This new cheap TV speaker has a curved design to make speech clearer

The SoundFun Mirai Mini speaker next to a TV
(Image credit: SoundFun)

Struggling to hear the dialogue of your favorite movie or show? If it's not one of Christopher Nolan's movies, which are notorious for being difficult to hear due to not having additional dialogue recordings, then you might want to consider getting a speaker or soundbar specifically designed to enhance speech audio.     

Enter SoundFun, a Japanese company founded in 2013 that specialises in making products that enhance dialogue. It launched the Mirai soundbar in late 2023, but has since released a new cheaper and smaller speaker version of the model in Japan that it's calling the Mirai Mini. 

This new model offers a solution to one of our biggest gripes with the Mirai soundbar: its high price tag. Compared to the best soundbars we've tested, the Mirai soundbar has limited features, making it more of a specialised product. While this is fine if you just want it for the sole purpose of hearing speech clearer, it still loses value points for us when considering the competition.

But the new Mirai Mini knocks the price of the original almost in half. It costs ¥19,800 in Japan, which works out to roughly $130 in the US, £100 in the UK and AU$200 in Australia – for reference the Mirai soundbar costs an additional $170 / £135 / AU$260. It's not yet clear when the Mirai Mini will be released globally but following the success of the Mirai soundbar, we're expecting a wider rollout soon.   

How does the Mirai Mini speaker work?  

A close up of the SoundFun Mirai Mini speaker on table

(Image credit: SoundFun)

I first saw the Mirai soundbar at CES earlier this year, where I was given a demo of how the speaker worked to not only isolate dialogue but make it clearer. Crucially, you can't simply turn up the volume of one of the best wireless speakers to hear speech better as that just boosts the audio overall. 

This is where the design of the Mirai soundbar and Mirai Mini speaker comes in. What's immediately unique about these devices is their curved design, which is integral to enhancing the way sound waves travel across a room without simply increasing volume. 

SoundFun's Kazuki Kaneko explained at the time that "as you age, your hearing gradually degrades and [you might find] that you struggle to hear your TV's dialogue. We can solve that problem". Using a music box and sheet of perspex plastic, Kaneko was able to demonstrate the difference in audio from when the plastic was flat and curved. SoundFun calls this design AudibleWave Technology. 

This patented tech is what gives the Mirai speaker the ability to produce a frequency range of 180Hz to 20kHz using just a 15-watt speaker, which is a lot of sound for something the size of a can of beans. There's not yet a lot of detail on the ground about the official specs of the speaker but we'll be sure to update this article with more info when we learn more about its global release.  

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Amelia Schwanke
Senior Editor UK, Home Entertainment

Amelia became the Senior Editor for Home Entertainment at TechRadar in the UK in April 2023. With a background of more than eight years in tech and finance publishing, she's now leading our coverage to bring you a fresh perspective on everything to do with TV and audio. When she's not tinkering with the latest gadgets and gizmos in the ever-evolving world of home entertainment, you’ll find her watching movies, taking pictures and travelling.