Does The Bose L1 Have a Subwoofer?

Does The Bose L1 Have a Subwoofer?

Does The Bose L1 Have a Subwoofer?

Yes, all the L1 Pro systems have a subwoofer, but they’re each set up a little differently.

The L1 Pro8 and L1 Pro16 each have a racetrack subwoofer built into the base unit.

The L1 Pro32 does not have a sub built in, instead relying on the Sub1 or Sub2 active subwoofers to be connected.  When you purchase the L1 Pro32, you buy with either the Sub1 or Sub2 option.

The Sub1 is a 7” x 13” racetrack driver playing as low as 40Hz, effectively a 15” subwoofer speaker stretched into an oval racetrack shape.

The Sub2 is larger, comparable to an 18” subwoofer, but stretched into a 10” x 18” racetrack speaker.  This one plays down to 37Hz, even lower than the larger Bose F1 subwoofer.

You can stack a pair of Sub1, a pair of Sub2, or run a Sub1 with a Sub2 together.  Alternatively, you can add a Sub1 or Sub2 to either the Pro8 or Pro16.

Bose L1 Pro subwoofer

Is the Bose L1 worth it?

Is the Bose L1 worth it?

Is the Bose L1 worth it?

Such a common question, one that is asked all the time in various Facebook groups for Bose users, musicians and DJs.

Whether the Bose L1 is worth it depends on your needs and budget. It is a high-quality portable PA system that offers excellent sound quality and is relatively easy to set up. However, it is also quite expensive.

Here are some of the pros and cons of the Bose L1 to help you decide if it is the right system for you:


  • Excellent sound quality
  • Amazing throw of sound
  • Small footprint, low profile, and isn’t an eye-sore in any room.
  • Wide coverage
  • One size doesn’t fit all, so there are a number of Bose Professional portable options, be it for a DJ, solo musician, live band, dance school, and more.
  • Portable and easy to set up
  • Reliable warranty and local, personal support
  • Variety of input options


  • It’s not cheap.  Nothing good in life is cheap.
  • Takes some getting used to compared to “traditional speaker on a stand” options.

If you are looking for a high-quality portable PA system that offers excellent sound quality and is relatively easy to set up, then the Bose L1 is a good option. However, if you are on a budget or need a system that can handle larger venues, then there are other options that may be a better fit.

Ultimately, the best way to decide if the Bose L1 is worth it is to try it out and see if it meets your needs. If you’re in the upper North Island of NZ, let’s chat about how you can try a system out for yourself.  Seeing it in a retail store doesn’t cut it, it simply doesn’t compare to giving it a go at a real event on stage, or in your usual practice room or studio.

How many watts is the Bose L1 Pro16?

How many watts is the Bose L1 Pro16?

How many watts is the Bose L1 Pro16?

According to Bose, the L1 Pro16 is rated at 1250 watts shared across the system with 250 watts into the 16 little driver speakers in the top array, and 1000 watts for the big racetrack subwoofer down below.

Many resources suggest that makes the L1 Pro16 “big enough for up to 250 people”.

But watts is only a number that probably doesn’t help you in a room full of guests, and SPL is a more useful measurement.

The Bose L1 Pro16 has a peak SPL of 124 dB and a continuous SPL of 118 dB. 

The peak SPL is the maximum volume that the speaker can output, while the continuous SPL is the volume that the speaker can output for extended periods of time without distorting. Ideally “continuous SPL” is your friend.  

Peak or maximum SPL is like driving your car with the rev counter at 8000 RPM.  Sure, the car can still drive but it doesn’t sound good and makes the trip uncomfortable.

It’s the same with SPL or volume, you want to aim for a sound that is as loud as necessary without “redlining the rev counter” or getting close to 8000rpm.


Bose themselves say the L1 Pro16 is “the sweet spot”.  From a price and size perspective, it sits between the Pro8 and the Pro32, but it also has power, dispersion, and decent throw from the array.

Ultimately, the best way to determine how loud a speaker will sound is to listen to it in person.  If you’re in the Greater Waikato, Auckland or Whangarei districts and haven’t heard the L1 Pro series in the real worl – outside of a retail store, let’s talk and arrange a live demo.  Nothing beats trying it out at your next event, in your venue, your practice room, whatever will give you a true representation of how the L1 Pro range will suit you.


Volume comparisons in Bose L1 Pro range

Volume comparisons in Bose L1 Pro range

Audio volume comparisons in Bose L1 Pro range

One of the most common questions asked about the latest Bose L1 Pro systems how loud is each one compared to the others.

It’s sort of logical that the L1 Pro32 is louder than the smaller L1 Pro16, which is louder than the smaller L1 Pro8.

But how much louder?  And what about that famous “throw” – how far does each L1 pro throw the sound?

Bose has kindly produced this graphic to show each model, measurable dB level over a distance (straight line).  One of the most important elements of the figures is the “intelligibility”, meaning can you actually hear WHAT is coming from the speaker at a distance, vs just hearing that it’s making noise, ANY noise.  In terms that mean anything to you at a wedding or in a venue, can you hear what the presenter is saying?  Can you recognise the song playing at a distance?

With intelligibility being what I would consider the most relevant measurement, you can see the Pro8 starts to be unrecognisable at approximately 10 to 12 metres, the Pro16 falls off somewhere close to 40 metres, and the Pro32 seems good at over 32 metres.

Bose L1 Pro volume comparison

(image source: Bose Portable PA forums)

It’s probably obvious to anyone familiar with the Bose L1 systems or have sued the older L1 Model 1 or 2 systems in the past.  But the L1 can seem overly complex to the uninitiated.

In short, the bigger the L1 Pro, the bigger the sound, the longer the throw, the higher the spl, and of course the higher the price.

The L1 Pro32 is a power house of sound capable of standing up against the F1 812 in that it has similar SPL, lower bass frequency, but longer throw than the F1 (hear it from further across a venue).  The smallest unit being the Pro8, which is portable, costs considerably less, yet has same effect as the bigger Pro16 or Pro32, just in much smaller rooms.

And of course if you go and add the Sub1 or Sub2 to either unit (or double up on the Pro32) then it changes things again.  Keep in mind that bass will drop off at approximately 1dB per metre, so harder to measure against the main audio from the array.

Got questions?  Want to test it out yourself at your own venue or regular, familiar event space?

If you’re in Auckland, contact me to arrange a demo of the Bose L1 Pro8, L1 Pro16 or Pro32.

Nick Logan | Rich Audio

Bose L1 Pro16 – Australasian review

Bose L1 Pro16 – Australasian review

The famous AV magazine “CX”, based in Australia, took a new Bose L1 Pro16 out for a good thrashing.

Setup of the system really couldn’t be much simpler: plonk the sub on the floor, then place the array section (plus or minus the extender part) into the keyed receptacle on top. Turn on the power, plug in your mic, and turn it up. Job done. It literally takes less than a minute, which makes this super appealing for anyone needing to get into a space and set up quickly.

Read their full review here

Get the Bose L1 Pro16 here.

Bose L1 Pro16