Sonos Sub Mini review: Big bass for a smaller price

This small-but-mighty wireless subwoofer could supercharge your Sonos setup

Sonos Sub Mini in white placed on stone floor
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The compact Sub Mini is easy integrated and makes a big sonic impression when hooked up to Sonos One speakers or Ray soundbar setups.

Pros

  • +

    Seamless integration

  • +

    Dynamic performance

  • +

    Compact design

  • +

    Smart Sonos styling

Cons

  • -

    High price for an add-on

  • -

    No crossover control

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Sonos Sub Mini: Specifications

Price: $429 / £429 / AU$699
Colors:
 Black; white
Speakers: 2x 6-inch woofers
Power output: 
Not specified
Wireless: 
WiFi (5GHz)
Room calibration: 
Yes (iOS only)
Dimensions: 
12 x 9.1-inches
Weight: 14 pounds

The Sonos Sub Mini is latest addition to the company's entry lineup and follows the Sonos Ray soundbar introduced to the range earlier this year. It's been rumored for a while, and now that it has arrived we can safely say that it is one of the best compact subwoofers we've ever tested — and a critical component to small-room Sonos setups.

Everything that makes the Sonos experience so successful is here, and many will feel a sense of pride in owning its speaker models thanks to the high build quality and finish that fits seamlessly with the rest of the company's models. 

I've reviewed a lot of dedicated subwoofers, and many ignore the fact that plenty of people don't want a hulking bass speaker taking up valuable floorspace next to the TV or in the corner of the room. There’s a lot to admire about how Sonos goes about its products, and Sonos is to be congratulated for understanding the appeal of compact, high-performance speaker models.

More than just a pretty exterior, the Sub Mini boosts the audio experience too, sounding unified and confident when integrated with a Ray soundbar or Sonos One speakers — it’s got the punch to propel a Hollywood blockbuster like you've never heard before when connected as part of a TV sound setup, and has deft powers of communication to make sure music sounds more engaging too. 

Ready to take your Sonos sound to the next level? This small-but-mighty wireless subwoofer is exactly what you need to supercharge your Sonos setup.

Sonos Sub Mini in white on stone floor with accessories in a box placed top

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Sonos Sub Mini review: Price and availability 

The Sonos Sub Mini is priced at $429 / £429 / AU$699. It is available to buy through the Sonos website (opens in new tab) as well as online retailers including Best Buy (opens in new tab) and World Wide Stereo (opens in new tab). Although the Sub Mini is more expensive than we anticipated, it is more affordable than rival wireless subwoofer models found in Denon's HEOS or Bluesound's multiroom speaker system line-ups. 

That doesn’t mean it’s without competition, however. Bose, Sony and Yamaha are just a few of the alternative high-profile brands making wireless subwoofers designed to accompany speaker systems and the best soundbars of their own, with several models selling for less than Sonos is asking. 

More: Haven't heard of Sonos before? Here's everything you need to know about Sonos.

Sonos Sub Mini in white on a stone floor showing port aperture

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Sonos Sub Mini review: Design

  • Compact design with great build quality 
  • Force-cancelling speaker arrangement

As the name might suggest, the Sub Mini is designed for smaller rooms and joins the larger Sonos Sub in the line-up. Sonos says the Sub Mini makes an ideal partner to a Sonos Beam or Ray soundbar, as well as the company's One smart speakers. The larger Sonos Sub is the perfect pairing for a Sonos Arc or a Beam Gen 2 soundbar (once again), or configurations using the Sonos Five premium speaker(s) as well as passive speaker arrangements hooked up to a Sonos Amp.

Unlike the slightly bulky design of the Sonos Sub weighing in at around 36 pounds, the Sub Mini is a compact, cylindrical design standing 12-inches tall and with a diameter of 9.1-inches. It weighs just 14 pounds. The attention to detail is superb, and the finish fits seamlessly with other Sonos components, right down to the infinity wireless pairing button placed between the elliptical bass ports that fire sound out from opposing sides. 

Inside there are two 6-inch woofer drivers facing each other in a force-cancelling arrangement that designed to maximise power output. Sonos doesn't state the total power output in Watts for the Sub Mini (or any other of its active speakers come to that) for reasons best known to itself. What we do know is that the Sub Mini is powered by twin Class D amplifiers and that low frequency extension is said to reach a gut-wrenching 25Hz, although Sonos doesn't specify the upper low frequency limit.

Sonos Sub Mini packaging crate

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Sonos Sub Mini review: Setting up and features

  • Seamless installation and system integration
  • Effective Trueplay tuning (via iOS only)
  • Powers on with paired speaker(s) instantaneously

Once you've unpacked the Sonos Sub Mini from the box you'll have a good idea of where to place it in your room. As an active speaker it needs to be close to a power outlet, and although Sonos says it can be placed anywhere within a room, it is a good idea to make sure to place it away from obstacles that could interfere with the sound.

