Halorecordings
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Apr 18, 2018

Basic S1 Set Up

I’ve been looking for a portable battery powered PA for small intimate gigs. I’ve been looking specifically at the Roland Street Cube EX. Now that we have the Bose S1 Pro thrown into the mix. I have a few questions.

I’ve read many reviews on the S1. Seems a lot of folks are going through other amps, mixers and pedals before going to the S1. The use of these external devices add color to your final output, the speaker (S1 in this case). Also, most of these external devices need external power, defeating the need for a battery powered speaker. If you need to plug in a mixer and/or external amp into the wall, why not just plug the S1 into the wall also?

I’m looking for a review from anyone who has used the S1, with the battery, with just a guitar and mic. The only thing I would add up front, and would like your input on also, would be the Bose VE-8 harmonizing pedal.

I’ll have two possible set ups for the S1:

Set up 1: Plug my Ovation 1776 elite and a Sure SM 58 (No phantom power, what!) into the S1 using the battery for power.

Set up 2: Plug either my Ovation 1776 elite or Fender Telecaster Deluxe, and an Audio Technica Hand Held Condenser mic into the Boss VE-8 harmonizing pedal.  Output 1 into channel 1 on the S1 and output 2 into an OD pedal (if using the electric) into channel 2 on the S1. S1 using battery power.

I currently use the above set up's using a Fishman Solo Amp 220. The Fishman has been good for gigs up to about 300 people. Although the Fishman weighs only 25 pounds, I'm looking at either the Street EX or S1 for gigs up to 50 people and battery power.

With the exception of a harmonizer, I basically just want to use the S1 running on battery. I understand asking how something sounds is subjective to that person’s ear and the environment you’re performing in.

Here are my questions:

1) How does the S1 sound on its own using the battery?

2) How does it sound using a battery powered harmonizing pedal like the Bose VE-8?

3) Mounting on a stand about five feet off the ground, how well does the sound carry?

4) What size crowd can it handle outside? Inside?

5) Has anyone compared the S1 to the Street Cube EX? How does it compare?

6) Can an electric guitar be used? If so, how does the electric guitar sound clean? How does the electric guitar sound with an over drive pedal?

7) Because the S1 doesn’t have a master volume (how does one make a PA without a master volume?), how can you raise or lower the overall volume without re-mixing? Is that why so many people are using external mixers?

Thanks for your input

 

PS I'll be streaming backing tracks via blue tooth about 80% of the time.

David

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Halorecordings
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Apr 18, 2018

Re: Basic S1 Set Up

Just want to add, I'll be streaming backing tracks via bluetooth about 80% of the time. 

Archtop_Eddy
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Jul 25, 2004

Re: Basic S1 Set Up

Hi. I use my S1 Pro with a Boss VE-8, Sennheiser e935 mic, and a Waterloo WL-14 with K&K pickups.  I'll give you my thoughts/experience with my setup to some of your questions:

1) The S1 Pro sounds great and very natural for both guitar and mic when they are plugged in directly and you are using just battery-power. 

2) The S1 Pro sounds great with the Bose VE-8, Sennheiser mic, and Waterloo guitar. There is no difference in sound when you use either or both the Bose VE-8 and S1 Pro battery powered.  I use both in battery-powered mode regularly at small gigs and outdoors for busking.  (I sometimes use them in battery-powered mode for indoor gigs just to avoid messing with extension cords.)

3) On a stand five foot tall, the sound carries plenty well for a small restaurant, coffee house or bar.  I've never turned it up more than 50 percent indoors; or 60 percent outdoors.  Generally, the rooms I've played in have been quiet enough to let the music serve as a proper sound ambiance to the room -- meaning no outrageously loud customers, blaring TVs, or annoying espresso machines.  I've never been a fan of turning up my music to drown out noisy customers. I don't believe there are any winners in a volume war. If big volume is important to you, then a L1 Model II would give you a fuller, louder sound -- all for more weight, space and no battery power.

No comments for questions 4,5,6.

7) There is no master volume so you need to adjust your volumes individually in channels 1 and 2 and readjust them individually as well. You can of course also adjust volumes via volume controls on your guitar or via a mixer.  Finally, you can adjust your volume with the vocal and instrument volume knobs on the VE-8 which is convenient if you have your S1 set up at more than an arms-reach away.

 

 

Halorecordings
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Apr 18, 2018

Re: Basic S1 Set Up

Archtop Eddie,

Thanks for your input. that's what I'm looking for. With the exception of your mic and guitar, your set up is what I expect to use. 

I don't own the Boss VE-8, yet. I currently use the TC Harmony G. If I do proceed with the S1 I'll need a battery powered harmony pedal. Enter, the VE-8 (or another battery powered vocal/harmony pedal if someone thinks there's a better choice).

How is the reverb on the S1? When you perform, do you use the reverb on the S1 or VE-8? 

Do you use backing tracks? If so, how do they sound via bluetooth? Do you notice a volume drop when using the Bluetooth and battery power? Are the backing tracks as clear and articulate as the Guitar and Vocals?

I'm still looking at the Roland Cube Street EX. Would love it if someone out there could share their experience and thoughts on the pro's and con's of each. 

Thanks again for your input. I'm very, very tempted to place the order on the S1. 

