Bose S1 Pro Review

Bose S1 Pro Review

In the S1 Pro, Bose has combined the portable speakers from its consumer line with its pro-audio products. The extremely handy all-in-one PA, weighing only seven kilograms, offers a three-channel mixer, a reverb processor, Bluetooth streaming, and the Bose-typical ToneMatch DSP for microphones and Hi-Z instruments. We are excited about the performance of the little one.

PROS:

  • Light, very handy box
  • Exemplary resolution of the sound
  • Automatic master EQ for four applications
  • Three-channel mixer
  • ToneMatch presets for Mic & Hi-Z
  • Reverb (channel 1 & 2)
  • Feedback proof
  • Optional battery

CONS:

  • Bass flutters in dance music
  • Volume controls react with a delay
  • Hi-Z sizzles
  • Difficult to estimate remaining battery charge

Bose S1 Pro Details

The clear 33 x 24.1 x 28.6-centimeter polypropylene housing contains a six-inch bass speaker and three 2.25-inch tweeters arranged using the spatial dispersion method. Spatial dispersion is intended to ensure the optimal distribution of the sound in the room and, at the same time, avoid feedback when using the microphone.

Under the stylish front grille, the blue operating LED lights up discreetly at the bottom right. There are two bass reflex openings at the top. The tweeters are placed in the middle in front of the bass speaker. The box allows four setup options, for each of which there is an optimized master EQ preset. The presets are called up automatically. It is intended to be set up as a desktop, at an angle on the floor, placed on the side as a classic monitor wedge, or on a speaker stand as a PA.

Electronics

Since Bose, as usual, hardly publishes any technical data, we can only describe what we see and hear later in the practical test. The large volume controls of the three-channel mixer are easily accessible on the left side and notched in the middle position. If the S1 Pro is used as a monitor, we have direct access to the controls from above. A two-color LED per channel provides information about the signals present and clipping.

Inputs 1 and 2 have combo jacks for microphone, Hi-Z, and line level. A ToneMatch preset can be selected for Hi-Z and microphones; it is switched off for line signals. A two-band EQ and a reverb complete the program. The third channel can be supplied via the aux mini-jack or via Bluetooth. There is no tone control here. Instead, the mixed, mono-summed signal can be tapped at the jack socket of the line out.

The switching power supply (cold device socket) can handle voltages of 100 – 240V at 50/60 Hz; Bose estimates the power consumption at 150 watts. Unfortunately, we can only get to the fuse if we open the housing. In addition to the “On” and “Off” positions, there is a quick-charge position for the optional 25 V lithium-ion battery on the power switch. It fits in a compartment under the box.

Practice

The first impression confirms that we are dealing with a real Bose. Although the bass emphasis is quite strong, as in the consumer line, the small speaker resolves very finely and in detail at room volume. What is unusual is that the volume controls only react with a delay. If I adjust the volume too quickly, the S1 Pro reacts with a jump in volume; these controls want to be operated gently. Now to the four setup options:

Desktop

The box stands flat on a table or other surface. Ideal for speakers, impromptu meetings, concerts, or speeches from the back of a truck. The sound has a lot of basses and appears oversaturated in the near field. However, this is sent with increasing distance.

Floor

For example, the box can be tilted 45° onto the rear corner and then stands stably on the floor. There is no bass emphasis, but the sound is rich in the near field. The sound is evenly distributed in the room; it sounds pleasant and clean. The user should stand next to the box, firstly to avoid being an obstacle and secondly to use the box as a monitor.

Monitor

The box is laid on its side like a floor wedge; the volume controls are still easy to use. Thanks to the onboard mixer, the signal can be fed directly from the monitor into the FOH. On the other hand, the classic FOH monitor signal can be processed with reverb and EQ. The bass sounds very flat, and the lower mids are muffled. As a result, the near-field area is very clean. I can perceive voice and guitar so wonderfully.

Tripod

With the speaker stand, the Bose S1 Pro is transformed into a free-standing PA speaker, so there is more boost in the bass, combined with a mid-range boost. The presence is extremely good, and the bass sounds powerful even in the middle field. At party volume, on the other hand, I miss the lower frequencies. That’s where the six-inch model reaches its physical limits.

Concertante

The Bose S1 Pro cuts a fine figure; the sound comes through well without drowning in the reverberation. Now I switch on my bass guitar and an SM58 in the first two channels for Bluetooth playback and activate the ToneMatch optimization. It works great with the microphone. Unfortunately, it doesn’t eliminate the pick-up noise that hums quietly in the background. Nevertheless, the electric bass sounds very good when connected directly.

The reverb resembles a high-quality reverb spiral and gives vocals a wiry touch. The spatial dispersion ensures wide radiation, whereby I like the structure on the floor best in the concert context. If I use the S1 Pro as a jukebox, it is advisable to set it up as a desktop device, as the bass boost provides more substance.

Monitoring

To achieve good sound, I need a distance of about two meters from the S1. Handling the open microphone doesn’t bother the Bose much. Feedback is only reported at a distance of fewer than 40 centimeters.

Vox Sola

For speech applications, the S1 Pro offers good options for intervention so that you can get very far even with small tools, especially since ToneMatch gets the best out of dynamic converters. However, in my opinion, the spring reverb doesn’t sound so nice in the solo voice. Feedback is also not to be feared as long as the minimum distance of 40 centimeters is not exceeded.

Bluetooth

The Bluetooth module registers easily with a playback device as a Bose S1 Pro and can be used within a radius of 15 meters. However, the optimal, non-interference-free distance between transmitter and receiver is less than two meters. In addition, it should be noted that with smartphones, the stream is interrupted when a call comes in.

Battery operation

The battery comes pre-charged at 25 percent and can be changed from 25 to 100 percent in 80 minutes via a quick charge. Unfortunately, the exact charging status is difficult to read since the box only communicates this via the flashing operating lamp. First, I start with a one-hour test phase under full load and discharge the battery to 50-75 percent. With another three hours of operation at room volume, the state of charge drops to 25 – 49 percent. In the next three hours (idle and room volume), the charge falls below 10 percent. Extrapolated, I get a good three hours of full load or nine hours of room volume.

Conclusion

With the S1 Pro, Bose closes the gap between its consumer series and the PA rail. The box-sized box comes with a three-channel mixer including Bluetooth, ToneMatch, Reverb, EQ, and Spatial Dispersion and weighs just seven kilograms. In addition, the optional battery makes the box independent of the socket and gives you the freedom to choose where to play.

The volume is sufficient for 25 party people or 40 attentive listeners, with the sound automatically following the four placement options. The sound is always good and full, as usual from Bose. The box is ahead of the game as a handy, portable sound reinforcement solution for singer/songwriters and speakers and, to a limited extent, as a small DJ system. However, you shouldn’t expect sub-basses; the S1 Pro has its problems with contemporary dance music.

Bose S1 Pro Review
Bose S1 Pro Review

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