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Bose L1 System Hot or Not?


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Hi All,

 

I,ve been lurking but have not posted for a long time. I recently played a coffee house original music gig. They had powered speakers (mackie copies) and I brought my own board and mics. No matter how I EQ'd I could not make my fine condenser mics and my S90ES sound great, just passable. Anyway, this experience has got me re-gassing for the Bose system as we're planning many of these smaller gigs.

My request is for some fresh reviews from all you owners out there now that you have worked with the system for a couple of years. What type and size of venues have you used it in. Do you use it like they recommend with each player having there own? I'm planning to run it like a stereo PA. Is it truly plug and play? How's carrying and set-up? Would you buy it again? Does the no feed-back really work at eliminating the need for monitors?

 

Thanks for your input. I have to get some real life reviews before I pull the trigger on this one as it is so rediculously expensive, especially up here in Canada.

 

Thanks,

Stephen

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Hi Stephen --

 

I play with a 9-piece soul band that does weddings. We have a Bose system and my take on it is this:

 

1. They WILL feed back.

2. They will NOT carry to the back of a large room.

3. We've had to re-introduce floor wedges so the singers could hear themselves.

4. You can't point or re-orient them during the gig like you can with, say, a couple of SRM450s on poles.

5. They're not really that easy to carry; they're oddly shaped and don't fit well on hand trucks.

 

Other than that, they're fine :)

 

best,

 

Mike

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all hype IMO... Dr Bose IIRC teaches at MIT... but nothing to do with electronics or acoustics... and it's been suggested he should teach marketing... while wandering through GC i admit iv'e found the little buggers intriguing... but wouldn't consider them for a job personnally... opinions of course vary...
"style is determined not by what you can play but what you cant...." dave brubeck
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Originally posted by ewall08530:

Y'all dont know what you're missing, and thats fine with me...lol

I'm with ewall. :cool:

 

Everybody's requirements are different...BUT... if you're ever in a situation where you need to satisfy a conductor, yourself, and an attentive audience, you'll appreciate it. The remote control placed right on a corner of the keyboard, what a great idea! So glad I no longer have to figure in a house PA.

 

Mono works for me. It doesn't have a single point source feel at all.

 

Easy for an old lady to pack up and carry.

 

Yeah, it's pricey in Canada. I couldn't have afforded it if it weren't for joint ownership.

 

OH...DUHHH. I couldn't test out my fantastic new harps yesterday because I forgot I don't have the right cables. Laptop to Bose, what do I do? Do I need one of those Radial multi-media D.I.'s? Do I bother with an audio interface or do I go straight out of the Mac? It'll take me two weeks to figure this out. :(

"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
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Thought I would take some time to address earlier issues with the Bose L1 and tell you my experience with it having owned one since March of 2004.

 

I too was skeptical about the performance and especially the cost. I'm a keyboardist and singer and work with 3-4 different bands off and on and also do solo piano, duo and trio work.

 

I had been using 2 Roland KC amp, 100watts run in stereo. It was just ok, but when I got into situations where I was playing left hand bass, they didnt cut the bass end at all. I added the Roland sub with somewhat better results but it weighed 65lbs and I'm 56 now and gigging alot. I need to keep it light and simple.

 

I tried 2 versions of the Barbetta's which sounded very good, did not color my piano sound as much as the Rolands, but didnt handle the low bass very well either.

 

On to the Mackie 450. This was the best set-up so far. I only had one, used it with a small mixer and it gave me plenty of volume and handled the bass well. 51 lbs..not too bad, but I found it awkward to carry. I used this system for around 6 months and thought I was happy.

 

Then I heard about the Bose and was curious. I went to their forum http://bose.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x

and researched it and asked questions. This was over the course of a couple months. One day there was one at the local Guitar Center and I had time so I demoed it. First just listening to a CD thru it and walking around the noisy store and seeing how far it would carry, looking for dead spots, etc. I was amazed by the clear sound I was hearing (in mono). The further away I walked back and side to side, I felt like the volume was not "dropping off" like I would expect.

 

I then tried it with a Yamaha S90. I was 4 feet in front of it and the quality of the sound I was hearing blew me away. People in the store noticed also. I dont have to tell you how loud and noisy a Guitar Center can get on a Saturday afternoon but I had guys coming from the guitar/amp room to check out what they were hearing. Then the keyboard sales guy played the S90 and had me walk around again. It sounded awesome from what seemed like everywhere and I had to walk a rediculous distance away before I had a hard time hearing it. He even had me stand to the side about 5 feet and then behind it about 3 feet and I still was hearing full clear sound.

