Santa Barbara, Calif. - Sonos will offer a wireless subwoofer for the first time for its wireless multi-room audio system.
The Sonos Sub will be available in mid-June in high-gloss black-lacquer finish for $699 followed by a black-matte version in October at $599.
Sonos systems create a wireless mesh network that, when connected to a home's router, lets consumers stream Internet radio stations, Internet music services and PC-stored music to wireless clients located throughout the house. To select Internet music sources and PC-stored songs for playback on different clients, consumers use a program installed on a networked PC or Mac or a Sonos app installed on Wi-Fi-connected Apple and Android handheld devices.
Because the subwoofer is wireless, it can be placed anywhere in a room without running a wire from it to a Sonos client, and because of its slim shape and driver configuration, the Sub can be placed upright on the floor or laid flat and slipped under a couch.
Sonos clients include the $299 Play:3 two-way one-piece wireless stereo speaker, the $399-suggested Play:5 three-way one-piece stereo speaker, a $499 Connect:Amp that connects to any pair of passive stereo speakers, and the $349 Connect, which connects to existing amplified sound systems or to powered speakers. The clients also stream music from iPods and iPhones docked in a $119 wireless iPod/iPhone dock.
The Sub, which connects wirelessly to Sonos' mesh network, work with all of the company's tabletop clients but the $349 Connect to extend bass response to 25Hz at low listening levels and to 27Hz at maximum volume, said product manager Jonathan Reilly.
The company's amplified speakers lack wired subwoofer output. The $499 Connect:Amp features wired subwoofer output.
The 15.8- by 6.2- by 15-inch subwoofer can be placed upright on the floor or placed flat under a couch, thanks to its 6.2-inch depth and two opposing racetrack-style cone drivers that fire into one another through a slot in the center of the SUB's enclosure. The force-canceling driver configuration also prevents the enclosure from vibrating.
Sonos didn't reveal the power rating or SPL output of the Sub's two Class D amplifiers, but the company said the Sub features individual ports for each 150-square-centimeter driver, active digital crossovers, digital phase control and digital level control. The drivers are tuned to the cabinet, which is made of proprietary resin to create acoustically dead walls with maximum internal air volume, the company said.
Consumers use the Sonos app on their handheld device to bond the Sub to a particular Play:3 or Play:5 amplified speaker or to the Connect:Amp. The Sub and the tabletop devices then automatically adjust their EQ and level to deliver the best sound.
Users can also use their Sonos app to adjust the subwoofer's phase to deliver the loudest bass output and adjust subwoofer level up or down to compensate for placement. If the Sub is placed in a corner, consumers might opt to dial down the Sub's level, Reilly said.
The Sub will also recognize whether a consumers is using two Play:3 or Play:5 speakers in a room as separate left-right speakers. The subwoofer and speakers then automatically adjust EQ and level for two-speaker playback in a room. Although both tabletop speakers deliver stereo from a single chassis, users can use two speakers as separate left-right speakers to widen the stereo image and deliver higher output.
The Sub will be available through all Sonos channels but Target, which is authorized to sell only the Play:3, Play:5 and Bridge. Sonos dealers include A/V specialists, custom installers, online retailers such as Amazon and Crutchfield, and such retailers as Magnolia HiFi and P.C. Richard & Son.
With the launch of the Sub, Sonos is also launching a new promotion strategy in which it teams with music artists to promote Sonos systems in 30- and 60-second online ads, in print media, and on billboards. The intent is to position Sonos as a music-culture company and communicate a listening-experience story instead of a technology story, said Reilly.
Sonos has teamed with electronic-dance-music DJ Deadmau5 and will team with other artists in the future.
Ads are appearing in such print media as W magazine and The New York Times magazine.
In another shift, the company opened its own art gallery in Los Angeles on May 9 to host art events and music events while promoting Sonos systems. The Sonos-Studio opened May 9 with a performance by ?uestlove.
On other topics, a spokesman told TWICE that Sonos worldwide sales hit $250 million in calendar 2011, which also marked the third consecutive year in which the number of Sonos-equipped households doubled in number. The company is on track to make that four consecutive years, a spokesman said.