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The New Bose Amplification System!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Scott Lynch, Feb 18, 2006.


  1. Scott Lynch

    Scott Lynch Supporting Member

    I am a student at the University of Delaware, and as such certain oppurtunities come along that allow me to try new things. For example, the new line of amps by Bose. The father of a UD student happens to be a salesperson for these things, and did a presentation last Friday. Lucky ol' me got to sit in as the bassist for the ensemble that demonstrated these babies.

    The system works like this. A base, about the shape of a cymbal vault and sized somewhat larger, holds a pre-power setup and input/output section, as well as holding the mid-high frequency tower, consisting of two sets of 12 vertically aligned 5" drivers, one stacked on top of the other. 2 subwoofers, which had (I believe) 2 6.5" woofers, provided the bass. The preamp section has 4 channels. 2 of these channels (1 and 2) have a gain control and accept either XLR or 1/4" ins (in the same jack). The EQ? in a wired remote, which can be placed on a music stand or other elevated device. 3 band fixed frequency (the guy said 120 hz, 1.5 kHz, and 12 kHz, but he didn't sound like he was sure so don't take my word for it), with a level control for each channel and an overall master volume. So, for instance, if you are running bass and backup vocals through one of these sytems, you have a three band EQ and level control for each channel. Vocals too soft? Turn 'em up to match your bass signal. Channels 1 and 2 also have an XLR out to run to a house PA when playing in a large club. Channels 3 and 4 have a 1/4" in. I didn't mess with these so I can't say much about 'em. Other ins and outs exist in the base as well.

    The coolest thing about the preamp? Presets. Presets for all different types of microphones, guitars, basses (an upright preset, three active bass presets, one for a vintage jazz and one for a vintage p) etc., optimize the eq pre-curve for the best possible sound with the controls set flat. Finding a good eq for a room is almost as simple as finding the right preset. Doubler? Run your upright through Channel 1 with the upright preset and your electric through channel two using another preset and you've got a separate EQ and level control for each bass. Cool, huh?

    So how do these things sound? Well, let me say this: they are the highest of the hi-fi. The sound you hear is more like what you would hear on a CD than anything else. The sound is painstakingly flat, if not a little scooped in the mids to compensate for how the human ear naturally perceives sound.

    The amazing thing about these amps is that they sound virtually the same no matter where one is standing in the room. The mid-high frequency tower is designed to disperse sound at a 180 degree angle from where it is oriented, rather than projecting the sound prominently forward. I was situated in the back center of the stage, the drummer to my left, the pianist to my right, and the two instrumentalists were in front of me. The mix I heard was like nothing I have ever heard, not even through a personal in ear monitor system. I could hear everything. EVERYTHING! And it was all CRYSTAL CLEAR!

    Now the cons. These things need to be set up right to work. the ensemble I played in (flute/vocals, piano, electric bass, drums) played two songs. Piano went through one 2 subwoofer system, on the left side of the stage against the back wall, winds and vocals through a 1 sub system, in the center against the back wall, and bass through the other 2 sub system, toward the right side of the stage against the back wall. As we went on, it took some time to adjust the levels to get everything blended just right. My drummer complained of not being able to hear me, even though my system was placed no more than 10 feet behind him! Now before you bash these things, the acoustics of my college recital hall aren't bad. They suck. Terribly. The music department ran of funding for the hall and it ended up being finished smaller that it was designed to be, so it's dead spot central in there.

    Overall, these thing are definitely worth taking a look at. An amp that can function not only as a personal monitor, but an overall stage monitor AND small/medium sized PA is in my book, one hell of a great new technology.

    -Scott
    P.S. Bose did not pay me to write this. I just really think these things are cool.
     
