Sonos Sub Mini experience: a smaller subwoofer “building block”

At the end of 2022, Sonos China has brought a new "bass building block" option to home theater array products-the Sonos Sub Mini wireless subwoofer.

If there is no accident, this should be the new subwoofer that SoundBar users like Sonos Beam and Ray have been waiting for for a long time. After all, if you want to form a 3.1 or 5.1 home theater, you can’t get around the ".1" subwoofer.

But before that, Sonos only had one Sub Gen3 advanced wireless subwoofer on sale. Its price of 7499 yuan was almost the same as that of Arc. For Beam or Ray audio users, this seems to be a slightly "excessive performance" option.

Today, the more compact Sub Mini not only brings a relatively lower starting price, but also its size and performance are more suitable for the small and medium-sized houses that are common in Chinese families, and it is a more cost-effective option.

In the recent period of time, we have used Sonos Beam Gen2 to pair with Sub Mini for audition. Next, let us talk about the performance of this Sonos official most recommended "premium home theater" combination.

Behold: More compact volumes, now in cylindrical form

Sonos is very good at presenting audio products in a minimalist way, and the appearance of Sonos Sub Mini is the same.

Compared with the square and flat appearance of its big brother Sub Gen3, Sub Mini has turned into a cylindrical style, which can indeed be described as elegant and compact at first glance.

Under the minimalist cylindrical appearance, the Sub Mini also has a design with a hole in the middle. It seems that there is no stereotyped trace of a traditional subwoofer at all, and it is replaced by a more cutting-edge sense of technology. Many visiting guests were unable to accurately tell the specific use of Sub Mini at the first time, which saved some time for keeping secrets before the product was officially lifted.

Looking at it turned over, the Sub Mini still puts the power interface and the Ethernet cable interface (10/100 adaptive port) in the hollow position at the bottom, and there are four silicone feet that are almost integrated with the body around it. The speakers are padded higher, and the resonance is reduced while being off the ground.

On the side of the Sub Mini, there is a connection button called "Join", and there is a small status indicator light above it. Pressing "Join" will allow the Sub Mini to enter pairing mode and connect to the home audio group. In addition, there are no other physical buttons on its body.

Another difference between Sub Mini and Sub Gen3 in appearance is that its surface does not use the glossy material, but is replaced with a matte finish. In my opinion, the matte texture of the Sub Mini has slightly improved its look and feel.

Therefore, the minimalist Sonos Sub Mini is ready to be integrated into different home decoration styles. Thanks to its wireless connection, the Sub MIni can be placed wherever it looks most appropriate in the room, whether it's next to a prominent TV or next to a low-profile sofa.

▲ Picture from: Smart Home Sounds

As the name suggests, Sonos Sub Mini is smaller than Sub Gen3. From the data point of view, the diameter of Sub Mini is about half that of Sub Gen3, the height is also reduced a lot, and the weight is reduced from 13.15KG to 6.35KG. Compared with Sonos' portable Move speaker, the Sub Mini is only slightly larger.

However, considering that the Sub Gen3's cuboid body has a narrower width and can even be placed flat under the TV cabinet, the cylindrical Sub Mini may not necessarily have an advantage in horizontal space placement. The specific placement is still It should be considered according to different home spaces.

It is worth mentioning that when we opened the package, we could notice a legend printed inside the box, showing us how to extract the Sub Mini body safely, and informed us in advance that the body weighs about 7KG , let us make mental preparations for the load extraction in advance.

Listen: Sub's Mini model, satisfying the surging bass of small and medium-sized households

Sonos audio products are basically connected together in a wireless (WiFi) way.

Just like connecting Sonos Beam 2 before, when we connect the Sonos Sub Mini's power cord and power it on, it immediately enters the state of wireless pairing.

There is an NFC module hidden at the top of the Sub Mini. When I open the Sonos App, I only need to use an NFC-enabled iPhone or Android phone to get close to it, and then I can transmit WiFi and other information to the Sub Mini.

Once connected to WiFi, it will automatically scan for Sonos audio groups on the network. In no time, it found the Sonos Beam 2 online and paired it.

Compared with the pairing experience of the first-generation Beam a few years ago, the steps required for the Sonos App are now much simpler, and perhaps because the network environment is also improving, you can quickly find the device to be paired when you open the App , It takes a very short time to complete the pairing, even for the first-time users, there is no barrier to use, and the experience can bring a lot of good feelings.

After the connection is complete, Sub Mini will take the lead of Beam 2 to perform the function of its own subwoofer, share all the low frequency work of Beam 2, and then let Beam 2 be more focused and fully release the expressive power of mid-frequency and high frequency.

▲ Sub Mini structure rendering, picture from: Sonos

In terms of acoustic structure, Sub Mini and Sub Gen3 are very similar, both are two custom-made woofers facing each other, and then packaged in an acoustically sealed box.

From the hollow channel in the middle of the Sub Mini, you can see two custom-made 6-inch woofers standing opposite each other, which reduces audio distortion through the force offset effect and presents a richer and deeper full-tone low-frequency effect.

▲ Although this is a picture, music was playing on the stereo when it was taken.

Of course, this set of opposing and highly airtight acoustic structures can also offset the vibration at the upper and lower ends of the box, solving the vibration noise that may appear on the traditional subwoofer box. I put a glass of water on top of the Sub Mini while I was playing music, and the calm water performance just showed it.

