Bose L-1 Compact System

Creating a home studio for recording the classical guitar. Equipment, software and recording techniques. Amplification for live performance.
Harry George Pellegrin

Bose L-1 Compact System

Postby Harry George Pellegrin » Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:12 pm

I have very recently purchased a Bose L-1 Compact System for sound reinforcement with my classical guitar while playing some weddings, cocktail parties and other venues where I need a bit of a boost to maintain parity with high(er) ambient background noise. Yesterday I tried it at a bigger-than-recommended venue with a louder than normal ambient level. I play at a number of bridal shows and expos to drum up trade and yesterday I did the 'Saratoga Living' extravaganza at the Saratoga Springs City Center. Anyone familiar with the venue will recognize it: I played the long rectangular entrance hall--about 175(+/-) feet long, about 25 feet wide with a thirty foot ceiling. If you're not familiar with it, well, there are the approixmate dimensions. Bose advertizes the L-1 Compact for audiences up to 100 people. There were about 250 queued up to get in during the first hour or so, with conversation, foot traffic etc. passing directly in front of me to get into the show. So how did the L-1 cope?

First, let me describe my utilization. I play an Eric Marczak guitar which are very loud instruments yet still possessing good tone. I use a (cheap but effective) John Pearse contact microphone because I refuse to drill holes in an expensive instrument AND my experience has been that traditional mics (and stands) pick up too much ambient sound and increase my 'footprint' too much. The L-1 has a setting for tone match to a guitar. I assume that this is Bose's EQ for a steel string acoustic interfaced by a piezo setup. It is not the best sound for my classicals. I also hook my iPod up to the L-1 on breaks so having to remember to keep turning on and shutting off this guitar EQ for the two uses gets irksome. Also, the L-1 has nop reverb and sometimes a bit of 'sweetness' in a small acoustically dead room is nice. SO.... I use a Roland Mini Cube for a preamp and keep teh tone match setting off. The Roland allows for some EQ as well as the reverb. Plus it boosts the signal of the John Pearse contact mic.

With this setup, I was running--in the aforementioned space-- at about one third (ten o'clock or so on the volume control of the L-1. No clipping whatsoever. The sound quality was described as totally natural (which it also sounded to me) and I carried about half way down the room. Far enough. This was over very loud conversation. and walking in boots on hard tile. Had this been a cocktail party on carpet, I would have been much too loud--at least until the drinks really kicked in! It also would have filled the room. Dispersion -- I sounded like I was coming from everywhere, not just a single acoustic source. This is the part that is truely amazing. There are no 'hot spots' just seamless sound. The volume doesn't jump up drastically as you approach the system. All in all, I think I'm in love! Plus the portability factor, even considering the Roland added on, is so much an improvement over my old rig, makes the L-1 ideal for my needs.

:bravo:

mjbindy

Re: Bose L-1 Compact System

Postby mjbindy » Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:00 pm

I witnessed this system at a local bar recently... amazing sound.

jstroud

Re: Bose L-1 Compact System

Postby jstroud » Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:04 pm

thanks for info i was considering this or a soloamp, but liked the look and ease of the bose.

Harry George Pellegrin

Re: Bose L-1 Compact System

Postby Harry George Pellegrin » Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:33 pm

I know exactly what you mean! The Bose is just so simple -- and light in weight. I have not heard the soloamp, but I can;t imagine it having a more natural non-directional sound. If you can get a chance to try one out or hear it, I think you'll be impressed.

Cheers!

Harry

Gruupi
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Re: Bose L-1 Compact System

Postby Gruupi » Tue Feb 08, 2011 12:21 am

Thanks for the info, I have been seriously considering getting one of these. It seems like the perfect fit for classical guitar, a full PA is just overkill and a real pain to set up.

Harry George Pellegrin

Re: Bose L-1 Compact System

Postby Harry George Pellegrin » Tue Feb 08, 2011 2:31 pm

The two biggest pluses for me -- after the sound quality-- are the light weight and ease of setup. I used to lug either as tradtional PA or a heavy amplifier. Now, one trip from the car and I'm good to go! Also, the dispersion of the sound is so non-directional. I've played at restaurants where I had to keep it down to not BLAST a table near me and then received requests to turn up because the tables at the back couldn't hear. The Bose system has the bass down low (about ten inches off the floor) and the higher frequency speaker array is about six feet off the ground -- right over the heards off people seated at a table up front. There are no hot spots so the volume you hear is what the everyone hears--even at a a distance. Please hear one of these systems for yourself -- I'm beginning to sound like a factory shill, which I'm not!--they really sound good!

