Discussions about the Bose S1 Pro system

Bose S1 Pro

Designed for musicians, DJs and general PA use, the S1 Pro is the ultimate all-in-one PA, floor monitor and practice amplifier that's ready to be your go-anywhere Bluetooth music system for nearly any occasion. 

This is the place to discuss the S1 Pro system.

I set up three systems:

S1 Pro, L1 Compact, L1 Model II

As I sang through the three systems, I identified which system I was singing through as one, two, or three.

Which do you prefer: one, two, three -  and why?

Sample file 1

Sample file 2

The two sample files are the same three systems recorded the same way. In the second recording I sang longer passages through each system to give you another way to hear the differences.

I'll tell you which system was one, which system was two, and which system was three, in a few days after people have had a chance to listen and comment.

Have fun.

ST


Recording details.

Microphones: ElectroVoice N/D767a

L1 Model II with T1 and 2xB1
Preset: Vocal Mics/Handheld Mics

S1 Pro
Preset: Mic

L1 Compact
Channel 1 has built-in Mic ToneMatch Preset

Recording setup:

CliffMicsRM1Recording Microphones: Two Cliff Mics RM1

Interface: T8S ToneMatch Mixer
USB to PC channel 1 Left, channel 2 Right
Microphones were  six feet back from the sound systems, separated, six feet apart.   

Software: Audacity (Windows)

No effects or post-processing

Exported to mp3 (320kbps)

I did my best to get the sound levels the same to reduce volume related preferences without using compression or normalization.

ST

Original Post

Hi Gideon,

Thanks for listening.

I re-wrote the explanatory text in my post above.

The two samples are the same three systems recorded the same way. In the second recording I sang longer passages through each system to give you another way to hear the differences.

I'll tell you which system was one, which system was two, and which system was three, in a few days after people have had a chance to listen and comment.

ST

These sample tests are interesting.  I'm listening through very good Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones and in this test Sample one sounds more full, a bit more depth, yet strangely Sample one through my studio Tannoy monitors at both high and low volumes still favors sample one, but not as prominently as through the headphones.  I think there are likely a lot of factors involved in comparing such as room listening vs cans listening if you really want to get down to fine detail and splitting hairs.    

    I perform one venue where the room holding about 100 people tops and have used both the S1 Pro/T1 together and my L1 Model II w/B2 & T1 to test differences....... and both sound great, but there is still a presence and fullness through the L1 Model II that the S1Pro simply doesn't have.....and isn't really meant or built to have.   It's a different animal of the same species.   It's like both a Chevrolet Spark and Chevrolet Corvette are I'm sure both good cars.....they just aren't meant to look like and do the same things and at a very different price point.   Other factors also play a part.....the S1 Pro either behind me or beside me doesn't give me near that exact perfect fullness and presence as having the L1 Model II system behind me does, especially with the B2.   But they are both very, very acceptable with superior sound.   It's interesting to hear the comments of others concerning it all, but then you always keep interesting going on around here!!   Keep the fires burning! 

This is interesting. Sample 2 works much better as far as hearing the differences.

I think I am detecting differences in distance from mic as each sample is produced. Are you moving from mic to mic? 1 and 3 seem like there is more variation in what I think is proximity effect. Not so much an increase of lows but on a sample or two a thinner sound as if the vocal is from slightly farther away from the mic, or moving while enunciating.

We don't know which position the S1 is in. Although the differences are subtle, it can be difficult to distinguish the S1 from the Compact without the reverb on the S1. Can we assume that all eq is flat on each unit? 

Again, I would not choose which one I liked best, I would ask which one the singer liked best.

Visualizing the sound suggests to me that 1 is the S1, and 2 is the Model II and 3 is the Compact.  However, I know from comparing some 15" JBL speakers I have on a stereo system to a pair of Bose 501 stereo speakers, that trying to guess based on visual impact does not always work well with Bose speakers. When I listen to presence it becomes confusing as the tone I think is Model II seems to have the least presence, however, it should fill the room better than either of the other two. EDIT; I wonder if the recording mic is out of line with this system's best dispersion resulting in less definition / presence?

