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I haven’t had too much interest in upgrading my current Sonos sound system, which consists of a Sonos Beam and two Sonos One speakers, all of which are a few years old (I put the newer Sonos Ray soundbar in a different room and use it on its own). My set-up is a plug-and-play take on surround sound and, for the most part, it fulfills my home theater needs.
Since I live in a smaller NYC apartment, I was hesitant to test out the recently released Sonos Sub Mini. A subwoofer might add a nice kick of bass and low-end to streaming and gaming, but it also meant worrying about how it would sound and feel to the neighbors on my floor and below us.
Review: Sonos Ray Is the Ideal Soundbar for Small SpacesIt’s a compact, minimalist unit that foregoes features for simply great sound
But the Sub Mini was also enticing. It’s a lightweight, cylindrical unit that you can place almost anywhere in a room. As the company notes, the Sub offers “dual force-canceling woofers [that] generate surprisingly deep, dynamic low end while minimizing buzz, rattle, or distortion so you feel more immersed in every scene and song.” That minimizing part sold me, at least for testing purposes and the sake of the people who live near me.
I tested the Sonos Sub Mini for a few weeks this fall in a variety of video and audio scenarios, including sports, movies, music streaming and gaming.
- 9.1” (diameter) x 12” (height)
- 14 lbs.
- Available in black or white
- Dual 6” woofers
- Adjustable EQ
- The minimalism here is wonderful. There’s one button, one cord and a three-step booklet for setup.
- Speaking of setup, it took about five minutes for the Sonos app to find the Sub Mini, download an update and integrate into my larger audio ecosystem.
- For video games, the Sub Mini added an extremely powerful low end. Rocket explosions in Halo: Infinite felt more immersive and actually rather startling.
- Not on all shows or movies, but the Sub Mini often added a near-cinematic audio experience. When the Abomination was running during a scene on Disney+’s She-Hulk, I could feel every thump in my chest.
- Since the Mini connects with wifi, you can place it pretty much anywhere in the room.
- The Sub Mini is more or less half the size, weight and price of the square Sonos Sub — and far more aesthetically pleasing.
What kind of works (or needs work):
- It was nice that I could go into the app and adjust the Sub Level for different shows. But I had to do this a lot — every show needed a tweak, and the Sub Level takes a few clicks to get into.
- While I don’t think I scared my neighbors, the most aggressive of Sub Levels brought the low end far too front and center. Much like volume or bass or any other adjustable control, you’ll want to keep the levels (from -15 to +15) pretty much in the middle for an ideal balance…but, again, still tweak depending on what you’re watching or listening to.
- I wasn’t able to test the Sub Mini in a larger space because, well, I don’t have a larger space. But some other reviews suggest that the Mini is really meant for a small or medium-sized room with normal (not too high) ceilings.
It really comes down to price and your home theater needs. If you’re in a smaller room or apartment, the Sub Mini certainly adds depth, bass and “oomph,” all sans distortion (if you keep the Sub Levels in a normal range) and seemingly without bothering neighbors with thin walls. But you’re getting this modest upgrade for $429, which is cheaper than a Sonos Sub but still a rather expensive add-on.
Overall, the Sub Mini feels (and sounds) like an ideal gift — something that you may not want to buy for yourself, but also an item you’d absolutely enjoy if you received it from a generous friend or family member.
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