Traditional home theater setups can be chaotic, what with all the wires and the bulky receivers. Soundbars hope to change that with something more discreet, while still delivering an upgrade from your TV speakers.
If you’re looking for a soundbar, Polk Audio’s MagniFi lineup might be to your liking. The Polk MagniFi Mini, as its name implies, is an ultra-compact soundbar that delivers a huge sound. For those who have enough space in their home theater setup, the Polk MagniFi Max SR gives plenty of connectivity features.
Given its size, the Mini positions itself as a budget option, similar to Polk’s Signa series. On the other hand, the Max SR sells for more than twice the price of the Mini. Which one should you buy? Below we compare Polk Audio’s soundbars to help you decide.
Polk MagniFi Mini vs Max SR Comparison Chart
The Polk MagniFi Mini is a compact soundbar while the Polk Max SR is a full-size model.
The Polk Audio MagniFi Mini is eager to please as a compact soundbar. At 13.4 inches wide, it’s slightly larger than some of the best Bluetooth speakers. Nonetheless, the Mini packs a lot of hardware, including four 2.25-inch drivers and two 0.5-inch tweeters. All this is enclosed in a sleek frame that, while made of plastic and cloth, gives off a sophisticated aesthetic.
Because of its size, the unit lacks a display, although you do get physical controls. Instead, the soundbar uses a combination of lights on its front to let you know which mode you’re in or what input you’re using. Unfortunately, these light indicators can be confusing.
In contrast, the Polk Audio MagniFi Max SR is what you would expect a soundbar to be. It’s long at 43 inches wide but slender, being just 3.78 inches in depth. That’s even slimmer than the Mini. It’s also shorter than its compact counterpart, measuring only 2.09 inches tall. This makes the Max SR thin enough to place under a TV’s IR sensor without messing up with the remote control signals.
Beneath the grille, the Max SR houses four 1-inch woofers, two 0.75-inch tweeters, and a one-inch midrange driver. Above the unit, you’ll find the controls and dedicated buttons for the soundbar’s features.
Both the Mini and Max SR come with wireless subwoofers. The Mini’s sub is considerably slimmer than the Max SR’s, so it’s worth checking out how the system fits in your space. Moreover, the Max SR comes with two SR1 wireless surround speakers dedicated to left and right channels.
The Polk Audio MagniFi Max SR offers more HDMI inputs than the MagniFi Mini.
For a soundbar that sells for less than $300, the MagniFi Mini offers solid connectivity options. The unit has the basics, including Bluetooth, dual-band WiFi, HDMI, and optical. Both the HDMI and optical inputs support 5.1 audio.
If you want to connect to your network, there’s also a built-in Ethernet port. Meanwhile, wireless connectivity is through Bluetooth or Google Cast. The latter is an interesting change for Polk, which has previously used DTS Play-Fi.
As expected, the MagniFi Max SR offers a wider array of connections. For one, you get not just one but three 4K-ready HDMI ports. With multiple HDMI ports, you can switch between devices by simply using the remote control. The unit also has built-in 3.5mm aux in, Bluetooth, optical, dual-band Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and Google Cast.
Given their size class, the Polk Audio MagniFi Mini performs better than the Polk Audio MagniFi Max SR.
Despite its small size, the Polk MagniFi Mini delivers a big sound. The side-firing speakers do an excellent job of emulating a pair of speakers. When using Google Cast, the unit offers a more open sound. Thanks to the subwoofer, you get depth and resonance missing from similar-sized Bluetooth speakers.
Polk’s MagniFi Mini also has preset EQ settings for movies, music, and sports. Accessible via dedicated buttons, the feature optimizes the soundbar for bigger sound, deeper bass, or clearer dialogue. You can further enhance the dialogue through Polk’s VoiceAdjust technology.
On the other hand, the Polk MagniFi Max SR can fill a decent-sized room with its sound. This is expected for a full-size soundbar. With true 5.1 wireless surround sound, aided by the subwoofer and wireless speakers, you also get a more expansive soundstage.
Like the Mini, the Max SR offers optimized settings for different content. Polk’s VoiceAdjust tech is also present in the unit. Compared to other full-size soundbars, however, the Max SR doesn’t handle music quite as well. In certain tracks, the soundbar’s lack of depth makes the presence of the subwoofer obvious, which can make what should be a unified theater system disjointed.
Still, the volume and other perks of the Max SR make it a considerable upgrade over your TV speakers. And with similarly priced Bluetooth speakers, the unit is a more capable purchase.
The Polk Audio MagniFi Mini and Max SR have the same set of features.
Beyond their sound quality, Polk Audio’s MagniFi soundbars offer a couple of features. Despite being cheaper than other soundbars in the market, the Mini and Max SR include a nice-looking remote control. It’s ergonomically designed and features all the essential functions. Switching between inputs is also a breeze, thanks to the dedicated buttons for each.
Alternatively, you can use your existing remote to control the soundbars. Both units enjoy universal compatibility with several big-name TV, cable, or satellite brands and their IR controls.
If you’re straining to hear the TV while everyone else is asleep, the Polk MagniFi Mini and Max SR come with Night Effect. The mode, accessible via the remote control, automatically lowers the bass and increases VoiceAdjust for clearer dialogues.
For its size and price, the Polk Audio MagniFi Mini offers more value for your money than the Polk Audio MagniFi Max SR.
While the Polk Audio MagniFi Mini is a compact soundbar, its features and overall performance make it a bargain purchase. Compared to Bluetooth speakers, the Mini isn’t one size too big over the competition. And unlike other wireless speakers, Polk’s entry-level MagniFi comes with a subwoofer. That alone gives it the edge when upgrading your TV’s speakers.
In contrast, the Polk Audio MagniFi Max SR is a full-size unit that, while enjoying multiple inputs, lacks the breadth and depth of other soundbars. For everyday use, however, it should be fine. Moreover, against Bluetooth speakers, it does have an edge. Like the MagniFi Mini, the Max SR comes with a sub and even adds two surround speakers.
But if you want a value-for-money purchase, the MagniFi Mini is our pick.
The MagniFi Mini’s subwoofer measures 14.4 x 7.4 x 14.4 inches.
The Polk Audio MagniFi Max SR is wall mountable, while the MagniFi Mini can only be set on a table.
No. The Polk Audio MagniFi Max SR is only available in black.
Yes. The Polk Audio MagniFi Max SR has Google Chromecast built-in, allowing users to control their music via Google Assistant voice commands.