Sneak Peak - Bose F1 Flexible Array Loudspeaker
There's been a lot of buzz around portable PA the past few years, thanks mostly to power amplifiers becoming smaller and lighter. The idea behind portable is that you can take it anywhere, the downside of which is that all performance venues are not alike -- so the decision of what to buy has always been a question of what's the best fit for most situations.
The engineers at Bose have come up with a solution to speaker systems easy to understand (and even easier to implement) for small to medium-sized venues. A few months ago, we got to look at, and listen to, the new Bose F1 Flexible Line Array system, and here's what we thought after our initial demo.
Four speakers in one box! With a simple push or pull to the top or bottom of the speaker array, it was easy to reconfigure the elements to cover a wide variety of rooms vertically. Take a look at the images below to see what we mean.
With the speaker position in J configuration we were immediately able to cover the front rows with the speakers above the listener's heads on a platform or stage. The effect was immediately noticeable as the elements were manipulated. The "C" configuration could cover a small hall or church with a stage and a balcony while the reverse "J" configuration nicely covers a room with no platform and a raked floor or balcony where some of the listeners ears are position higher than the speakers. Straight allows you to keep from bouncing sound off the ceilings when not needed. Pattern control is a beautiful thing.
Horizontal coverage was nice and wide with similar response to the popular Bose L1 system. Coverage was smooth from left to right. Bose has applied some automatic filtering adjustments corresponding with each of the 4 positional variations to compensate for the interplay between the elements in the various positions. We appreciate the implementation of the filtering without requiring the user to remember to go into the menu and manually select the settings.
Overall, the sound was impressive. Clear vocals, deep bass, and really smooth sound right out of the box. That's the part that makes it easy. The optional subwoofer was deep and robust for it's size and weight. In applications incorporating live bands, we highly recommend using the F1 and the F1 subwoofer.
While Bose touts that a pair of F1's will cover a room of 1000, for a full band with drums, bass, guitars at a moderate volume, it seems the a pair of F1 and a pair of F1 sub might be a better fit for rooms of 500-600 depending on what kind of sound pressure levels you're trying to achieve (if you like it really loud). In any case, the F1 812 with subs is one or the more impressive and versatile systems we've seen at the price point.
You won't find Bose F1 on large concert stages, but it's got more than enough "oomph" for small to mid-size churches, church youth rooms, outdoor events, clubs or small theaters. It's a niche' solution that fits a really BIG niche'.
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