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Review of the Sonos Sub Mini

Photo by Jono on Unsplash

The Sonos Sub Mini is a more compact bass upgrade at a slightly more palatable price, adding big boom and greater range to the firm’s wifi speakers and soundbars.

The Mini costs £429 ($429/A$699) and is for Sonos fans who want more bass for their movies and music but can’t stomach the £749 outlay for its big Gen 3 Sub.

It isn’t as if the firm’s soundbars and smaller speakers lack punch on their own, but for home cinema aficionados, there’s nothing quite like the rumble of a sub in action-packed scenes. The Mini wirelessly pairs with any of Sonos’s speakers and soundbars, apart from the portable Roam and Move. But it is best used with the smaller Ray or Beam soundbars.

The cylindrical speaker measures 23cm across and 30.5cm tall, which makes it about the size of a table lamp or 5L beer keg. It can be placed just about anywhere in your room, requiring only a plug socket for power, and connecting via wifi to the rest of your Sonos system. Setting it up via the Sonos app on Android, an iPhone or an iPad is quick and simple.

Once paired with a Ray or Beam, the difference the sub makes is immediately appreciable. On-screen action is delivered with much more force and dynamism, with tight and controlled punch in the low end that is amazingly well judged. Driving soundtracks sound particularly good.

You get gobs of bass when needed, but it never sounds boomy, nor does it dominate the rest of the audio tracks. The Mini can produce frequencies as low as 25Hz, which is certainly deep enough for anyone relying on a soundbar for their movie experience.

In non-action scenes it is not obvious the sub is doing anything until you put your hand in the hole through the middle to feel the twin 6in woofers working. Here they add depth and range to the sound, freeing up the soundbar to concentrate on mid and high tones, making the whole experience more immersive.

The effect for music is similar, whether with a Beam or a pair of Ones. Play tracks with pounding bass lines and the sub performs with aplomb. Try something more mellow and you simply get a deeper and more rounded sound, not something artificially plied with bass, nor any abrupt points where the sub suddenly kicks in.

You can adjust the sub’s level up or down by 15 marks to give it more or less presence in your sound, while night mode on the soundbars applies to it, too, helping to avoid disturbing your neighbours. The Mini supports Sonos’s Trueplay tuning system, which is still only compatible with iPhones and iPads.

The difference between the Mini and Gen 3 Sub is simply power. At lower listening volumes, they essentially sound the same, with the larger, more expensive sub capable of maintaining that bass and power at much louder levels.

But the Mini is most likely powerful enough for even relatively large British living rooms and certainly anyone who lives within close proximity to neighbours. You probably already know if you need more bass than the Mini can produce.

The sub drew about 1.5W on standby and about 5.5W when playing music at a comfortable volume, or up to 50W when maxed out. It drew up to 17W when watching a movie at higher volumes, consuming about 0.010kWh over the space of two hours.

Dimensions: 30.5 x 23cm

Weigh: 6.35kg

Speakers: dual 6in woofers

Connectivity: wifi b/g/n, Ethernet

Software: Sonos S2

The Mini is generally repairable by Sonos. The company commits to a minimum of five years of software support for feature updates after it stops selling a product, but has a track record of much longer, including bug and security fixes for its legacy products.

The subwoofer does not contain recycled materials, but Sonos has committed to the use of recycled plastics, and designs with disassembly in mind for repair, refurbishment and recycling from 2023. It offers trade-in and product recycling, and publishes annual responsibility and sustainability reports.

The Sonos Sub Mini costs £429 ($429/A$699) in black or white.

For comparison, the Sub (Gen 3) costs £749, the Ray costs £279, the Beam costs £449, the One costs £199 and the Ikea Symfonisk lamp costs £185. Wireless subs from rivals typically cost between £250 and £850.

The Sub Mini is the smaller, more affordable subwoofer upgrade Sonos fans have long been waiting for.

The squat little cylinder produces more than enough boom for all but the largest of rooms and not only adds bass but improves the range and dynamism of speakers it is paired with. The power it brings to the low end is extremely well judged across movies and music, adding to but not dominating the overall soundtrack.

While it will work with any of Sonos or Ikea’s plugged-in wifi speakers, it is most suited to the firm’s compact soundbars. But it is certainly a luxury rather than necessity, costing a not inconsiderable £429 – though it is significantly cheaper than Sonos’s big Gen 3 Sub, and about the going rate for similar wireless subwoofers.

If you have one of Sonos’s excellent soundbars but crave a bit more thump and rumble, the Sub Mini won’t disappoint.

Pros: big bass upgrade in a compact form, super stable, can be paired with all Sonos/Ikea plug-in speakers, extremely well-judged low notes, adds range and dynamism to paired speakers, can be placed anywhere with access to a plug in the room, easy setup, long support life.

Cons: expensive, can’t pair with portable Sonos speakers, only works with Sonos/Ikea wifi speakers, can’t be placed on its side.

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