Because this exercise began with some of my thoughts on the S1 maybe we need to ask, What do we want the system to do with our voice? How much other musical content is in the mix? and, Where do we want the vocal to sit?

If the vocal sound of 2 was in a mix with a bassy acoustic guitar, the vocal would lose some of it's impact to the blend of low tones between vocal and guitar. However if the same bassy guitar was mixed with sound of 1, the vocal might retain it's clarity, and stand out.

If I was using the system that produced the vocal sound of 2, I would probably clean it up a bit by reducing the low tones and boosting the presence a little. Just to make sure the vocal stands alone. Considering the three systems, the lack of presence in the vocal is a little surprising in this system.

System 1, I might reduce the highs just a tad, but overall I like this. 

System 3, there is something missing in this sound on some of the samples, some of the time. Others sound just fine. The only thing that makes sense to me is head movement while singing. Over all I like this one too. 

I think if I was in front of any one of these mics, and could not make eq changes, I could use proximity effect to make the system work for me. Find the sweet spot and hang in there.

There are times and rooms where one might choose one sound over the other, and in a different room change to something else.

I wonder a bit about how much just the use of three different words might affect the natural SPL of the voice and the response of the systems? Hold your palm in front of your mouth at the same distance as you would be from a mic and sing the same words that ST did. Notice the difference in the amount and pressure of the breath on your hand.

Sometimes instead of an answer, the question gets more questions.

I would like more detail on the room setup and method. Vocal mic placement vs. speaker placement, configuration of Compact and S1 etc.

Thanks ST.

O..

 

Hi Oldghm,

Oldghm posted:

This is interesting. Sample 2 works much better as far as hearing the differences.

It's challenging to come up with recordings to compare sound systems when the listener can not switch between the options at will. The duration of each sample has to be short enough that the listener doesn't become acclimated to the current sample.



I think I am detecting differences in distance from mic as each sample is produced. Are you moving from mic to mic? 1 and 3 seem like there is more variation in what I think is proximity effect. Not so much an increase of lows but on a sample or two a thinner sound as if the vocal is from slightly farther away from the mic, or moving while enunciating.

I'm holding two microphones (at 90 degrees to each other) in one hand, and the third microphone in the other. 



We don't know which position the S1 is in. Although the differences are subtle, it can be difficult to distinguish the S1 from the Compact without the reverb on the S1. Can we assume that all eq is flat on each unit? 

EQ is flat, and there are no effects.  I put the S1 Pro in the tilt-back position on the floor.  I tried it on a stand at ear level, but put it back on the floor thinking, if I were going to use an S1 Pro on a stand, I would use the L1 Compact instead.  

Again, I would not choose which one I liked best, I would ask which one the singer liked best.

In a situation where I wouldn't be pushing the limits of the S1 Pro, I'd be happy singing through any of them. The differences become more apparent when you need to fill more space.



Visualizing the sound suggests to me that 1 is the S1, and 2 is the Model II and 3 is the Compact.  However, I know from comparing some 15" JBL speakers I have on a stereo system to a pair of Bose 501 stereo speakers, that trying to guess based on visual impact does not always work well with Bose speakers. When I listen to presence it becomes confusing as the tone I think is Model II seems to have the least presence, however, it should fill the room better than either of the other two. EDIT; I wonder if the recording mic is out of line with this system's best dispersion resulting in less definition / presence?

I'll identify the three systems after more people have had a chance to listen.

I had all three systems nestled close together. The microphones were about six feet back and six feet apart. They were angled, pointing toward the sound systems.  The microphones have figure-eight polar patterns. I stood at the null point of the figure-eights to reduce acoustic bleed.



Because this exercise began with some of my thoughts on the S1 maybe we need to ask, What do we want the system to do with our voice? How much other musical content is in the mix? and, Where do we want the vocal to sit?