  2. Eggman

    Eggman

    Dec 3, 2004
    Denver, Colorado
    My band and I have been using the Bose system exclusively since March of 2003. Our fans couldn't be happier due to the amazing clarity of the sound and the directionality. I recently added the new extra bass pakage - an additional 250 watt amp and 2 more of the sub-woofer boxes. Really balances out the system for bass guitar. The system provides for an incredibly clean look on stage and is plenty loud enough for medium + size rooms. We have used them in the grand ballroom of a hotel with 400 people in the room. Systems provided great coverage and we were not cranked past halfway.

    There are a ton of Bose detractors on these boards - but not many here who actually have more than a few minutes of hands-on experience with this Bose system. We love the system. While it may not be the best bass amp out there, but when the whole band uses them - we experienced a vast improvement in overall band sound.

    Eggman

    PS - I am a happy Bose customer - not a Bose employee or paid endorser.
     
  3. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    I played with an acoustic guitar / bass / drums trio where this Bose system was used as PA. I did not go through it, but there were a couple of mics on the drums. Sounded great to me (average sized restaurant gig).

    Now, I also played in a slightly different configuration of that band: the guitarist played electric instead of acoustic, and there was a keyboard player. We played the same venue, but the band used a conventional PA with soundman.
     
  4. seamonkey

    seamonkey

    Aug 6, 2004
    The Bose tower part is very good. It uses a line array approach. Sound wise, they sound good to me. There are no specs available and they're a too expensive for me.

    They are not good in situations where you need to control dispersion, such as hearing yourself and while keeping down the stage volume.

    The subwoofer from Bose is not adequate. It doesn't seem to match the efficiency and rolloff of the towers. I'd recommend skipping the Bose woofers and getting another brand.

    You could make your own line arrays easy enough, it's surprising more manufacturers don't make similar systems.
     
  5. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I was one of the detractors. While the concept seems neat, I could not get past the size, weight, and cost, for the amount of gear that Bose recommends for a 5-piece combo playing a moderate sized room. It was into the five digits in price and hundreds of pounds.

    A DIY'er could build one of those line arrays for around $100 by waiting for a bargain on small midrange drivers.
     
  6. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    That's overestimating by at least a half, $50 is possible, including the enclosure.
     
  7. SBassman

    SBassman

    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    I wish it wasn't so expensive, otherwise we'd jump all over it.

    As far as the detractors, fuhgettaboutem.
     
  8. dunamis

    dunamis

    Aug 2, 2004
    Charlotte
    My band uses 'em. We like them and so do our audiences.

    The best part IMO-- no monitors or IEMs.:bassist:
     
  9. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I was assuming "audiophile" drivers cost at least $5 each ;)
     
  10. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Don't rule out building an array speaker. I am not trying to be a troll here.
     
  11. dunamis

    dunamis

    Aug 2, 2004
    Charlotte
    Well, there may be those among us who can, but I for one couldn't build a reasonable facsimilie of a Bose PAS, or anything like one for that matter, for *any* amount of money!:p

    Isn't it a little like saying that one could build a Sadowsky by buying parts (Warmouth or whatever) and assembling it yourself? Maybe there are people out there who can pull that off, (and more power to them!) but I'm afraid that the vast majority of us will need to just buy a Sadowsky bass or a Bose PAS if that's what we want. I'd be laughed off the stage if I tried to pass off any DIY stuff of my own as pro level equipment.
     
  12. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    One of the inherent advantages of line arrays is that you don't need to use high quality drivers. In fact, there's little if any advantage in doing so. Drivers that have very uneven response singly will give a pretty flat response if you use enough of them. Knowing Bose I seriously doubt they use drivers that cost them more than a dollar or two each in their array. The TLAH line array I have in my livingroom is flat from 100 to 15kHz. The midbasses cost 75 cents each, the tweeters 29 cents each. The shipping cost me twice what the drivers did.
     
  13. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    The make-versus-buy decision is never easy. To further cloud the issue, there is pro gear such as Sadowsky, which is probably untouchable. But there is also pro gear such as some kinds of cables, which are widely considered to be pure marketing hype. I don't assume the best or worst of any brand.

