Bose S1 Pro+ Review: The Best Budget Portable PA?

A portable PA speaker can be a necessity or lifesaver in many situations. If you're a busker, these are the perfect portable speakers to get your music heard loud and clear in the streets. If you need loud audio for an event, a portable PA can give you the volume, while also being easy to transport and setup.

But choosing a portable PA system is not as easy as you may think, particularly given how many models, and the level of variety available. You must choose the right one, so you have enough volume for the space, battery power, and portability.

The Bose S1 Pro+ was one of our favorites, offering fantastic value for money, functionality, sound quality, and convenience – all at a very reasonable price.

This is a great choice for buskers, performers, and mobile DJs, or if you just want something nice and loud for a party.

In this review, I'll give you an unbiased analysis of the Bose S1 Pro, and help you work out if it's the right match for you!

Bose S1 Pro+ Portable PA - Overview

Bose S1 Pro+

Overall Average Rating: 4.5/5

Why I Like It

  • Lightweight, portable, and affordable
  • Perfect for solo performers and small venues
  • Diverse connectivity options and broad configuration with Bose Connect app

What I Think Could Be Improved

  • Battery life is decent but could be a bit longer.
  • Doesn't have the widest stereo projection.


  • Speakers: 1x6" Low woofer, 3x2.25" high drivers
  • Frequency Response: 70Hz-16khz
  • 3 mixer channels, 2 mic preamps, 2 band EQ, reverb
  • Inputs:
    • 2 x XLR (mic)
    • 1 x 1/4" TRS (aux)
    • 1 x 1/8" TRS (aux)
    • Bluetooth input
  • Power: 150W
  • Battery Life: Around 10 hours of playtime, or cable powering
  • Size:
    • Height: 13.1"
    • Width: 9.4"
    • Depth: 11.1"
  • Weight: 14.4 lbs (6.5 kg)

The Bose S1 Pro+ is a lightweight, portable, self-contained PA system. You can connect up to 3 simultaneous sources, using a mic XLR cable, aux cables, or Bluetooth. It features a stereo output, so you get separate left and right channels, and it comes with an angleable speaker stand.

You can control the PA for optimal sound via a mobile device thanks to the Bose Connect app, which adds to the convenience, of this otherwise, highly convenient device!

This stands out compared to other PA systems as a budget-friendly, but highly functional model, that offers a great sound and battery life at a very competitive price.

As you'll see in the next section, this is all-around a very well-designed and engineered device – which is what I expect whenever I see the Bose logo on the gear I'm using!

Bose S1 Pro+ Portable PA - Main Review

Sound Quality 4.5/5

Bose S1 Pro+

As we all know, one of the most important factors of any set of speakers is the sound quality – especially when you're using them with an audience.

I've heard countless PAs and speakers in my time as a musician and audio engineer, and I have to say that the Bose S1 Pro stands out in its price range. I was impressed with the balanced, natural sound that these created before I'd even started to fiddle with the settings.

Extending the low frequencies down to 70Hz, they have plenty of bass, although they aren't quite touching the sub-range. But, for most instruments like an acoustic guitar, vocals, or as a keyboard amp, I think this sounds great.

If you just want to play music from an audio source like the aux input or your phone, then the quality is great too, and you can achieve a loud volume without distortion. Maybe the stereo field could be a bit wider and more defined, but I'm pretty spoilt when it comes to speakers...

Overall, I give the sound a solid thumbs up!

Features & Connectivity 5/5

Compared to many other PAs in this range, I was very impressed with the features and connections offered.

Looking at the connections, you can plug in a total of three sources at once – so you could run two mics and a guitar, or a mic, guitar, and keyboard amps in one setup – as well as a backing track from your phone. These all have independent volume controls, so you can easily set the right balance, and I found everything was placed logically and conveniently.

Feature-wise, the Bose S1 blew me away. It had a lot of options for tuning the sound, like EQ and reverb, as well as more advanced adjustments via the Bose Control app. This also has party mode, meaning you can link up multiple Bose speakers via the app, and stream the same music across all of them – I love this feature for parties!

Overall, it has the same features as portable PA systems that cost more than twice the amount, so I have no complaints here!

Portability 5/5

Bose S1 Pro+

Obviously, the portability of your portable PA is key... To me, it seemed like the Bose S1 was designed with this in mind, and has a very portable design spec.

It's around 14 lbs (6.5 kg), so it's very lightweight, and the large carrying handle makes it even easier to shift it around – I could easily carry this with one hand.

It has no annoying protruding edges and is roughly 1 foot tall and thick, so it doesn't take up that much room and can easily fit in the trunk of a car.

With a handy pole mount, it can be placed on most PA stands and works when seated, tilted, or mounted. I recommend looking at our best portable PA Systems reviews for more advice.

Again, I'm very happy with the portability of this PA!

Power & Battery Life 4/5

Bose S1 Pro+

Coming with a built-in, rechargeable battery - you can expect to get around 8-10 hours of playback per charge - depending on the volume. This isn't quite as good as other models, but it's certainly enough for most performers, events, and parties.

It also has a power cable input if you want to plug it in, which also recharges that battery.

Best Alternatives to Bose S1 Pro+ Portable PA

While the Bose S1 Pro is a highly attractive portable PA system, it might not offer the optimal performance for your situation. In which case, I recommend looking at these alternatives, or checking out our full Portable PA System Comparison article.

Mackie Showbox vs Bose S1 Pro+

The Mackie Showbox is heavier in terms of features, weight, and sound. While costing about 15% more than the Bose S1, you get a more comprehensive mixer, more effects, controls, and features, and a more extended sonic spectrum. The sound quality is full, crisp, and dynamic, and is a bit clearer and louder than the Bose S1.

JBL IRX ONE vs Bose S1 Pro+

JBL IRX One Powered Column PA Speaker with Bluetooth

If you're looking for a bit of a wider and taller sound, the JBL IRX ONE might be the choice for you. Featuring a solid sub main body, and an additional high-end extension on a pole, this PA offers excellent sound coverage and projection. You get a bit more separation between the frequencies compared to the S1, which results in a purer listening experience.

This is almost 3x as heavy as the S1, which might be a bit offputting, but the weight is worth it for the extra sound.

Bose L1 Pro16 vs Bose S1 Pro+

I love the S1, but the L1 really steps it up a notch. This is very close to the S1 in terms of features, but it comes with an expanded speaker setup, offering the large high-end telegraph pole extension.

The speaker cones are also a bit higher quality, offering a broader sonic spectrum with more accurate performance. If you don't mind the nearly 4x weight, and sticking another coma on the price tag - you can achieve a much better sound quality for your PA performance.

Final Verdict

Bose S1 Pro+

The Bose S1 Pro+ is a super portable, highly affordable, and sonically appealing PA system. Thanks to the diverse range of connections and handy mixing features, this is an ideal choice for performing musicians, DJs, and party hosts alike.

Some of my favorite elements of this PA are the app connection, the fact that I can carry it around with one arm, and the incredibly attractive value for money and feature set. For the price, there isn't much to complain about.

You might consider stepping up to the Bose L1 Pro16 for superior audio quality, or the Mackie Showbox for another valid budget-friendly option. Make sure you check out our full Portable PA System Comparison for other recommendations!

Images Courtesy of Sweetwater and Bose

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