These are great points.  When I play solo, I EQ things and perform with these things in mind. That's why I prefer to control the mix with the T1 or T4S or T8S.  Lots of people still think of me as a guitarist, and they like to crank up the guitar in the mix.  That might be a comment on my singing, but when I'm in control,  I decide when I want to feature the vocal (most of the time) or the guitar (during instrumental passages) or when the accompaniment is like a chorus singing along.

I usually mix or perform with the vocal well in front of the guitar. That's why I rarely use reverb on my voice.  That's a topic for another thread.

If the vocal sound of 2 was in a mix with a bassy acoustic guitar, the vocal would lose some of it's impact to the blend of low tones between vocal and guitar.

If the bass in the guitar is burying the vocals, I adjust the way I  play or sing, or the EQ or relative volumes. 

However if the same bassy guitar was mixed with sound of 1, the vocal might retain it's clarity, and stand out.

If I was using the system that produced the vocal sound of 2, I would probably clean it up a bit by reducing the low tones and boosting the presence a little. Just to make sure the vocal stands alone. Considering the three systems, the lack of presence in the vocal is a little surprising in this system.

System 1, I might reduce the highs just a tad, but overall I like this. 

System 3, there is something missing in this sound on some of the samples, some of the time. Others sound just fine. The only thing that makes sense to me is head movement while singing. Over all I like this one too. 

I think if I was in front of any one of these mics, and could not make eq changes, I could use proximity effect to make the system work for me. Find the sweet spot and hang in there.

If I have to, I'll work with the proximity effect of the microphone to get a better mix with the guitar.  That will vary from song to song and passages within a song.



There are times and rooms where one might choose one sound over the other, and in a different room change to something else.

I wonder a bit about how much just the use of three different words might affect the natural SPL of the voice and the response of the systems? Hold your palm in front of your mouth at the same distance as you would be from a mic and sing the same words that ST did. Notice the difference in the amount and pressure of the breath on your hand.

I was concerned about that, but I didn't have hours to spend splicing in the words "one," "two," "three" between passages.

None of this is scientific.



Sometimes instead of an answer, the question gets more questions.

I would like more detail on the room setup and method. Vocal mic placement vs. speaker placement, configuration of Compact and S1 etc.

I kept the microphones within the S1 Pro 120 degree horizontal dispersion.  I put the microphones relatively close to minimize the effect of the room, although if you listen for it, there's a little of the room hitting the back of the ribbon mics.

All the gear was set flat except for the ToneMatch Presets for vocal mics. There's lots of room for someone to change the sound with tone controls, vocal technique, microphone technique, and if playing guitar, well you can do all of the same kinds of things - and more.



Thanks ST.

O..

You're welcome. I'd like to hear someone with your pipes do something like this.

ST

 

Hi ST,

I don't think my Pipes would make any difference, In fact the timber and texture of your voice is well suited to bring out the sensitivity of both mic and system.

In this test I have listened repeatedly and I keep coming back to system 2 not having the presence I would expect of any of the three systems.

Knowing now that the S1 was on the floor in tilt back, the way I use it most all the time, and knowing that just a little one way or the other when I am close to it can make a substantial difference in what I hear, I am second guessing my earlier guess. Is it really possible that what, to my ear, is the bassiest sound is actually the smallest of the systems?

When the S1 first came on the market there were questions about the sound based on Youtube videos. If you go back and watch those videos, produced by distributors of the S1, you can see that the recording mic is not always in the sweet spot of the dispersion pattern as the various S1 positions are demonstrated. You can hear what you might confuse as different eq because that is implied by the demo, but I think a large part of it is the recording mic not capturing the full response of the speaker . I wonder if your recording mics might have been right on the edge of the vertical dispersion, resulting in the absence of some of the highs, although that doesn't really explain the low tones in 2 that I thought might be 2 B1's.

What I find most interesting is that there is substantial difference in the physical size of these systems and it is still only a guess when we try to identify which is which. That says a lot for the Bose engineers as far as knowing what they want to produce and making it happen in different sizes.

