Late last month, Sonos, the maker of the Sonos Wireless HiFi System, announced it latest addition to its set of wireless speakers, the Sonos Sub. Unlike the Sonos Play:3 or Play:5, which were pretty complete wireless speakers, the Sono Sub is a 16 kg heavy dedicated subwoofer which is designed to be added to an existing Sonos wireless HiFi system. During a road-show earlier this week, I had the exclusive chance to get my hands or in this case ears on a Sub. The Sub, which was all developed by Sonos, features two force-cancelling speakers positioned face-to-face- All the sound and energy from the music comes through loud and clear and none of it is lost in cabinet buzz or rattle.
It's indeed quite amazing that the Sub itself isn't jumping through the room like a pogo-dancer but it stands rather smooth which was proofed with the glass of water test on the Sub, while in action hammering the beats like an air hammer. The Sub is powered by two state of the art Class-D digital amplifiers that have been perfectly tuned to match the speakers and acoustic architecture.
The cabinet is made from proprietary resin to create acoustically dead walls with maximum internal air volume. Whether the unit is standing up or lying down, the Sub's unique design and smart wireless signal allows customers to place it anywhere they want in the room - even lying flat under a couch or bed without any loss in sound or performance.
The Sub itself fits nice into an existing Sonos Play:3 or Play:5 environment. For the road-show, Sonos user a pair or Play:3 as stereo speakers left and right and since Sonos is controlling the all filter settings, active equalization and time alignment through it's state-of-the-art DSP, the used Play:3s and the Sub were perfectly aligned to each other. For instance the Sonos Controller shuts of the active bass parts of the Play:3 or Play:5, if a Sub is added to the system, but the Play:'s are then only used for the mid range spectrum and tweeter while the Sub takeover the bass-line.
The system itself is configured through the Sonos Controller which can be either configured from a Mac or PC, or with the mobile clients for iOS or Android and the whole process is rather simple. After the Sub was added to the system, it only takes a handful of clicks, where the customer has to vote which configuration sounds better and it's done. The whole process shouldn't take more than just 3 minutes or so.
Being really in love with the Sonos idea, the Sub is a great addition to each and every system - under some circumstances. First of all, the sound is amazing, the Sub really fills up a room, and the road-show location was a rather large one which nevertheless was nicely filled. And for sure, the Sub is the missing piece to complete the Play:3 or Play:5 which however were never made to be boom boxes but rather generalists. For a typical living room setup, two Play:3 or Play:5 are good enough anyway, but music lovers will appreciate the upcoming launch of the Sub and will enjoy it - I'm pretty sure.
But music lovers is also the catchword here! While the Play:3 for instance, is rather affordable, the Sub is rather expensive. The high-gloss black lacquer finished version, which will be available from June 19, costs US $699/699 Euro; which makes it a premium product for real music enthusiasts. Furthermore, the Sub adds so much volume and bass to the system, that it's pretty unlikely that you can operate it in your apartment but you better have a house of your own. If the apartment isn't the problem but the price, Sonos has good news for you too. A black matte finish will be available in October which will "only" costs US$ 599/599 Euro.
Cheers ~ Arne