How many watts is the Bose Sub1?

The Bose Sub1 is rated at 480 watts, but as with all sound systems, that’s just a number.  It may not really help you work out if this is big enough, loud enough, or powerful enough for your events.

The numbers that are arguably far more important are decibels, or dB for short.

The Bose Sub1 is rated at 118 dB continuous, and 124 dB peak. Continuous dB is the one you probably should care about.

When a jet flies overhead, you can hear the engine.  It’s loud but we don’t talk about how many watts the engine noise is, we measure it in decibels.

Depending on the type of jet, a jet engine is approximately 150 dB at a distance of 30 metres.  Nobody talks about how many watts the sound of a passing train is (it’s about 110 dB).

And of course, “how loud it is” depends on the size of the room and how far away from the subwoofer you are.

Read more about the volume, dB and specs of the Sub1 compared to other Bose Pro audio on the unofficial Bose Pro Wiki here.

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How many watts is the Bose Sub1?

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Bose Sub1

Connects seamlessly with the L1 Pro32 with a single cable!  Or add more kick to your Pro8 or Pro16.

Don’t forget protection with a Sub1 Rollerbag!


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

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