According to Sonos, the middle channel of the Sub Mini can face in any direction, as long as it is placed close to the wall or at home, enough space should be left so that the air can freely circulate in the hollow channel in the middle.

Of course, the traditional home theater combination is also very particular about the placement, but Sonos, who advocates wireless, obviously wants to further break free from these shackles. So Sonos provides self-developed Trueplay tuning technology.

Currently, Trueplay is only available on the iOS App, and users only need to follow the on-screen prompts, and then hold the iPhone (the prompt will ask you to turn the phone over and point the microphone at the bottom of the iPhone to the ceiling) and walk around the room for about a minute Left and right look.

During the process, the sound system will emit stereo sound effects in different frequency bands. After the iPhone receives the sound, the system can know the sound reflection of the surface of the object in the room environment, so that the home audio group is better suitable for the current home scene. The changes before and after tuning are relatively easy to perceive.

After all the preparations have been made, can the Sonos Sub Mini fulfill the official promise of "surging sound without bulky cabinets"? I think the answer to this question is yes.

In terms of audio and video, I directly used the TV to play the ultra-high-definition video resources stored in the NAS, such as last year's hit action movie "Top Gun 2" and the highly acclaimed "007: No Time to Die", and then I directly opened Netflix Playing "Red Notice" (Red Notice), these action movies contain a lot of scenes with large scenes and complex sound effects, which is very suitable for testing the cooperative performance of Sonos Beam and Sub Mini.

Compared with using Sonos Beam 2 to watch movies before, the Sub Mini outputs more three-dimensional and fuller bass such as fighting sounds and gunfire in the fighting scenes in the movie, and the low-frequency rebound is more natural.

Especially the "first lesson" that Maverick gave to the students in "Top Gun 2", with the addition of Sub Mini, the roar of the fighter plane's repeated rapid climbs and rolls is quite in place, with a large volume, deep and flexible The low-frequency performance really increases the on-the-spot look and feel when watching movies, and brings a more immersive movie-watching experience.

On the whole, Sub Mini not only increases the sense of low-frequency volume, but also allows Beam2 to focus more on the presentation of mid-high frequency, thus providing a more transparent and balanced tri-band performance, maintaining a good sound effect in the living room space .

In terms of music, I directly use Apple Music, Spotify and Netease Cloud Music on the iPhone to play through AirPlay2, which is also the most commonly used way of listening to music at home.

The bass boost brought by playing music is more obvious than watching movies. After all, the low frequencies in popular music are more direct and traceable, and the bass texture delivered by Sub Mini is also more specific, tighter and more powerful. Like Sub Gen3, Sub Mini can present low frequencies as low as 25Hz, providing a more dynamic sense of volume and presence in the low frequency part, without distortion, loose or fuzzy listening.

Similarly, Beam 2, which reduces the low-frequency work, can focus more on the output and extension of mid-to-high frequencies. Therefore, Beam 2, which is originally a "panacea" sound style, can present more prominent mid-to-high tones, and the details are more delicate. Three The frequency separation is clearer.

Well, the principle of "many people are powerful" is once again reflected here.

It is worth mentioning that in the Sonos App, there are not many things that can be adjusted for the Sub Mini. Except for the switch of the Sub bass audio, only the intensity of the Sub audio is provided, with plus or minus 15 levels.

Previously, with the louder Sonos Sub Gen3, I would set the intensity to -3, and the Sub Mini needs to be set to a level of +3. It can be seen that the sound volume of Sub Mini will still be more Mini than that of Sub Gen3.

Summary: A more accessible "bass building block"

I thought that the addition of Sub Mini was just a simple improvement on the icing on the cake, but after using it, I found that Sub Mini should be a perfect complement to Beam 2. With the Sonos Beam 2 after the Sub Mini, the thickness and fullness of the sound have obviously been improved, and the sound performance of the entire system has been improved, and the effect of the improvement can be described as immediate.

Overall, the Sub Mini does an excellent job of fulfilling the role of the subwoofer itself, bringing a booming bass that doesn't quite match the small box, basically meeting our expectations for it. Moreover, the use threshold and entry cost of the Sub Mini are relatively "easier". The wireless speaker system built by Sonos is also quite smart. When paired with the Beam 2, the effect is also 1+1>2.

Of course, Sonos' positioning of the Sub Mini is also very clear, and it can even be described as "precise knife technique". Sub Mini's more compact design also has a more entry-level price, and its sound performance and functionality are naturally lighter than Sub Gen3.

Specifically, in terms of listening experience, the Sub Gen3 has significantly more low-frequency volume, and the sense of abundance of the bass is faster and fuller, and the applicable space is also much larger than that of the Sub Mini. Moreover, users who need it can connect two Sub Gen3s in an audio group at the same time for collaboration, while Sub Mini can only connect one, which still has certain constraints for positioning the Mini model.

As mentioned at the beginning, Sonos Sub Mini is a "bass building block" that is easier to enhance the sound system. Although it came late, it finally filled the product gap left by Sonos before, and its performance did not disappoint. . When purchasing, if you need to consider the cost performance, then the Sub Mini with a relatively lower price will be the most cost-effective bass supplement for Beam and Ray at present, and there is no one.

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