Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Sonos Sub Mini review: the practical sub we’ve been waiting for

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Finally, Sonos has a subwoofer that is more affordable and practical for smaller spaces, the Submini. It only took 10 years to get here. Sonos’ original wireless Sub, which debuted in 2012, has always been aimed at the most hardcore of users. At a launch price of $699, it was just as expensive as the company’s flagship Playbar, and its sheer size made it over the top for apartments. (It’s now $50 more after Sonos’ recent price hikes.)

Casual Sonos fans were actually out of luck, especially as the company released more affordable soundbars like the Beam and Ray. You probably wouldn’t want to pair a $699 subwoofer with a speaker that costs $400 or less. Simply put, the $429 Sub Mini fills a huge gap in Sonos’ lineup. But is it actually good?

Pros

  • Excellent bass for its size
  • Small and easy to move
  • Relatively affordable
  • Syncs easily with Sonos’ wired speakers

cons

  • Does not support the Sonos Move

Gallery: Sonos Sub Mini | 9 photos


If I could I’d show you my cat’s shocked reaction as I beamed baby drivers open car chase on the Sonos Arc in my family room. Sonos may not be the most budget-conscious company out there, but it’s always made reliably great speakers. The Sub Mini is no exception.

Now I know that if you own an Arc, you would most likely opt for the sturdier Sonos Sub. But I was still impressed with how much the smaller subwoofer helped, especially for a soundbar that delivered great low-end sound on its own. Muted shotgun at the start of baby driver shook my walls (and made a cat jump in the air). I felt the rumble of engines, the impact of car crashes and the weight shift every time Baby applied the emergency brake for a sharp turn. The Sub Mini transformed the movie from something I was just watching to something I was experienced.

Sonos Sub Mini

Devindra Hardawar/cafe-madrid

I was genuinely surprised by how big the Sub Mini sounded, especially since it’s a relatively small cylinder. It weighs 14 pounds — 22 pounds lighter than the large Sonos Sub — and has dual six-inch woofers that face inward. The sealed design means no tons of air is pushed out like ported subwoofers, but that also provides a tighter bass response. The Sub Mini can reach up to 25 Hz – more than enough to make the opening of Blade Runner 2049 hit me right in the stomach.

While I wouldn’t call it portable, I appreciated how easy it was to move the Sub Mini around my house for testing in different rooms. (Believe me, that was a lot less fun with the huge Sonos Sub.) You can pair the new sub with Sonos’ powered speakers, such as the Beam, Ray and Play:5. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work with Sonos’ portable offerings.

Sonos Sub Mini

Devindra Hardawar/cafe-madrid

That makes sense for the small Roam speaker, but I was genuinely disappointed to learn that the Sub Mini doesn’t support the larger Move. That’s a speaker I’ve come to love lately because it allows me to easily bring music into my backyard. It’s a shame Sonos couldn’t get the Sub Mini to work while the Move was on the charging dock. (How is it different from a speaker with a plug at that point?)

Despite that annoyance, the Sub Mini seems very suitable for homes with many Sonos speakers. Transferring to a Play:5 in my living room took about 30 seconds. And once it got going, it instantly added an impressive amount of depth to some of my usual test tracks. Tan Dun’s “Night Fight” from the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon soundtrack sounded like I was giving a traditional drum concert at home. Flying Lotus’s “Zodiac Shit,” a go-to track for low-end testing, sent another of my cats huddled into another room.

Sonos Sub Mini

Devindra Hardawar/cafe-madrid

As great as it is for music, I wish most Sub Mini buyers would pair it with one of the Sonos soundbars for better movie and TV sound. It certainly made a huge difference on the first generation Beam in my bedroom, which sounded twice the size at the time baby driver chase order. Obviously that’s not a room I’d want to have thumping bass all the time, but it sure is nice to have the option.

That’s my biggest takeaway. After a decade of waiting, Sonos fans finally have a viable option to boost their sound that isn’t obscenely expensive. And if you’re lucky enough to have multiple Sonos devices, you can easily move that bass magic throughout your home. It may be called the Sub Mini, but it’s really all about maximizing sound where it matters.

All products recommended by cafe-madrid have been selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. All prices are correct at time of publication.

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