One of the groups I play in is a Celtic group that consists of acoustic guitar (me), hammered dulcimer and flute.
Last Friday was the first gig we played with the PAS. I hadn’t told the other members of the group that I had purchased the system… I wanted to surprise them. (Every small group has a ‘gear guy’… that’s me… the one who has the equipment and always has to get there an hour and a half early to get set-up and sound-checked… the other members tool-in 10-15 minutes before start-time).

The venue is a small basement lounge in an upscale restaurant. The stage is very small… enough room for a solo act, but really cramped for a trio. We typically set-up in a triangle shape… hammered dulcimer out front (needs the most room) and guitar and flute on the other corners. With the old PA system, we always had trouble hearing the mix; the ‘main’ speakers had to be placed on either side of the stage (on stands) and you always just hear a kind of muffled sound when set-up that way… no monitors.. the stage is too small for them.

The stage also has a small alcove in the back… that’s where I put the PAS… just far enough back to give us about 4 feet between the dulcimer player and the PAS. This set-up gave us much more room on the stage, since we didn’t have the old PA speakers on either side of us.

After the initial “Where are the speakers?” and “What’s THAT thing?!?” questions, we set-up the mic on the HD and tweaked the sound a little… his response was “That sounds great!” Did the same thing with the flute player’s mic (a high intensity clip-on) and started the first set. We could all hear the mix perfectly (not too surprising, since the PAS was so close). The only issue we had was getting the mic placement on the flute so that the wind noise was minimized. (My wife also said she could hear the keys on the flute operate… sometimes the PAS sound reproduction might be TOO good… she said it wasn’t objectionable, though).

The funny thing was that people started moving up closer to the stage… not because they couldn’t hear in the back, but because the sound was so much more clear and pleasant. I don’t know if it had anything to do with the sound or not, but they seemed to stay longer, too.

My wife (who usually goes to all of these gigs and hates ‘loud’) made the following comment at our first break: “You know, when you brought that BOSE system home, set it up and played through it, I kept asking myself ‘What’s the big deal?!?’, but after listening to it here, it is so much clearer than the other PA… and its not too loud… everything sounds acoustic and you can hear everything fine”.

The second gig was a solo I did yesterday in a small park (the park has a band shell) as an opener for a gospel singer (she’s a friend). I volunteered to do this so I could try the PAS outside. I got there as the gospel singer’s sound guy (her husband) was just starting to set up. His gear came in the back of a full-bed pickup w/a topper (full). He had boxes and boxes of gear… amps, cords, snakes, etc… I’m sure everyone knows the drill.

I set up the PAS like I wanted (took about 15 minutes)… even with the front center of the band shell dome and back about 12-14 feet from where I would be on the stage.

45 minutes to an hour later, the gospel singer’s gear was set-up and ready for sound check… another 15-20 minutes (and lots of feedback) later, everything was good to go.

The sound guy asked if I wanted to plug into his system so that I could be heard, but I told him I wanted to try the BOSE system by itself. Long story short… The PAS performed great… It was loud-sounding to me on the stage and I had some guitar feedback issues early on, but turning down the base seemed to take care of it.
Everyone that I talked to in the crowd (after my set) said they could hear everything fine and couldn’t believe that the sound was coming out of ‘that tall, skinny thing’.


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Hi dandyman (funny name),

Thanks for these excellent gig reports.

Were the guitar feedback issues you had on the second gig for an acoustic guitar? If so, what preset were you using on that instrument's channel?

Finally, did the gospel singer's soundman feel that he could have used the new Bose system and left his stuff at home?
Hi, Ken...

No need to thank me for the reports... I was just being honest... we should all thank you guys for the system itself and the support you offer !!

For the second gig I had the system cranked... I was running mic (thru voicelive) on channel 1 (preset 3), acoustic guitar (thru Fishman Aura) into channel 2 (preset 42)with both trim controls on the PS1 between 2 & 3 o'clock. The trims on the remote we both between 2 & 3 o'clock and the gain on the remote was up about 3 o'clock also. It was LOUD on the stage... but no distortion... I had set the guitar EQ'd with the highs flat, backed the mids down to about 8 o'clock and originally had the base almost flat... with the feedback on some notes, I backed the base down to about 8 o'clock also and things were much better... I haven't played that loud for years... and never that loud w/acoustic guitar.

The sound guy was impressed with the PAS (at least he said he was), but I got the impression that he still has the 'bigger is better' attitude... (his sons came after the show and helped him pack/load up). Don't get me wrong, the system he had sounded very good... just a lot of work and a lot of equipment. He was asking about the voicelive and I told him that it was basically a TC Helicon Voiceworks repackaged and put in a footswitch for live situations... He said "Wow... we have a Voiceworks, but we don't know how to use it." Go figure...

It was funny... I was talking to a couple of people after I finished and they thought I was running thru the 'big' setup... mouths dropped when I pointed to that 'little black stick thing' over 100 feet away on the stage...
I believe the Aura system has a blender control. If you want high gain, you would use all pickup and no mic on the blender.

We demoed the Aura here about a year ago and we found you had to use all pickup to keep up with bass and drums.

Does your Aura system have this adjustment?
Yep, I've got the Aura blended 60% sound image-40% pickup right now... it gives the sound some 'air' (gives the guitar a good 'mic-ed' sound)... But you're right!!, that's probably where the feedback was coming from Eek (I hadn't considered that because it hasn't been an issue before)... I'll get a chance to try the 'pick-up only' next month (another park gig)...

Thankfully, I don't have the 'keep-up' issues... when I play acoustic, its either as a solo or as part of the Celtic group, nothing 'rock-band' loud, and mostly in small venues.

Thanks, Ken, for the suggestion!!
You are very welcome. Let us know how things unfold so we have a sense of whether this issue of feedback at high amplification gets better with an adjustment to Aura.

By the way, does the Aura image only work on the mic part of the blend? I was under the impression that it worked on both sides (mic and pickup) but could be wrong. Do you know?
You can have all pickup (no Aura sound image) or all Aura sound image (no pickup)... or blend them together in steps... The sound image is only 'one side'... if you look at it that way. If you blend to pickup only, you only hear the pickup... its like by-passing the Aura.

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