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GerardCousins
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Re: Bose L-1 Compact System

Postby GerardCousins » Tue Feb 08, 2011 3:12 pm

I love using the Bose in a rather unconventional way....

When I'm playing a recital in a room with a dry acoustic (which I hate!) I use a good quality mic in front of the guitar and run it through a good reverb unit into the Bose.
I balance the reverb level so there is hardly any original sound,just the 'wet' sound (I'm not trying to amplify, this is not about volume) and can often achieve a very natural 'enhanced acoustic' effect.
It makes the concert far more enjoyable for me since I'm not 'fighting the room' all the time and I do it very subtly so it's not obvious to the audience.
If possible I also place the amp between the stage curtains, so often the Bose (thanks to its unconventional shape) isn't even visible.

All thanks to the great spread and transparency of sound that the amp produces.

aNovitiate

Re: Bose L-1 Compact System

Postby aNovitiate » Tue Feb 08, 2011 4:40 pm

... interesting product 'solution' for performers and presenters ... for ~$1,000. Thanks for sharing that.

ronjazz
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Re: Bose L-1 Compact System

Postby ronjazz » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:57 pm

I might add (I own 3 L1 systems) that if one is utilizing a pickup like Harry is, then an effective and inexpensive solution to the "dryness" of the sound is a Zoom A2 acoustic processor, which has reverbs, EQs, compression, etc., etc. for under $100 (also a built-in tuner). Once a little reverb is added, it's very hard to think of a better system than this is. I have sold off all of my conventional amplification equipment except a Crate Limo battery-powered amp for garden weddings or sailboat gigs (I do several a year on Newport Harbor, suffering for my art). Bose has changed everything for the better.
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Harry George Pellegrin

Re: Bose L-1 Compact System

Postby Harry George Pellegrin » Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:11 am

ronjazz wrote:I might add (I own 3 L1 systems) that if one is utilizing a pickup like Harry is, then an effective and inexpensive solution to the "dryness" of the sound is a Zoom A2 acoustic processor, which has reverbs, EQs, compression, etc., etc. for under $100 (also a built-in tuner). Once a little reverb is added, it's very hard to think of a better system than this is. I have sold off all of my conventional amplification equipment except a Crate Limo battery-powered amp for garden weddings or sailboat gigs (I do several a year on Newport Harbor, suffering for my art). Bose has changed everything for the better.


That sounds like a lighter solution to lugging my Roland Micro Cube just for the reverb --- thanks for the info; I'll be checking into the Zoom!

Cheers,

Harry

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pogmoor
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Re: Bose L-1 Compact System

Postby pogmoor » Tue Mar 01, 2011 7:55 am

I’ve just been over the the Bose website; it does look an impressive piece of design - but fairly pricey!
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Lester Backshall (2008) and Paul Fischer (1995)
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sanderson59

Re: Bose L-1 Compact System

Postby sanderson59 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:39 pm

The pianist that I work frequently work with has this system and swears by it. We have used it auditoriums, theatres, town halls, recording studios etc...and it is spot on worth while. I have been seriously considering purchasing one (with the additional sub) for my bass playing. It would certainly be less work to load-in and -out with this than my current rig. The only thing holding me back (and it isn't the cost) is the inabilty to truly shape the sound of the amp proper.

Harry George Pellegrin

Re: Bose L-1 Compact System

Postby Harry George Pellegrin » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:57 pm

pogmoor wrote:I’ve just been over the the Bose website; it does look an impressive piece of design - but fairly pricey!


Yeah, it isn't cheap, but I consider it worth the money in convenience and sound.

You have to hear it!

Cheers,

Harry

aNovitiate

Re: Bose L-1 Compact System

Postby aNovitiate » Tue Mar 01, 2011 7:20 pm

pogmoor wrote:I’ve just been over the the Bose website; it does look an impressive piece of design - but fairly pricey!


yep, Bose, like Apple, provides slick industrial design ... in exchange for PREMIUM price$.

Note that the actual speakers (drivers), installed by Bose, are pretty mediocre, as far as frequency response and durability etc. ... just cheap-to-produce paper, rather than polypropylene, for example. What makes Bose units appealing is the angled sound dispersion and all-in-one designs.
Last edited by aNovitiate on Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jstroud

Re: Bose L-1 Compact System

Postby jstroud » Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:53 am

anyone here have comments on this versus the SoloAmp?


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