REVIEW: Sonos’ latest product is out – although it’s not like it’s a surprise. There have been whispers about a smaller sub since late last year, the only surprise is how long it took.
And the launch of the Sub Mini struck a familiar note as previous Sonos subwoofers – it’s quite expensive.
It’s not like there aren’t expensive subwoofers on the market. KEF has a subwoofer that costs £1300, Bose’s Soundbar bass module is £800, while Sony’s current range of bass amplifiers have one that costs £649. If you are a home theater lover after the best performance, you will pay what you deem appropriate.
But it feels like Sonos keeps repeating the same mistake with its subwoofers, in that each one is as expensive, if not more so, than its partner speaker. The Sonos Sub Gen 3 has an RRP of $749 / £749, not far off the Arc’s RRP of £899. The Sonos Sub Mini is $429 / £429, which is only slightly less than the $449 / £449 of the Sonos Beam Gen 2. If you wanted to pair the Sub Mini with the Ray, it’s a lot more expensive than its asking price of $279/£279.
There’s a hole – possibly the same one in the Sub Mini – that Sonos never really threaded the needle with its subwoofers. The Sony HT-A7000 (£1299) can be paired with the £699 SWA-S5 – pricey to be sure – but at nearly half the price, if you’re willing to pay that much for the soundbar itself, the sub does not. also seem exorbitant. Compared to the speakers they’re supposed to pair with, Sonos’ subs are very expensive, limiting its appeal only to those who feel compelled to add a sub to their system. It’s not a sub for more casual users and it could have been.
If it was me, I would have to think long and hard before making this decision. It should be a relatively simple decision to make.
The price of subwoofers makes them less of an impulse buy and more of a decision you make later. I would say the bass is an integral part of the cinematic experience – some may disagree, but that’s a matter of taste – and the price sends the wrong message, putting it on the back burner.
Or it says the right thing: that bass is a key part of the experience and you have to pay the requisite value. But to me, the direction the soundbar/home theater sound market is heading with single bar systems often not including a subwoofer, and the sub is seen as an accessory and not the main meal.
And so, I wonder how many people will grab Sonos to buy the Sub Mini. It’s a good idea for those with smaller rooms, but I imagine the market for that type of person leans towards a more casual market, and Sonos’ pricing for its subwoofers makes it a tougher sell.