Bose L1 Compact full review

OK, now I’ve had the chance to fully test and review the Bose L1 Compact I can report my findings.

First up, the good news. The L1 still puts out that same superb high quality of sound we’ve come to expect from Bose L1 speaker systems so there has been no compromise on sound quality.

But the bad news is the volume/output power of the L1 Compact is extremely disappointing.

Before I did my review, it had been suggested to me that the L1 Compact puts out about half the volume of the old L1 models.

But in my tests this is NOT the case.

I wasn’t allowed to open up the Bose L1 Compact I was given to test but I have been reliably informed that the power amplifier inside the Bose L1 Compact is only 70 watts (not 250 watts as most people had previously assumed).

So when you compare the L1 Compact 70w with the 750w original Bose L1 and the 500w Bose L1 model 2 and you can see that the L1 Compact is severly lacking in the power department.

The original Bose L1 has more than 10 times the power and the L1 model 2 has more than 7 times the power than the L1 Compact so it’ll come as no surprise that in my tests the L1 Compact could not achieve anywhere near half the volume of the other L1’s as has been claimed.

When I did an A/B test of the different L1 systems side by side, I immediately realised that the L1 Compact doesn’t come even close to putting out the volume of it’s bigger brothers.

Sadly I can’t think of any venues I gig in where I could use the L1 Compact – it’s just too small to cope with even the smallest live music gig venue.

What a pity.

So who’s going to buy the Bose L1 Compact?

Well, the Bose L1 Compact would be great as a voice only PA system for churches and corporate type people who conduct seminars where they speak in small/medium conference rooms. In a “quiet” church type environment it may even be just loud enough for a gospel guitar player to plug his guitar in to AND sing through, but that’s about it.

I can also see school kids who play an electric instrument like a guitar or keyboards pestering their (rich?) parents to buy them a Bose L1 Compact so they can use it as a high quality portable practice amp – it may also be fine for a single instrument in a school play performed in the schools assembly hall (you get the idea).

The L1 Compact would certainly be better quality and more portable than lugging around a heavy keyboard practice amp or guitar combo practice amp.

Where I DON’T see the Bose L1 Compact being used is in any professional live music gigging environment. Sorry.

It just doesn’t put out enough volume to be heard loudly enough in even a small venue with a small crowd.

The only professionals I can think of who may be interested in this system would be session musicians or those musicians who want a good practice system for their home studio.

I can definitely see home musicians and professional session players loving the L1 Compact. Walk in to any recording studio with the L1 Compact as part of your kit and the studio engineer will love you…