There is a great deal of comfort that comes from buying from a trusted brand. Years of experience and consistent top performance takes the guesswork out of buying your gear. The Bose F1 continues a long tradition of quality products. In this review, we check out what the F1 has to offer.
The Bose F1 model 812 flexible array loudspeaker offers exclusive features not found on any other speaker. It aims to deliver exceptional sound quality in a variety of applications. With some other clever features, it positions itself as a premium choice in the speaker market. Does it deliver? Let’s find out.
The Bose F1 system offers a unique and refreshing take on the loudspeaker setup. Let’s dive into the details and see what it offers both beginner and seasoned musicians.
You know you are onto a winner when you find yourself with a massive grin on your face without realizing it. That is the feeling the Bose F1 model 812 provides.
Quality is a word often associated with Bose and for good reason. When they come out with a product it rarely disappoints. The sound quality packed into the F1 is fantastic. Clear and well-defined mids and highs handle vocals and instruments with ease. The low end is clear and meaty with excellent bass performance. You can take this to the next level when used in conjunction with the Bose F1 sub.
Pairing the F1 with the matching sub gives you a much richer low-end response.
The flexible array speakers are a fantastic offering. This type of setup is usually reserved for large performance venues. To have the same mentality applied to a portable performance speaker is great. The ability to handle different layouts and venues adds to the impressive sound quality. You don’t have to fiddle with settings and it can handle a variety of situations. But more on that in the Tuning Options section below.
No shortcuts when it comes to the Bose F1 812. It’s solid and sturdy. The plastic is thick and hard. Usually, this would result in a heavy speaker. While it is heavier than some other options it’s still portable at a little over 20kg.
The Bose F1 is expensive but does offer great build quality.
The textured finish also helps to protect from scratches and marks. This will keep your gear looking great. The durability also extends to the interior with premium-grade materials throughout. I’d be confident that the F1 could take some serious punishment before it would show issues.
Not that I would expect anything less from Bose. They have a long history of premium speakers and the Bose F1 delivers once again.
The Bose F1 packs a Class-D bi-amp design. This means that both the low end and mid and high end have a dedicated amp. This allows Bose to better tailor each amp to the task at hand.
A powerful speaker that is a little heavier than the average.
Housed in the front are the 8 drivers to handle the mid and high as part of the flexible array. Sitting behind is a 12-inch woofer for the low end.
Frequency response sits at 43Hz – 20kHz at -10 dB. More than enough to handle the full frequency spectrum. At 132 dB SPL at the peak, it is also very loud. You’ll have no trouble filling a small to medium-sized space.
At 44.5 pounds (20.4kg) it does make it one of the heavier options on the market. It’s still a far cry from some older and much heavier speakers and still transportable.
This is where the Bose F1 takes a different approach compared to its competitors. Traditional speakers use an onboard DSP with an LCD screen. From there you would cycle through various tuning options to get the most out of the speaker. Bose offers you a selection of tuning options. The difference is in how you access and adjust them.
This new feature is unlike anything available in standard loudspeakers. Due to the flexible array speakers, you adjust the output by manipulating the speaker itself. By pushing the front speaker grilles in and out you can adjust to 4 different output patterns.
The interior of the Bose F1 features eight 2.25″ tweeters.
The “Straight” array is for front-facing delivery. This is great if your audience is standing and you are not located on a stage.
The next option is a “Reverse J Position”. This is ideal for performers that need to cover a range from head height and upwards.
The “J Position” will send the signal down but not up. This is best suited if you are performing on a stage overlooking the audience.
The final option is the “C Position” which gives you the most coverage from floor to ceiling. It handles tiered seating setups so no one misses out.
When you alter the speakers to your desired position the Bose F1 automatically adjusts the output. The internal EQ will adjust to the performance requirements. This saves you from having to dig through a variety of presets trying to find what works for the venue. Some may prefer access to fiddle with the EQ and balance themselves. For others, it makes setup quick and easy.
The Bose F1 looks smart and professional. The combination of vertical lines and horizontal lines also sets it apart from other speakers. The charcoal grey color scheme runs throughout the whole speaker.
The Bose F1 offers an innovative and attractive design.
Even the optional sub looks attractive. It also presents another great feature. The sub includes extendible stands for you to mount the F1 on top. This creates an all-in-one solution to setting up your speakers. While a great feature, it doesn’t offer adjustable height. It’s also a little shorter than I would have expected.
