Of all the things we planned for the launch -- events, advertising, direct mailings, etc. -- the one that I did not have my eye on turned out to be the best.

This message board community.

Nowhere has the spirit of what we intended been so apparent.

Nowhere has the voice of the musicians we wanted to reach been so clear.

From the first post by Steve-at-Bose, who was also the one who told me we MUST have a message board, to this present moment, nowhere have I felt so strongly that we were doing the right thing by bringing the L1 system to market.

Here is a copy of the very first post, a few days before the launch and I believe hidden from public view until the 15th.

quote:
Welcome everyone, to the public forums for the Bose(r) Personalized Amplification System(tm) family of products . Within these forums you will find many places to learn about the Personalized Amplification System from many perspectives. We invite you to explore and to post your questions, comments, concerns and the like about our new approach to amplified performances, but before you do, lets cover a few things.

At Bose Corporation our core values include respect and integrity and we, the moderators of the forums, are going to do our best to uphold these values with all of our visitors. We want to hear from you, we want you to share your experiences and we want everyone to be respectful. Therefore, if your post is deemed to be disparaging to others, we will not allow it. Please, be honest and be sensitive to the impact of your words; share your experiences and ask any questions you may have and do it in a way that helps the forum grow in quality and validity. The goal here is a healthy, productive community where we can all learn.

On behalf of my colleagues (and me), welcome to the Personalized Amplification System family of forums,
Steve-at-Bose

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From the very first day, you told us what you loved about the L1 system, and also what you were having trouble with.

Because of you, this message board started to grow.

And grow.

And grow.

Here is a plot of monthly page views beginning with the launch and going through the Spring of 2008.
Actually, I have been interested if there is a direct correlation between the growth of this forum and sales and how much the forum growth leads sales growth (or vise versa). If my suspicion is correct, the forum growth is a leading indicator of sales growth. That was the case with me, anyway.
quote:
I have been interested if there is a direct correlation between the growth of this forum and sales and how much the forum growth leads sales growth (or vise versa). If my suspicion is correct, the forum growth is a leading indicator of sales growth.


Hi Tom,

Very nice, insightful thinking. I can't get specific about unit volumes because that's forbidden.

My overwhelming feeling is that the musician community as a whole -- especially those that perform -- is an unusual juxtaposition of extraordinary risk taking aside extraordinary conservatism.

Playing in front of people is like a high wire act. You know and your audience knows you could fall. The vulnerability onstage is just breathtaking if you stop to think about it. Most people don't and won't do it. It's just too scary.

Because it's a high wire act, I think most performing musicians need to rely on great gear -- gear they know like an old shoe, and gear that's going to work.

In other words, with so much at risk just by the fact that you're performing live, who needs risk in the gear they're using. To the contrary, most musicians want their tried and true gear to last forever. Who can blame them?

The consequences for a manufacturer with a radical idea (I hope you do not think me presumptuous for saying that I think the L1 system is radical) is that the odds are hugely stacked against them succeeding in creating a new standard.

I've read a lot about the early days at Fender and boy did they slog for a long time with their radical guitar.

I guess we feel grateful to be well past the start up phase where most ideas -- good, and not so good -- fail. We're really successful and happy with our progress.

But at the same time we're acutely aware of how much further we'd like to go. The fact is that most musicians have never played on an L1 system. A good fraction of those have heard of it, but can't accurately answer the most basic questions about it and a good fraction still have yet to hear of it.

For the long run, this online community with its vibrancy and openess is the best thing we have. Should a musician develop an interest in the L1, there's no better place to find out more in my opinion. The message board isn't a billboard, it's what happens when you walk through the door.

All the best,

Ken
Hi:

This new section has been absolutely fascinating reading. I'm often curious about how a company goes about bringing a new product to market. Many different aspects to consider for sure - with some of them appearing to have little or nothing at all to do with the product. Very interesting!


quote:
"In other words, with so much at risk just by the fact that you're performing live, who needs risk in the gear they're using. To the contrary, most musicians want their tried and true gear to last forever. Who can blame them?"

Part of the problem for me is that many manufacturers (in my opinion) make unrealistic claims about some of their products. Because good quality musical equipment is usually not inexpensive it doesn't take too many wrong purchases to make me wary of the next latest and greatest technology to come down the pike.

Also (and I speak only for myself) I use musical equipment as a tool to get a job done. I really could care less if it is the latest and greatest technology or not...just as long as it does what it's supposed to do, and does it reliably.

In the case of the L1, had I not spoken to a friend of mine who owned one, and had I not had input from several people on this forum prior to, and leading up to my purchase, I doubt I would have made my L1 purchase. The L1 simply sounded too good to be true!

The advertisement of the L1, describing how it is to be used, doesn't make sense based on what I've been taught is the way a sound system should be used (put it behind you on the stage; more or less the same volume across the whole listening area, can sit in front of it without going deaf, etc).