So with my mental confusion I am going to guess again. If I assume in my own mind that the lack of presence in #2 indicates it is the speaker with the least dispersion, I have to say it is the S1. That means I have to reassign 1 and 3 based on just comparing them to each other. My second guess is 1 is the Compact, 2 is the S1 and 3 is the Model II.

O..

 

Hi Everybody,

I hope you're enjoying this mini-comparison.

In the previous recordings, I had the microphones at about six feet from the loudspeakers, and the volume was moderate - I'd say it was suitable for twenty-five people in a small coffee shop.

This time I turned up the S1 Pro to just below clipping (red flickers) at the loudest parts of the singing. Then I set the other systems to match that volume. The volume would work for fifty people in a larger coffee shop.

This time the microphones are 20 feet away from the systems. You'll hear more of the room.

I used longer vocal passages singing the same phrase.

Sample file 3

One, two, and three are the same systems (in the same order) as in the previous recordings.

Now, what do you hear?

Which do you prefer?

ST

Hmmmm. Filling the room changed the sound some, but I still hear the same differences as in the first examples. I like one the best, seems the most natural. Two seems a little muffled or lack of presence. Three seems to have a touch more 400 Hz to 600 Hz  in the vocal. 

As far as which is which, I really don't know so I won't guess again.

O..

Well, sample # 3 changed my ratings a bit.  On this one, I'd pick # 1 with the best overall tone, # 2 was just slightly below it and # 3 would be my last pick.

That said, they are all so close together it appears to be statistically insignificant.  My wife, from the living room, said "They all sound identical".  LOL

I'm interested to find out which is which. 

Oh dear.

I've been learning along the way. I hope each new recording is better than the previous ones - in terms of doing in doing fair comparisons.

If I were to do this again, I might have to monitor through headphones. When I monitor live in the room, I have to fight the tendency to alter my technique to create a sound I want to hear.  I imagine we all do this to some extent.

Examples:

  • If the sound feels too loud, we sing softer or back away from the mic
  • If the sound feels to thin, we sing from the diaphragm or move closer to the mic
  • If the sound feels muddy, we sing more from the head and work on articulation, or back away from the mic

For the last recording, the differences between the three systems were more apparent to me while I was singing. I had the volume turned up, and I was also singing louder.  The more I could hear the differences, the more I wanted to alter my singing to compensate for what I heard.

ST

Hi Dan (KingBiscuit).

I've listened to the recordings through several different playback systems.

KingBiscuit posted:

✄ - ✂ - ✄ - ✂ - ✄ - ✂ - ✄ - ✂ - ✄

That said, they are all so close together it appears to be statistically insignificant.  My wife, from the living room, said "They all sound identical".  LOL

✄ - ✂ - ✄ - ✂ - ✄ - ✂ - ✄ - ✂ - ✄

Through my computer speakers (built-in), laptop and iPad it's nearly impossible to tell the difference. That's probably similar to what your wife is hearing in a different room; more mids and highs, less bass.

Through two S1 Pro systems via Bluetooth in stereo, I hear the differences more clearly.

Through the L1 Model II hardwired through the T8S - mono, the differences are even more apparent.

Well I guessed twice and only got one right each time, but at least I was consistent in the one I preferred, which was the S1.

I'm most surprised about the Compact. The lack of presence is something I don't think I have ever heard in my personal use. The Compact is usually bright and clear. That one hung me up.

I should have taken a hint from myself when I commented about Sample 3. My saved scenes for the Model II all have Para EQ vocal cuts either in the 550 Hz or 1100 Hz range. Depending on what I hear in a particular room I might change the mic I use or make adjustments at one or the other of those frequency centers.

All in all interesting comparison ST. Appreciate you taking the time to have a little fun.

O..

Add Reply

Likes (0)
Post
Having trouble signing in?

We recently updated our sign-in procedure and if you have old sign-in data cached, this can create a problem. Please:

  1. Clear your browser cache and cookies
  2. Then close the browser (not just the window)
  3. Open the browser and try again
Thank you

Please make sure that your profile is up to date
×
×
×
×