Definitive Technologies Studio 3D Mini Review (Soundbar & Sub)

Definitive Technologies Studio 3D Mini Review

Are you looking for an upgrade to make the most of your hi-res audio?

Do you want a sound system that provides theater-like performance in your living room?

The Studio 3D Mini is the multi-purpose solution to your music and series binge-watching needs.

Overall, the Studio 3D Mini is an ultra-slim package complete with a sleek 26.5” (L) sound bar and a long-throw 8” wireless subwoofer. It provides a high-quality sound experience for home spaces with compactness, multiple compatibility features, and a competitive price point.

Definitive Technology sent us the mini sound bar and subwoofer package for review.

As one of the best wireless subwoofer and soundbar combos at a price of under $1000, it piqued our interest, so we said yes!

At a Glance…

Sale
Definitive Technology Studio 3D Mini Dolby Atmos Sound Bar System with 8' Wireless Subwoofer
45 Reviews
Definitive Technology Studio 3D Mini Dolby Atmos Sound Bar System with 8" Wireless Subwoofer
  • HEARD BUT NOT SEEN - Two inches tall, this modern and unobstructive sound bar remains out of sight until you hear the massive boom with its (4) 1" x 3" racetrack drivers (two front, two side) and (2)...

What We Like: Sound quality

What We Don’t Like: No on-screen cues

Best Uses: Home Theater Sound System, Music Streaming, Hi-Res Audio Files, Surround Sound, Ethernet/Bluetooth/Wireless, Mobile App Control, IR Remote Control, Airplay 2, Roku TV Ready

  • Driver Complement: 6-driver array
  • Audio Inputs: USB, Optical, AUX, HDMI
  • Bluetooth/Wireless: Yes
  • Dimensions: 2 x 26.5 x 4.5”
  • Mounting Types: Keyhole slots (template included)

Our Verdict: In general, the Studio 3D Mini is a quality sound system for multi-purpose needs in the studio or the home with its compact size and multiple audio inputs. It’s feature-loaded with the right balance between offering a friendly user interface while maximizing and upgrading the audio experience.

Who is the Definitive Technology Studio 3D Mini Best Suited to?

Studio 3D Mini with cabinet open
Studio 3D Mini Soundbar & Subwoofer (in cabinet)

Definitive Technology appropriately describes the Studio 3D Mini: “Minimal size. Maximum sound.” ‘Ultra-slim’ and ‘small footprint’ are accurate representations of the two-piece package.

With mini dimensions, they stow away in compact spaces for a discreet presence while delivering powerful sound.

After my hands-on testing, I can recommend the Studio Mini speaker set as an upgrade for those in the home theater system market for under $1000.

It’s plenty powerful enough to host movie nights and raise-the-roof get-togethers but is not above being the daily workhorse for Disney+ binge-watching (for the kids) and music streaming for cleaning or workout motivation.

How Does the Definitive Technology Studio 3D Mini Perform?

Sound bar 4
Studio 3D Mini Soundbar

The Studio 3D Mini is exactly what it states to be: a studio or small space champion delivering 3D audio signals while retaining a compact, small size. Though mini, it punches above its weight in audio quality and is deserving of its price tag.

The first piece of the combo package includes a compact, 2” thin sound bar with minimalist appeal. A 5-button interface on the top panel is all that extrudes from the elongated (26.5”) trapezoid shaped block. It came neatly packaged with foam inserts and fittings for all the included accessories.

Buttons on the Soundbar Panel
5-Button Interface on Soundbar

The second piece of the combo is the long-throw subwoofer that is compact in size with its 13.98” height and 12.52” depth and width.

It fits right into an entertainment cabinet, and its little feet raise the soundbox off the ground as the 8” D round subwoofer is located on the underside.

Subwoofer 2
Studio 3D Mini subwoofer inside entertainment cabinet

Now is a good time to mention that there are no exciting audio features about my Samsung smart TV, so a sound system has always been a must-have and was the first focus of the review. As a little bit of context, I’ve always had the same issue with all my previous soundbars – loud music, effects, etc. but very quiet dialogue. This is not the case with the Definitive Technology products thanks to the 4.1 channel surround sound system and dedicated Dialogue control.

It’s a genuine and true statement to say that I was floored – literally. I could feel subwoofer reverberations through the flooring without maxing out the levels. Beyond impressed is my assessment as it is very much an immersive, cinema-grade, realistic audio experience. Based on my hands-on test, I recommend it for all basic TVs that need an oomph in the sound department, i.e., most everybody’s TV.

