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Bose L1 system versus Fishman SoloAmp

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by DanielleMuscato, Sep 21, 2008.

  1. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    Has anyone tried out the SoloAmps yet?

    How do they compare to the Bose systems?

    Obviously the Bose L1s are more expensive and more powerful, aside from being larger and heavier. The SoloAmps are 220 watts bi-amped (200 for the 6 cones and 20 for the tweeter), versus 500 bi-amped for the Bose L1 (or 750 three ways for the L1 Classics). The SoloAmps are $1k versus $1700 for the Bose, if you don't get any of the bass units.



    Interested in hearing your opinions!

    - Dave
  2. Very interesting. This is the first other line array system I've seen from another manufacturer. Maybe it's a coming trend. I think it is a good trend, especially for soloist and small ensembles. Less stage clutter, easy setup, less physical work and still a reasonable sound.

    But.... I don't think that there is going to be too much bass output from this little system unless like the L1, it is coupled to a bass bin of some sort. Even if by some trick of technology it can be made to produce a reasonable level of bass, as soon as anything else is plugged in the bass is going to modulate the other signal and produce a distorted output.

    Hey, I don't know. This is the first I have seen this new system and not heard it yet. I hope it works, because I beleive the world needs a small unobtrusive system like this. I have humped too much overweigt and oversized gear in my time.:hyper:
  3. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    The guy who claims to have designed the system and licensed the design to Fishman originally created two versions, one with a sub and another without:


    From what I've found, the guy has a history of outlandish claims and a lot of people think he's full of it, but here's the story on the SoloAmp:


    Some info about the guy who claims to have designed it and licensed it to Fishman:



    I don't have an opinion about the guy either way; this is just what I've found online.

    By the way, Phil Jones also made a prototype version of a portable line array, complete with 3 woofers for low-end. Here's a photo:



    AADsound.com is another Phil Jones company.

    Apparently, they decided not to go ahead with production on these. I heard that this is because Bose aggressively protects their patents and there was talk of a lawsuit which prevented this from happening, but I don't know if that's true, and this would conflict with the fact that Fishman now has one. Frankly, I'm more interested in the Fishman or even the Bose because I imagine the PJB version would be prohibitively expensive for me, although I bet it would sound fantastic :bassist:

    Here's another TB thread about the Fishman unit, from the double-bass side...


    I really want to try one of these. I have heard that they are more designed for solo coffee-house type gigs, along the lines of a two-channel acoustic guitar amp (vocal mic + guitar), as they have no subs, and aren't as high wattage & don't have as much speaker surface area as the Bose systems. The Fishmans, although much more attractively priced, will probably work just fine for coffeehouses, but I doubt they would work for running drums or bass at real club levels.

    The guy who claims to have licensed the designs to Fishman said on his website that he plans to release his own versions at about a $500 price point, with better sound quality, smaller size, and more power, than the Fishman versions. He said they would be out this fall and that he would have full specs and photos on September 1st, but obviously his website is out of date on this, as the info is lacking. Fishman started shipping the SoloAmps on Sept 18th, although they introduced them at the summer NAMM show. The inventor claims that the designs are now over two years old.

    If anybody has more info, I'd love to hear it!
  4. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    FWIW, I just talked with Phil last week, and this line array PA is still under development. He is refining the design, and has some great ideas in mind for this line of PA cabs. He is also coming out with some powered studio monitors. I know nothing of a Bose lawsuit, but then again, I have not gone out of my way to learn if this is fact or fiction. This is the first I have heard of that possibility.

  5. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    Glad to hear it's still in the works! It's my opinion that more bands & clubs should adopt the mini-line-array approach to PA systems. It's a superior way to distribute sound than the traditional 3-tier systems (backline amps, wedge monitors, and FOH PA), which are not only huge, heavy/hard to transport, and expensive, but way too loud, and require an engineer. Just fitting all this gear into a small club is taxing as it is, especially with smaller stages. Also, not all clubs can fit a soundbooth where one belongs - I know of one club that actually has the booth suspended from the ceiling, with a ladder for access, because there's no other place to put it!

    Did you take those pictures from the trade show, Tom? I stole them from an older thread here on Talkbass about the Bose systems, but I don't recall who posted them originally.

