Sonos Sub Mini vs Sonos Sub (Gen 3): which will come out on top?

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Mis à jour le 18 October 2022.

The new Sonos Sub Mini wireless subwoofer uses the same key elements as the popular Sonos Sub, but in a smaller and more discreet format. Like the latter, it is specific to Sonos multi-room equipment to work with all Sonos connected speakers and soundbars. Thanks to its two drivers, it promises deep and powerful bass down to 25Hz. But is it as good as its larger counterpart? Do the reduced size and price (€499 compared to €849) impact the performance? Find out in this double review of the Sonos Sub Mini and Sonos Sub (Gen 3).

The brand’s smallest subwoofer, the Sonos Sub Mini is a wireless model designed to provide Sonos’ connected speakers and soundbars with powerful bass.

Sonos Sub Mini: packaging & accessories

For several years now, Sonos has made a point of creating durable and more eco-friendly equipment. This is even reflected in the recycled cardboard packaging of the Sonos Sub Mini. Inside of the latter, the subwoofer is securely held in place and protected by a fabric cover. It comes with a quick start guide and a power cable.

The Sonos Sub Mini comes with a power cable and a quick start guide.

Sonos Sub Mini: presentation

Design 

The Sonos Sub Gen (Gen 3) subwoofer already featured great design engineering and compactness thanks to the placement of the drivers opposite each other with an open structure in the center and a thickness reduced to only 15.8cm. The new Sonos Sub Mini is smaller, replacing the rectangular format of its predecessor with a cylindrical shape that is more in line with the design of the Sonos Ones and similar to that of the Elipson Planet Sub, B&W Formation Bass and SVS PC-2000 Pro subwoofers. The Sonos Sub Mini is even more compact, with a height of 30.5cm and a diameter of 23cm. It can therefore be easily installed in a living room, a bedroom, an office or any other room of the house. However, this new Sonos subwoofer can only be placed vertically, unlike the Sonos Sub (Gen 3) that can be laid flat and placed under a sofa or a piece of furniture.

Much more compact than the Sonos Sub Gen 3, the new Sonos Sub Mini is more discreet in a living room.

Like the brand’s other equipment, the Sonos Sub Mini subwoofer has an excellent build quality. The cylindrical casing is made of a single part to achieve a perfectly circular shape and eliminate any joints, even on the back. This means that the design is the same no matter what angle the cabinet is viewed from. To achieve this, the power port and Ethernet input are situated underneath the device. Only the very discreet pairing control remains visible at the back of the sub. Finally, the matt black chassis reflects very little light, which is ideal in a home theater. However, it is very easy to leave fingerprints on this finish, which is more difficult to clean than with the lacquered finish of the Sonos Sub.

The small Sonos Sub Mini is very elegant with its circular shape.

Acoustic design

Like its predecessor, the Sonos Sub Mini subwoofer has an oval-shaped cavity at its center. Here, the two drivers are placed face to face to create a force-cancelling effect to prevent any unwanted vibrations. This acoustic design has been tried and tested on the Sonos Sub (Gen 3). The drivers used are smaller, however, going from 10″ (25cm) to 6″ (15cm) in diameter.

The Sonos Sub Mini is equipped with two drivers placed face to face to cancel forces and reduce unwanted vibrations.

Despite its format, the Sonos Sub Mini is quite powerful thanks to its force-cancelling design. Moreover, each driver works alongside its own class D amplification module. These amplifiers are specifically calibrated for this subwoofer’s unique design. As a result, the Sonos Sub Mini can go as low as its predecessor, reaching a frequency of 25Hz.

The Sonos Sub Mini’s two drivers are placed face to face to improve the precision of the bass and are associated with their own amplification module to maximize their power.

TruePlay calibration

To improve its performance, the Sonos Sub Mini subwoofer is compatible with the Sonos TruePlay calibration technology. Using the data measured from the mobile app, the Sonos Sub Mini is able to adjust the bass reproduction to suit the characteristics of the room and provide the best possible performance. Additionally, the Sonos Sub Mini and associated speaker or soundbar will be perfectly calibrated thanks to the integrated DSP. However, the acoustic calibration is only available with iOS equipment (iPhone or iPad). It is unfortunate that the Android app still isn’t compatible with this feature. The brand says this is due to the inconsistent quality of the microphones that equip Android devices. Fortunately, it is still possible to manually adjust settings from the mobile app. 

The TruePlay calibration lets you adjust the sound of Sonos equipment to suit the room in which they are installed.

Sonos Sub Mini: configuration

Sonos has always stood out from the crowd with the easy installation and useability of its devices. The Sonos Sub Mini is no exception. A power cable is all that’s required for the sub to work. It can then be configured in the Sonos mobile app for iOS and Android. The latter prompts you to follow a few simple steps to add the Sonos Sub Mini to your system. For this review, we first paired the subwoofer with two Sonos One connected speakers, then with a Sonos Arc soundbar in a 5.1.2 setup alongside a pair of Sonos One SL speakers as surrounds and a Sonos Beam Gen 2. It is easy to move the Sonos Sub Mini from one group to another in the app, allowing you to use a single subwoofer for multiple Sonos devices. Unlike the Sonos Sub (Gen 3), which can be paired with several other subwoofers in the same system, the Sonos Sub Mini can only be used alone in each group. That said, you can still have multiple subs by associating each model with its own pair of Sonos speakers or soundbar.