    The DIY'er would have to make a judgement about what the Bose system consists of, and which features are most meaningful to their use. But that's always the DIY dilemma. My comment assumed that you can build a line array speaker of comparable quality to the Bose pole, and that you would be happy with the ergonomics of a mainstream bass amp or PA head.

    It is my opinion that speakers in general are at least 50% hype. That's why no maker will show their response curves.
     
  14. seamonkey

    seamonkey

    Aug 6, 2004
  15. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    Quite true. If speakers were sold on the basis of how good they sound instead of how they look 90% of those on the market today would be history. Speaking of hype, the original 1970s Sunn 200s were hyped as being rear-loaded folded horns. They did work better than most cabs of the day, mostly because they had JBLs in vented boxes, while most competitors had cheap Jensens in sealed cabs. But were they actually folded horns? No, they weren't. Sunn used the term because it rolled trippingly off the tongue, but they were actually reflex cabs with a funky port.
     
  16. dunamis

    dunamis

    Aug 2, 2004
    Charlotte
    SHHHH! Don't say that so loud! If the guys over on the Schroeder mega thread hear you say that there's likely to be a riot!:p
     
  17. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    It shouldn't be a big deal. If all speakers are 50% hype, then it's a level playing field ;)
     
  18. dunamis

    dunamis

    Aug 2, 2004
    Charlotte
    Ahhh! You have a point there!

    The only question remaining then is which half is the hype?!?:p
     
  19. Crockettnj

    Crockettnj

    Sep 2, 2005
    North NJ

    this is one peice of new gear i actually have some worthwhile experience with. we found it embarassingly unsuitable for a 5 peice rock cover band in a medium room that was filled with about 200 people. it was so bad that the show was stopped and OUR system was taken out and rapidly employed.

    the sound may be great in a coffee house setup, but ime (not imo) anything much bigger it is seriously undergunned.

    great if you have lots of cash to burn, cant find yourself to billFM's page, dont own any tools, or want something that few others have.

    otherwise- PASS


    ps- BOSE didnt pay me to write this either.
     
  20. dunamis

    dunamis

    Aug 2, 2004
    Charlotte
    I couldn't disagree more. That's what makes sound gear and musical instruments so interesting-- one man's meat is another man's poison.

    We use 2 PAS's in a room with about 500 ppl capacity every week. It's a church, so extreme volume is not what we're after, although we do get pretty loud sometimes.

    What we like is:
    1) clarity- vocals and instruments are easily discernible in the mix
    2) dispersion (there's probably a better word for this but it escapes me)-- the PAS sounds just about the same throughout the spectrum in any position within about a 170 degree arc
    3) projection (again, probably not right the word)-- line arrays behave differently than point sources (conventional speakers) in that the sound pressure level does not drop off as quickly with distance. The result is that we can locate the PAS behind the band, while playing at a level that is good at the back row, and not be "cut in half" on stage. No IEM's, no monitors.

    OK, I got in over my head on the tech stuff, so you audio tech guys can go ahead correct me and all that stuff.:bag:

    In regard to price, consider the "value-in-use". What does the PAS replace? In some cases, it's PA speakers, power amps, mixing board, monitors, and more. In our case, we still us a mixing board and sound man, so it's just PA power amps and speakers. Even so it's still cheaper than what the PAS replaced.

    Hey, I was skeptical too! We tried 4 of these (Bose gives you a 90 day trial period) and even had a Bose rep come help us set them up. We decided against the full blown "no-sound man-one PAS-per-musician" concept that they push, and just kept the two.

    I'm absoutely certain that there are better systems than this out there, and possibly even better systems for the $'s, but I will say that we were impressed with what we heard in our situation. Impressed enough to buy 2 PAS and use them every week for 600 to 800 ppl (we have 2 worship services each Sunday).

    Peace,

    Matt