    Any idea on the price-point of the PJB systems? They look great! The Bose setup seems to be more portable, but not as portable as the Fishman one. On the other hand, the Fishman lacks a sub and only has 6 speakers and half the wattage - from what I understand, even several of them are not sufficient for a full band, which is not true of the Bose system and doesn't appear to be so of the PJB.
  6. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I agree. And I found special appeal in the fact that with such a narrow array, it keeps the field of vision more open, which is nice in small clubs (or bigger clubs with small stage areas). Sonically, the AAD line array was much more open, alive, and 'life-like' than the Bose system. The Bose is nice, especially on acoustic guitar and vocals, but it didn't feel as realistic on bass, drums, or even electric guitar. The AAD system was very impressive on the full-range mixes that Phil demo'd through the system.

    Guilty, as charged. :smug: That is Winter NAMM, 2008.

    I hesitate to guess, although Phil is considering both powered and unpowered versions.

  7. LowBSix

    LowBSix Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 25, 2008
    818 ~ 805 ~ L.A.
    Endorsing Artist: GHS Strings
    Fishman was in our store with a demo and it was smokin!!!!
  8. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    LowB, come on man, give us more than that! How does it compare to a JBL Eon? How does it compare to the Bose L1s? How good is the line-array effect? What's the horizontal dispersion like? How does it sound? Does it have enough low end for electric bass? How powerful is it? Does it feed back? Can you realistically use it as both a monitor (behind you) and a front-of-house PA? :D
  9. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    I found this on another forum, posted in response to someone saying that the Fishman website should have better graphics demonstrating the line-array concept. The author is "Joe B," who claims to work for Fishman. I do not know his last name or job title, but here's the quote:

    Good points.... if the Soloamp was an imitation of the Bose product, but it's not. It may have a look that makes you think of an L1, but this is different in so many ways, I think it should be marketed in a different way as well. This product is derivitive of our Loudbox line [of combo amps] and is a result of our internal amplifier research and development, not a copy of another company's product. Line arrays have been around for a long time, this is just our approach to an affordable use of the technology which provides a compact, easy to carry, affordable and great sounding product for the solo performer. I agree with you, I think this one will be a winner. It certainly has been fun to develop.
    I've been in touch with Bill this week through emails. Their web clips sound great. Hopefully we can hook up for live demo at some point.


    Joe B.

    In context:


    Here's a link to a Fishman Loudbox:


    and a picture:


    So, I guess it's really more along the lines of an acoustic guitar combo (which often include two channels with an XLR input for vocals), but up on a speaker stand, rather than along the lines of the Bose approach.
  10. rokkitt


    Jun 7, 2007
    bronx, nyc
    hey dave, any update on this bose stuff?
    did you find out anything else?


    big al


  11. dforrest


    Apr 13, 2009
    I bought a Fishman Solo Amp after reading some threads online about the comparisons and talking to a guy at Sweetwater. I used it for a show on Friday night (just vocals and acoustic guitar) and the guy that was sharing the stage with me (also just vocal and guitar) used the Bose L1. Hands down the Bose sounded way better than the Fishman. It was a small outdoor stage on the patio of a restaurant. No matter where you stood there was really not even a comparison. The Bose is better. I'm shipping the Fishman back. It's not worth it.
  12. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Until you approach the height of the Grateful Dead's mid-seventies Wall of Sound or some modern examples of curvilinear arrays you don't really get broadband coverage in true line array fashion. I still posit the general benefit of the smaller systems like the Bose and the upcoming Phil Jones is that if each player and vocalist has their own system, you then have discrete acoustic sources and acoustic (in-air) mixing that serves well in non-huge venues simultaneaously as backline, monitoring, and FOH.

    It just requires each systems' drivers covering the same passband be aligned vertically instead of horizontally for better dispersion and less effects of comb filtering, and enough power and speaker spectrum breadth tailored individually to represent each source's system well.