For something so mini and almost fragile looking (small package), I was amazed that it could provide such powerful and high-quality audio output. The bass is deep enough to satisfy in-home movie goers without overwhelming the trebles and mids.

Subwoofer in cabinet
Close up of Studio 3D Mini subwoofer – it really is mini!

I confirmed both Apple Airplay and Roku compatibility having both types of devices.

The most convenient of the two was the Roku compatibility that allowed for syncing to the Roku remote to manipulate volume settings – no one wants to use multiple remotes, and if you have kids, good luck on not losing them. Streaming from my Apple smartphone was the next step.

Long story short – who needs a beastly stereo anymore? With the killer Studio 3D Mini sound system combo – not me.

Features & Benefits

Sound Quality

The Studio 3D Mini has high-end components to provide theater-grade audio. The sound bar has a 4.1 channel system with a six-driver array. It’s designed with two 1” aluminum dome tweeters and four 1” x 3” racetrack mid/woofers with two side-firing drivers. The result is cinema-worthy sound.

It’s compatible with DOLBY ATMOS and DTS:X surround technology that provides an immersive cinematic experience with the eARC (enhanced Audio Return Channel) HDMI outputs.

Though I had connected wirelessly and tested via the Optical In cable, just that sound quality alone is fantastic. With the two side-firing drivers, it certainly provides a great attempt at surround soundstage audio though slightly narrow to those with the “ears” to sense it.

Sound bar using Optical In cable
Using the Optical In connection option on the Soundbar

With previous systems, I’ve never had the luxury of the audio being too loud. With the Studio 3D set, it’s safe to say that feeling the floor reverberate and my ears pound was a new but very welcome experience. The pair manage this without messing the dynamic relationship between the various EQ effects, booming bass tones, music, and dialogue.

Testing this between a John Wick binge for super-action sound effects and head-banging to a little Disturbed highlighted the Studio Mini’s capabilities as a daily champ for home use. Everyone likes something a little different, but I tend to turn up dialogue, increase trebles, leave the bass untouched, and go mid-way high on the subwoofer.

Subwoofer 3
Studio 3D Mini Subwoofer

The deep tones of the subwoofer compliments the mid/woofer drives in the soundbar but adds the type of oomph that you can’t go without once you’ve experienced it. Minor cabinet resonance can be heard at max levels when listening to music or watching Canadian Brass and like YouTube videos. I couldn’t really hear the vibrations with movies but decreasing the sub a few levels felt far from a compromise.

I also connected my TV with the Definitive Technology Descend DN12 12” Subwoofer. Because it was connected as an audio output external speaker, it worked alongside the Studio 3D Mini. With incredible deep lows, it can only be described as an almighty force that will not be denied. I didn’t want test to maximum levels too long in case my ears started bleeding or my walls trembled to dust (not really, but you get the idea of my exaggerated depictions).

Studio 3D Mini with Descend DN12
Studio 3D Mini with Descend DN12 Subwoofer (left corner)

Combined with the Studio 3D Mini, the impact was substantial bringing depth and intensity in a realistic manner. Together, it’s a system worthy of a true cinematic experience that will give more expensive setups a run for their money.

Studio 3D Mini Setup

There are multiple ways to connect and setup the Studio 3D Mini. There are four connection set-up methods that include TV, HDMI In, Optical In, and AUX In. The sound bar and remote offers very basic user control. For additional setting up and advanced user control, download the HEOS app.

Sound bar hard wire connections on rear
4 Connection Options on the Soundbar

The easiest method of mounting for me was to use the optical in cable from the sound bar to the TV. There is a sync Bluetooth pairing option for a complete wireless setup – no hanging cables!

This connection method is best suited to wall mounting the sound bar. A template and spacers are included for no-brainer mounting.

Wall Mount Template
Wall Mount Template

The 8” subwoofer is completely wireless and is perfect for how I have it set up in my entertainment cabinet. It syncs to the soundbar, and it’s done.

To confirm that it’s connected, the LED light should be solid on the back. I have extremely good internet and have not experienced connectivity issues with any of the equipment, so I can’t comment on related issues.

Sound bar rear
Connect & Sync to the Subwoofer

IR HEOS Mobile App

The infrared HEOS mobile app is compatible with both Android and iOS devices. It’s free to download and is strongly recommended to perform software updates and acquire advanced user control of the Studio 3D Mini sound equipment.