In combination, they present a professional appearance. It wouldn’t look out of place in both casual and commercial environments. Small details like the ability to hide cabling along the back add to the clean aesthetic.
The Bose F1 is on the larger side of similar speakers. But this is understandable due to the unique flexible array system.
At 44.5 lbs. (20.4 kg) the F1 is heavier than other options but still relatively portable.
The Bose F1 also features a central carry handle at the back of the speaker. There is also another carry handle available at the top.
There are two input options available on the Bose F1. Line 1 offers a combo jack that supports TRS and XLR inputs. You can use this input for Mic or Line level input. Line 2 offers a TRS and also RCA input. Few loudspeakers offer RCA as an option. This is especially helpful if you are a new DJ that has picked up a DJ controller. Having access to these extra inputs makes it easier to plug and play with your gear.
A full selection of connection options gives you maximum choice.
Each input has a volume control knob and LED indicators to show if you are in the dreaded red zone clipping territory. A line output is also present if you want to chain several speakers together.
The Bose F1 Model 812 is a fantastic PA speaker in its own right. But there will be situations where you may find yourself playing in larger venues. In this situation, you’ll likely want some extra thump in the low end to help fill the space.
This is where the full F1 system comes into play. The companion F1 subwoofer adds an extra two 10-inch subs in a compact form factor. There is also a convenient built-in speaker stand included for easy integration with the F1 Model 812. If you want an all-in-one package the F1 subwoofer is an excellent addition to the F1 Model 812.
Read our full Bose F1 subwoofer review for more detailed information.
The Bose F1 is a premium speaker and it does come with a premium price. But, the quality that you get is top of the line. In this regard, I do consider the Bose F1 as offering good value for money. Many other high-quality speakers are not that much cheaper. You will be paying more than average but you do get an above-average speaker.
What Others Have To Say
There is a lot of praise for clear and crisp sound quality. Many people also love the portable and easy-to-install nature of the system.
Selecting Speakers For Different Types of Gigs
Before we dive into the review it’s worth covering one of the challenges musicians face when buying speakers.
The types of gigs you’ll come across will vary. You bookings can include a small intimate lounge bar up to a large hall or auditorium. Each of these different venues presents its own set of challenges for you as a performer. Your goal is to deliver an outstanding performance so that word spreads. This leads to positive reviews and more bookings and recognition.
Despite your level of talent, a poorly arranged sound system will ruin your chance at success. Using the right type of speaker is also critical.
Understanding your venue and how to place your speakers is also important. Knowing where the crowd will be can help you determine how high your speakers need to sit. Getting to grips with the size of the venue can also shed light on whether you’ll need extra speakers or a subwoofer.
Venues come in all shapes and sizes. It pays to spend some time fine-tuning your setup.
This is where speakers with flexible tuning options can assist. While you can’t always have the perfect gear you can try to adapt to the venue as best you can. Performing a basic soundcheck can guide you in making alterations to where your speakers sit. It can also help in determining if you need to tweak the EQ on your loudspeakers.
Many beginner musicians overlook these simple steps. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’ll sound great no matter what the venue. Take the time to learn and adapt the setup to the venue. Your performances will be all the better for it.
While the Bose F1 is a fantastic speaker there are other options available. From more budget alternatives to other trusted brands. Here are some other speakers to consider.
Mackie Thump 12A Review
The Mackie Thump 12A does not have the premium quality and features of the Bose. What it does offer is affordability. If you are on a tight budget it is a good option to get you started.
- Affordable entry-level speaker.
- Loud volume output.
- Not the best build-quality.
Mackie Thump 12A
QSC K12.2 Review
The QSC K12.2 is another premium speaker to consider. It offers excellent sound quality and a range of easy-to-use tuning options. This makes it excellent at handling different venue types and applications.
- Excellent sound quality across all frequencies.
- Long 6-year warranty.
- Popular Deep Bass function is no longer available on the new model.
Yamaha DBR10 Review
Yamaha is another trusted brand that produces quality speakers. The DBR10 is a solid loudspeaker that delivers good sound quality. It also has a few options other speakers don’t offer.
- A trusted brand with solid and durable construction.
- RCA input option for added flexibility.
- The mids and highs are more pronounced.
Should You Buy?
The Bose F1 is a high-quality speaker. It offers innovative design backed by a brand you can trust. The flexibility that it offers to handle a wide range of venue types is great. It’s perfect for musicians, mobile DJs, and professional organizations that need a reliable and portable speaker. While not the most budget-friendly speaker its performance is impressive. I have no hesitation in recommending the Bose F1.