Review: Bose S1 Pro

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(Image: © Bose)

Bose has earned a stellar reputation over the years for audio products, including their compact Wave system home stereos, home theater systems and noise-cancelling headphones. Over the last decade or so, Bose has applied similar innovation and ingenuity to designing portable PA systems for musicians. In addition to providing the outstanding sound quality Bose products are known for, their portable PA systems are incredibly compact; while delivering professional performance and ample volume output, comparable to much bigger systems. The new Bose S1 Pro is the company’s smallest and most affordable portable PA, and its brilliant design is ideal for singer-guitarists who perform in small venues or even outdoors, where power outlets are inaccessible.

FEATURES The Bose S1 Pro is housed in a compact enclosure that’s about the size of an average home stereo speaker and weighs about 15 pounds. The enclosure is designed for multiple mounting configurations, including floor monitor, tilt-back, elevated surface or on a speaker stand. Speakers consist of three 2.25-inch drives and one 6-inch high-excursion woofer driven by a built-in power amp. Separate microphone, guitar (XLR-1/4-inch combo jacks) and auxiliary inputs (auxiliary input audio also can be streamed wirelessly via Bluetooth); a ¼-inch line output and a three-channel mixer with individual bass, treble, reverb, as well as ToneMatch controls for channels 1 and 2, make the S1 Pro a true all-in-one PA system. An optional, rechargeable lithium-ion battery enables hours of performance, without needing to plug into a power outlet.

PERFORMANCE The Bose S1 Pro instantly adapts to various situations to provide optimal sound — changing projection patterns to suit floor, elevated, tilt-back and speaker-stand setup configurations. Unlike many compact speaker systems, the S1 Pro does not have a narrow “sweet spot,” but instead disperses full-range sound quality across an impressively wide sound field. Bose states that the S1 Pro is ideal for audiences of 50 or fewer, but it easily can be used to fill larger rooms with volume levels that are just above the average volume of conversation. The ToneMatch feature instantly optimizes the sound quality of guitars and vocal microphones to provide rich, full, distortion-free tone with impressive clarity, while the treble and bass EQ controls allow further refinement, without radically altering the sound. The built-in reverb may be a no-frills “meat and potatoes” effect, but it provides pleasant, natural-sounding room ambience effects that are particularly useful when playing outdoors.

STREET PRICE: $599 MANUFACTURER: Bose, bose.com

A built-in three-channel mixer accommodates vocal mics, acoustic-electric guitars and an auxiliary sound source.

The ToneMatch feature instantly optimizes the sound quality of guitars or microphones at the flick of a switch.

THE BOTTOM LINE The Bose S1 Pro functions as an impressive portable PA, practice amp and monitor — delivering sound quality and volume output much bigger and better than its compact dimensions suggest.