 

I had the feeling maybe my ears were playing tricks on me and this is a $2000.00 system with 1 sub so I was not without some doubts. But I decided to buy one tower ane one sub, and test it for a month on gigs. At the time they had a 30 day trial,(I actually forget if it was 30 or 45 days,) and full refund if not satisfied offer.

 

Well the rest is history for me. Two weeks and 7 gigs later I knew I was keeping it and it was just a question of what or if I had to sell something to keep it. (I ended up selling the Mackie SM450. Didnt need it any longer.)

 

I've been using it on solo piano gigs. Also on the duo and trio gigs with a drummer, I'm putting my Roland RD 300SX, Nord Electro rack, through it. I'm playing left hand bass and putting 3 vocals thru it using a small Rolls line mixer. I've used it outside at weddings and picnics, and inside in small to medium size rooms with crowds of up to 250 people and it's performed very well. I'm also getting compliments about the sound and questions about

"where's the PA" ?

 

Yeah, it's not perfect. There's no built in reverb. I found on solo gigs I dont need it. I know I can sing and I've never heard my voice more clearly with monitors then this. I do add an Alesis Micro Verb when playing with others. All the other vocalists have to have reverb so I do it for them.

 

I'm seeing this post is getting really long so I will address some of the earlier issues directly and then brace for the tsunami...lmao

 

 

"I play with a 9-piece soul band that does weddings. We have a Bose system and my take on it is this:"

 

I really hope you are not putting a 9 piece band through one Bose System. If you've got a horn section the minimum would probably be 4.

 

I've heard a 10 piece wedding band through 5 Bose systems and it was awesome. They've had them for a while and dealt with the usual problems of using a new system and concept but they have it down now and the guitarist swears they would never go back to their old system of backline/ monitors/ front of the house.

 

1. "They WILL feed back."

Yes they will. But they are very good at resisting the urge to feedback more then a conventional monitor. And there are preset EQ's built into the amp base that help greatly. The Bose forum is a great place to learn about using the system live.

 

2. They will NOT carry to the back of a large room.

I know my one Bose carrys further than the Mackie I was using. I tried it on a gig with a full room. I have not used mine in a really large room by itself as a PA so I'm not sure about this. The wedding band I heard with 5 systems was in a pretty big room and they still could be heard, albiet you could easily listen to the music and carry on a conversation. Not such a bad thing.

 

3. We've had to re-introduce floor wedges so the singers could hear themselves.

I haven't used a monitor on a gig with the Bose for 2 years. But I think the number of systems and placement of them is critical.

 

4. You can't point or re-orient them during the gig like you can with, say, a couple of SRM450s on poles.

I find that they are not as directional as conventional speakers and dont need to be pointed at a direct spot as much. But once or twice I've had to move it slightly. I grabed the base and turned it slightly.

 

5. They're not really that easy to carry; they're oddly shaped and don't fit well on hand trucks.

The base is a bit awkward, for sure. But it weighs 36 pounds which is 15 less than the Mackie SM450 I sold which I found awkward to carry as well. The two towers come apart and are 15lbs a piece. The sub is stupidly small, weighs 32 lbs and is easy to manage. And I've never heard a crackle of pop from it since I bought it in 2004. I bungie cord my 4 piece system to my hand truck and unless there are 8 or more steps to deal with. I'm in with it in one trip and I have the physical set up time down to 4 minutes. Tear down at the end of the night after a couple of drinks is 5 minutes. That's 5 minutes!!

 

Now I realize that everyone's experience and opinion is subjective and differs. But this system is worth a serious look/listen, and tryout for any musician who is serious about their sound, gig a lot, has problems moving heavy gear, has problems hearing themselves..etc.

 

I'm sure this thread is going to spark a lively discussion, but I couldn't sit here any longer any have something that has changed the way I play and the way I and my audience hears my music be so easily dismissed. Thanks, EWall

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Hi Sue,

 

I think you could probably get away with a mini plug(headphone jack) to 1/4 inch adapter. But having said that I would have to bet that the Radial interface would assure you wouldn't lose any quality. Those guys make great stuff.

 

Thanks,

Stephen

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Ewall, do the speakers and base come with a flight case or protection of some kind?

 

Is protection necessary?

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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Dave,

I'm not aware of any specific flight case for the system. You would definitly have to look into that if you were touring or not doing your own loading and unloading.

The system comes with padded bags for each component. In my case, 2 towers, 1 sub, 1 base.

It's not heavily padded however so I have to take care with the towers that the speaker grills dont get hit with anything and dented in.

