Bose L1: yeah or nay?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by NickInMesa, Jul 12, 2013.

  1. I am looking for a simple but efficient PA for bar as well as small outdoor gigs.

    Is a Bose L1 and its derivatives the cat's so many claim it is?

    I saw a band play an outdoor to a crowd of 500 with a Bose system the model of which I forgot. The bassist was using his own rig.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. BassinCT

    BassinCT …still tuning…

    Jun 17, 2006
    Connecticut, USA
    I think it is fine for those venues. A jazz vocalist I have played with in recent years carries his own to the gig and it sounds good with minimal fuss. If you are running only vocals, keys and perhaps acoustic guitar through it, it will perform well, but I wouldn't be confident in running an entire mix including bass and drums close to its volume max.
    I don't think it would have the headroom to reproduce a full band mix for louder or large outdoor gigs.

    My preference is to have an excess of power just in case. If your band needs to amplify the full mix, check out the QSC K12 active loudspeakers + a small mixer.
  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    To me, it is great for mid to high frequencies. I haven't had much luck with the subs filling the room. Every time I tried it, I would go to my car and get my rig and use it for bass. It did OK(ish) for kick drum but not awesome. They may have improved them lately, but to me the whole setup is an amazing acoustic duo/trio or jazz combo rig. But for a full band running bass and drums in the PA playing outdoors it couldn't hang to me. One PA company one state over tried their best to convert totally over to them and it just didn't fly. All the bands complained about them so he only kept a couple of setups for smaller gigs.
  4. gearhead1972


    Feb 21, 2012
    Kent NY
    A guy I practiced with for a one off gig in the spring had 2 L+R. I wasn't impressed at all, It was not real sounding to me and got real muddy when 3 of the singers were harmonizing.
  5. JMO but everything else Bose makes is crap so I
    can't imagine the L1 being anything but.
  6. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    lots of long, bitter threads about these things; the upshot is that they work in their own way, with the stick providing a very wide, even coverage for lower volume stuff, even being usable behind the performer to serve as monitors, too.

    they just cost a lot for what you get, when the same or even less money spent on more "normal" stuff like powered QSC boxes gets you much more volume, clarity, and flexibility to integrate with regular PA stuff.

  7. I’ll agree with Walter that it’s no problem getting more “bang for the buck” with other equipment. However, our band had already decided to go with the Bose towers before I joined.

    But I did convince them to use an outboard mixer and not as Bose suggests, plugging everything directly into them. That would have had certain vocalists or instruments coming only out of whatever tower they plugged into. Not an ideal set-up in the venues we typically play in – smallish churches. Among other things, with an outboard mixer you get the advantage of a traditional system, such as being able to equalize each channel independently. This would avoid the muddy vocals that gearhead mentioned.

    Despite my initial misgivings, our Bose w/ mixer set-up has worked really well. It’s easy to set up and tear down, and I even plug my bass directly into it. With a little EQ boost in the upper mids, it works fine for the churches we usually play in. We did book an outdoor gig once and I was prepared to bring my full bass rig, as I have no illusions that the Bose rig would have “carried the mail” in that situation. Unfortunately it was cancelled so I didn’t get to see how it would have worked.

    Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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

  8. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    People seem to like 'em, but I'm not one. Too much $$$ for too little bang. A pair of QSC K10's and a passive mixer for me.
  9. gearhead1972


    Feb 21, 2012
    Kent NY
    Actually the guy had the 4 vocals going into a Mackie mixer then out to the 2 Bose towers. Though I doubt he had it EQ'ed right.
  10. Gougedeye

