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KevWind
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14th January 2008
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Question Thoughts on Bose tower

I am a performing songwriter. I have a small home studio where I record my own stuff... My question is more to small venue, self engineering live performance, does anyone have experience with the Bose L1 model II system , for solo acoustic Gtr and Vocal ??? good -bad- so so / thanks in advance . Kev
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well, my first thought is 'why not go with something a little more conventional?' just in case you need it for other uses or want to sell it later...
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For that kind of money I would be looking at something else. There is a reason that Bose speakers always have their own room. Never are they in a room where they can be compared. They seem to spend more on marketing than R&D. YMMV
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buy from a company that doesn't have commercials on tv......{airline heaphones]..........they are more likely to work harder for their money and the customer service is less busy.........
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There is a reason why you don't find Bose at any touring sound company's inventory.

You want a CD/Clock or your bedroom, why not. But Bose for sound reinforcement? There is MUCH better stuff out there!
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Thumbs up Thanks.. any suggestions i.e. brands for alternatives

Hey thanks for the input I have mostly a mackie set up right now VLZ 1402 and 450 powered speakers but it seems somewhat sharp or brittle and the 450 have a noticeable hiss going on ... also as a solo artist the powered 450s are a bit heavy to pack around ...I am looking to sell it and get something lighter and with a nicer fit to nice acoustic gtr's , I was curious about the Bose, but alternative suggestions are good also Maybe - passive spks with rack amp 2 channels of mic pre and or comp etc. and better speakers more detailed ... would also work .. I play small venue -- acoustic gtr and vocal ,,singer songwriter type music.. so I am interested in quality of sound First as opposed to needing lots of inputs and Hi volume output. isn't required ....any thoughts on good spks and amps .. then 2 to 3 thousand is within my budget .. thanks
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15th January 2008
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The old joke about Bose is, "No highs, no lows? It must be Bose." Someone had to say it.

Last edited by boojum; 16th January 2008 at 02:39 AM.. Reason: spelling
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I think the Bose sounds awesome and would be perfect for what you're looking to do. I feel like these guys aren't giving it it's proper due because it's so different and the company does carry a higher price tag than it should.

I've worked with the PA and it was impressive. Don't know whether it was L1 or L2. Yes, it is really high priced, but the form is great for people like you. You just need to decide if that's really beneficial to you, because the cost will be justified if it's easier for you to work with. The sound is great for that type of thing.


Alternatives that are powered:
I've been to music festivals and have seen guys using all of the newer powered models. JBL EON15, Mackie SRM450, etc. I've only spoken with one sound guy who swore by the Yamaha MSR400s. The Yammys come with a line-in as well as two mic-ins so you don't really need a PA for basic usage.
That might be the better way to go if you're concerned about being traditional. A pair would cost you $1099.98
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well if you're really looking for something portable, non-expandable, and with a one or two person form factor, the fender passport's sound really pretty good. my church had one for small events and such. get a new decent mic, not the ones that come with it. this one was 4 4" drivers per cab, the newer ones i saw recently have different sized drivers and tweeters, haven't heard them.

the one we have is quiet, clear, and has plenty of volume for a few channels in a pretty good sized room. in fact, we used it in a school cafeteria for like acoustic guitar and four vocalists for an audience of a hundred or so and it had more than enough volume.
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5th January 2011
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Bose L1 Model 1

I've used the bose extensively, with both bands and a company who had multiple L1 systems for tradeshow use. First, the company will NOT provide any data on the speakers (i.e. frequency pattern splay, Freq. response, driver information) Second, the 2inch drivers which make up the array are expected to produce what? - 20hz to 16khz? Let's be honest and call it like it is, too cram that wide a freq. range into a small driver and expect it to replicate the audio coming in accurately is ridiculous (the finest systems in the world use multiple drivers crossed over). Third, the bose L1 towers we're originally designed for 1 instrument, i.e. a guitar - this is shown on the setup diagram online where every individual instrument has its own tower. When too many instruments are in the mix of a tower the instruments are difficult to separate. Fourth, they sound bad - I have more experience on these towers than most people and they just plain sound bad -
Quote:
boojum summed it up extremely well: "No highs, no lows? It must be Bose."
disclaimers:
1. I have heard the L1 II - not extensively, but I heard the same characteristics.
2. I have heard decent replication when 1 single instrument (guitar) has been put through one of these.

