Bose is no stranger in the audio space. Their line of both consumer and professional speakers is often among the most popular options available. In this review, we check out the Bose S1 Pro. A compact and power-packed speaker that has a lot to offer.
Bose S1 Pro
The Bose S1 Pro sports a range of great features. Versatile and dependable it is an appealing choice for a wide range of applications. A standout feature is it’s battery, making this one of the best battery powered PA systems currently available. Let’s check out the highlights before diving into the details.
Despite coming in as one of the cheaper Bose options the S1 Pro still carries a fairly high price tag. Let’s dig into the details to see if it’s worth it.
Bose often leans towards a more prosumer approach to their products. Bose impresses with high-quality audio and smiley-faced EQ curves that please the average listener.
But this is one area where the Bose S1 Pro does differ. The sound quality here is far more neutral than you’d expect. Not only is it well balanced it also retains exceptional clarity.
The highs are clean and defined. Crisp with no harshness. Not as precise as some but certainly more refined than the vast majority of PA systems this size.
The mids are equally clear. Tonality is rich and harmonious. The lows offer decent punch but there is a distinct drop-off in the sub-bass regions.
Considering it is a small battery-powered unit the lack of deep sub-bass is not unexpected. But there is enough kick and thump here to satisfy most people.
The dispersion is decent but not as broad as the marketing suggests. If you play in larger spaces you will notice a difference in audio fidelity as you move through the space. For these instances, you’ll need to run a pair of these.
But this more narrow sweet spot makes it ideal as a monitor. The Bose S1 Pro offers three configurations. Vertical, horizontal, and vertical with an upward angle. The latter is an excellent option as a floor monitor that delivers crisp sound directly to you.
It’s an impressive PA system with excellent definition. Pleasant to listen to without ear fatigue while retaining lots of warmth.
The Bose S1 Pro does offer solid build quality. The cabinet is robust and dependable. While it is plastic it doesn’t feel flimsy or cheap. The tough metal grille does an excellent job of protecting the drivers. But there is no further protection from dust or water. If you do intend to use this outdoors you’ll need to be mindful to not expose it to the elements.
The Bose S1 Pro is a solid and dependable PA System.
The mixer section is equally dependable. The connection points and knobs are all high-quality. It’s a polished product that lives up to the Bose name.
The Bose S1 Pro offers a 6-inch low-frequency woofer along with three 2.25-inch high-frequency drivers. This combination delivers excellent sound quality. With a frequency range of 70Hz-16kHz at -3dB, it offers plenty of depth.
The Bose S1 Pro is loud and capable with good component quality.
At 150W it also offers a similar power output as other comparable PA speakers in the market. Pleasingly it is also quite loud despite its compact form factor. At max volume, you can expect it to reach around 98dB. This is more than enough for small performances. But if there are a lot of people or you find yourself in a large venue it is a little underwhelming. Where the Bose S1 Pro shines is in the lack of distortion at higher volumes. It sounds just as good at low levels as it does at higher ones.
The Bose S1 Pro offers up to 11 hours of battery life. You can opt for a direct connection as well. While 11hrs sounds like a lot this does reduce based on volume levels. Expect to come closer to around 5hrs if you are giving it a good thrashing at higher volumes. But even then that is a lot of time. More than enough for most performances or your next party.
This is one area where the Bose S1 Pro could use some improvement. The unit itself offers intelligent compensation based on placement. This ensures that if the unit is vertical, horizontal, or angled that it delivers clean smooth audio. But it lacks access to more granular control.
The Bose S1 Pro offers a limited amount of tuning options.
Channel 1 and 2 offer volume control along with Bass and Treble knobs. These are often enough to make required adjustments. But I would have liked the option to adjust mids. Reverb is also available for these channels.
The Bose S1 Pro doesn’t offer any presets to accommodate different applications. Luckily the unit handles both speech, music, and monitor situations well. But some well-designed presets would have been a great addition. Especially for beginners that may not know how to adjust EQs to suit different scenarios.
Tonematch is also available. This technology from Bose aims to balance output based on microphone and instrument combinations. While it does okay in most situations it is a jack-of-all-trades approach which isn’t always perfect.
The Bose S1 Pro is an attractive and functional PA system. The all-black cabinet doesn’t offer any hints of color. It’s sleek, clean, and professional. The imposing angled metal grille belies an aura of toughness. The Bose logo adorns the center of the grille.
The Bose S1 Pro is an attractive PA system from all angles.
