The Bose S1 Pro PA System is a force to be reckoned with. All new for this year, we had a chance to get going with this thing at NAMM. We’re big fans of speakers as you can tell, but lately we’ve been on a big portable PA system kick considered quite a few of our brands have come out with new gear in this category (such as the Korg KONNECT or even JBL Boombox (technically a BT speaker, but similar price-points) — read those reviews after if you’re interested). Today we wanted to spell out some of the details that make the S1 Pro a big deal, as well as our thoughts, experiences and overall analysis after being able to use and of course, hear the S1 Pro in action before it was released in the market. Let’s check it out!
Main features of the Bose S1 Pro PA system
- Lightweight, portable and rugged
- 3-channel mixer (with tone controls and reverb)
- Multiple aiming positions
- Auto EQ
- Compatible with speaker-stands
- Lithium-ion rechargeable battery optional
- Dimensions: 13″ H x 9.5″ W x 11.2″ D
- Weight: 15 lbs.
- In the box: S1 Pro, soft cover and AC power cord
Power and sound quality of the Bose S1 Pro
We remember when this thing first caught our eye. We were walking by the Bose booth at NAMM and saw a huge circle of people with some really loud music playing. We’re sure you can guess, as we approached the circle saw this bad boy tilted on its side (we thought to ourselves, is this how it normally stands? Apparently not, as you can see with the ‘multi-position’ title). It definitely out-powered a lot of the music being played all around us, and we were quite surprised at how small we initially perceived it to be.
The sound quality of the S1 Pro does not lack whatsoever. Unfortunately, you cannot connect an external subwoofer to this. But the bass is pretty deep by itself. Pair it up with another PA system and you can attain even more power (yes, they’re compatible with Bose’s L1 systems). The ‘ToneMatch processing’, although seen as some fancy terminology, is in our opinion also a big additive for microphones or acoustic guitars. This is a specific audio engine made by Bose themselves. Although technically sold separately as well, it works by processing digital audio with some presets that adapts to the particular sound you’re conveying. It enriches the sound quite well by literally ‘shaping the tone’ of both voices and instruments and maximizing the sonic properties through equalization. Sounds a bit sciency, we know. Pair this up with that power and you have great balance of clarity and thump — we definitely heard this loud and clear, especially at a noisy convention such as NAMM.
Using the Bose S1 Pro Portable PA System
Let’s talk about this multi-position ability, in our opinion one of the biggest standouts of the Bose S1 Pro aside from perhaps the sound quality and power. We love the versatility this one brings us, being that PA systems can at times be pretty limiting when it comes to how we set it up. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard of users having a hard time position speakers depending on their use. We’ve even had people state they have different PA systems for different environments, and although this particular S1 Pro won’t completely eliminate the need for that, we feel can only help if you’re one to use portable PA systems for numerous uses. Set it up as a monitor, speaker stand, elevated or even tilt-back if you wish. How you’ll like to use this will depend on the environment, crowd number, as well as style you like. For example, use it elevated as a nice, simple speaker option at a party, or stick it on a stand for a live show. Tilt it back if you have to leave your speakers a decent distance from your audience, or as a floor monitor for up-close and personal music reasons.
Weighing in at 15 pounds, there’s also a built-in handle for super easy transport. You can most definitely carry two at once with both hands. Even more nifty is the rechargeable battery built inside. We definitely recommend using the AC power cord if you’re performing in front of crowd as to not risk it, but be our guest if you can fully charge it before and trust it won’t die on you. The Bluetooth option also makes this a portable Bluetooth speaker technically, and although we don’t recommend buying it just for that kind of use, can be extremely handy if you’re sick of those cheaper, aftermarket BT speakers everybody has. Let’s just say you’ll blow every one away if you bring this to a party for everyone to play music on.
What about the controls we have at our fingertips? We think this will be a big decisive factor for you, since purchasing a PA system like this will be worth it if you plan on at least engineering somewhat or are the type of person who wants good control over what you’re conveying to an audience (or yourself). It’s also noted that it’ll be especially significant if you plan on plugging in some mics into this thing — think performing on a smaller stage, outdoors, house parties, karaoke, etc. If not, there may be other systems that are better for you without a higher price due to mic and TRS inputs. Here’s what you’ll be attaining on the back of the S1 Pro:
- Power switch (with quick charge option with its rechargeable battery)
- Three channel mixer with control of volume
- Signal indicators
- First two channels include 2 XLR combo-1/4″ inputs
- Dedicated ToneMatch
- Tone Controls
- Third channel includes Bluetooth streaming or 1/8″ input
- Dedicated line output
- Speaker stand pole-mount at the bottom
Concluding the Bose S1 Pro PA System review
You can read up on some competitors in our best portable PA system guide. However, the overall power, sound quality, controls and versatility it brings us is a huge standout among many other competitors in the speaker system game. There are also some advanced features we love that are built-in to this, that may or may not be worth the higher price-tag for you, such as ToneMatch, quick charge, as well literally having built-in sensors to scan for where it’s aiming sound at to adjust the auto EQ.
All in all, the Bose S1 Pro is an amazing portable PA system we think is worth buying, especially if you want to grab two. It’s best used for significantly smaller performances at medium-sized venues, house parties (DJ’s and musicians alike), leisure listening (if you really want to listen to music loud) or for smaller parties (just one will suffice there) and more. Really, anything you can think of, the S1 Pro will work if the crowd isn’t too big or doesn’t call for something a bit more professional.