So it really was this forum (well, the people that frequent it) that helped me over the last obstacle and caused me to throw caution to the wind and take a chance on purchasing something that, at least when I saw it in the advertisements, made no sense whatsoever. It took me a year to make that decision but without this forum - even though my friend used an L1 - I seriously doubt I would have purchased mine.

So I really think I owe my L1 purchase in large part to the people on this forum who eventually convinced me to take the chance and make the purchase, etc. Which is why I'm very grateful that this forum exists - along with the people that frequent it...as much as I am that my L1 exists.

Stu
quote:
I use musical equipment as a tool to get a job done.


YES. That is what I think too. You folks are creators, not consumers. We make the paint. You paint.

I'm really interested in your comments about the ineffectiveness of our advertising in your case, and I'm wondering if others feel this way too?

Ken
Hi Ken:
quote:
"I'm really interested in your comments about the ineffectiveness of our advertising in your case, and I'm wondering if others feel this way too?"

I wasn't speaking so much of Bose's advertising per se; I was speaking of manufacturers' advertisements in general.

During my more-than-a-year decision to get around to purchasing my L1, I learned that a friend of mine had purchased an L1. That, in and of itself, convinced me to some degree that it might actually do what is claimed of it; he owned one, he was using it, and I knew him well enough to trust his opinion of the product, etc.

Otherwise, if you consider what is available for musicians in the sound system department in general, the Bose L1 does not exactly fall in line with what is generally available (that I've seen anyway). The Bose L1 was unlike anything else available.

To me, it was a bit like having Ford (for example) introduce a car that had two wheels instead of four, and having them tell me that the car would out-perform the car I was currently using, etc. That kind of a claim just doesn't make enough sense to have me take it seriously (based on what I'm used to). Perhaps if it was Ferrari (for example) making the claim...maybe I'd be more inclined to pay attention (because they are generally synomymous with performance and quality, etc).

So, because the Bose name was on the product I didn't dismiss the product immediately - I know Bose and quality are usually synomymous in my mind. But...it still looked too good to be true simply because it was so different from what I'm used to seeing, etc. I'm not sure what any manufacturer could have done differently in their advertising approach that would convince people (like me) who have been told repeatedly over the years "...this is how it's done."

Prior to my purchase of the L1 there really were no places I could go to see/try an L1. Other than two chance encounters with an L1 during the latter part of my research period, whenever I would ask about the L1 in music stores I would mostly get the glazed-eyes response as though I'd just arrived in from planet Gronk! Some stores had heard about it...but that was it!

I can say that, during my research period, I never saw an L1 in any Guitar Center store that I visited. I don't go in Guitar Center stores that often but I'm sure I would have remembered seeing an L1 there. It's not something you'd easily forget about, or mistake for another piece of sound equipment! I see them now of course, on the odd occasion that I visit their stores, but during my period of research I never saw a single one.

About the only thing I can think of, that I would have liked to see - that I didn't see, but which probably would have convinced me right there and then - would have been a Bose traveling road show type of affair, much like some guitar companies offer with their guitar clinics which they hold in various areas around the country. If there could have been something like this that would have demonstrated the product in an actual usage/performance environment - where I could have heard it, and/or tried it myself, under actual stage volume conditions - I'm sure I would have gone out the next day and bought one.

I've had my L1 for about two years, or so, and I still have not seen another L1 in performance, though I've recently learned of two other musicians in my area that have them, and I'm eager to check them out and give them a listen, etc.

Considering how different the L1 is, to what is currently available, I don't really know any other way you could have advertised your product (other than the road show I mentioned). Seems to me you did as much as you could do with the standard advertising approach. And if you did provide a traveling road show...then I just never heard about it.

Stu
The advertisement, (Musician's Friend) brought me here, I bought the system for the Free Deluxe Bags. Smile

I think initially I was more impressed with the convenience of the package. It took a little time to truly appreaciate the much improved sound and dispearsion.

O..
I have been an owner and user of Bose home equipment since the 70's. Everything from the 101's, AM5's, 601's, 301's and now added in the Lifestyle 148, Tri-port headphones, L1 MII, 2B1's and T1. I have always been both impressed and pleased with the sound capabilities of Bose equipment.

In my performing experience, I have usually kept most purchases in the $1200. or under range, spending over $3000 at once just did not justify in my mind. So after amassing, large/heavy JBL's, separate amps, mixers, stands, monitors, ear buds, spare cables and a trailer to haul it all, I had a big job of transporting and setting up for each gig. I also developed a torn rotator cuff (from a fall), that did not make it any easier. I've mentioned before that my lack of skill in backing up with the trailer, provided quite a bit of amusement for observers that enjoyed that part of the show the best. Besides a blasting type sound, with hot spots, it was time consuming to set up and tear down.