The angled edges also give it a unique appearance. This also doubles as the foundation for the various setup configurations. It sits cleanly both vertically, horizontally, and on the vertical angle. The addition of a carry handle is a good inclusion making it easy to transport. A pole mount connection point is also available.
It looks and sounds great. I wouldn’t expect anything less from Bose.
The Bose S1 Pro offers a compact form factor that is ideal for solo performers. It isn’t cumbersome and is lightweight.
The Bose S1 Pro is a compact and portable PA system.
At 15.7 lbs. (7.1kg) it is easy to transport and set up. The convenient carry handle allows you to carry it one-handed freeing up your other hand for other gear. A powerful and compact system.
With two primary channels and a third aux connection, the Bose S1 Pro is well equipped. Channel 1 and 2 offer combo jacks for XLR and ¼-inch TRS connections. The third channel offers a ⅛-inch AUX point. While simple on the surface the combination of these connections is often enough for most applications. The only omission here is RCA which is not a dealbreaker.
The Bose S1 Pro offers 3 channels and Bluetooth connectivity.
Bluetooth connectivity is also available. Pairing is quick and simple and the range is fantastic. There is no fear of dropouts and the latency is ultra-tight. Pairing with other S1 Pro’s is also easy for stereo sound. The Bose Connect App is the central hub for these functions. While a capable and streamlined app it doesn’t offer the granular EQ control some other competitor apps offer.
The Bose name does come with an increased price point. But there is a reasonable balance between quality, features, and price. Plus the added security of a well-established brand does add to the appeal. The S1 Pro is a more affordable option compared to the more advanced systems from Bose. It’s a good stepping stone into the Bose ecosystem. The unit is versatile, sounds great, and looks the part. But if you are a bargain hunter there are capable alternatives out there.
The Bose S1 Pro has overwhelmingly positive reviews. People love how easy the system is to use. They also highlight the exceptional sound quality. With so many positives it is no surprise the S1 Pro is among the most highly rated battery-powered PA systems available today.
Smiley Face EQ Vs Neutral Audio
Enjoying sound is often a deeply personal experience. Everyone has their preferences but most of the time it comes down to two primary options. A smiley face EQ or neutral response.
A smiley face EQ gets its name from the boosted low and high end on an equalizer that resembles a smile. This is often one of the most common presets for consumer-level gear. It’s satisfying due to the meatier low end and dazzling high end. But while it is satisfying it doesn’t represent the source material in its purest form. If you want to experience your music the way it sounded when recorded you’ll be better off with a neutral response.
A smiley face EQ is satisfying but not accurate.
A neutral-sounding system doesn’t try to exaggerate or hype up the source material. This gives you clear and clean audio which is excellent for more analytical listening. Details are precise and crisp. Delivery matches the original recording and allows you to enjoy the subtleties of the music.
Which one is better is a never-ending debate. Everyone will have a preference. And neither option is the wrong choice when it comes to enjoying the music you love.
The battery-powered PA space has grown in leaps and bounds over the last few years. Better battery technology and the demand for simple and easy-to-use systems are at an all-time high. As a result, it has given rise to plenty of options. Here are some other choices worth considering.
Bose L1 Pro 8 Review
If you need something a bit more substantial the L1 Pro 8 from Bose is a fantastic alternative. The array system delivers superb sound quality while still maintaining portability.
- Loud and powerful sound that can easily fill smaller venues.
- Extensive connection and tuning options make it a versatile choice.
- A bigger and more powerful unit does mean a much higher price point.
Bose L1 Pro 8
Roland BA 330 Review
The Roland BA 330 is an interesting alternative to the S1 Pro. It opts against a rechargeable battery and instead offers power via 8 AA batteries. But without Bluetooth, it may not be a good option for some performers.
- Rugged build quality from a brand known for building tough gear.
- The loud and powerful sound can handle small events with ease.
- It is nearly double the weight of the S1 Pro so not as ergonomic.
Mackie FreePlay LIVE Review
The FreePlay LIVE from Mackie is another excellent option in the battery-powered space. It is ultra-compact and lightweight. It also offers excellent sound quality and impressive battery life.
- The compact form factor is ideal for buskers and solo performers.
- Affordable price point while maintaining excellent features.
- Not a great choice for anything beyond small performances.
Mackie FreePlay LIVE
Should You Buy?
The Bose S1 Pro is a fantastic battery-powered PA system. It’s a cheaper option in the Bose range while still offering that high level of quality. The audio delivery is very impressive. Rich vocals, defined instrumentals, and enough thump to get you moving. While there are cheaper systems out there the Bose S1 Pro is easily one of the best options available today.
Bose S1 Pro