Go to Reviews.org US Edition
Sonos Sub Mini review: THWOOOMP
No treble, literally.
The Sub Mini is a still pricey add-on to your Sonos system, but delivers the kind of visceral, distortion-free bass the manufacturer's soundbars simply aren't capable of.
The Sonos Sub Mini is a weird product to review, given it does exactly what it says on the tin. It adds bass to your Sonos system, at a more affordable price than the full-size Sonos Sub. It sounds great, but given the singular focus, the value is a little hard to quantify. At $699, does it make your setup sound twice as good if you're using it with a second-generation Sonos Beam, for example?
Sonos Sub Mini sound and design
The second-generation Sonos Beam is exactly what I've been testing the Sub Mini with, and there's a quantifiable improvement in sound. Needless to say, explosions and Hans Zimmer THWOOOMPS all sound great. While the second-generation Beam has pretty decent bass performance, there's no physicality to it. It's not immersive. It doesn't fill the room, and it starts distorting as you get to the high end of the volume spectrum.
By comparison, the Sub Mini adds clean, visceral bass. Bass you can feel. You can dial it up and down in the Sonos app depending on the amount of oomph you want. Maxing it at "15" can make your home or apartment feel like a club.
Impressively, doing so still kept the bass distortion-free - even on tracks that heavily lean into lower sub-bass frequencies like Carly Rae Jepsen's "I Didn't Just Come Here to Dance" and Childish Gambino's "3005". The overall audio was still relatively balanced in these cases.
I wouldn't recommend sliding the bass all the way up in most cases, however. It suits certain kinds of music, but not all. The death metal double kick in Opeth's "The Funeral Portrait" was a disaster with a turnt-up low-end.
For most, I think upping the bass by one or two notches is a happy balance, especially at lower volumes. There's just a little more drive without it being over-powering. But if you're listening at higher volumes, this isn't really necessary.
As a Sonos product, setting up the Sub Mini is very simple. It's a case of plugging it in, opening the app, and following the prompts. There's a new NFC pairing process, but I couldn't get that to work with my iPhone 13 Pro, so I had to type in a code round on the bottom of the speaker. Otherwise, it's hard to the fault.
One minor niggle is Sonos' Trueplay tuning technology is still iOS exclusive. Trueplay adjusts your speakers' sound to your room, which can be incredibly helpful if you've got a subwoofer in a small-to-medium room, like Sonos suggests the Sub Mini is ideal for. If you're an Android user, I'd recommend borrowing a friend's iPhone to take advantage of this. In a smaller room, there's more potential for sound to bounce off walls and unbalance the overall mix, so Trueplay can help tame this.
From an aesthetic perspective, the Sub Mini is an interesting subwoofer thanks to its cylindrical design. It's a nice antithesis to the "black box" design we typically see on most subwoofers. Maybe a little more organic, if I had to pick a word.
Size-wise, the Sub Mini lives up to the name, taking up roughly half the volume of the larger Sonos Sub. It's shorter, narrower, but also a little wider. The extra width means it might not be as easy to shove in a crevice.
While the Sub Mini is clearly designed to go with soundbars, it can also be paired with any non-portable Sonos speaker. It could go nicely with a Sonos One pair if you wanted a bit more bass, or even a Play:5. In terms of soundbars, Sonos suggests pairing it with a Beam or a Ray, but there's nothing stopping you from using it with an Arc or a Playbar, for example. In a larger room, the Sub proper is probably a better companion for these soundbars, but in a smaller room, the Sub Mini would do just great.
Is the Sonos Sub Mini worth buying?
If you're already in the Sonos ecosystem and have a Beam or a Ray, the Sub Mini represents a great upgrade. I would have liked to see it just a little cheaper, however. Around $499 to $549 would have been perfect, to bring it more in line with the Ray. This kind of pricing would have made the Sub Mini just that little bit more accessible.
That being said, $699 for a Sonos Beam and $699 for a Sub Mini combined is still less than the $1,499 you'd pay for a Sonos Arc, and I'd say that's a more than good enough combo for most, even if you miss out on the upward-firing speakers.