Sonos Sub Review: It is among the BEST wireless subwoofers, but quality comes at a price

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When it comes to Sonos, we talk about audio quality. There is poco to do. And when it comes to audio quality, despite the advancement of technologies and the increase in the offer in the audio market, an essential law that is decades old continues to apply: if you want quality, in this world, you must accept to spend not indifferent figures.

We saw it with the Sonos arc, what is probably the best TV soundbar currently on the market, we have seen with the Sonos Move, which has managed to ascend the throne of the best Bluetooth and WiFi smart speakers, and we find it with the Sonos Sub, an accessory certainly less "main stream", which could be considered a bit like Cherry on the cake for anyone with a plant made up of company devices.

It is a wireless subwoofer, clearly compatible exclusively with the Sonos ecosystem, capable of profoundly improving the home audio experience and guaranteeing a more enveloping and full-bodied sound. But the question is simple: the only compatibility with a technology, albeit highly appreciated, can justify the price of 799,00 euro? Because, let's face it, the Sonos Sub it costs almost as much as a mid / high-end TV.

Sonos Sub Review: The icing on the cake for Sonos sound systems

Design and materials

Available in two colors (glossy white or black), with a weight of well 16 Kg and large 389 x 402 x 158 mm, the Sonos Sub continues to follow the American company's philosophy with a sober, minimalist design in which attention to detail is at its best. Seen from the front, it has a square shape, with a small one acoustic slot rectangular in the center and virtually no other invasive design elements.

On the front there is the company logo and on the left side a status light and a physical button have been inserted that must be used exclusively in association phase of the subwoofer.

Given the presence of the acoustic slot and of two Class D amplifiers with dual force canceling drivers (which are placed face to face), the Sonos Sub is able to go down to 25 Hz and its highest crossover frequency is 110 Hz. Which means that it will have to be done pay close attention to its positioning: it is important to make sure that at least one side of the sub is not too close to walls or furniture, in order to allow it to "breathe" and be sure to get the best performance from the drivers.

And now a little curiosity about positioning: the Sonos Sub it can not only be used vertically, but it is also possible to place it horizontally on the floor, as long as you have applied some felt feet which, among other things, are present in the package.

And again with regard to the feet, those integrated into the Sonos wireless subwoofer that allow it to be positioned vertically have a shape that reduces vibrations to a minimum even if, and this should be emphasized, the management of vibrations depends very much the type of floor on which it rests. Thanks to the pins, then, a sort of lower recessed area is created, in which the inputs for the power supply and an Ethernet port have been positioned: the Sonos Sub is able to work both through wired connection, which via connection WiFi 802.11b / g at 2.4GHz.

Setup process and Sonos S2 App

It will not be enough to connect the Sonos Sub to be able to start using it immediately. Why, in that WiFi subwoofer, everything is managed through an application with which it connects via WiFi or ethernet cable: it is the Sonos S2, a new app that those of the company have introduced in conjunction with the sales of the Sonos Arc, with which you can manage all the system parameters, including the association of a new device.

The configuration process is however extremely intuitive, and is structured in such a way that it can be completed even by those who totally ignore the dynamics of technology. If you have other Sonos devices that are essential to use the Sonos Sub, the wizard will give the user the option of choosing which group to place the subwoofer in.

For those who have already had the opportunity to use the old company application, it is important to know that from the first use they are noticed substantial changes both in terms of speed and stability: if in the old version you could stumble upon unsuccessful firmware updates, for example, with the new Sonos App S2 these problems will only be an unpleasant memory.

But the fundamental novelty of the new application is the support for high definition audio formats which, together with a faster search in the various streaming services and a practically immediate response in the management of the speakers (the volume control, for example, is zero lag), is not bad at all.

The biggest flaw of the Sonos application, however, lies in the fact that TruePlay (which I'll tell you about later, and which is essential for optimizing the sound performance of the Sonos Sub) is available only in the iOS version. It is a sound calibration system that is based on the acoustics of the room in which any Sonos speaker has been mounted and which, through a procedure of a couple of minutes, will optimize the audio performance of the company's devices precisely based on to the room and their positioning.

The Listening Test - Sonos Sub

Il Sonos Sub it works with virtually all Sonos configurations, including the Sonos Amp, which means that if you decide to use your non-wireless speakers with this system, you could also take advantage of the subwoofer. Among other things, in addition, from poco the company has introduced the ability to use two Sonos Subs at the same time, a more than appropriate solution if you need to tear down some walls of the house in view of a renovation (yes, I know, bad joke).

Anyway, in recent months I have been testing the Sonos Sub in the most "natural" configuration that came to mind, that is, coupled with a Sonos Arc and already at the default volume level (ie the average one in a range that goes from -15 to +15), the increase in low frequencies it is remarkable: alternating listening with Sub on or off highlights a surprising contrast.

As for me, however, I have come to the conclusion that by setting the bass volume to 5, the presence of low frequencies is more suited to my needs, even if I am of the idea that this choice varies a lot. based on the type of use you will do with the subwoofer.

for watching movies, for example, in my opinion the optimal volume level should range from 0 to 5, for certain musical genres i might push it to 10, while for others it would be better to lower it slightly below zero.

Saving Star Wars Episode IV, for example, the scene of the explosion of the Death Star it's crazy with the Sub set to volume 5, but also raising the volume to 10 or 15 (i.e. with out of the ordinary bass) I was pleasantly struck by a detail: regardless of the volume level chosen, the balance of sound and frequencies it is always surgical and, at high volumes, reproduction problems are totally absent. In short, from this point of view those of Sonos have really done a great job.

However, more attention must be paid to adjusting the volume of the Sonos Sub if you use it exclusively for music: at volume 0, for example, with some musical genres the bass could be poco perceptible, while with others (like Kanye West's “Monster”) they might seem too high.

But the real magic happens by completing TruePlay optimization. And to say that after carrying out the procedure the Sonos Sub change face is to say poco. The main problem though, is that True Play is currently only available for iPhones and, at this point, the question arises: who has an Android smartphone, or does not have an iPhone or iPad recent enough to run the Sonos S2 app, gets screwed?

However, once TruePlay optimization is complete, things change radically. Now the timbre is complete, the "enveloping" effect is more present and all frequencies are practically crystal clear.

Price and conclusions

Sonos Sub is on sale with a list price of 799 €. A figure definitely not suitable for all budgets and, above all, for all people: an avid audiophile, for example, could aim for a wired system rather than a wireless one. But that of Sonos is a excellent subwoofer which is aimed at those who have already entered the mentality of the company's ecosystem.

In short, Sonos engineers have again managed to perfectly achieve their purpose, producing a subwoofer capable of meeting (if not exceeding) the expectations of their loyal customers, but which continues the very high price line of the company's products.

On the other hand, the quality, especially in the audio, you pay for, but it would be better if it were totally available even for those who don't have an iPhone. In short, the more time passes, the more I am convinced that the huge Android fragmentation will always be a limit for Sonos. And thinking about it is a rather obvious thing, because it all depends on the quality, type, and calibration of the microphones with which you carry out the optimization process.

 

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