I'd be glad to provide the smaart data on the L1 to demonstrate its poor characteristics - and people pay $1k-$2k - I feel sorry for those duped into buying one.
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6th January 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwaudio View Post
I've used the bose extensively, with both bands and a company who had multiple L1 systems for tradeshow use. First, the company will NOT provide any data on the speakers (i.e. frequency pattern splay, Freq. response, driver information) Second, the 2inch drivers which make up the array are expected to produce what? - 20hz to 16khz? Let's be honest and call it like it is, too cram that wide a freq. range into a small driver and expect it to replicate the audio coming in accurately is ridiculous (the finest systems in the world use multiple drivers crossed over). Third, the bose L1 towers we're originally designed for 1 instrument, i.e. a guitar - this is shown on the setup diagram online where every individual instrument has its own tower. When too many instruments are in the mix of a tower the instruments are difficult to separate. Fourth, they sound bad - I have more experience on these towers than most people and they just plain sound bad -
disclaimers:
1. I have heard the L1 II - not extensively, but I heard the same characteristics.
2. I have heard decent replication when 1 single instrument (guitar) has been put through one of these.

I'd be glad to provide the smaart data on the L1 to demonstrate its poor characteristics - and people pay $1k-$2k - I feel sorry for those duped into buying one.
Some misinformation here. The L system uses the tower plus a sub. I don't know where the crossover is, but suffice it to say it does not produce 20hz form a 2" driver. I find it strange you would not know that having had so much experience with it.

I've played a couple of hundred gigs through an L system (the 1 or 2 just designates how many subs). From a performer's perspective, it is convenient to have the monitor and PA be the same. Put the thing behind you and you hear what the audience hears. MUCH easier to make sure your volume is appropriate for the room.

I prefer it to a conventional system most of the time for small to medium-size gigs. I don't like that Bose hides the specs. I don't expect it to compete with a traditional system for larger venues. But what it does, it does well.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boojum View Post
The old joke about Bose is, "No highs, no lows? It must be Bose." Someone had to say it.
Doesn't apply to the L series. It goes deep and high. If anything, it may sound a bit scooped.
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Bose should not be faulted for seriously exploiting the unique acoustic properties of waveguides and line arrays.

Their little line-array systems can do a great job of evenly dispersing reinforced sound. They aren't for heavy metal, but for lighter instruments in smaller rooms they can be just perfect.

For large rooms there's beefier line arrays, like this...
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There is a prejudice against Bose in the professional audio community. I don't know whether the "idea" of Bose is hated more than the sound, or vice versa, but Bose doesn't garner a lot respect in the professional audio community.

It all really depends on whether you like the sound. I do. I like it lots!

If you want a natural mid range, very natural voice reproduction, solid but not over-hyped bass, and natural but not artifical sounding and over emphasized top end, then Bose is a good choice for band (as in brass band), wind band, orchestra, small acoustic ensembles, and so forth.

OTH, if you want massive amounts of rumble, pitchless but huge bass, ssssssssizzle, and all of that kind of drama (aka noise), then look elsewhere.

I haven't used the tower sound reinforcement products, but they would be on my list of things to check into if I were you. So check these products out, use your own ears and others that you trust, and then report back.

If you're acoustic and vocal, and want the sound to resemble the source, Bose merits a serious look.
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I was in the same situation and looked at about everything. I went with the Fishman SoloAmp. It sounds great for that application. I recently picked up a pair of QSC K8's and you could do much worse than those for that application as well. Throw in the KSub and you could DJ dance as well!

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We have had good experience with K Array which is a similar product to the L1.

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I've heard the Bose system on a lot of gigs, both as musician and audience and never liked the sound. Seems to work ok in small venues and/or when only a small amount of amplification is needed. My only prejudice was that when I first heard about the system I thought it was a fantastic and stylish idea, but then...sorry...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unit7 View Post
I've heard the Bose system on a lot of gigs, both as musician and audience and never liked the sound. Seems to work ok in small venues and/or when only a small amount of amplification is needed. My only prejudice was that when I first heard about the system I thought it was a fantastic and stylish idea, but then...sorry...
It is small and limited, but a brilliant idea that works well in a fitting environment; it's good for small rooms requiring gentle reinforcement of mostly acoustic instruments and voices. If you need to a long-throw PA it's not the right solution because it is designed to assist natural sounds in the near vicinity. The coverage width is spectacular.

