Portable PA specs: Vocopro Drifter VS Bose L1 Compact

dnathan

Active Member
Joined
May 3, 2018
Location
Phoenix
Hi - Looking to buy one of these. Sound guys say the Bose is overpriced, but the Vocopro is new, not reviewed and untested. How do I compare them for audio quality via numbers? I can't find the frequency response numbers for the Vocopro. Thanks! -Dana


Bose L1 Compact


Specifications
Frequency Response (+/-3 dB)65Hz - 14kHzFrequency Range (-10 dB)50Hz - 16kHzNominal Dispersion (HxV)180 deg. x 40 deg.Maximum SPL106dB SPL (112dB SPL peak) at 1 mPowerAC Power Rating: 100-240 V - 50/60 Hz 200 W Max
Peak Inrush Current: 230 V: 18.2 Amps / 120 V: 9.7 AmpsDimensions (HxWxD)L1 Compact power stand with loudspeaker array: 16.5 x 13.25 x 16.75" (41.91 x 33.66 x 42.55cm)
L1 Compact loudspeaker array: 16 x 2.75 x 2.75" (40.64 x 6.99 x 6.99cm)
Each L1 Compact extension: 32.5 x 2.75 x 2.75" (82.55 x 6.99 x 6.99cm)
Collapsed position (assembled): 6.5 x 13.25 x 16.75" (16.51 x 33.66 x 42.55cm)
Extended position (assembled): 78.5 x 13.25 x 16.75" (199.39 x 33.66 x 42.55cm)WeightL1 Compact power stand with loudspeaker array: 24.6 lbs (11.16kg)
L1 Compact loudspeaker array: 3.0 lbs (1.36kg)
Each L1 Compact extension: 2.3 lbs (1.04kg)
Collapsed position (assembled): 24.6 lbs (11.16kg)
Extended position (assembled): 29.2 lbs (13.25kg)


VocoPro Drifter


Specs

HF Driver 1 x 1.5" / 3.8 cm tweeter per speaker unit
MF Driver 3 x 3" / 7.6 cm drivers per speaker unit
LF Driver 1 x 10" / 25.4 cm woofer
Amplifier Power 1500 W peak
120 W RMS
Inputs 2 x 1/4" microphone inputs
2 x 1/4" instrument inputs
2 x RCA coaxial line inputs
Outputs 1 x RCA coaxial mono aux output
1 x RCA coaxial mono speaker output (4 to 8 Ohms)
Media Card Slots 1 x microSD
USB 1 x USB Type-A
Bluetooth Built-in receiver
Bluetooth Version 4.0
Radio FM
Carrying / Transport Options Rolling wheels
Retractable luggage handle
Top-panel carry handle
Battery Type Lead-acid
Battery Life (approx.) 4 to 6 hours
Power Requirement 15 VDC via included power adapter
Dimensions (W x D x H) 20 x 16 x 27" / 50.8 x 40.6 x 68.6 cm (collapsed)
Weight 48 lb / 21.8 kg
Packaging Info
Package Weight 47.15 lb
Box Dimensions (LxWxH) 26.25 x 19 x 19”
General
• Product Name
Drifter 10" 1500W Rechargeable Compact Line Array PA Speaker
• Brand
VocoPro
• Additional Accessories Included
Microphone, microphone cable, remote control
• Model Number
DRIFTER
• Color
Black
• Color Category
Black
Warranty
• Manufacturer's Warranty - Parts
1 Year
• Manufacturer's Warranty - Labor
1 Year
Other
• Number Of Channels
0
• Peak Power HandlingInfo
1500 watts
• Number Of Speakers
4
Speaker Size
10 inches
• Wireless
Yes
• Output(s)
RCA
• Bluetooth EnabledInfo
Yes
• Batteries IncludedInfo
Yes
• AC Adapter IncludedInfo
Yes
Microphone Included
Yes
Power Source
Battery-powered
• Battery SizeInfo
Battery pack
• On/Off Switch
Yes
RMS Power
120 watts
• Input(s)
1/4 in. audio, RCA stereo
• Cable(s) Included
Yes
• VoltageInfo
15 volts
• Rechargeable
Yes
• Number Of Inputs
5
• Number Of Outputs
2
UPC
692868374388

