If you don't have one integrated already, adding a subwoofer to your audio setup is among the easiest ways to enhance the sound quality of your system.
Generally speaking, introducing a sub to a stereo setup allows you to hear the lower frequencies in the music that are perhaps right at the limit of what the main loudspeakers can achieve. It usually brings a huge boost to the sonic performance of a music system (and a smile to your face), as you begin to feel the music as much as hear it when a subwoofer is in place.
I recently experienced that when I spent some time reviewing the new Sonos Sub Mini. Despite the inflated price, my time with Sonos' newest powered speaker left me impressed with the sound boost and increased level of engagement it managed to bring to the Sonos Ray soundbar I had been using with my TV screen at home.
It wasn’t just TV sound that the Sonos Mini Sub managed to make its presence felt though, it brought music to life on the Sonos Ray too, and made an effective partner to a pair of Sonos One speakers.
This wasn't the first time I've added a subwoofer into a home audio system, of course, but the review experience reacquainted me with the boost that adding a subwoofer can bring to almost any kind of audio setup.
Why am I preoccupied with bass?
The thrill of experiencing big bass sounds is one of the sonic factors attributed to the euphoric feeling many get from attending live events. It energizes the crowd, and can influence emotions and encourage a powerful sense of connection to the artist and their music. Bass brings scale to anything we hear, tapping into the power of the music and even making some of us want to get up dance.
It's difficult to replicate this feeling at home with just a couple of compact speakers, but adding a subwoofer into your setup will get you closer, and certainly helps to dial up the level of engagement for whatever you're watching or listening to.
Thin and scratchy sound simply doesn't cut the sonic mustard in my view. I'm sure many of you will have experienced smaller speakers that sound devoid of the low-end energy that makes up a vital part of a piece of music's rhythm and life. It's a sound that I find deeply unsatisfying and as a music lover and quality audio fan, listening to music without a full range of frequencies available to produce the kind of energy all music deserves simply won't do.
Without pointing any fingers, smaller speakers just aren't capable of producing room filling sound that includes proper bass, although many do a remarkable job of pumping out greater low frequency soundwaves than they should be capable of thanks to sophisticated audio signal processing and trickery. But it's not proper bass.
I'm not talking about passive Hi-Fi speakers from traditional audio specialists, of course; although many brands do include subwoofer models as part of their speaker ranges and I've heard many challenging room layouts benefit from a discreetly placed subwoofer that can energize the room and achieve a wider and more satisfying listening area where the full range of frequencies can be heard.
I've tried all kinds of subwoofer models in different home Hi-Fi setups over the years, from models specifically designed to partner particular models like the compact KEF KC62 sub built to blend with the company's LS50 Wireless II that appeared in my 5 best TV upgrades, to powerhouse bass speakers by REL Acoustics that are designed to integrate seamlessly with all kinds of home theater and music systems at many different price points.
As the LG S95QR soundbar so neatly highlighted, though, not all subwoofer partnerships are well matched and effective. Subwoofer integration with the other speakers in the system is key, and this is something that Sonos has mostly managed to get right without the user needing to do anything other than follow the app-based setup procedure and let Trueplay room customization tune and integrate the speakers to your space.
As I said in my review, the Sonos Sub Mini is not without its flaws — it took me several attempts to get the Trueplay tuning right for my room and seating position. Once achieved, though, the boost it brought to my level of engagement with whatever's happening on the screen and its energy with music, makes it one of the most effective home audio upgrades around and a worthwhile investment for any Sonos Ray soundbar or One speaker owners looking to get a bit more oomph from their entrainment system.