    Gougedeye Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2008
    Central Washington
    My 4 piece rock/blues/funk band uses the Bose L1M2. Two towers and 4 subs for all of our small to medium sized club gigs. The system works great for us, in that application.
    We have no amps, the guitar players use Line6 Pod HDs and I use an Aguilar Tone Hammer DI. We mic the kick drum, use 4 vocal mics and run the keys direct, as well. Inside it kills. Very clear vocals and all the instruments sound great. All the volume we need for those applications. Outside is a different subject. I believe the Bose needs walls to bounce sound off of. The absence of walls make the Bose seem very anemic, in my opinion. Not much throw for the vocals and absolutely no lows! We love our system. Set up and tear down takes 15 minutes...The downside, pretty spendy.
  11. thenazz


    May 9, 2011
    Pensacola, FL
    Our band is drums, bass, guitar, and sax/guitar. Two of the cats sing. We've got three L1s, one behind the drummer, the other two on each side of the stage. We just run vocals, sax, and the kick thru them. They work fine in small to medium clubs. Light, quick set up, no more lugging around big PA speakers, moniters, etc. Of course we're not a LOUD rock n roll band. We play soul, smooth jazz, etc.
  12. 45acp


    Feb 5, 2013
    Texarkana TX
    I can't speak for the Bose, but I have heard the carvins and I was pretty amazed. I helped a friends band do sound a month ago at a bar my band gigs at regularly.

    The sound quality was fine... but what has me on the line array kick is the balance of volume and eq all over the room. There was no hot spot, no loss of highs at the back, every place seemed like you were 10ft in front of a main. They ran them with just one 18" powered sub and rocked it. This is typical 4 piece rock band in what I'd call an average sized room.

    I was so impressed ive been doing research on building a set for my band to replace the backbreaking 15/15/horn jbl's we currently run.
  13. 4Mal

    4Mal Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    The Bose .... I hate at volume. If arranged as suggested with the towers behind the band, in a large room that require volume to make it to the back of the room... Then you are in effect standing in front of something way, way too loud... In a small room, quiet gig fine ...

    Personally I really like my K 10's and K sub setup... Reasonably small and it sounds great.
  14. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Like any other tool, the L1 has its uses but is not appropriate for everything. There is one in my rehearsal space, and it was a vast improvement for that application over wedges or mains. We have also used it for a sidefill monitor; it's great for that as well.
  15. 4Mal

    4Mal Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    yep I've had them as monitors and thought they were OK in a small space. large stage there is too much latency. did a show on a 40 stage, L1's as side fills. if you are stage center 20 feet away, singing is really weird.

    personally I love a 12 and a horn in my face. yes, my knuckles would be hairy if they didn't drag so much. :D

    L1's do have their place and are near to be unbeatable in that space. Outside the application though the concept just doesn't apply. I'm not in a position to own yet anothr PA so gor me, opting for more scalability and flexiblity makes more sense. Sound quality wise the Bose are OK, my QSC setup will smoke it in terms of full range performance. dispersion is a strong point with the L1. At 90 degrees the K10 is no slouch the and the K8 at 120 is crazy wide. 1 K8 or K10 on a stick sound pretty darned good to me... different from the L1 but well within the eange of acceptability is my take... plus, they scale.
  16. 4Mal

    4Mal Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    gak, iphone typing. will clean it up later but if you just appky a little sodoku I think you'll derive the gist of it :D

    at least i didn't just say no high's, now lows must be ...

    that would be just impolite :D
  17. will33


    May 22, 2006
    IMO, something along the lines of this is all you need to run bars and smallish outdoor patio type stuff. Add a couple monitor wedges and your set. The 15" 3-ways will have better spread and clearer vocals than the woofer+horn stuff and they'll handle a little thump from the kick. Not knock-you-down huge kick, but enough to get the job done. Most powered mixers like that have enough ins and outs you can add on to it for big stuff. Tie in a poweramp and subs and another mixer for more inputs.
  18. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    Best amplification system ever devised for an acoustic guitar and voice.

    For anything else mediocre at best.

    For bass guitar, acoustic bass or kick drum....massive suck.

  19. mophead


    Oct 24, 2004
    Texas Panhandle
    +1111111 Could not have said it any better.