HF Driver1x 1.5" (3.8cm) tweeter per speaker unitMF Driver3x 3" (7.6cm) drivers per speaker unitLF Driver1x 10" (25.4cm) wooferAmplifier Power1500W peak
120W RMSInputs2x 1/4" microphone inputs
2x 1/4" instrument inputs
2x RCA coaxial line inputsOutputs1x RCA coaxial mono aux output
1x RCA coaxial mono speaker output (4 to 8 Ohms)Media Card Slots1x microSDUSB1x USB Type-ABluetoothBuilt-in receiverBluetooth Version4RadioFMCarrying / Transport OptionsRolling wheels
Retractable luggage handle
Top-panel carry handleBattery TypeLead-acidBattery Life (approx.)4 to 6 hoursPower Requirement15 VDC via included power adapterDimensions (WxDxH)20 x 16 x 27" (50.80 x 40.64 x 68.58cm) (collapsed)Weight48 lbs (21.77kg)
 

DrewE

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2019
Location
Vermont
The best way to compare for audio quality is to give them a test run for your particular use case. I know that's sometimes easier said than done.

The Bose unit sounds decent-ish to me, though not amazingly exceptional in any particular way, based on pretty limited experience. The other one I have no experience at all with, though I'm somewhat skeptical based on an initial gut feeling from the quick description. Neither one would be very good for high volume levels or large-scale reinforcement; in my opinion, these and similar systems are ideally suited for only a pretty limited range of applications. Busking, for instance, is one decent application. If you don't need the battery power capability, some more standard powered PA speaker might be well worth considering--maybe a Yamaha DXR8 or DXR12, for instance.
 

MNicolai

Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
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Mar 30, 2008
Location
Sarasota, FL
It's not worth trying to compare speakers with numbers, especially on the consumer/prosumer end of the market. Every manufacturer finds creative ways to goose their numbers up or simply doesn't publish the valuable information for products at this price point.

Sure, the VocoPro probably has an amplifier rated for 1500W, but if someone actually drives 1500W into those speaker elements they'll smoke out and the whole column will melt down to the ground like the China Syndrome. This is more obvious when you look at the Amazon page for this product, where they show 120W RMS / 1500W Peak. That's an insane ratio to have to between those numbers, and the 1500W is kind of silly to put in the product title anyway for a battery-based product. Also note that only review for it on Amazon is that the rechargeable battery was DOA.

Which is something of a moot point, because wattage does not equal loudness. Different speaker elements are more or less efficient, so the volume they put out per watt driven into them is going to vary.

I wouldn't trust the VocoPro at all. I've never heard of them before but looking at their website they only make karaoke products. Anything marketed as a karaoke product isn't going to meet expectations in a live sound environment. It is possible it could sound decent, but I would worry it won't last very long before it fails. Whether that's a battery failure, amplifier failure, or the internal components rattle loose getting carted between gigs.

As for the Bose, it's going to be great in some cases and in others it's going to disappoint. That's not necessarily a reflection of the product but that it is definitely not the right solution for everyone. It's a type of system meant for people who want decent sound quality in a small and highly portable form factor. If you compare it to other $1000 powered speakers on the basis of sound quality alone, there are better products out there. If you own a small car and need to schlep this around with you from village to village and it's going to be in the background of someone's wedding reception photos, it very well may make you endlessly happy because it'll last a long time, take some abuse, sound good enough, and it won't be as much a workout if you need to carry it up and down a few flights of stairs or 4 blocks back to where you parked. Economically, if you're using it for something that makes you money, it could be worth the investment. If doesn't directly impact how much money you make, then $1000/stick is probably a little rich and you can get by with less (something other than the VocoPro...).

