, is available for $449.

However, the Beam does not have a subwoofer. The AX has significantly greater bass. The Beam is also larger. The Mini AX is the one to purchase if the bass and tiny size are your top priorities. If you want the broadest sound you get within those limits.

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