Has anyone played through a Bose L1?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by lancet, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. lancet


    Dec 30, 2008
    My jazz trio is considering the Bose L1 for our sound system. My understanding is that this system can replace our amps, monitors and mains for smaller venues. I can't find the frequency response specs on the Bose web site. Any info i can get on this system is greatly appreciated. I play an electric four string bass.

  2. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Parsippany, NJ
  3. SoloC


    Oct 23, 2012

    here are L1 frequency response specs:

    Bass–Line OUT Frequency Response:
    • With 1 or 2 B1 bass modules connected to B1 Bass Module: 40 -180Hz,
    compensated for B1 bass module
    • Without B1 bass modules connected to B1 Bass Module: 40 -180Hz, flat bandpass

    Hope that helps you out. I haven't played through a L1 before.

  4. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Run away... They truly suck for bass ampflification.

    For the most part they suck in general IF you have to fill a decent sized room. I personally want to be behind all that volume, not in front of it. I've had my ears roasted more than once by those friggen' things.
  5. xk49w

    xk49w Supporting Member

    It worked for us, primarily an acoustic jazz group that needed amplification - piano, sax, drum, bass (upright). It had clarity and adequate volume for an outside venue - the throw was maybe 100 ft. Everyone in the audience could hear everything clearly. No ear bleeding. We had no monitors.

    For some reason I was never really sold on it so I sold it.
  6. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab ACME,QSC,Fame/Hondo/Greco user & BOSE Abuser Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2004
    South Texas
    We use them a LOT. Each player has one that the band owns.
    It took me about 6 months to get used to them and good sound dialed in(Line 6 Bass PODXTLive). Good sound = sounds good with 50~100 ft. after that it gets wierd sometimes.
    Did a LOT of digging myself concerning the functioning of this gear(electrical engineering degree & day gig).
    BOSE datasheet says
    Coverage pattern 160 degrees.
    Check your PM.

    The PRIMARY reasons for us are:
    1) Portable and flexible. You ain't doing a show on the back deck of a yacht with a normal PA.
    I was brought into the band as a replacement bassist, BOSE was already here so I HAD TO learn how to make use of it.

    On an outdoor deck(drummer gets one for this)

    Similar to outdoor gig because of room size

    A famous private venue in Houston, the one where they PAINTED over decades of famous autographs on the wall....

    Outdoor, everyone has a rig.

    2) Reliable, show after show.
    3) Again, can fit into small places and do a show.
    4) Elimination of FOH, crew, monitors, etc.(a lot of headaches).
    5) Clean stage setup, every show.

    For your setup, it would be very nice for each player to have their own OR, if you do smaller venues, everyone except the drummer. Using one on each side as a PA is NOT the correct way to be "happy" with these things.

    That said, I prefer these rigs:
    This one uses the PA's GREAT subs and drum monitors for lows and a Behringer for mids/highs:
  7. Tom_RCJ


    Jan 4, 2010
    Cardinal, Ontario, Canada
    Band is sponsored by Trinity Amps and Sennheiser.
    We've been using this system for about 3 years now. We've played mostly bar gigs, but a few outdoor gigs didn't supply P.A. systems so we've had to use our L1. We're a 3 piece blues/rock band but we often have "guests" (keys, extra guitar, extra vocals, this & that).

    This might end up being a long post so I apologize in advance if I'm not succinct. Bottom line: The Bose L1 is a good system, but it is very different. Feel free to ask specific questions. I'll answer to the best of my knowledge. My guitarist is a proper sound tech so I can always ask him for accurate specs if needed.

    I think the main thing to understand about the L1 is that it doesn't seem to be designed to flood the room with decibels the same way a typical P.A. system is. Our first realization is that you cannot have a loud stage volume. By loud I mean "hit the drums as hard as you can cause that's how you get the tone". You know the type. I would even say that most bands would be incapable of making a single L1 work for them due to stage volume alone. 2 systems are better suited for common volume levels, though the price is a bit prohibitive. We have a fairly low stage volume and have made our single L1 work under many situations, but some rooms are just naturally loud. There have been a few rare times where a second stick would of been appropriate. As it is now, we use amps and run the vocals through the single Bose (sometimes the kick, depending on the room). If it sounds like I'm trashing the system; I'm not. It really is great, you just have to know how to use it. One common compliment we get is that people didn't realize there was a band playing until they saw us, they thought it was CD playing. That's how good you can get it to sound, once you figure it out

    I have tried running my Epiphone Viola bass direct into the Bose. My bass sounds far better than you would expect from a 300$ Epiphone with stock pickups, and it sounded good through the Bose, just not good enough to justify getting rid of my amp. If we had 2 L1s maybe it would sound better, or maybe even if we had an extra sub (the system is designed to ad 2-3 extra subs I think). It just doesn't feel as responsive as a dedicated amp. I'm not even a bass monster either. I currently play through an Ampeg Portabass 250 with a single 1x10 cab, if that gives you any idea. I have done it in cases where there just wasn't room for a bass amp, and I was told it sounded good out in the room. Guitar sounds decent direct as well. It took us a while to get it working right for vocals so maybe we just haven't figured it out yet for instruments.

