It won’t be an exaggeration to say that Sonos customers have been waiting for a product like the Sub Mini for years. Until now, the only way to fully realize a “complete” Sonos home theater system was to pay $ 749 for a Sub subwoofer – in addition to what you paid for a Sonos soundbar and surround back speakers. That sum can go up to $ 2,000 quickly, depending on what kind of soundbar you want. For many consumers who used Sonos products like Beam and Ray, Sub was impractically expensive and unavailable.
That’s why there is now a Sub Mini. First disclosed by Borderland in May, Sonos originally intended to ship a subwoofer for $ 429 well ahead of the October 6 release date it ultimately settled on. However, a difficult financial quarter and low demand for Ray’s entry-level soundbar prompted the company to postpone the launch of the Sub Mini by a few weeks.
Now the smaller and cheaper subwoofer is almost there. I tested it for over a week trying the Sub Mini’s low performance on TV, movies, video games, and music. If you count the days until you get your hands on it, I don’t think you will be disappointed. There are still circumstances and use cases where a larger and more expensive Sub is a better choice. But as long as you plan on using the Sub Mini in a small to medium-sized room, it has everything you need for a movie night. In my opinion, its design looks much nicer than the shiny, boxy Sub – even though both are based on similar acoustic principles inside.
Measuring 12 inches tall and weighing 14 pounds, the Sub Mini isn’t quite as “mini” as its name might suggest. But a subwoofer can only be that small if you still want to pack it up. The Sub Mini is much larger than the Sonos Move, a fairly large “portable” speaker itself, and finding a hiding place for it near your TV set may require some creativity. I tested a white Sub Mini and I am very happy that Sonos has moved away from the glossy finish in favor of a matte look. The product’s ‘center tunnel’ section – center cutout – is black, creating an elegant two-tone look reminiscent of second-generation Play: 5.
Like the Sub, the Dual Sub Mini woofers point inward (one on each side of the tunnel) for a force-damping effect to soften floor rumble and please your neighbors downstairs. These relatively small six-inch woofers are encased in an acoustically sealed cabinet design that Sonos says “neutralizes distortion” and should improve bass response and extension. Both the Sub and Sub Mini are designed to be as low as 25 Hz, but the larger Sub woofers allow it to reach output levels two to three times louder than the Sub Mini. It’s really the resonance that separates them.
After setup is complete, Sonos transfers the low frequencies to the Sub Mini, allowing the original device to handle the mids and highs. This division of sound frequencies is done automatically. If you turn Sub off or unplug it, the soundbar will simply revert to normal full-range output. As always, it’s best to tune your Sonos home theater using the Sonos app’s Trueplay feature, which remains exclusively on iOS devices.
It’s worth noting that the Sub Mini doesn’t no suffer from a bug that affects Sub (Gen 3) at the time of publication. Owners of this product have complained about degraded performance after a recent software update. Here is a statement on the situation, courtesy of Sonos spokesman Olivia Singer:
“Last month, we made a change to the Arc audio profile to improve dialogue clarity and the overall audio experience. The change was based on feedback from our audience in the field and aligns the Arc with our other home theater products. We identified an issue for some users whose setup includes Sub (with or without surround sound) who found their Sub output power lower than expected after doing the new Trueplay tuning. Users with a Sub related Beam or Ray can increase the Sub level to get a stronger low frequency response, however this will not have the same effect for Arc users. Customers using Arc paired with Sub (and / or surround) who find their Sub power lower than expected after doing a new Trueplay tuning should temporarily disable Trueplay in Arc until it is resolved in an upcoming software update. “
So does the Sub Mini live up to the company’s “bold bass” promises? For movies and TV, I’d give a solid thumbs up. I watched tons of videos while testing the Sub Mini paired with the second generation Beam and Ray, and the performance is largely what I was hoping for. In this fight scene in the living room with BatmanThe Sub Mini brought an impressive punch to the music played in the club throughout the brawl. i’m big Edge of Tomorrow fan, and the first scenes of this movie are good training for any subwoofer. The Sub Mini proved up to the challenge and was never distorted. It was like that throughout the period Blade Runner 2049 also. Movies and series sounded fuller and more dynamic.
In terms of music, I’ve jumped around tracks like “Follow You Follow Me” by Genesis and the album by Ray LaMontagne Trouble. The Sub Mini clearly added more bass to what I was playing and made the whole experience more dynamic than listening through the soundbar alone. Synthesizers and standing basses sound richer with the Sub Mini to give lower frequencies more power and presence. I can imagine a full-fledged Sub offering more nuances and variations in bass tones, but I didn’t have one on hand for a direct comparison. Depending on the volume or content, it is not always obvious that the Sub Mini is working. Force-reducing woofers ensure minimal floor vibration. But just reach into the center tunnel with your hand and you will feel constant movement.
Every smart device now requires agreeing to a number of conditions before it can be used – contracts that no one really reads. We are unable to read and analyze each of these agreements. But we’ve started counting exactly how many times you have to hit “Agree” to use devices while browsing them, because these are contracts that most people don’t read and definitely can’t negotiate.
By using Sonos Sub Mini, you consent to:
Sonos also collects what it calls “Additional Usage Data,” and that includes a lot, including:
- The temperature of your product
- Wi-Fi information, such as signal strength
- How often do you use music services connected to the Sonos system
- Find out how often you use the Sonos app compared to other controls
- The interaction flow in the Sonos app
- How often do you use the physical controls on the device?
- The length of time that your Sonos product has been used
- Time of using the music service
- Information about products or grouping of rooms
- Command information (such as play, pause, change volume, or skip tracks)
- A Sonos playlist or information about your Sonos favorites
You can opt out of additional usage data collection in the Sonos mobile app, but Sonos warns that doing so will disable features such as personalization services (such as Recently Played), Sonos Radio, Voice Control, and more.
The end result is two mandatory contracts and one optional contract.
I think the Sub Mini will be a welcome addition to many of the Sonos sets in the living room, and even if the $ 429 isn’t “cheap” at all – that’s more than some 5.1 home theater systems and the Ray soundbar alone – it’s still much less than a 749 investment USD in Sub. You pay extra for Sonos’ meticulous design and engineering along with stylish aesthetics, but not for nothing.
The Sub Mini is not as technically or acoustically powerful as the standard Sub, but it does provide an immersive, full-bodied audio experience that is only possible with a “complete” Sonos home theater system. And it does less damage to your bank account.
Photography: Chris Welch / The Verge