Soul-shaking sound. Heart-pounding design. One-button setup. Just a few of the qualities that made the Sonos SUB such a welcome addition to the homes of music and home cinema lovers the world over.
As the new all-white version becomes available, we caught up with the folks behind the bass to find out what made the original SUB so special and what the refresh means for home design today:
“Once we decided that we were going to make a SUB, we were trying to tackle two problems,” explains Mieko Kusano, Senior Director of Product Management. “One – typical subs are just pretty ugly! Two – most are basically designed as large cubes making them very inflexible to place. We wanted to design an object that was beautiful enough that people wouldn’t want to hide it and which was also very flexible.”
You might say we have a passion in trying to make our speakers more in tune with how we’re all living, so it’s no surprise that the team then looked at some basic architectural principles for inspiration:
“The challenge we have with our products is that they have to live in your environment, but frankly we also have to design them to disappear,” says Tad Toulis, VP of Design. “We only want them to come forward when you’re actually using them.”
“Before, it felt like technology had to try and be dressed up to feel appropriate in the house, and now we’re past that and it just needs to be done really beautifully”.
Using some classic Nordic design principles, the SUB’s new white makeover takes Tad’s vision a step further. Now able to blend seamlessly into homes with lighter décors, its stripped-back beauty allows the SUB to be as present or as passive as it needs to be.
It’s this sense of domestic revolution that inspired Creative Director Dana Krieger: “Before, it felt like technology had to try and be dressed up to feel appropriate in the house, and now we’re past that and it just needs to be done really beautifully”. But its chameleon-like qualities belie an awesome punch that doesn’t give the typical rattle of most sub-woofers, explains Mieko:
“There’s a tremendous amount of force coming through that hole, but if you put a glass of wine on top of it you don’t see any movements. And you’ll notice that our speakers are kind of like Lego blocks that fit together – put them together their behaviour changes. If you don’t have the SUB, the other speakers have to generate the bass and so you’re actually taking some of the midrange out of them to enable them to do so. So the moment you add a SUB to your set up, not only are you going to get more bass, but also the speakers that were trying to generate the bass before suddenly get to a better, fuller sound”.
So from making your house party sound system complete, to hearing every boom, crash and rumble thundering from the latest blockbuster, the all-white SUB brings the bass back home again.