Once you have your spot, pick up your Android or iOS device, and download the Sonos app. It's a free download for Android and iOS and will give you access to everything you need to start integrating your Sonos speakers with your streaming services and control your setup. Other than the pairing button on the front, there are no physical controls to integrate the sub with your chosen Sonos speaker(s) or soundbar. 

As with all of Sonos wireless speakers, setting up the Sub Mini and integrating it into a new or existing Sonos speaker system is seamless thanks to the sophisticated Sonos S2 app.

Sonos Sub Mini in white placed on a stone floor showing reset/pairing button

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The entire setup process is a breeze — as long as your phone is connected to your Wi-Fi network — and the Sonos S2 app walks you through the process of connecting the Sub Mini to your network and integrating it with other speakers in your room. 

To get the best sound you'll need to tune the Sub to the room it is placed in via Trueplay (iOS devices only). This optimizes the crossover frequency handling of the sub and the speakers it is partnered with to get the best sound integration for your room and listening position. 

It is remarkably effective and takes around a minute to carry out and tune your speaker setup to your room. A control on the app allows to toggle between Trueplay optimization on/off to enable you to decide whether you like the optimized sound — you can run Trueplay tuning as many times as you like (maybe moving the sub to a slightly different position each time) until you get a sound balance that feels right for you.

Sonos Sub Mini looking top down with a stone floor in the background

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Sonos Sub Mini review: Performance

  • Dynamic performance with TV sound and music
  • Effectively extends bass frequencies of Ray soundbar
  • Stable Wi-Fi connectivity

The Sonos Sub Mini is remarkably adept at boosting the performance of the Ray soundbar I had it partnered with. I've been using the Ray for a while now, and have been enjoying the more even tonality and clarity it brings to my TV viewing, sounding superior to my TV screen's built-in speakers.   

Perhaps most immediately impressive is the unity the Sub Mini brings when it is integrated with the Ray's low frequencies. As previously discussed, Sonos hasn't mentioned the frequency range the Sub Mini operates within (except to say that the bass output extends down to 25Hz) nor does it provide any crossover control to allow you to adjust the frequency point where one speaker hands over to the other. This is all seamlessly taken care of during the speaker pairing and tuning process, optimizing the frequency handling to sonically fit your environment.

This is all academic, however, as I doubt that having an adjustable crossover control would better the integration between the Ray and the Sub Mini than the Trueplay tuning process. 

Admittedly, I had to perform the process twice to get a balance that I enjoyed in my room and seating position on the sofa, as my first attempt resulted in an output that was so overzealous that the high bass output rattled the living room windows during the opening sequence to "Top Gun: Maverick."

A second Trueplay tuning attempt tamed the output to a more subtle level, while the useful Sub Level control within the Settings menu via the Sonos S2 app provided the fine tuning occasionally needed when a little more bass texture and timbre were required.

That's the thing about adding a sub into a setup, the more you appreciate the benefits it brings to your level of audio engagement, the more you'll want to experience it with all kinds of content. Subtlety always wins the day though, and with the output correctly optimized to the surroundings, the Sonos Mini will deliver without getting in-your-face.

Sonos Sub Mini in white placed on a stone floor

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Musically, the Sonos Mini Sub was more adept than I expected, bringing energy and pace to tracks that can sound a bit lifeless through the soundbar. Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" showcases the sub's penchant for a great rhythm, and allowed me to follow Nile Rodgers' guitar playing while the pacey and driving beat does its bouncy energy thing in the background. The track simply has more funk with the Sonos Mini Sub in place, and music sounds more engaging. 

This sense of musical engagement continues across a broad range of musical material, and vocals simply carry more weight and are more believable. Even with tracks like Minnie Riperton's "Les Fleurs" — a recording unburdened by bass — the sub adds a useful degree of warmth and gives the thin-sounding vocal more presence and richness.

Sonos Sub Mini review: Verdict

If you already have a Sonos Ray soundbar or a Sonos One speaker (or two), then the genuine performance highlights of pairing them with the Sub Mini are sure to charm and delight you. The price may be off-putting, as it significantly ramps up the overall costs of a system, but when you consider the fuss-free integration, seamless control via the Sonos S2 app, and the outright sonic boost it brings once you hear it in action, the Sonos Sub Mini feels like a very worthwhile investment indeed.

Next: Discover how Sonos works and the best Sonos speakers you can buy right now. Plus, I added the Sonos Sub Mini to my home audio setup — and it blew me away.

More: 5 best bass tracks to give your music system a workout

Lee Dunkley
Audio Editor

As a former editor of the U.K.'s Hi-Fi Choice magazine, Lee is passionate about all kinds of audio tech and has been providing sound advice to enable consumers to make informed buying decisions since he joined Which? magazine as a product tester in the 1990s. Lee covers all things audio for Tom's Guide, including headphones, wireless speakers and soundbars and loves to connect and share the mindfulness benefits that listening to music in the very best quality can bring.