There is one thing deeply wrong with the Sonos Sub-Mini and it's not a particular technical feature, but the name. Because ok, if until before its release any user who wanted to enrich his system with deep and powerful bass had to spend astronomical sums buying a Sonos Sub (here the review) is a given, but believe me, if there's a wrong term in the new Sonos subwoofer, it's “mini”.
And it is not only because its dimensions do not stray so far from the brand's top-of-the-range subwoofer, but above all because its audio performance has well poco to envy his older brother. Of course, the Sonos Sub remains the top of the range in all respects, but even the "mini" version plays its cards very well.
The most important difference? The price: the new Sonos Sub-Mini it costs 499,00 euros and although it might seem like a more than obligatory choice to combine with a Sonos Ray (here the review) or a Gen 2 Sonos Beam (here the review), we tested it by connecting it to a more powerful Sonos Arc (here the review) and a pair of Sonos Fives.
Sonos Sub Mini review: the best (and only) "cheap" subwoofer of the brand
Design and materials
Available in two colors (glossy white or black), with a weight of 6.7 Kg (a good 10 kg less than its older brother) and large 303 x 228 x 228 mm, the Sonos Sub-Mini continues to follow the philosophy of the US company with a sober, minimalist design in which attention to detail is at its best.
The shape is cylindrical and it is made with the usual plastic material that we have seen in the latest Sonos models, and it is precisely its shape as well as the slightly (SLIGHTLY) more compact dimensions of its older brother, which make it much easier to integrate into the own furniture although admittedly I still prefer the boxier design of the Sonos Sub.
In the lower part of the cylinder some "typically Sonos" feet have been positioned, which not only make it extremely stable but which also dampen all vibrations, and which create a cavity such as to generate the right space to be able to connect the power cable and ( possibly) the Ethernet cable.
Later then, there is only one key and you will probably use it only once and only during the configuration phase: the Sonos Sub-Mini is able to work both through wired connection, which via connection WiFi at 2.4GHz and at 5GHz.
Setup and association with the Sonos system
It will not be enough to connect the Sonos Sub-Mini 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 guided configuration will enable the user to choose which group to insert the subwoofer in. Unfortunately however, although the company allows the use of two subwoofers at the same time, it is not possible to associate a Sonos Sub with a Sonos Sub Mini: there could be many reasons (definitely due to the "type of sound" that the two subs produce) but, considering also the presence of the excellent TruePlay, I admit that perhaps this is one of the biggest shortcomings of this product, at least in my experience of use.
The new application is able to support i high definition audio formats but it still suffers from a big fragmentation problem with regards to the TruePlay (which I'll tell you about later, and which is essential for optimizing the audio performance of the Sonos Sub): in essence, it is available only in the iOS version and - to date - it is not yet compatible with the iPhone 14. It is a sound calibration system which 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, it will optimize the audio performance of the company's devices based on the room and their positioning.
Features and listening test
Actually, despite our preface, there's a lot to talk about in terms of features and the related listening test we did with the Sonos Sub-Mini. Although the configuration may recall that of its older brother, and that the central cavity is therefore present with the two speakers placed opposite each other, in reality the architecture of the new economic subwoofer from Sonos is not bass reflex, but is pneumatic suspension, i.e. sealed with two opposing 6” drivers.
In all essence, unlike the more expensive model, the Sonos Sub-Mini it does not have excessively large volumes available, which leads to a decidedly more marked rawness. Generally this type of configuration leads to greater control of the sound emission, avoiding even more any distortions, but with the price to pay of a lower overall incisiveness in the audio system.
And it is here that those of Sonos have actually managed to make the "magic". Theoretically, two 6” speakers would appear to be undersized for a subwoofer, but thanks to an excellent digital amplifier and the use of particularly rigid cones, the Sonos Sub-Mini it has nothing to envy to products that have larger volumes: in essence, it's small but it makes a lot.
Anyway, I initially tested the Sonos Sub-Mini with the configuration that seemed most suited to its price range, that is, placing it alongside a Sonos Ray. Already at
predefined volume level (i.e. the medium one in a range 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.
In Black Adams' vision, for example, in all the scenes where there are explosions, the presence of the sub is perfect if set to volume 5, but even raising it to 10 or 15 (that is, with extraordinary bass) I was pleasantly surprised by one 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.
Basically, in my opinion Sonos have imagined this subwoofer in such a way that it has a constant, but never excessive presence in any type of television scene that you go to watch.
For listening to music instead, I paired it with a couple of Sonos Fives, and here things start to get interesting. The most important thing when listening to music with this configuration is being able to understand which volume is suitable for the musical genre that you have decided to reproduce: 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-Mini 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 the TruePlay optimization is complete, things change radically. Now the timbre is complete, the "enveloping" effect is more present and all the frequencies are practically crystalline: it is here that the presence of the Sonos software is lacking, which is able to understand which type of speaker it is associated with and adjusts its tone accordingly and also with a full-bodied sweep neither vibrations nor resonances emerge. The work done by the brand is truly exceptional.
It must be said, however, that this super-control could make the Sonos Sub-Mini poco suitable for those people who need to feel a very marked bass presence and who love that punch in the stomach that can derive from low frequencies. In my experience though, this "punch" in the stomach actually leads to unexpected vibrations of many of the furniture elements in the house, including the doors and windows, and it is something that I am not fond of in any way.
So all in all, we're talking about a positive. Unless you install the Sonos Sub-Mini in particularly large environments, where its sound pressure could become poco incisive.
Price and considerations
The sale price of Sonos Sub-Mini is 499,00 euros. And even if it might seem like a figure still not suitable for all budgets, unfortunately I have to repeat myself: especially in the audio field, quality has a price, and comparing it to the sound performance of the subwoofer, I must admit that the efforts made by the brand to produce a subwoofer “cheap” you see is like.
Sonos Sub-Mini it is one of those products that promises 10 and scores 10, produced with an intellectual honesty that does not deceive buyers by convincing them that they are buying a product capable of scoring 12. Certainly the more expensive model has characteristics that place it a few steps above the newcomer , but its quality is indisputable.
In short, if you have a system made up of a Sonos Beam, a Sonos Ray or even two Sonos Ones, the Sonos Sub-Mini it could be the right addition to be able to obtain an almost perfect audio rendering.
As always, well done Sonos, but try to fix the TruePlay fragmentation issue.
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