Cuttin-Edge, On-the-Spot Reporting

Have You Seen?


Chances are good that most musicians who perform gigs with their own PA system have at least a passing familiarity with the pro sound line of Bose products and with its L1 range of portable line-array speaker systems, in particular, a series the company invented 17 years ago. While a plethora of similarly designed systems from competing manufacturers now exist in the marketplace, Bose cites on its website the L1’s emphasis on high vocal projection and clarity, strong output levels over distance, and consistent coverage and tonal balance throughout venues of various sizes as the line’s key differentiators.


Bose Professional recently held a virtual press event offering a sneak peek at the company’s highly anticipated revision to the L1 range, the L1 Pro series. The line consists of three all-new systems -- the L1 Pro8, the L1 Pro16, and the L1 Pro32. Each model is based on a slim, vertical line array housing a number of articulated, 2", neodymium-driven drivers capable of 180-degree horizontal coverage courtesy of a wide-dispersion design. The column is paired with a svelte form-factor subwoofer, with the Pro32 having two subwoofer options, the Sub1 or Sub2.

Model numbers for the L1 Pros denote the number of drivers utilized in each model’s array column. In the L1 Pro8’s case, eight of the 2" drivers are arranged in a C-shaped line array to provide broad vertical dispersion. Low frequencies are generated via an integrated 7" × 13" subwoofer featuring a high-excursion RaceTrack driver capable of reproducing frequencies down to 45Hz (no tolerance figures given). Bose claims its performance rivals a conventional 12" woofer but with a smaller footprint. The L1 Pro8 is capable of 118dB peak SPL and is recommended for sound reinforcement use in more intimate venues, such as a café or a coffee shop. Total weight is listed as 38.9 pounds and overall dimensions are 78.94"H × 12.52"W × 17.32"D.

Pro8 and Pro16Pro8 and Pro16

The 16-driver L1 Pro16 features a J-shaped line array with tight vertical dispersion control at the top of the array and wider dispersion at the bottom. Bose states this configuration allows for good set-up versatility whether the system is placed on the floor or an elevated stage. It should also provide sufficient sound coverage in small- to medium-size clubs, bars, and other such venues where it can achieve 124dB peak SPL. The Pro16 steps up to a 10" × 18" subwoofer driver size with a neodymium magnet with a claimed low end reach of 42Hz. The woofer is said to compare with conventional 15" woofers in terms of performance capabilities. Weight is given as 53.7 pounds with dimensions of 79.21"H × 13.98"W × 17.95"D.


The L1 Pro32’s complement of 32 drivers are configured in a straight array for focused vertical dispersion. The Pro32 is designed for sound reinforcement in medium to large venues such as weddings, clubs, and hotel ballrooms, and is capable of outputting 128dB peak SPL in these environments. As mentioned, two subwoofer options are available for the Pro32, the Sub1 or Sub2. The Sub1 uses the same 7" × 13" RaceTrack driver design as the Pro8, but is housed in a larger cabinet, allowing for 40Hz extension. The Sub2 uses the same 10" × 18" neodymium-powered driver as the Pro16 but again, uses a larger cabinet to extend the woofer’s response down to 37Hz. Two of the same subwoofer models (i.e., two Sub1s or two Sub2s) can be stacked and used in tandem for delivering higher output levels. They can also be set to Cardioid Mode, which provides focused, directional performance that negates rear-firing bass energy, directs the lows towards the front, and reduces feedback.

All L1 Pro systems feature a built-in mixer for connecting various instruments, microphones, and other signal sources. Connection options include two combo, XLR-1/4" phantom-powered inputs and one each 1/4" and 1/8" (3.5mm) auxiliary inputs. Illuminated rotary encoders for each channel provide access to volume, tone, and reverb controls. Additional instruments and sources can also be added via a dedicated ToneMatch port, where a single cable provides both power and digital audio connection between the L1 Pro system and a separately available Bose T4S or T8S mixer.


The mixer is also wirelessly controllable via Bluetooth streaming and the L1 Mix app. Using this app via phone or other mobile device allows access to the complete library of ToneMatch custom EQ presets, which Bose claims gives the user studio-quality control for tailoring an instrument’s tone. The app also provides adjustments for volume and tone settings, and the user can monitor mixer adjustments in real-time via the LED encoder, which offers the user the advantage of being able to “walk the room, hear how the mix sounds, and fine-tune on-the-go,” according to a release statement provided by Bose.


When describing the differences between the current L1 and new L1 Pro systems, Craig Jackson, portable PA category manager for Bose Professional, summarized the differences in this way:

The new L1 Pro family gives users an ideal balance of performance and control on stage and portability everywhere else. We took what our customers loved about the original L1 systems and focused on making improvements in almost every dimension. The L1 Pro family delivers more output and bass extension than ever before and doesn’t compromise on portability. We’ve expanded the I/O and integrated ToneMatch technology allowing users to quickly optimize the sound of their instruments and microphones. And with our new L1 Mix app complete control of all mixing functionality is available from your mobile device. We are excited [to] bring the L1 Pro family to market [and] can’t wait for our customers to experience them.

The Bose Professional L1 Pro portable line array systems should be available by the time this goes to press. For more information on the L1 Pro systems and where to buy please visit

Oliver Amnuayphol
Contributor, SoundStage!