The Sonos Sub Mini is automatically detected by the Sonos mobile app. Then all you have to do is select the system you want to add it to.

The Sonos app also allows you to adjust the bass level and activate the Loudness mode. For iOS smartphone and tablet owners, the settings are even more sophisticated thanks to the TruePlay automatic calibration. When activating the latter, the Sonos Sub Mini and associated Sonos device emit various sounds and frequencies to examine the behavior of the room and adjust the bass reproduction accordingly. 

The TruePlay calibration carries out acoustic measurements of the room to adapt the Sonos Sub Mini’s reproduction accordingly.

Sonos Sub Mini: listening impressions

Music

By taking over the reproduction of the lows, the Sonos Sub Mini freed the Sonos One speakers of this frequency range, resulting in a more precise sound. The mids were clearer, and the highs more transparent. The tonal balance was improved, with more substance and depth in the lows. The increase in dynamics was undeniable, offering a livelier and more rhythmic sound. The attacks were also bolder and more accurate.

When used with a pair of Sonos One speakers, the Sonos Sub Mini brings balance, depth and precision to the sound.

With the Loudness mode activated, the Sonos Sub Mini subwoofer delivered powerful and tight bass that remained robust and offered a nice physical presence. Tha bass was consistently well controlled and we did not notice any lagging. The Sonos Sub Mini improved the intensity of the sound and allowed the instruments to sound more natural. The latter benefitted from extra presence and stability. The acoustic message seemed clearer and the sound layers more accurate. We enjoyed greater detail in the lower part of the spectrum, which added to the texture of the soundstage.

The Sonos Sub Mini improved the intensity of the sound and helped place the various instruments in the sound field.

Home theater

Whether it was paired with the Sonos Arc or Sonos Beam, the Sonos Sub Mini instantly reinforced the intensity of the lows and made action scenes more believable. Without reaching the 25Hz announced by the manufacturer, this small sub added a great physical dimension during explosions and enhanced the authenticity of each scene. With the movie 6 Underground, the roar of the engines was more credible and sounded more realistic. The gun blasts rang out with impact, power and presence. The sound was very dynamic and reacted to everything happening on the screen.

Despite a more compact format, the Sonos Sub Mini subwoofer has a lot of power to spare, making it ideal for any living space. Even in a large living room of about 60 square meters, the Sonos Sub Mini continued to offer a pleasant experience and confidently enhanced action scenes. We could turn the volume up high without making the soundtrack sound unnatural. The bass was always reproduced with vigor and the subwoofer never wavered. A feat for such a compact model!

The Sonos Sub Mini offered a pleasant experience and confidently enhanced action scenes.

Sonos Sub Mini vs Sonos Sub (Gen 3) 

Despite its much smaller size, the Sonos Sub Mini performs very similarly to its larger counterpart. Although the Sonos Sub (Gen 3) is a bit more powerful and energetic, the new Sonos Sub Mini maintains the same firm, consistent bass. It delivers excellent sensations and manages to rhythm music and action scenes with the same intensity as its big brother, as long as the Loudness mode is activated. Considering the difference in size and price between these two models, one might wonder if the Sonos Sub (Gen 3) is still worth considering. In reality, the Sonos Sub (Gen 3) offers more impact than the Sub Mini, especially at high volume. It provides a little more punch for loud movie sessions in large rooms with a Sonos Arc. For 2.1 use in a room smaller than 35 square meters, along with a pair of Sonos One, Sonos One SL or Sonos Five speakers, the Sonos Sub Mini is the better choice.

The Sonos Sub (Gen 3) is still a bit more dynamic and powerful, although the Sonos Sub Mini can hold its own in a considerably more compact format.

Sonos Sub Mini: who is it for?

The Sonos Sub Mini subwoofer is the perfect companion for Sonos’ connected speakers and soundbars. It enhances all content by adding more depth to music and improving immersion in movies, series and video games. The Sonos Sub Mini is an excellent alternative to the Sonos Sub (Gen 3) for small and medium-sized rooms. For roughly the same price, you can buy a Sonos Sub Mini and a pair of Sonos One SL speakers to accompany one of the brand’s soundbars and create a real wireless home theater system. The immersion will be much better than with a single Sonos Sub (Gen 3).

The Sonos Sub Mini subwoofer is ideal for improving the tonal balance of the manufacturer’s speakers, but also for enjoying more realistic and immersive soundtracks with movies, series and video games when using a Sonos soundbar.

Sonos Sub Mini: conclusion 

With the Sonos Sub Mini, the American manufacturer offers its most compact model yet, without skimping on performance. The subwoofer greatly enhances suspense, makes action scenes more realistic and reinforces the depth and energy of music to provide a pleasant and immersive experience. When used with a pair of Sonos One, Sonos One SL or Sonos Five speakers, the Sonos Sub Mini forms an excellent compact 2.1 system that is remarkably powerful and manages to blend into the decor. With a Sonos soundbar, it will enhance movie soundtracks to improve the balance and the impact of every action. Once you’ve tried this subwoofer, it is difficult to go without it. It has definitely felt like something is missing since we returned our test model. Which just goes to show how good it is!

We liked: 

  • The compact format
  • The circular design
  • The tight and energetic bass
  • The sub’s versatility with films and music

We would have liked: 

  • Less fingerprints on the chassis
  • TruePlay calibration via Android 

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