I read about the Bose L1 (Classic) several times and clicked on the Forum. The early day comments were mixed and as I realize now, that was the great thing about it. I guess you could say "Fair and Balanced". They did not filter out negative comments, you read the truth, even the early days glitches and issues. But things were always addressed. It was interesting to see that Bose was committed to making this product successful.

I initially had a hang up about "Stereo", despite discussions about the "Listeners sweet spot effect" and other attempts including 4 speakers to achieve a cross point effect. Bottom line I was only fooling myself. It just doesn't work that way. I did get a somewhat mixed feeling when I heard 2 other performers use the Classic system. One performer was just doing karaoke and still used cheap microphones, along with poor choice of equalization for the venue. The other was a one-man band type of thing. He was reasonably good, but I think he was so busy, playing guitar, harmonica, singing, playing bass pedals and adjusting his midi and older harmony processor, it appeared he was missing the focus of entertaining.

I liked the overall sound of the L1 Classic, but did not feel they were being used to their best potential. I read these post as the L1, Model II was coming out, along with the T1 Tonematch module. The built effects were a big thing, as several had commented the Classic was too dry sounding for their taste. There was quite a bit of moaning about the price and leaving others behind. I was amazed at how well it eventually played out. It also appeared Bose had responded, very well to users requests for lighter, easier to transport, with the effects features I was looking for and then some. Wow!

I was familiar with the Bose satisfaction guarantee. My best bet was to try it myself on my gig's. I think that was a convincing factor to try it. "If it does not suit your need, bring it back". I did not want to do mail order and shipping, so when I found out the Orlando Bose store had the Model II in stock and on demo, a Saturday trip with the 60 mile drive was the answer.

Basically the rest is history, I have played over 90 gig's with the L1 MII, 2 B1's and T1 system I purchased at over 20 different venues. Several of them were significant challenges in acoustic balance, which the system easily adjusted to accommodate. It is the best system and absolutely the best investment I have ever made in my 30+ years of performing.

For additional frosting on the cake, after becoming a member of this Forum, I attended a Bose L1 conference (Little Switzerland). It was one of the most moving experiences in my life. The friendship and camaraderie was just amazing, with fellow musicians sharing their experience. Meeting real people like Ken, Chris, Cliff, Tom and Mike from Bose was a testament to excellence with that company. Never have I purchased a product and felt like I received a part of the company and friendships with so many Forum members to go with it. This experience has been a turning point in my musical life. All from following these past 5 years with the Bose L1. Thank you to everyone for this.
Prior to our 'close encounter' with an L1 in a local folk club in autumn (fall) 2007 we had never heard of the L1 (or PAS as it used to be known). We had used house systems which had Bose speakers, and we certainly knew the Bose reputation for quality... so, if there was advertising or promotion in the UK we somehow never picked up on it.

After we'd heard the system and played through it that night we were intrigued and spent time on the internet looking for reviews and information... we found our way to this forum, and that's what made the difference - the honesty, the passion for the sound convinced us that we had to at least try it. In fact, we were probably hooked before we even auditioned the system.

We're now almost 'Bose evangelists' - always telling fellow musicians, friends and curious audience members about it... word of mouth, the personal recommendation, we're doing our bit to promote the L1 here!

Guitar manufacturers often have roadshow events where they promote their gear through their dealers - maybe Bose could do the same?

Following the crash of Sound Control, Andy-at-Bose-UK seems to be doing a great job in signing up new dealers - maybe they could be helped and encouraged to participate and organise a roadshow-type event? This would be potentially good for them and for Bose...
I like Stu's idea of a traveling roadshow.
Here is why:
I have been an employee at Bose for over two years an an avid fan of Bose before i started working here. Like Stu I had heard of the L1 - but never seen one.
I finally saw one at a Guitar center a year into my employment No one could demo it for me or give me a real ideas of the sound. SAD.

Even while working for a Bose retail store we have had so many people asking about it. They want to hear it, but up until recently we didnt have one. Many people have not ever seen anything like it let alone heard it and are in awe as we have simply a CD playing, let alone when I bring in my guitar.
This is a shame.

it would be cool - if there was a L1 traveling road show.
This could have a video/disscussion about the L1 and live audio performance and then had local musicians (in the area in which the show is at - who own the system) to come and play showing off their music and the amazing L1 system.
You could have them do just 1 or 2 songs all dependent on how many musicians would sign up, then in between set-ups qustetions could be asked about the L1 and answer given about the techonolgy, ease of use etc.

I'm smelling an L1 tour.

Too long we have had to put up with bulky arangements and awful sound that doesn't represent us. Let us share our gifts of music and this amazing product with the world!

kURT
quote:
I'm smelling an L1 tour.


Hi Kurt,

When I read this I practically choked on my coffee.

Your idea has been a VERY active topic of conversation around here for the past several weeks.

We're planning to do this. It's just a matter of timing.

I'd like to redirect this conversation to a new thread I'll start now.

Thanks for feeling the vibe so strongly!

Ken

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