All depends on what you want to use it for and what features are important to you. Are you using it for speech or music? What genre of music? How big are the rooms it'll be used in and how loud do you want to drive it? How important is it that you have a column-type speaker?
 
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dnathan

Active Member
Joined
May 3, 2018
Location
Phoenix
Thank you for the great reply Mike! Yeah, I saw the wattage ratio and thought 'whoa mama!'

I'm a solo artist with severe tinnitus, so I'm trying to make as quiet of a 'stage' as possible. I'm looking for a stick array for both monitoring and the people in front. I want to avoid IEMs because my ears are so shot I simply want to wear earplugs and hear what the crowd hears, but from behind the speaker. I have a pair of M Audio AV40 speakers to point more at me. (It's a solo act with recorded accompaniment). From there I would add a pair of large Mackie powered speakers on stands as far away from me as possible, so the crowd can enjoy what I can't. Creating a quiet stage is very challenging!
 

TimMc

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2017
Hi @dnathan -

Here's something to consider: ALL column type loudspeakers have very wide coverage until you get into the >2kHz range.... in fact most loudspeakers have a much wider (at lower freqs) and narrower (at higher freqs) pattern than the "one number specification" would suggest. This is why you need to audition whatever speakers you are considering. If you're trying to keep the stage SPL down for your hearing protection you will be surprised at how many speakers radiate far, far wider.

That said, there is a lot of love for the dBTechnologies Ingenia series, particularly the IG4T and IG2T, used over a subwoofer. Not the cheapest of its type, but anecdotal reports from users and owners are that Ingenia is a much better *investment* than Bose (unless the Bose name helps you get gigs...), sounds better (obviously subjective and subject to bias confirmation) and can get louder. DBTech also has the ES1002, where the amp is in the sub and connects to the column speaker on top. Neither are "cheap".

What's your budget, and what is your target size/weight?
 

dnathan

Active Member
Joined
May 3, 2018
Location
Phoenix
I appreciate your expertise. I'm a wedding videographer and get to listen to a lot of speakers from various djs. I've found that the SPL behind active speakers on a stand is substantially quieter, so the trick I'd like to pull off is having them in front of me about 15ft to the sides with just enough angle as-to not get hit - especially with the highs. Being slightly in front of me I wouldn't want them to block me visually.

An array could stand right in front of center stage and also serve as a stand for my lyric iPad. So I would be directly behind the speaker 4-5ft. I would stand on an 20" platform.

Which of those two scenarios would have higher SPL in your opinion?

If I went with a separated modular system - tell me if this wouldn't work - I could have the tweeters in those positions and the sub far away from me via a wireless system. (Even though the high frequencies are what really kick my butt). Although if the tweeters were far enough away to not hurt my ears, the low frequencies would pry be tolerable as well.

I'd be playing medium-sized rooms. I'd like to find something between 1k-1.5k.
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
I appreciate your expertise. I'm a wedding videographer and get to listen to a lot of speakers from various djs. I've found that the SPL behind active speakers on a stand is substantially quieter, so the trick I'd like to pull off is having them in front of me about 15ft to the sides with just enough angle as-to not get hit - especially with the highs. Being slightly in front of me I wouldn't want them to block me visually.

An array could stand right in front of center stage and also serve as a stand for my lyric iPad. So I would be directly behind the speaker 4-5ft. I would stand on an 20" platform.

Which of those two scenarios would have higher SPL in your opinion?

If I went with a separated modular system - tell me if this wouldn't work - I could have the tweeters in those positions and the sub far away from me via a wireless system. (Even though the high frequencies are what really kick my butt). Although if the tweeters were far enough away to not hurt my ears, the low frequencies would pry be tolerable as well.

I'd be playing medium-sized rooms. I'd like to find something between 1k-1.5k.
@dnathan First query: Stereo or mono; Stereo'd be my bet. If you're intending stereo, guess how many speakers you'll need at a minimum.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

dnathan

Active Member
Joined
May 3, 2018
Location
Phoenix
Definitely mono. Most djs play only mono because they want the same mix throughout the room. The rest don't realize they're playing stereo because they don't know their own equipment. Stereo is great for home entertainment, but if one side of a hall is getting just Paul McCartney and the other side Ringo everyone will have a bad experience.

