Sonos Sub Mini Review: Small Footprint Packs Big Punch
Earlier this month, Sonos announced its all-new Sub Mini, a new subwoofer that is targeting small to medium-sized rooms. We got the chance to try out the new Sub Mini in white (it’s a matte finish) over the past week or so, and here’s our review after testing it with the Sonos Beam, and also the larger Sonos Arc soundbar.
The Sub Mini has dual custom woofers and “advanced processing” that Sonos says allows for deep, dynamic low-end bass, but without the buzz, rattle and distortion. The new smaller sub brings low-end bass to expand how your music and movies sound in your smaller rooms.
As for Sub Mini specs, it connects to a Wi-Fi network with any 802.11a/b/g/n 2.4 or 5 GHz broadcast-capable router, or through its 10/100 Ethernet port. There’s an internal power supply, while the Sub Mini has 4GB SDRAM and is powered by an ARM Cortex-A9 processor and ARM Cortex-M4 processor.
Unboxing the Sonos Sub Mini
The Sonos unboxing experience is second to none and we would say it rivals an Apple-like experience. Every part of the packaging for the Sonos Sub Mini is from cardboard or natural fibres, as no plastic is used at all which is great.
Once you open the box, you’ll see a smaller box that includes the 6-foot power cord and simple set up instructions. If you’ve never set up a Sonos speaker before, it’s really simple to add a new device to your existing setup:
Sonos uses cardboard to securely hold the Sub Mini, which comes wrapped in some cloth and sealed with a sticker:
The box on the Sonos lets you know the Sub Mini is no slouch, as you’ll need to lift 7 kilograms (15 pounds) out of the box. Here’s the Sub Mini next to the Sonos Move to show you a scale of its size:
Here’s the back of the Sub Mini, where the join button on the back. There’s a status light above this button to show your Wi-Fi connection, tells you when the volume is muted and also shows signal errors. You can turn this light off in settings in the Sonos app:
The bottom of the Sub Mini has an Ethernet port and AC power input. There are four rubber feet that keep the Sub Mini planted:
The design of the Sub Mini looks pretty nice to us with its cylindrical design and a center tunnel to move air to maximize bass, according to Sonos. You can see how the Sub Mini in white below blends nicely into a living room:
Setting Up the Sub Mini
You’ll likely have an existing Sonos speaker to pair your Sub Mini with. Once you launch the Sonos app and plug in your Sub Mini, a message will appear asking you to ‘Add’ the Sub Mini. Just follow the prompts and you’ll get to a stage where you can use your mobile device for setup. You just hold your iPhone close to the top of the Sub Mini to leverage an NFC connection. Once connected, we were prompted to install a quick software update.
Sonos software is some of the easiest to use, which is part of the ‘magic’ of using its products. The app prompts you to connect the Sub Mini to a product, showing visuals of your existing speakers that you can pair it with. Select your speaker then tap “yes” and a connection will be made. Once completed, under the System tab in the Sonos app, you’ll see your room and “(+Sub)” added to it. In our first test with the Sonos Beam in a bedroom, it shows as “Main Bedroom (+Sub)”.
If you want to connect the Sub Mini to another product, all you do is tap ‘Remove Sub’ in the Sonos app and then it will ask you if you want to pair it with another product in another room. It’s too darn easy.
As for a location on where to put Sub Mini, Sonos says to place it upright near the speaker you’ll be pairing it with, while the center tunnel can face any direction.
Sub Mini also works with Trueplay tuning, leveraging the mic on your iOS device to optimize the EQ for your specific room. Just a note, the Sonos app has yet to support the iPhone 14 Pro Max, so we used our iPhone 13 Pro Max to do the set up of walking around and waving our phone like a crazy person.
Testing the Sub Mini with the Sonos Beam
Sonos recommends paring the Sub Mini with the Beam, Ray, One, or One SL, allowing the latter speakers to then concentrate on mid-range and high frequencies, while the Sub Mini does the heavy lifting for low frequencies.
Paired with our Sonos Beam, and listening to some songs for the first time, we were instantly impressed with Sub Mini. We went into the test with no expectations and again, Sonos continues to impress every single time. We had the Sub Mini EQ at about “+8”, which I thought was a good balance with regular folks in the room. At ‘max’ level? You’ll feel like you’re ‘in da club’ or at the movie theatre as there’s so much deep bass, punchy enough that you can feel it in your chest. While it’s not as powerful as the flagship Sonos Sub (you can connect two Subs to a Sonos system), this is going to satisfy many people, hands down. Sonos told us you can only connect one Sub Mini to a speaker.
We watched Top Gun with the Sub Mini at ‘max’ levels and it was able to bring out dimensions of the movie you can’t get with just a soundbar like the Beam. The intro of Top Gun with Sub Mini will send some chills down your spine as there’s just so much of the low-end available. Even at near max volume and EQ at max, the Sub Mini did not rattle. We placed our iPhone on the top surface of the Sub Mini and it did not rattle either. This is a solid sub for your home, as the design is a sealed cabinet, while the 6-inch force-canceling subwoofers don’t make any buzz or distortion.
Watching any action movie scene with Sub Mini is also a treat, as you’ll now have a personal home theatre experience. Intense scenes from Red Notice on Netflix, for example, really bring out Sub Mini and takes movies into another dimension.
Testing the Sub Mini with the Sonos Arc
After pairing the Sub Mini with the Beam and being blown away at its performance, how did it fare when linked to the larger Arc soundbar? It also delivered satisfying bass, even in a medium-sized family room. The Sub Mini gets so loud and its frequency response down to 25 Hz will seriously make your neighbours hate you, if you’re in a condo or townhouse. It’s like adding subs to the trunk of your 1992 Honda Civic back in your high school days. It’s an instant bass upgrade across the board.
Music really bumps and movies get another dimension with the deep, low bass that’s widely available. The best part is the design of the Sub Mini which looks great in the home, blending away into your surroundings. It’s “wife approved” as it won’t ruin any aesthetics in your white living room, unlike traditional sub designs that are black rectangles and usually ugly.
Here are the products that support Sub Mini:
- One (Gen 1)
- One (Gen 2)
- One SL
- Play:5 (Gen 2)
- Arc SL
- Beam (Gen 1)
- Beam (Gen 2)
- Connect:Amp (Gen 2)
- SYMFONISK Picture frame with Wi-Fi speaker
- SYMFONISK table lamp with WiFi speaker
- SYMFONISK Speaker lamp base with WiFi
- SYMFONISK WiFi bookshelf speaker (Gen 1)
- SYMFONISK WiFi bookshelf speaker (Gen 2)
If you have one of the above products, Sub Mini will change your music and movie viewing experience. It’s a must-have if you have an existing Sonos soundbar and want to take your home theatre to another level, but don’t want to shell out for the premium Sonos Sub at $948 CAD.
We think you’ll be more than satisfied with the Sub Mini, while your wallet will thank you (and also despise you). A must-have this holiday season, in our books, if you can afford the price and are looking to add to your Sonos collection.