I have a medium size throw rug I sometimes set up on so after loading I wrap the rug around the towers for extra protection. Ewall

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ok,... I have a stupid question (the answer seeming to alude me so far)

 

With ONE tower and the sub it is only MONO capable correct ???

 

TWO towers are needed for STEREO ???

 

 

If so, that seems ridiculously expensive for a mono system.

 

 

There seems to be quite a few 'bad' reviews over at harmony central about this thing, seems not everyone thinks this thing lives up to its hype.

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Actually a very good question.

Two towers needed for true stereo.

 

I love hearing stereo myself...but we all know the debate about stereo live.

 

With the Bose, the sound is of such quality it seems like I'm sitting in the "sweet spot" anyway and I'm hearing what the audience is hearing. Ewall

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I had a Bose PAS with sub and sold it after concluding I would need two units to satisfy my ears with my stereo sampled piano. It sounded thin and small in mono, sort of hollow. The midrange was clear, present and smooth. The bass was undefined and the highs were not emphasized. I now use two 36 pound 500 watt EV SXa360 powered speakers which I much prefer over muy old heavy hyped tone Mackie SRM450 speakers.

 Find 600 of my jazz piano arrangements and tutorials for educational purposes at patreon.com/HarryLikas Harry was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book."

 

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Yamaha P120 and P90.

 Find 600 of my jazz piano arrangements and tutorials for educational purposes at patreon.com/HarryLikas Harry was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book."

 

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Yep, I found that the Yamaha P series pianos in mono were very "phasey" and therefore would not sound that good with the Bose. Probably the new CP33 with mono piano samples would be fine. For some reason the S90 pianos played mono did not seem to suffer as much.

 

I forgot about that issue. It's discussed at length on the Bose forum.

 

The RD 300SX I'm using also has mono piano samples but I find the Ultimate Grand using the L/mono out retains its overall character whereas the Yamahas did not.

 

Just another thing to keep in mind when considering the Bose L1. Ewall

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Wow, good overview, Ed. I want one. :P

 

note to opp: yeah, the ProAV1 has my eye for sure. Seems like a good idea to show a little respect for the Bose and send it a balanced signal.

 

A pic just for the heck of it: http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y170/gangsu/proav1-slice.jpg

"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
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Originally posted by ewall08530:

gangsu,

Thanks. What kind of keys are you playing through your Bose? Did you experience the mono/phasey issue at all and have to adapt? Ewall

Oh my. I must be slacking off. eH, I've got one of those PrOmEga's. I did have to adapt. I had to adapt to the reality that the stereo pianos sounded better in mono than the mono (pianos).

 

:)

"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
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My son and I currently play through a Bose PAS with 2 subs. I play guitar and/or bass, and he's using a 88 key controller with a Mac notebook running Logic Express and Reason. He is in mono.

 

The system sounds amazing. Clear and articulate. The bass guitar has some serious booty. We have played a variety of venues, a school cafeteria (where we play on the worship team on Sunday mornings, and the monitor send from the main board also is in the Bose, and it sounds WAY better than the Yamaha setup that is also running) and have never had a problem being heard. The double subs play a big part in having a deep and round sound, with clarity coming off of the tower. Reason has this thunder and lightning patch, and when my son triggers that with a low note and a couple octaves above with the volume up on the Bose, it sounds like a major rainstorm right in the room. Big and full with lots of hi-fi color.

 

I love this system, even without effects on the vocal inputs.

I'm trying to think but nuthin' happens....
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The only issue I keep coming back to about the Bose systems is one that haunts all their products, and one ewall hasn't had sufficient time to be able to answer:

 

Speaker reliability: It's a known fact Bose speaker cones use cheap foam surrounds that dry-rot. In home use, we're talking about 8 years time-frame before this starts to happen. In full-time gigging applications, I could see it happening in as little as 3-4 years, because of all the different environments you're constantly exposing them to on the road.

 

Having cones re-foamed on a pair of 201's is no big deal - it's two speakers. We're not talking about 201's here, though, we're talking about a full-size array.

 

Considering that, as intimated already, the system is going to set me back a bare minimum of $6000 to do a 5-piece loud rock band, plus I'm facing the prospects of re-coning every 3 years or so at around $50 per cone, plus I have no way to record live other than using room mics, since there's no mixer involved, I'm weighing out cost-performance and saying "there's just no way"...

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You know I was thinking that "Bose is the Behringer of speakers" (but for different reasons)... ;)

 

Originally posted by Griffinator:

The only issue I keep coming back to about the Bose systems is one that haunts all their products, and one ewall hasn't had sufficient time to be able to answer:

 

Speaker reliability: It's a known fact Bose speaker cones use cheap foam surrounds that dry-rot. In home use, we're talking about 8 years time-frame before this starts to happen. In full-time gigging applications, I could see it happening in as little as 3-4 years, because of all the different environments you're constantly exposing them to on the road.

