A subwoofer is for people who like to experience sound at a whole new level. During an exciting action scene in a movie, you feel the rumble of the muscle car as much as you see it on the screen. On a show like The Lord of The Rings: The Rings of Power, when the orcs descend on a village and the carts of fire roll down a hill, you feel like you are there.
With the Sonos Sub Mini, the barrier to entry is a little less to experience all of that. That’s the main selling point: for $429 you can easily add a capable sub (this one has two 6-inch woofers) to an existing Sonos setup.
I tested the sub for a week using a Sonos Arc speaker bar and was pleasantly surprised to find the sonic boom during several shows and movies was enough to make me not want to go back to an old-school receiver. I saved a lot of space, too — but more on that in a moment.
I will say this — there has never been a better time to test television shows. Two of my all-time favorite shows are playing right now, including the aforementioned The Rings of Power (just watch episode six to see — and hear — what I mean) plus Andor on the Disney+ network.
Things crash and ping around the room and created an aural majesty that is a perfect fit for Sonos gear. I still want to test with more Sonos speakers, but the Arc and Sub Mini were a nice match for the shows and movies I tested. I also watched Thor: Love and Thunder and noticed subtle audio cues like the rumbling of a spaceship in the back of the room where I placed the sub.
Before doing any testing, I was curious how the setup would go. It was remarkably easy, thanks mostly to the Sonos app and how it quickly recognizes the gear you have and guides you through the process. Once installed, I noticed I could increase the sub volume easily and adjust the EQ. Top Gun: Maverick was another movie that brought the boom into the room.
The Sub Mini weighs 14 pounds and it’s about 12 inches tall. I loved the fact that it could generate such a rumbling and guttural sound without being a back-breaker, and it fit in a den downstairs nicely. (I have lifted way too many massive subwoofers in my life.) The Sub Mini connects over Wi-Fi but there’s a port for Ethernet if that’s your thing. I remember the days of Sonos gear using hard-wired connections and even back then, it was all easy and quick to get all of the gear synced and running.
The main competition for the Sonos Sub Mini is the fact that many people have an investment in audio receiver gear already, likely with wired surround speakers. The Sonos setup makes sense because there are no wires at all and yet the audio fidelity is high. On the show Andor, I heard little scratches and dings happening in the background of the show. I never had any trouble hearing spoken dialogue, which has been an issue with other surround-sound speakers before, mostly due to needing to configure the center channel and balance audio levels. It reminded me of every wired speaker setup I’ve ever had.
I loved testing the Sub Mini with music as well. I listened to some of my favorite bands like Jagwar Twin and a new album by Everything Everything and the bass and drums resounded off the room. It’s subtle, no pun intended. If you place your hand into the sub you can feel the woofers reverberating, and you can sense the low tones in the room, even if you don’t always know they are coming from the sub.
Obviously, this is gear meant for discerning listeners. At $429, augmenting a system that you already own from Sonos means you won’t break the bank, even if there are cheaper alternatives, some of them available at Target. I’m a big Sonos fan, so the Sub Mini makes it worth the expense — especially since those TV shows I mentioned are so compelling. I’m looking forward to more testing.