The Sonos Sub Mini adds deep, powerful bass to Sonos’ smaller Ray and Beam soundbars as well as its range of wireless speakers
- Easy to set up
- Supports Trueplay
- Deep, controlled bass
- Trueplay still doesn’t work with Android phones
- No physical inputs
The Sonos Sub Mini fills a gap in the Sonos range that’s been gaping since the introduction of its first Beam soundbar. Although the Beam sounded fantastic and the second-generation Beam 2 even better, neither were able to deliver deep bass frequencies with authority and power due to their compact size.
Those yearning for more bass could have added the Sonos Sub, but at a cost of £649 and a size that dwarfs the soundbars, that approach didn’t really make much sense.
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Sonos Sub Mini review: What do you get for the money?
The arrival of the latest addition to Sonos’ range of AV speakers – the Sonos Sub Mini – changes all that. It’s designed to complement the Sonos Beam 2 and Sonos Ray soundbars, adding that much-needed extra bass hit, but at a much lower price and in a far more compact, discreet package.
However, it’s not only designed to add bass to a soundbar. The Sub Mini can also be paired with Sonos’ other wireless speakers – the One SL, One, even the Sonos-designed Ikea Symfonisk range of speakers – to add a little extra oomph.
It costs £429, is available in matte black or white – to match the colour schemes available for the Beam 2 or Ray soundbars – and its cylindrical chassis stands 305mm tall, while measuring 230mm in diameter. That’s just about compact enough to work into your bijou, minimalist London studio flat without eating into your already limited floor space.
And it’s constructed with Sonos’ usual care and attention to detail. Like other speakers in the range, its cabinet is built from thick, solid-feeling plastic and it feels very nicely made. Inside, the driver arrangement is quite innovative.
Instead of using one large downward or forwards-firing bass driver, the sound system in the Sub Mini comprises a pair of “force-cancelling” 6in woofers, backed by sealed chambers, that fire inwards towards each other, with a cavity carved across the body of the speaker to allow the soundwaves out. This allows the Sub Mini to extend the audio frequency of your soundbar all the way down to 25Hz without having to use a big, beefy sub-bass driver.
Sonos Sub Mini review: What do we like about it?
Just like the rest of Sonos’s range, the Sub Mini is super easy to set up. It connects via Wi-Fi or 10/100 Ethernet to your other Sonos products and, once you’ve found a spot for it in your room and plugged it into the mains supply, all you need to do is fire up the Sonos App and add it to your system.
This process doesn’t take long – there’s an NFC tag embedded in the top surface of the Sub Mini to help with seamless pairing – and I had it all set up and ready to go in well under five minutes. It’s worth spending a bit more time on setup, however, and tuning the sound to your room using Sonos’ Trueplay tech.
Trueplay is designed to automatically tweak the EQ of the sound by playing a series of tones and measuring how those sounds are reflected and absorbed at various locations in your listening room. Your room may not need it – indeed, with a Sonos Ray and Sonos Sub Mini in tandem, they sounded great straight away – however, if you do need to tweak the levels, Trueplay makes what can be quite a fiddly process a breeze.
You’ll need an iPhone or iPad to run the calibration – Android devices aren’t supported – and once you kick it off, your system will play a series of test tones while you move around the listening area, waving your device up and down. This is so the microphone can monitor how those tones are reproduced across the room and tweak the EQ accordingly. This works beautifully – once I’d completed the process, the system sounded even cleaner and tighter than before.
In fact, with the Sub Mini in place, the Sonos Ray goes from brilliant to thoroughly amazing. The soundstage still isn’t the widest but the extra bass the Sub Mini adds underpins the sound with such authority and scale that you don’t really mind.
The best thing about it, though, is that you don’t notice it’s there until it’s needed. The crossover between the soundbar and subwoofer is managed absolutely seamlessly and without you having to spend ages fiddling around matching gain levels and crossover points.
If anything, I would have preferred a greater level of control over the overall EQ levels but this is Sonos and it likes to keep things simple. So, the only changes you can make are to the Bass, Treble and Loudness levels.
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Sonos Sub Mini review: What don’t we like about it?
Honestly, there’s not much to criticise when it comes to the Sub Mini. It’s a subwoofer designed to go with Sonos’ smaller speakers and soundbars and it works perfectly.
There are a few negatives I can think of, though. First, the Sub Mini can only be used with other Sonos speakers. There are no physical audio inputs at all, so if you have a legacy hi-fi system that you like to keep running, and you love your bass, you may well end up with two subwoofers in your living room.
Second, you can only take advantage of Sonos’ Trueplay tech if you have an iPhone or iPad, as Android phones aren’t supported. This is a pain – there are a lot of Android phone owners out there who might like to take advantage of this excellent feature – but as it’s a one-time job and iPhones owners are so widespread, finding a friend to pop around to your house and lend you his or her phone for a few minutes probably won’t be too hard.
Finally, it’s high time Sonos upgraded the Wi-Fi technology inside its speakers. The hardware inside the Sub Mini only supports 802.11n (Wi-Fi 4), which is two generations behind the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard. For most people, this shouldn’t cause a huge headache as modern Wi-Fi routers will be backwards compatible, but moving to more up-to-date technology is surely a no-brainer, and is likely to make Wi-Fi issues far less frequent for those with compatible network equipment.
Sonos Sub Mini review: Should you buy one?
If you already own a Sonos Beam or Ray and love it, but you’re hankering after a bit more low-end, then the Sonos Sub Mini is a sensible upgrade. It won’t turn your audio system into a Dolby Atmos monster but it adds bass exactly where it’s needed and does so with the minimum amount of fuss.
It isn’t cheap but the Sonos Sub Mini is stylish, simple to use and very flexible. Most important of all, however, it sounds great and will turn Sonos’ already highly competent compact soundbars into superb all-action audio systems.