Subwoofers seemed elusive to me for many years—only rich people, car people, or audiophiles really dealt with them, and my family fell into none of those categories. After a lifetime of relying on really terrible built-in speakers, my in-laws gifted us a sound system from Definitive Technology, but even then I never foresaw myself setting up speakers beyond a Bluetooth connection. Luckily, the Sonos Sub Mini doesn’t require much more than that to add way more bass to an existing Sonos soundbar, but would it have enough power to fill my living room?

I nervously swapped my current soundbar and subwoofer for the Beam (Gen 2) and new Sub Mini, worried that the space they saved would cost the sound that filled the room. Much to my surprise, the Mini produced a thumping bass and a clear sound. If you’re after a compact way to add more bass to your Sonos system, this is just the ticket.

Adjustable Bass

I love that the Sonos Mini Subwoofer is wireless. Aside from plugging it into a power source, you connect the Mini to your system through the Sonos app by adding it to whichever system you wish. In my case, I added it to the “living room” system, easily pairing it with my Beam (Gen 2) with basically a single tap. This makes it simple if you want to switch systems, allowing you to plug the Mini in elsewhere and add it to whichever other rooms you have set up. Most people may not have a subwoofer in their bedroom, but it’s so easy to move that I’ve thought about pairing the Mini with my Sonos Ray many times.

During your initial Sonos setup, you can connect your chosen remote to your sound system. However, if you’re interested in fine-tuning your listening experience, the Sonos App is the way to go. Aside from setting bass and treble levels, you can also adjust sub and height audio, set volume limits, and add surround speakers to your setup.

It’s a bummer that Trueplay Tuning, which allows the speakers to tune themselves to your individual room, hasn’t caught up to the current iOS yet, but that hangup spans all of Sonos and any non-iOS device at the moment. That being said, the Mini still produces great sound throughout the room. There were times I had to check if it was actually raining outside because the pitter-patters from my movie dispersed so naturally.

But while a sub does a lot for clarity and detail in other scenes, I would be remiss to not acknowledge what the people want: that bass. Whether you’re bumping Biggie or blaring Thundercat, bass can make all the difference if your enjoyment. Every movie score and Midnights listen was perfectly punctuated with percussion. Every quiet conversation and screaming match had crisp, articulate highs and lows. And every single time a dragon landed on HBO, it almost felt like it stepped right into my living room.

All Cylinders Firing

Sonos Sub Mini

Photograph: Sonos

In my experience, the simple physics of low-end (typically, a bigger speaker plus more mass means bigger bass) subwoofers typically aren’t small. The only one I’ve ever had was a hefty box that often acted as extra tabletop storage space out of necessity. On the contrary, the Sonos Mini is small, cylindrical, and stylish (much like its other Sonos brethren).

The rich, full sound takes up plenty of air space in my one-bedroom, but the Mini may not be for every living room. Much like the Sonos Ray, this subwoofer is perfect for apartment living rooms, smaller rooms, and starter sound systems overall. It packs enough punch to accentuate whatever you’re playing without disrupting the neighbors or other housemates, and it won’t rattle your home or apartment to the foundation.

My only complaint about the design is that the cylindrical shape can be difficult to configure into a room with Tetris-like furniture. Every corner in my apartment matters, and the roundness doesn’t exactly click right into place next to my rectangular entertainment center. That being said, it looks like a subtle piece of decor, and with a little bit of maneuvering it fits in just fine.

My other minor gripe with the Sub Mini is the cost. At a little under $450, it’s a very expensive addition to most sound systems, especially when pairing it with other expensive Sonos speakers like the Arc ($900) or the Beam ($450). But it’s on par with other wireless subs of its caliber, and Sonos is known for higher pricing than competitors in exchange for its excellent ease of use (à la Apple) so unfortunately that’s just the nature of the beast here.

All costs aside, I couldn’t believe how well this tiny, top-notch speaker took over my living room. It’s not a perfect replacement for larger family rooms, but if you’re furnishing your apartment or other smaller rooms and really want to amplify your listening experience, the Sonos Sub Mini is a great choice—no audio nerdiness necessary.

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