Number of speakers depends on room size and layout. My goal is to keep the guitar solos balanced for the crowd, but as quiet as possible for me. Ourdoor gigs are ideal. Small rooms would kill me.
 

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2014
Location
St Pete FL USA
The Vocopro is likely junk; their stuff doesn't have a fantastic rep even among karaoke jocks.

But, just to cross the streams, my favorite KJ, of 35 years experience, has the Bose, and I've sung with it, and it's pretty damn impressive.
 

DrewE

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2019
Location
Vermont
Have you ever actually tried using IEMs, or are you basing your disinclination towards them on what you've read and/or assume to be the case?

I don't have a lot of experience with them, but the few times I've tried them, I find that the volume levels I experience with IEMs are substantially lower than stage volumes in almost any other circumstance. They (at least any halfway decent ones) do a good job of attenuating the ambient noise, more or less acting as earplugs, and with a bit of care in setting your levels the overall result is better hearing what you need and having less volume overall. The disadvantage is a distinctly greater feeling of isolation from the audience and the rest of the world in general.

IEMs aside, any speaker that's attempting to do double duty as a monitor and as a main speaker is at a substantial disadvantage over dedicated speakers for each task. Relying on bleed from your main speakers for your monitoring, no matter what sort of speaker system you're using, is going to be quite difficult at best and entirely unworkable at worst. I would suggest getting main speakers with the best and most suitable pattern control you can manage (and what is most suitable of course varies with the specifics of the venue), and orient them such that you have as little spill as possible, and then use dedicated monitors for what you need to hear. Often, of course, what you need to hear to perform well is rather different from what the audience is intended to hear anyway.
 

dnathan

Active Member
Joined
May 3, 2018
Location
Phoenix
Very well said! I'm considering IEMs, which would be a requirement if I were in a band. I do well with earplugs, as I need isolation more than a specific channel. I'll use a small monitor for a personal mix. Noise cancelling would be the appeal of IEMs over earplugs. Audience isolation is a drawback, but frankly wolf-whistles hurt as much as guitar pinch harmonics.

As far as the mains, do you think an array 4ft directly in front of me would be quieter to me than active speakers 15ft to both sides, slightly in front of me?
 

DrewE

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2019
Location
Vermont
As far as the mains, do you think an array 4ft directly in front of me would be quieter to me than active speakers 15ft to both sides, slightly in front of me?
It's very hard to say definitely; it would depend on the specifics of the speakers (and room) in question, how the speakers are oriented, etc. Very generally speaking, for the same house levels I would expect good point-source speakers off to the sides to lead to less stage volume, particularly in the upper midrange to treble frequencies, under the circumstances you describe than the array, assuming they're oriented appropriately so as not to spill sound onto the stage. But that's just a general overall expectation; some speakers have much better pattern control than others, and room acoustics can play a huge role particularly in smaller venues, etc. For bass frequencies, none of these speakers have much pattern control at all.

As I understand it, most of the small arrays like the ones you're looking at are designed to have very broad horizontal coverage--or, put less glowingly, not much horizontal pattern control. Whether that's an asset or a liability depends on the situation in which they're employed; but it doesn't tend to help keep stage levels really low when you're close to the speaker. I hasten to add I'm nothing like an expert in these matters! (Many smaller and/or cheaper traditional PA speakers also don't have superior pattern control, which is partly a matter of pesky constraints imposed by physics and partly a result of needing to design to a price point and certain other key specifications that marketing people pay attention to.)
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
Very well said! I'm considering IEMs, which would be a requirement if I were in a band. I do well with earplugs, as I need isolation more than a specific channel. I'll use a small monitor for a personal mix. Noise cancelling would be the appeal of IEMs over earplugs. Audience isolation is a drawback, but frankly wolf-whistles hurt as much as guitar pinch harmonics.

