TOUR TEST: Bose F1 4-Part Video Series and Review

by | Apr 2, 2020 | Best Portable PA Systems

[Editor’s note – a few months back we opened up submissions for artists to win and demo the new Bose F1 for their live shows, and from those entries Aaron Kellim rose right to the top. He’s a great singer/songwriter from LA, and if you haven’t checked him out already, you owe it to yourself to do so. Check out Aaron’s multi-part video series featuring the Bose F1 below [watch more gear-related videos on our YouTube channel], and read his final thoughts below. Enjoy!]

I’ve been quite a fan of Bose products ever since I was in college and purchased the original Bose L1 model.  So, when I learned that I had been chosen to test out the F1 Flex Array Speaker, I was thrilled.  When I opened the box, my first honest thought was that the F1 was going to be way too heavy to be convenient for a singer-songwriter to lug around, but as soon as I pulled it out, I realized that wasn’t true at all.  From first glance, the loudspeaker was everything I love about Bose gear: simple, sharp, and easy to use.

As an artist who isn’t a massive gear head, and often times setting up and tearing down on my own, I love a system that is easy to operate.  That’s one of my biggest attractions to the F1, there aren’t a ton of things that have to be dialed in or plugged in to get it up and running and sounding amazing.  On board, there is an XLR/TS combo jack, a quarter-inch jack, and stereo RCA inputs.  That’s it.  Not a lot you have to overthink or manipulate.

Another feature that comes in extremely handy if you’re someone who finds yourself playing in new rooms all the time, is that you can adjust the speakers to whatever vertical pattern suits the room best.  Whether you’re on a floor, on a stage, or facing theater seating, you’re able to adjust the speakers accordingly.  And, you’re not having to bring a screwdriver, or any other tools with you to adjust the speaker.  It’s as simple as a quick push, or a quick pull, depending on which way you’re directing them.  As I mentioned previously, the speaker is surprisingly light, and extremely easy to carry thanks to two perfectly placed handles.

The first gig I did with it was through a parking lot, up two flights of stairs, and down a long hallway, and I had zero trouble with it.  Part of the simplicity of carrying it, is also the simplicity of getting it onto a speaker stand.  I’ve lost many battles trying to get a heavy speaker onto a stand, but the F1 has an extra wide pole cup that made it effortless to put on a standby myself.  Lastly, and probably most importantly for a musician, the amplifier sounds incredible.

My show consists of a Taylor acoustic guitar and my voice, and the high end makes my voice sparkle like no other system, and the mids and lows bring out the best in my acoustic.  And this is all from a dry signal.  I wasn’t using reverb or any EQ.  I can only imagine what it would sound like if was using the ToneMatch mixer as well.

But if you don’t have a mixer you’re running through, you’ll still be blown away by the quality of sound that comes out of this loudspeaker.  All in all, I would highly recommend this speaker to the gigging musician who is looking for incredible sound, effortless setup, and easy mobility.  (Side note:  There is an option of the F1 subwoofer as well.  I haven’t tested the unit with the subwoofer, but you’ll still be quite pleased with the low-end if you do not own the sub, too.)

Follow Aaron Kellim on Instagram @aaronkellim