In the app, you can manipulate various features. It has Sound Options that include sound bar EQ for treble and bass and the subwoofer levels. Sound Modes include Stereo, Dolby Audio – Dolby Surround, and DTS Virtual:X. Dialogue options include Off, Low, Medium, and High. Other settings allow for software updates, multi-room pairing, Night Mode, voice compatibility, and other misc. menu options.

You can also access hi-res audio music streaming through the app with platforms like Pandora, Amazon Music, Spotify, Tidal, etc. I took the easy route and synced my phone via Bluetooth and my Mac via AirPlay and streamed my own platforms.

With voice control compatibility via Alexa (Amazon), Siri (iOS), and Google Assistant (Android) external assistants, you have hands-free control. With multiple-room pairing audio, you can add multiple speakers in different rooms for audio all over the house.

IR Remote Control

Accessories 2

The Studio 3D Mini sound equipment comes with an IR remote control. It’s a standard remote that has the necessities that includes the four connectivity options, volume, dialogue, subwoofer, and various sound modes. It is powered by 2x AAA batteries that are included in the box.

The remote lacks EQ adjustments (treble and bass) but they can be made through the app. Though the remote is responsive and convenient, there are few things more tedious than having multiple remotes for a unified and dynamic entertainment experience. I synced the setup so that I could adjust volume and mute control from my Roku remote – done and done.

Cost

The cost of the Studio 3D Mini is more than what the average buyer would consider spending. Suited to non-professional uses, it’s a high-end system for those who demand the best. For mid-range needs, the price tag matches the overall craftsmanship and delivered audio results.

I’ve purchased several $150-$300 sound bar and subwoofer combos. It’s fair to say that all my past sound systems have been trashed to date and I’ve spent more on them than the overall cost of the Studio 3D Mini.

Accessories
Included Accessories

Though the upfront bill of the combo is an initial hurt, it’s a one-time cost. The all too oft-repeated rule applies here, “Buy once, cry once.”

I would highly recommend the Studio 3D Mini as a daily champion for television and music streaming use. However, it’s also an excellent performer for large scale events at home given its super loud and powerful output combined with the ability to be used with the HEOS app for multi-speaker pairing.

Limitations

No On-Screen Cues

The Studio 3D Mini has on-screen level adjustments via the HEOS app. However, there are no on-screen levels or numbers that are displayed on the television screen via the IR remote control to confirm that changes are being made to the audio. Flashing LED lights on the sound bar confirm that changes are indeed being made as well as obvious audible confirmation.

This might not be a universal drawback and more of a user-error or unique problem for me based solely upon my TV’s limitations. Using the Roku remote does provide an on-screen icon but no audio number reference. However, I usually adjust volume for comfortable audio versus a number anyway.

Popular Questions

What is the Warranty on the Studio 3D Mini?

The Studio 3D Mini has a 1-year electronics warranty backed by Definitive Technology. It applies only to the original purchaser. It is recommended to retain proof of purchase and register the new products online with Definitive Technology.

Does the Studio 3D Mini have Surround Sound Speakers?

Surround sound speakers are not included with the Studio 3D Mini by Definitive Technology. Cinema-grade signal processing audio signals provide surround sound quality when used with Dolby ATMOS and DTS-X. Side-firing drivers also help to provide an immersive soundstage experience.

Can the Subwoofer be Hardwired to the Sound Bar?

The subwoofer included with the sound bar in the Studio 3D Mini combo is 100% wireless. It syncs to the sound bar and maintains a solid connection. There is no output option on the subwoofer panel for hardwiring to the sound bar or other equipment.

Can you Add Speakers to the Definitive Technology Soundbar?

In total, additional speakers can be added via the HEOS mobile app for multi-room pairing. It allows for music playback in multiple rooms throughout the home. You cannot add additional speakers directly (hardwire) to the Studio 3D Mini sound bar.

Can the Studio 3D Mini be used as Mac Speakers?

The Studio 3D Mini can be used as Mac speakers. It has Bluetooth and wireless connectivity and is detected via AirPlay. In System Preferences, select the Sound icon. Select Output and click on the Studio 3D Mini for instant audio playback via the soundbar and subwoofer.

Conclusion

Though I thought setup would be overwhelming at first especially with the need to use an app, the actual hands-on experience was much simpler than what I had imagined.

Sound bar 3

If you’re accustomed to inexpensive audio equipment, you’ll find the Studio 3D Mini will exceed your expectations. Even if you’re picky about your electronics, this mini pair will impress your senses as a quality home theater sound system.

With software updates available through the app, sound loud enough to host an in-home rave, and the many features it offers, the Studio 3D Mini is a one-time buy that will meet the needs of most for a lifetime.

Further Reading: