Bose S1 Pro Review
Verdict and Review Summary
Don’t be fooled by the size of the Bose S1 Pro. It's small (by PA standards) but packs a lot of volume and pro-level audio quality. It delivers crystal-clear sound with a lot of smooth low-end, is easy to use, and provides enough functionality for basic PA needs (speaking, performing, playing music, etc.).
Bose is a household name in the pro audio market, known for producing high-end speakers, headphones, and live sound gear at an exceptionally high quality level.
Musicians and casual listeners all over the world use Bose gear in a lot of situations. Today, we'll be reviewing the Bose S1 Pro, one of their most powerful portable and condensed PA systems that doubles as a Bluetooth speaker. It's one of the most expensive such systems in that category.
Does the S1 Pro live up to the reputation of the Bose brand? Is it a good fit for your situation? How does it perform in some of the circumstances we've mentioned?
We'll cover all the details in our Bose S1 Pro review.
We reviewed the Bose S1 Pro in our office by testing with an acoustic guitar, electric bass, and an iPhone playing music connected to the aux port. And while we make every effort to be objective, it's important to understand that these reviews are opinion and should be taken with a grain of salt. Also consider that we use partner links, from vendors we trust, to support ourselves yet at no extra cost to you. If you decide to buy gear, consider doing so via our orange buttons in the tables below.
Compare to Other All-in-one PA Systems
In this section we've included a few comparable PA speaker systems, similar to the Bose S1 Pro. We don't do product pages for speakers, but you can see more specs by clicking on the Sweetwater button link as mentioned above.
Bose S1 Pro
JBL EON ONE Compact
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Bose S1 Pro Price Guide
Prices updated Sun, December 03rd, 2023.
Pricing from Sweetwater
Price Alert Tool
Price History for Bose S1 Pro Multi-position PA System with Battery
|Current Price||$499.00||December 1, 2023|
|Highest Price||$699.00||November 4, 2022|
|Lowest Price||$499.00||August 25, 2023|
Last price changes
|$499.00||August 25, 2023|
|$599.00||May 5, 2023|
|$699.00||April 8, 2023|
|$599.00||February 17, 2023|
|$699.00||January 6, 2023|
IDEAL FOR: Indoor and outdoor parties, small get-togethers, band rehearsals, private practice sessions, live stage monitoring, simple PA needs.
We do not provide category ratings for PA systems or speakers.
Size and Build Quality
Weighing 15.7 lbs. The Bose S1 Pro has a black polypropylene plastic enclosure with a black steel grille that protects the speaker from damage.
Almost all of the speaker is made of hard plastic except for the grille and the bottom of the speaker, which is made of rubber to help keep it in place regardless of how you decide to position it.
For the size, it feels pretty heavy. That's a good thing if it's getting bumped a lot (hopefully it isn't), but a bad thing when you're trying to carry it.
It also just feels very solid, like you can't hurt it.
You'll want to be careful because it's a Bose, but the S1 Pro can definitely take a decent amount of abuse.
- Height: 13.1"
- Width: 9.4"
- Depth: 11.1"
- Weight: 15.7 lbs.
- Speaker Drivers: 1 x 6" woofer, 3 x 2.25” tweeters.
- Total Power: 150W
- Frequency Response: 62Hz-17kHz (±3 dB)
- Maximum SPL: 103dB (109dB Peak)
The Bose S1 Pro operates in four different modes. The system updates each mode with auto EQ that maintains the ideal sound for each mode (or position.)
The four modes are the following:
- Monitor Mode: Which lets you use the speaker as a floor monitor.
- Elevated Surface Mode: Is where you place your speaker on a high surface that helps deliver the sound evenly.
- Tilt-Back Mode: The most effective when your audience is close to you. That way tilting the monitor on its back edge will improve sound delivery.
- Speaker Stand Mode: Where you place one or more Bose S1 Pro speakers on speaker stands.
Overall Sound Quality
This mid-sized portable speaker puts out a big, engulfing sound with plenty of volume. The sound quality is in keeping with Bose standard's, and sounds especially good while playing music through your phone.
It has a frequency response of 62 Hz – 17 kHz, which covers most of the human hearing range (20 Hz – 20 kHz). It does not, however, cover the average sub-bass range of 20 Hz to 62 kHz. So even though the Bose S1 Pro provides powerful bass, it won't give you the window-shaking bass that a subwoofer would.
If that's what you're after, shoot for something with a lower frequency range that reaches into sub bass territory.
A lot of what you get out of your instruments - when connected to the S1 - will depend on whether or not you have some kind of an EQ between your instrument and the S1 Pro. This could be something like a guitar amp or preamp pedal. For testing acoustic and bass guitar, I did not. It was literally just the guitars and the speaker.
With the three EQ options (more on those later), I was able to dial in reverb, which sounded great, and do some basic bass/treble EQ.
The sound I got was surprisingly good.
Here's how I'd break it down:
- The acoustic sounded better than the bass
- Reverb sounded better without reverb
- Music from my iPhone sounded better than both
This is not surprising because of the limited low-end frequency. Bass within the EQ sounds great to a point, but I'm not surprised the bass guitar didn't perform as well as the other things we tested.
Though again, it all sounded good, especially considering the S1 Pro was doing such a large share of the work.
Connections and Controls
The Bose S1 Pro is pretty versatile and accommodating, so here's a breakdown of functionality and controls.
Channels 1 and 2 (instrument and XLR channels)
First to note, it offers three channels. Channels 1 and 2 each have an XLR-1/4"" combo input for your microphone or instrument. You can adjust the bass, treble, and volume of each channel and add a reverb effect if you want to give your sound more ambience and color.
It's basically a little dual channel mixer.
Each channel also features a "ToneMatch" switch that you can activate to give your sound more tonality and boost it to recording-studio quality.
Channel 3 (Bluetooth and AUX)
Channel 3 is dedicated to Bluetooth connectivity and AUX or line-level inputs.
You can manually connect your phone or device to the AUX input using an AUX cable or you can use the Bose S1 Pro's Bluetooth connectivity to wirelessly pair your speaker with your device. It has a wireless range of up to 30 feet, so be careful to stay within that if you want to avoid accidentally disconnecting your device. Volume control is the only adjustment available on this channel.
You have a "Line output" for connecting another S1 speaker via a ¼" TRS cable, creating a two-speaker system.
You'll also notice a "Service port," which is only used to update the speaker's firmware via a micro-USB cable.
Overall Value (Price)
The Bose S1 Pro is slightly more expensive than some comparable portable PA system speakers, though it's a far cheaper investment than a full PA system. If you don't need the additional complexity and functionality, going with the S1 Pro would save you a lot of money.
You might lose some value if you don't need the volume of a speaker like this one, or if you don't plan to use it for some kind of instrument monitoring.
The type of volume it produces is capable of handling small outdoor events, so if that's what you're buying for, you'll definitely get your money's worth.
You also need to consider that Bose is a fairly pristine brand name.
They don't make cheap stuff.
Ideal Fit and Context
With the inputs and controls the Bose S1 Pro offers, there are a wide variety of situations where this speaker can be put to use. Thanks to the ability to plug in your microphone, adjust the EQ, and add some reverb, you can take the speaker to parties, a friend’s house for karaoke night, or outdoor events for public speaking.
By connecting your instrument to the S1, you can use it to practice in your bedroom, perform live on stage, or even connect another S1 Pro speaker to give function as more of a traditional monitor setup.
On that note, you can use this as a conventional stage monitor. You would just run the XLR cable into the channel you want, then you could use the controls on the back to EQ your own mix.
The biggest advantage of the S1 Pro is that it does the work of several pieces and a more complex system in a single box. Obviously you lose a ton of functionality compared to a full PA with a mixer, but the S1 Pro isn't trying to compete with that.
It's a great fit as a mobile PA, an instrument monitor, or for smaller outdoor venues where instruments or microphones are being used.
As always, it's important to apply your own context to our recommendations.
If you have questions about our Bose S1 Pro review process or the S1 itself, feel free to get in touch via the comments section.