Although the foam issue has been a problem for at least some Bose speakers in the past, I'm not sure it is today. For one thing, IIRC modern foam drivers have quite effective anti-rot coatings on them. You'd also have to confirm what surrounds the Bose PAS speakers are using.
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Believe you me, bro, if we were discussing those little AcoustiMess systems, my teeth would be out. ;)

 

The PAS supposedly was designed by a completely different company, so it may well have merit. Unfortunately, Bose's reputation precedes them, and it's difficult for me to buy into anything they claim, based on prior experience...

 

As to your speaker cone response, again, the simple fact that they still employ cheap foam surrounds, coated or not, is the problem. No reputable hi-fi or PA manufacturer uses them anymore. Why? Because it only costs a few cents more per unit to used rubber surrounds, which hold up a whole lot better!

 

Whether the PAS uses rubber, foam, or anti-rot-coated foam, is open for discussion - I've never been inside one, so I wouldn't know. However, considering that every other Bose product on the market uses foam surrounds, and I know plenty of folks who have needed service (not covered under warranty, mind you) on their two-or-three-year-old 501's for surround rot, it wouldn't be an illogical leap to figure these are using the same kinds of cones as all their other production speakers, particularly since they are also 5 1/4" drivers, which Dr. Bose sees fit to employ in everything from the Acoustimass driver module to the line-arrays in the 901's. Why would they change up to a different cone?

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Hey Griff, nobody said anything about using the PAS for a loud rock band. And if you were recording, why wouldn't you be able to use the line outs?

 

A lot of different model numbers are being thrown around, and I'm a bit confused.

 

Maybe it's a good time to lay the spec sheet on the table.

 

Weight

 

PS1 power stand:35 OE (16 kg)

 

Lower L1 Cylindrical Radiator loudspeaker:16.0 OE (7 kg)

 

Upper L1 Cylindrical Radiator loudspeaker:14.5 OE (6 kg)

 

R1 remote control:0.6 OE (0.27 kg)

 

B1 bass module (optional):28 OE(13 kg)

 

Electrical Impedance

 

L1 Cylindrical Radiator loudspeaker:4 :

 

B1 bass module (optional):8 :

 

AC power rating

 

USA/Canada:100-127V 50/60Hz 1400W

 

Peak inrush current:32A @120V 60Hz

 

Audio Input/Output

 

Amplifier 1 output power (Amp 1 OUT):250W (rms,into 4 ),assigned to upper L1 Cylindrical Radiator loudspeaker or the Amp 1 OUT connector

 

Amplifier 2 output power:250W (rms,into 4 ),assigned to lower L1 Cylindrical Radiator loudspeaker or the Amp 2 OUT connector

 

Amplifier 3 output power:250W (rms,into 4 ),assigned to one or two B1 bass modules using the B1 Bass Module (Amp 3 OUT)connector

 

Output level,Line OUT:Balanced XLR connection,+4dBu

 

Output level,Bass Line OUT:

 

With a balanced TRS connection:-4dBu (nominal),+9dBu (max)

 

With an unbalanced TS connection:-10dBu (nominal),+3dBu (max)

 

Bass Line OUT Frequency Response:

 

With 1 or 2 B1 bass modules onnected to B1 Bass Module (Amp 3 OUT):40 -180Hz, compensated for B1 bass module

 

Without B1 bass modules connected to B1 Bass Module (Amp 3 OUT):40 -180Hz, flat bandpass

 

Data Output:48KHz,S/PDIF compatible interface.L=Channel 1 output,R=Channel 2 output.

"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
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Bose stopped using foam surrounds years ago.

 Find 600 of my jazz piano arrangements and tutorials for educational purposes at patreon.com/HarryLikas Harry was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book."

 

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Bose had a problem with the paper(?) edges on their Series I and\or the earlier Series II.

 

I have used my Series II (bought new) for about 17 years and they show no sign of wear whatsoever.

 

(I should add that I bought a pair of Jensen 6's for my home stereo when I lived in the US and the foam edges of the 15" woofers disintegrated after about 10 years or so.)

 

It would appear that Bose corrected this problem many years ago.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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BTW, has anyone tried the Bose QuietComfort noise cancelling headphones? I currently have Shure E5s but it's necessary to actually _listen_ to something for them to effectively mask external noise. (Obviously this is not just for musical purposes. There are times when I'd like to have noise cancellation WITHOUT having to listen to anything!)
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