Archtop_Eddy
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Jul 25, 2004

Re: Basic S1 Set Up

I like the VE-8 because it gives me both a Harmonizer and Looper (as well as effects like Chorus or Echo) in one battery-powered pedal. It has a bunch of knobs rather than screens  -- and I'm old school, I like that too.  For a battery powered harmonizer option, you could also try the Boss VE-2 Vocal Harmonist.  I have one of those but don't use it much. It sounds as good (maybe better) thank the VE-8 and has a larger on/off switch which I like. However, I don't like to take a lot of pedals to the gig so I stick with the VE-8 which covers three-plus individual pedals in one pedal.

The reverb is fine on either the S1 Pro or the VE-8 pedal.  I'll use whichever is more convenient for me given the gigging situation.

I haven't really used backing tracks for gigs/busking. But I did practice with some the other day via bluetooth/iphone and thought it sounded great. I just used the backing tracks with the guitar (no vocals) but they sounded fine and if I were to so choose, I could definitely use for gigging/busking.

I have a buddy who has both the Roland Cube Street and the S1 Pro.  Here's what he said, "The Roland doesn't come close. The price is also about half as much. The (extra) $ is for the Bose sound.  Not everyone can afford it..."

I fully agree with him. With Bose, you pay for the sound.

(By the way, I highly respect Boss and Roland products too. I have more than a dozen Boss pedals and a half a dozen Roland amps.  As for Bose, I have about a dozen of their items too.  I think both companies make great products!)

 

 

Halorecordings
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Apr 18, 2018

Re: Basic S1 Set Up

ArchTop, thanks again for your input. I agree, without even hearing the S1 firsthand and reading all the positive reviews, I think the S1 would be a better purchase than the Roland. 

It's no longer which system to buy, it's when do I pick up the phone and order the S1. I figure the S1, battery and Bose VE-8 will put me back about a grand. I have no problem with that, but I know someone who will. 

Thanks again. I'll post when I make the purchase and let everyone know how it's working out.

 

Archtop_Eddy
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Jul 25, 2004

Re: Basic S1 Set Up

Great, glad I could help.  As for "gettin' new gear" issue... Maybe you could gut-out one of your old amps (say a Fender) and hide the S1 in the empty cab...  Just kiddin' you know.  Good luck with your future purchase when you work it out.

WaltPitts
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Mar 10, 2018

Re: Basic S1 Set Up

I use my S1 using a speaker stand around 6 feet elevated with a Boss VE-8 and Boss Gt-1 pedal playing acoustic, electric guitars and mandolins along with vocals. I also run my backing tracks using the aux bluetooth input.

All gear is battery powered and I run the guitars and vocals into channel 1 of the S1. I can easily play two 4 hour gigs before charing the S1.

The Boss VE-8 is great because you can quickly adjust your voice and instrument mix and adding the Boss Gt-1 really makes it possible to cover all the bases for acoustic and electric guitar and the VE-8 really does a great job for my singing and basic looping.

I’ve been using this setup 5 nights a week for over 2 months for 25 to 100 people per gig and really love the S1, especially once I got my guitar patches dialed in.

Running the backing tracks from the bluetooth aux input was at first frustrating because there’s no eq for it. I use the eq options in the iPad now… It’s too boomy for my taste but with some tweaking this thing is the best battery powered portable p.a. I’ve every bought and I’ve bought a lot through the years!

IMG_1978IMG_1979IMG_1981

Archtop_Eddy
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Jul 25, 2004

Re: Basic S1 Set Up

Thanks for the input and photos Walt.  Like your single stand for mic and iPad. Clean!  Do you use the GT-1 for acoustic stuff?  I'd like to find a good, warm distortion sound for my acoustic guitar to provide variance in my solo sound.  Do you ever do that (or do you just use an electric for any distortion/overdrive sound)?

Halorecordings
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Apr 18, 2018

Re: Basic S1 Set Up

Walt, Great review. Your setup is almost identical to mine (except I'm using the Fishman solo at this time). I also mount my ipad to the mic stand. I recently bought a bluetooth receiver for the fishman. Love not using wires and mixer for the ipad. I also use the ipads eq. I think I'm using the "acoustic" eq setting. I should break out my mandolin. Haven't played that in a while. 

I use an a/b switch to switch between my acoustic and electric. For the electric, I'm running through a Fender Mustang IV amp. If I do decide on the S1, I'll also need a battery powered pedal for my Tele. So now I'm looking at $1,200 to go to battery power. S1=600, Battery=100, VE-8=300, Boss GT-1=200 (or other amp sim pedal). 

the only thing stopping me from getting the S1 (besides the $1,200) is weight. I'll assume the S1 with battery is about 17 pounds. My Fishman is just under 20. Not enough of a difference to justify the expense. Everywhere I play has AC power. Not sure how often I would actually need battery? 

Besides Busking, How often are you in a situation where there isn't any access to AC? If the majority of the time you do have AC available, then why invest in a battery powered amp? My Fishman is 3 pounds heavier than the S1. It's more powerful and can handle gigs up to about 150 people. So why go DC?

For me, I'm thinking backyard parties so I don't have to run long extension lines, playing in local parks (busking). Otherwise, there's always AC around. 

Thanks for you input. 

David