Last edited by MichaelPatrick; 6th January 2011 at 10:34 PM.. Reason: clear up my logic
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Some strange responses in this thread. I use the L1 how the OP intends to use it and i've been extremely happy with how it performs. I do mostly acoustic gtr and vocals, but i also have a few songs where I loop and add bass and some electric guitar. After after going through a couple of the popular systems (some cheap fender and then the fishman soloamp) I gave the L1 a try and found that it was a better overall performer then either of the previous amps. Actually the best feedback I got was from people who had been to my shows before i made the switch- they commented that they could hear me and my instruments much more clearly than before. The only issue I have is that when I get to the end of one song that has a lot going on in the looper, there is a lot of low-mid buildup in the speaker. I think that has more to do with the arrangement and the looper than the l1 system, though.
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I always find it strange, peoples response to Bose equipment. Yes, it is overpriced, but more over, it's fashionable to bash the brand.

A couple of months back I was hired to do a gig in a smallish room capacity around 200-300 and the rig supplied was a very old Bose system. a pair of 802's a side and a couple of 302(?) bass bins. The gig went very well and the musicians from the two band that played each raved about how they though each other sounded FOH.

My personal view of Bose products is that often they provide a totally unique view of how to achieve certain design objectives. In an industy of pretty standard "clone" boxes, it's somewhat refreshing if not always suitable. It's a shame their price tag makes them more of a sideshow, rather than the serious alternative they could really be. Of course YMMV

Regards


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7th January 2011
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my .02

The Bose system was bought for my daughter's school use & works OK for the Principal's speeches in the auditorium of about 250. Easy to setup.

When other things like a visiting trio tried to utilize the Bose there was chaos.
Placing it on the stage it had to be pretty far removed from from the mics as feedback was bad. Its 'foot print' ends up being rather large & hard to manage on a small stage.

Outdoors it was lousy.

When I found out how much it cost I was sad as to me a conventional PA would be 1/3 to 1/2 the cost and much more flexible.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eoats View Post
my .02

The Bose system was bought for my daughter's school use & works OK for the Principal's speeches in the auditorium of about 250. Easy to setup.

When other things like a visiting trio tried to utilize the Bose there was chaos.
Placing it on the stage it had to be pretty far removed from from the mics as feedback was bad. Its 'foot print' ends up being rather large & hard to manage on a small stage.

Outdoors it was lousy.

When I found out how much it cost I was sad as to me a conventional PA would be 1/3 to 1/2 the cost and much more flexible.
The L1 is called it a "personal" amplification system, so it's no wonder the trio had trouble with it. Musicians are each supposed to run their own. I saw a group at a jazz festival in massachusetts perform in which each member of the five piece group ran their own (not sure if it was the L1 or L2) and I thought the sound was one of the best I had ever heard for a low to moderate level performance. It makes sense that it's going to send better when each individual sound comes from its own speaker rather than trying to fit five instruments into two speakers.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scepstral View Post

<SNIP>

It makes sense that it's going to send better when each individual sound comes from its own speaker rather than trying to fit five instruments into two speakers.
Except, of course, in the case of a stereo system. It seems the Bose is a fine system in special cases, if you make enough exceptions for it, and very expensive in all cases when compared to other comparable systems. It will work well in certain situations some folks report.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelPatrick View Post
It is small and limited, but a brilliant idea that works well in a fitting environment; it's good for small rooms requiring gentle reinforcement of mostly acoustic instruments and voices. If you need to a long-throw PA it's not the right solution because it is designed to assist natural sounds in the near vicinity. The coverage width is spectacular.
In my experience that's is a very good summation.
Where it's 'from behind model breaks down is when coverage needs to extend past that near vicinity, or with overall levels past a certain point. They'll go fairly loud (I don't know how they get away as much as they do before feed back), and I suppose you could put them 'out front. Otherwise though you're in the near field on stage with levels addressing far field needs.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eoats View Post
my .02

The Bose system was bought for my daughter's school use & works OK for the Principal's speeches in the auditorium of about 250. Easy to setup.

When other things like a visiting trio tried to utilize the Bose there was chaos.
Placing it on the stage it had to be pretty far removed from from the mics as feedback was bad. Its 'foot print' ends up being rather large & hard to manage on a small stage.

Outdoors it was lousy.

When I found out how much it cost I was sad as to me a conventional PA would be 1/3 to 1/2 the cost and much more flexible.
In my experience with it, it feeds back less than a conventional system. And I've played a lot of gigs with a trio going through one system.
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FWIW, I really think the L1 should be discounted as a proper 'line array', because it's really NOT.

