Sonos Sub pictures and hands-on

Sonos, the company behind the multi-room wireless music system, has launched a wireless subwoofer to fit into any room, instantly boosting the performance of the company's range of zone players. But can it really be that easy? We popped into a London recording studio to crank up the bass to full blast to find out, ahead of a full review in the office.

The first impression is that the Sonos Sub is big. It's a large sub-woofer-sized box that is covered in a piano black lacquer making it shimmer and shine as the light hits it. Aside from a small single button on the side and the Sonos logo in white on the front there are no other imperfections disturbing the casing and its powerful sound inside.

What's also immediately apparent is that the Sub's two speakers point inwards and are revealed only by a hole in the centre - meaning you can't block the sound. That means you can hide it in the corner of the room - there is a cheaper version if you aren't fussed with the lacquer finish - or under your sofa if there is enough clearance (we suspect that there won't be).

Once you've worked out where to put your Sub, we suspect if you care this much you'll want to show it off, it is all about connecting the system to your current Sonos speaker.

The Sonos Sub will work with all the Sonos gear apart from the non-amplified Sonos CONNECT/ZP90/ZP80 and this Sonos tell us is because they can't monitor the volume levels on a third-party amp to know what it is doing.

With the rest of the system the Sonos Sub works to increase the volume accordingly in harmony and - using the array of the Sonos controller apps available - you can manage things like gain and bass levels at the press of a button. As you would expect from Sonos, it is very easy to manage.

Enough of the set-up, what about the performance?

Good news is, that the Sonos Sub sounds superb. Our test system consisted of two Play:3 units connected in stereo with the Sonos Sub sitting in the middle of the room. Music was via Spotify. 

In our 30-minute briefing we were able to test it with two tracks we chose - Invaders Must Die by The Prodigy and Sour Times by Portishead. We chose those because both tracks have heavy bass elements alongside high treble or female vocals.

What was noticeable, and confirmed by Sonos, is that in this set up the Play:3 units are able to ditch worrying about the bass and concentrate on the treble, working harder to do so. That's a very clever move and one that means you won't get one element of the system not being able to cope.

In a classic show off moment, Jonathon Reilly, the product manger at Sonos for the Sonos Sub, placed a glass of water on to of the Sub. Even though it was at full volume the water didn't move. Impressive.

As Sonos has continued to expand and go "mass market" some could say it has forgotten the core music audience it started out to impress. No so any more. This is Sonos returning to its roots  and delivering a music device that is all about sound and it has succeed, if our first listen is anything to go by.

This isn't for everyone, something even Reilly admits, but for those that are intrigued by the looks of things you won't be disappointed.

We will be working on a full review when we get our review unit in the office sometime in June.

The Sonos Sub will cost £599 and be available in the UK on 19 June. 



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