As far as the mains, do you think an array 4ft directly in front of me would be quieter to me than active speakers 15ft to both sides, slightly in front of me?
@dnathan Three thoughts:
1; Directly to your point, why not borrow and / or rent several makes and models of speakers and try them for yourself.
I've ALWAYS been a Bose snob initially preferring JBL's pro' series drivers and cabinets and graduating to EAW in my latter years.

2; To your secondary point regarding stereo Vs. mono.
Twenty or thirty years ago, there was an instrumental keyboard hit featuring a Fender Rhodes. Once or twice within the single, there was a few bars of fast stereo tremolo auto panned moving rapidly from channel to channel. In my radio daze, I ALWAYS loved airing the single and it sounded spectacular on the control room monitors. One evening my wife and I were out dining and the tune came up on the restaurant's background music system.
The system was stereo but all the speakers in our room were from only one channel. When the fast auto-panned bars came up, we nearly lost our meals, the auto-panned bars were NEVER meant to be heard from one channel only.

3; Have you heard / considered cardioid subs??

Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 
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dnathan

Active Member
Joined
May 3, 2018
Location
Phoenix
Drew - I think I agree with you on the better solution being off to the sides instead of one array in front of me. Thanks for weighing in! Great thoughts.

Ron - Oooh my! Fascinating stuff! Here's a great video I found explaining cardioid subs.
This is getting expensive! I'm hoping to find a DIY for positioning. It looks straightforward; I just don't know how to gather data.

Is cardioid tech applicable to high frequencies as well?
 

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2014
Location
St Pete FL USA
People who mix monitor for IEMs:

Do you leak a little audience mic in to combat that isolation, and let the performers hear, say, shouted requests?

And do you -- and how do you -- take advantage of the IEMs as wireless IFBs?

[ If this is too much of a hijack, feel free to transplant it, mods ]
 

macsound

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
You said you're a wedding videographer? Did I miss what you're using the PA for?
The Bose is surprisingly good in small spaces. Everything from conference rooms to bars and small venues. The problem with Bose in general is how they "create" bass, with small speakers. The physics issue with this is not alot of air movement in larger spaces. Room that holds 100-200 people. The column would be fine. Anything bigger and you need a bigger PA.

For IEMs, yes having a mic in the house is nice to hear the room and responses, but you have to carefully heavily compress it so you aren't getting a massive amount of bleed to the point where your monitor sounds a mess. Most people just pull one ear out.
 

dnathan

Active Member
Joined
May 3, 2018
Location
Phoenix
Yes, and pulling one ear out is really bad for the way your brain processes sound, so I avoid that.

I'm a wedding videographer seeking a solo rock act ironically to avoid insanely loud PAs at wedding receptions.

BTW, I ordered some IEMs today to try out.

DJs with Bose L1s usually just add subs for larger rooms. I've only heard one bad L1, but it was run by a deaf DJ.
 

Ben Stiegler

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Joined
Aug 3, 2017
Location
Sf Bay Area
Look at JBL (not Jobless) EON 1. I just displaced a pair from a large historic domed house of worship where they had no business masquerading as mains, but ok in smaller spaces. I often see musicians using just one of this type to cover a room ... the wide horizontal pattern allows for that. Probably good up to 100-200 person gathering with non-EDM music. If you need to shake the chandeliers, then you need to drag more gear around. Bose in my experience is overpriced for what you get, but that's based more on historical than current experience.
 
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Ben Stiegler

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Joined
Aug 3, 2017
Location
Sf Bay Area
2 things - QSC quality and voicing probably better than JBL if you can afford it, based on my side-by-side comparison.

Also - to Jay a la hijack - yes, IEM users generally are happiest when there's a house facing mic or pair mixed into the IEMs to hear the room sound, audience applause/callouts, etc. Often these are placed on short (drum) stands at the edge of the apron, pointed out at the house.