What most people think of as being a line-array is actually a compromised line-source system. In a line-source speaker system, a coherent wavefront is formed through the use of waveguides.

The L1 does NOT present a coherent wavefront. A small driver, such as the ones found in the L1 will be completely omnidirectional at frequencies below ~600 Hz. Only once you go above this frequency do they start to become directional. As you hit 5+ KHz they really start to 'pencil-beam', meaning the high frequencies fire straight forwards. Hence, the L1 will only be a line array at a specific frequency (around 8KHz for a series of drivers of that size with that sort of spacing).

At lower frequencies (upper midrange and below), the L1 provides absolutely no directivity, and hence, terrible feedback rejection. Above ~10 KHz, it's vertical dispersion becomes incredibly patchy, meaning it sounds completely different depending on the angle you listen from.

The L1 doesn't make use of ANY standard line-array principals. The only redeeming feature is it does a very good job of creating nulls above and below the speaker, which isn't exactly much use anyway.


I'd stick with the QSC K-series. Cheaper, much louder, sounds better and far more flexible.
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Quote:
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The L1 doesn't make use of ANY standard line-array principals.
To educate can you list a few of those for us?
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The Bose L1 works well for the OPs application - solo guitar and vocal in a small venue. It is very possible to put together a conventional system that's better/louder etc for less money but few systems are as dead simple to set up and operate. Bose set itself up for bashing by refusing to release specs and touting multi-L1 setups for larger bands/venues. That's where the value proposition of this gear just breaks down.
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Line array principal is dictated by the idea of a line source, with a 3dB drop per doubling of distance up to a certain point. This obviously goes against the inverse square law, but does so through the use of constructive and destructive interference. THIS is where the L1 does work, it does control it's vertical dispersion of low-mid frequencies in the same way larger scale line arrays do. The problem is that the smaller the line-array, the less effective it becomes at lower frequencies, and this is where the L1 falls down. Such a short 'line-array' cannot, and does not have enough scale to affect the dispersion effectively at the frequencies we need it to. You would need to double the height of the L1 in order to add significant directivity on the vertical plane.

Secondly, think about where an L1 is going to be used. Stood on a stage next to a guitarist. Whoopdy doo, we've stopped a little bit of sound from hitting the ceiling (note, not much, only a bit) and bouncing off the floor. What about the sound which will wrap around the cabinet on the horizontal plane from really low frequencies to really quite high frequencies? The L1 offers NO control over this except through the use of the narrowing of it's drivers at higher frequencies (which results in a very, very ragged response even perfectly on-axis, with massively varying sound as you move up and down in front of one).

Ultimately, technically the L1 is a line array throughout a very narrow frequency band. Practically, the L1 shouldn't be considered a line array because it doesn't give you half of the advantages a properly designed line-array would. At the same time, it doesn't give you ANY of the advantages of a decent point-source system.

Lastly, 3" speaker drivers for PA? You must be having a laugh. Even if you take into account driver coupling, you'll never get a decent level out of that.

EDIT: I really haven't got the time to put references in, but here's a link which basically explains line-array theory in it's entirety (more or less).
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Besides my own audio work, I also work for a company that rents out gear for corporate events - mostly video, but they do have some audio, though nothing too special, just "workhorse" type stuff. They have a pair of Bose L1's, and every time they go out, the clients love them. (Remember, this is a corporate crowd.) They don't block sight-line, they DO have decent dispersion (no, I didn't bust out an analyzer, I just walked around the room), and they're crystal-clear at reasonable volumes. But for music, you gotta have the sub, no doubt.

Do they "rock"? No. I agree that' Bose's marketing team needs to chill the hell out and sell them to the right cause. (DON'T even THINK of giving one to each of your band members, unless you wanna wake up sweating in the night). But for smallish venues running jazz, mild rock, or acoustic instruments (especially plugged in-types) or other lighter stuff, these are ideal, especially if you gotta keep setting em up and tearing em down. They're easy. But if you're micing a lot of quiet instruments and have a whispery chick singer, be sure to have a good graphic in the mix.

Now, if you want a system that DOES make huge use of the powered "line array" form, check out K-Array (sold by Sennheiser in USA). But not before you've got about $10K-15K to kill. I own a K-Array KR200S system, and while not great for metal, just about everything else kicks, even in a big ballroom. And feedback is easily pinched.



BTW - I just popped my Gearslutz cherry.
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