    The gotchas still remain getting vocalists and drummers into this so that they too have their own systems, ones that are not prone to feedback. A lot of bands that disparage using club PAs for the backline-oriented players still are using them for these two duties (vocals and drums), and the users are still for the most part going about it all wrong for the bass and guitars especially - splaying drivers across the floor horizontally instead of aligning them vertically which decreases useful dispersion and creates lack of intelligibility and uneven frequency response that not only sounds like mush, but varies hugely from listening position to listening position.
  13. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Just thought to add this: a band I did video and live graphics projections for back in the early nineties had a drummer who used a fully electronic kit with several brains and samplers, and a small PA stack (main and subwoofer) for his personal rig, and it really sounded great any any level - and freed the band from much dealings with a central mixer, though the house PAs still handled vocals.
  14. 2ndBassGuitar

    2ndBassGuitar Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2008
    Qualicum Beach, BC
    Has anyone bought or used the Phil Jones LS 1800 yet?

  15. Late to the thread, but...
    My band uses the Bose rig, and the concept is not without its issues. For one, the stage needs some depth in order to get them far enough behind you in order to cover the whole stage (i.e. so that the whole band can hear them). You naturally need to turn them up loud enough for the audience to hear them well, which usually means it’ll be at ear-bleeding levels for the musicians.

    Since we’re typically on shallow-depth stages, we needed three of them in order for all of us to hear. I make sure I’m standing well to the side of the one near me, not in front of it!

    The Bose rig has the same problem as their similar-in-concept home audio systems (tiny drivers w/ outboard sub): It has a big hole in the mid-to-upper bass, between the point where the towers roll out and the sub rolls in. I have to EQ my rack output to compensate; otherwise I sound like “smiley face EQ.”

    Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Pedulla Club #45
    Administrator, Tobias Club
    Big Cabs Club #23
    My Rig: Stage and FOH Friendly

  16. LaklandBass


    Jan 26, 2005
    Ive previosly worked with the Bose L1. It has a bit more bass than the fishman simply because its designed for use as a DJ system as well and instruments.
    However... the bass is sloppy (typical bose)
    GIGANTIC hole in the midrange (typical bose)
    costs 3x what its worth (cheap considering its bose)
    if you buy it you're supporting a company that treats its employees like worthless trash.
    ; )

    The Fishaman system has a wonderful sound and considering its intended use Id say theres not much wrong with it at all.
  17. Akami

    Akami Four on the floor

    Mar 6, 2005
    Sounds like you've got an ax to grind and I think we'd all agree that value is pretty much a personal choice. :rolleyes:

    Anyway, the bass is actually pretty smooth but for rock it's a good idea to replace the Bose B1 cabs with an actual cabinet that you like for bass. I have been using two B1's but for rock settings have been using my Schroeder 1212L.

    Having had a total of five L1 systems I'm pretty happy with them.
  18. LaklandBass


    Jan 26, 2005
    ^ my apologies.... i was thinking of the L1 Compact and the Fishman Variation of the same price.

    and yes I have an ax to grind.... after a couple years of watching them try to brainwash salesmen and go on witchhunts for anyone not wanting to drink the kool-aid im not exactly a big fan.
    I watched them fire good people for no reason other than the DM being a coward and making excuses just to get them out the door.

    None the less..... the actual L1 system is decently impressive for what it is. I just got confused and pictured the L1 compact for some reason.
  19. Akami

    Akami Four on the floor

    Mar 6, 2005
    Have you had the opportunity to listen to the L1 Compact? I've been curious but it seems that some views suggest it wouldn't even be capable of doing a decent job in a small lounge.

    Even though I'm pretty happy with the L1 Model II I'd been interested in something even more compact for times that the larger unit really is way more than necessary. Almost forgot about the Fishman Solo Amp and looks like I need to do some more research on them.
  20. Lync


    Apr 13, 2004
    I was using a Dr. Bass 115 sub with my Bose but went back to 2 of the B1's. It works but sounds different than a regular rig. I am going to try a B1 as an extension cab for my Genz Shuttle 3.0-10t for my gig tonight (no Bose system required).

    The thing I have found with Bose is that it shines with the master at 12 noon (this is the L1 Model II). Anything about that and it will be louder, but it seems to lose sound quality (although it is not clipping). Great for acoustic music (and even bass) without drums or if you have a quiet drummer. Add in a Bonzo guy on drums and forget it!

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