If you’ve wanted a subwoofer to upgrade the bass in a Sonos, you’ve typically only had one choice. That changes this year with a smaller alternative, the Sub Mini.
Soundbar owners typically own a soundbar in one of two styles: with a subwoofer or without. Neither is incorrect, and both are typically capable, but they can also sound very different.
Soundbars with a subwoofer often have a very emphasised bottom end, flexing the lows and vibrating the room with the sort of punch that makes movies pop the booms and explosions that little bit more. There are good subs and bad subs, but typically if you have a subwoofer, you’re taking care of the bottom end in some form or another.
Then there are the soundbars that exist sans sub. They might just be stereo soundbar with a bit of bass, or they could be a soundbar engineered for quite a lot. You’ll know it when you’re buying one, because not only will the reviews emphasise the difference, but so too will the price. The bigger the price, the more likely a soundbar without an external subwoofer will have a woofer inside driving bass in a genuinely impressive way, possibly enough for you to go without needing the external physical subwoofer.
The Sonos Arc is one of those. When we heard the Arc back in 2020, we were amazed: Sonos had built a soundbar with enough bass reflex where rooms didn’t need a subwoofer unless they really wanted that extra oomph. We’ve been rocking that setup since the release, and it has been doing movies and music justice.
But there are times still that we yearn for more.
Now that our five year old is keen to explore all that is Star Wars, we want the big sounds to make an impact. We want the fanfare and major battle scenes to make the grand entrance they do in the cinema, and that needs some more low end to work with.
Sonos has a subwoofer to assist with that, but at $1099, the Sub isn’t going to be for everyone. A big and meaty subwoofer, it’s certainly not going to be for every home or wallet.
However, Sonos has been working on something specifically for that, as it shrinks the Sub to something a little more pint-sized and room friendly, in the Sub Mini.
Size is the main difference
Another subwoofer by Sonos, the whole concept behind the Sub Mini is all in the name: this is a miniature version of the Sonos Sub.
Worked on for around two years, the tech is actually quite similar between it and the standard Sub, with two 6 inch force-cancelling woofers that keep buzz and distortion down, and echo the chamber design of the bigger Sub.
There are two Class-D digital amps inside the cylindrical box that makes up the Mini, weighing 6.3 kilograms and working wirelessly over 5GHz, though there is an Ethernet port if you prefer your sound system hard wired.
Like all Sonos devices, the sub is app controlled with bass adjustments, but the Sub Mini also supports TruePlay, with iOS devices being used to measure the room and the sound it makes, tweaking the sub automatically and algorithmically to provide a subwoofer sound the works with other speakers it’s being matched to.
In the world of Sonos, there are a lot of those it can play nice with, covering the company’s soundbars including the recently released Sonos Ray, the aforementioned Arc, plus the other Atmos soundbar, the psychoacoustic Sonos Beam Gen 2, but it will also work with pretty much any other Sonos speaker, including the IKEA Symfonisk Frame.
What the Mini won’t work with is any portable speaker, meaning neither the Move nor the Roam will talk to the Sub directly. If it’s grouped to other speakers all together, it will play, but the Sub Mini won’t talk to any portable Sonos just yet, or maybe even ever.
The point is bass with a budget focus
While smaller than the regular Sub, one of the main points here appears to be similar to what Sonos did in the Ray, focusing on a soundbar that managed to get all the basics right, and at a price point that didn’t disappoint.
At $399, it’s hard to feel slighted by the Sonos Ray. Sure, you don’t get Dolby Atmos, but at that price, who cares?
With subwoofers, that same focus on quality is also largely missing in action. Never mind that Sonos only offered one subwoofer model before, and it was an expensive one, even subwoofers from other companies can miss the mark at low-ish price points. In the world of bass, you typically need to spend up to get something decent.
At $699 in Australia, we don’t think anyone will call the Sub Mini necessarily inexpensive, but in terms of how subs are built and priced, it may well be affordable, and that matters for something.
It’s not quite as big as its $1099 big brother, which may be why Sonos recommends room sizes and speaker pairings. As such, Sonos told Pickr that while the Sub Mini can work with the Arc, it may not perform as well as the bigger Sub in a large room, and Arc owners with smaller rooms may find the Sub Mini more acceptable than people with larger living rooms.
Australian Sonos Sub Mini availability
In contrast, it’s designed to work with both the Sonos Beam Gen 2 and Sonos Ray just fine, soundbars which sit under the $699 price of the Mini.
You won’t be able to pair two in the same room, nor will you be able to pair one to a regular Sub, but if you’re looking to enhance the bassy sound of a Sonos you have, it could well do the job.
Finding one shouldn’t be too difficult, either, with the Sub Mini arriving in Australia from October 6 in both black and white.
We’re already itching to spend some serious time with the Sub Mini, and make those scenes in Star Wars sound even better, so look for our Sub Mini review soon, likely just before the October 6 release date.