    Vocals sound impeccable... IF you use it properly. The L1 is designed to be 9 feet away from the microphone. 9 feet if a long distance on most stages. If you have it 3 feet way from the mic, you'll have the same feedback problems as you would with any other system. You do however have good EQ, compression, reverb, microphone presets and even notch EQs. If you can't spot what frequency a feedback is, you can match the note on a guitar, and use the notch EQ to scoop that note out. It's surprisingly effective. As long as you keep the L1 as far away from the mics as you can (and keep stage volume under control), it'll sound great. As gigging musician you might be accustomed to having the P.A. blaring in hopes of having the vocals heard in the back of the room. The L1 doesn't work like that. What you hear on stage really is pretty much what you'll hear in the back of the room, unless you have 500 bodies in the way. If the L1 is unobstructed or raised a bit, you don't have to crank it to fill the room with clear sound. I think the specs say a single L1 can handle a room with about 500 heads. In an amphitheatre or acoustically decent room, maybe, but that might be a bit optimistic if you're talking about a loud bar room.

    All in all, great system. You just have to use it appropriately.
  8. xk49w

    xk49w Supporting Member

    Thinking back, my main complaint, which probably led to my selling it more than anything else was that I got tired of having to squat down to floor level to plug in mics, tweak things, flip switches. Silly but there it is.
  9. Tom_RCJ


    Jan 4, 2010
    Cardinal, Ontario, Canada
    Band is sponsored by Trinity Amps and Sennheiser.
    The L1 comes with a little arm that connects to the side of the tower, which allows you to set the "brain" about 3' high. Or you could just put the brain on a table/counter/whatever. The cable attaching to the brain is about 10' long, I think.

    For those unfamiliar with the system; the brain is the mixer, with all the inputs and controls.
  10. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab ACME,QSC,Fame/Hondo/Greco user & BOSE Abuser Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2004
    South Texas
    THIS says it all.
  11. lancet


    Dec 30, 2008
    my trio is electric bass,violin, and guitar and all three of us sing, We all use small amps that i am thinking can be eliminated by using preamps. This would make for a small compact system.
  12. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
  13. Tom_RCJ


    Jan 4, 2010
    Cardinal, Ontario, Canada
    Band is sponsored by Trinity Amps and Sennheiser.
    Bear in mind a single brain only has 3 combination mic/1/4" inputs and one stereo input. Another mixer can easily be plugged into the stereo input, but those extra tracks won't have individual access to the effects. Phantom power is only available on the 3 mic inputs. There is also a USB that we use to play music off a laptop between sets.
  14. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I found the L1 a nice little system for singles and duos. I hated it for a full band.
  15. gmarcus

    gmarcus Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2003
    My old band had two of these and everything, but my bass sounded pretty good through them.

    Vocals - Outstanding
    Acoustic Guitar - Outstanding
    Electric piano - Great
    Drums - Overheads mics sounded good, Kick mic was boomy
    Bass - No punch at all and too much deep bass and this was though a VTBass pedal. I really really hated the sound of these for bass.

    We ended up running everything but my bass through them and I used My GKMB212. This sounded pretty good for medium (70 seat restaurant gigs with folk rock music)
  16. I know an extended range solo bassist (7 string) here in town (Edo Castro) uses one when he's doing jazz casuals, he seems to really like it for those applications.
  17. jpknox


    Oct 7, 2011
    Knoxville TN
    All in all, great system. You just have to use it appropriately. this is the real key to these systems - I use it in a duo - no drums - just guitar, bass and two vocal mics - one 'stick' and two bass modules - works great for small venues with that lineup -
  18. KrisHayes


    Sep 30, 2012
    It's really not tailored for a bass. Running it DI through an L1 is going to be really boomy - virtually no low-mids at all. Would be much easier running bass and keys through dedicated amps, or even maybe just an active speaker for the keys.
  19. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Parsippany, NJ
  20. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist Bassist for Michael "Epic Mic" Rowe

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I've played through them in a full band situation before. They were chosen for our venue because of how "quiet" they were. It's just not enough cone space IMO for a full band to do justice. We had two of the line arrays and two bass modules in use. When I heard how much they cost, I was rather astonished at how much Bose felt they could charge for it. When you consider each one was about $2k, you can buy a nice PA system and TURN IT DOWN for that price lol. Two 3-way PA cabs from Carvin can be had for around $800, a 2000w power amp for $549, 4 stage monitors for around $800, and a mixing board for around a couple hundred bucks. We're looking at a little over $2k for a full sound system with stage monitors, which is going to sound far superior and be much more flexible than the Bose system. If you wanted to go the lightweight route, just get smaller PA speakers, get 1000w Class D SMPS power amp, and use a cheap 6-8 channel mixer. I was just very underwhelmed by the sound of the Bose for the price that it demanded just to disperse a little bit of volume. Your drummer better be light-handed or have a cage around him, because that Bose system wasn't going to put a dent in my drummer's acoustic volume at the time lol