I currently play a vintage Fender Jazz through an Ampeg SVTPRO4 head into two PR410HLF cabinets at near clip levels. I love this rig and can't imagine how the Bose setup could stack up against it. What P1/B1 setup could replicate this?
Original Post
That question is hard to answer until I know a little better what you are looking for. Your current rig is a very good one as far as conventional bass amplifiers go and at $3300 street price and 300 lbs weight that is what you would expect.
The main difference between the Bose Personalized Amplification System(tm) rig and a conventional bass rigs is that our system distributes the sound much more evenly and that you, your fellow players and the audience all share the same sound field. You get to hear what everybody else is hearing and you can play accordingly. For you as a bass player that means that you get to hear a little less of yourself than you are probably used to standing in front of your rig. Since all sounds are coming from different directions you not only hear yourself just fine but you also hear everybody else much better. Personally I find that much preferably since we actually get to play music together as a band (instead of everyone in their own little isolated bubble of sound).
At full throttle your rig will produce sound pressure levels well in excess of 120 dB at a typical playing position on stage. If you are really playing that loud, I strongly recommend using hearing protection to avoid permanent damage to your ears. Normal ear plugs (yellow squishy plugs) probably will not give you enough protection for that kind of sound levels. An audiologist can provide custom-fitted "musician's ear plugs" which give better protection and sound also reasonably well.
To give you a reasonable recommendation about a Bose Personalized Amplification System(tm) setup I would have to learn a little more about what type of music and venues you are playing and why you feel that you have to play at that kind of sound levels.

Hope that helps

We did a real interesting A/B recently with Famous Bassist Wolf Ginandes in conjunction with some new bass presets we have been developing. Two of these presets were with a pair of vintage Fender P and J (not "peanut butter and jelly") little beauties. Wolf brought his SVT head and a 4x10, his standard show rig before using the new Bose system. We started by simply copping the sound of the SVT as he likes it and improved on it some. These will probably be presets 53 and 54, one for the P and one for the J, along with some others.

The big deal was the off-axis sound. Wolf, who has pretty much seen it all, was astonished by the "far away" and toneless sound of the SVT rig off to the side. Of course, this is where most of the band hears the bass tone and probably half the audience. Maybe I can get Wolf to add to this.

We were using a double bass setup on the Bose system. You will probably want another power amp, 250w/ch/4ohm and 4 additional B1 if you want to keep up with the SVT. This is a more expensive solution for a bassist, but you will be guaranteed that the tone you get where you play will be heard as well everywhere, for the first time in your life onstage. Also, compared to the SVT, you doctor bills will be lower (hernia), unless you are working out a lot.

Last, I'll add an "amen" to Hilmar's recommendation: get the hearing protection. I've played at these levels too and I'd like to add that it's really a pleasure, for me and my audiences, to pull back a bit and enjoy the whole experience a lot more.
Your message spoke to the heart of a problem that I'm having. I have been using a P-bass with a Polytone for years as a blues and R&B rig into the PA, but I am having to seriously upgun my amplification for a "classic rock"/originals band I have started playing with. I did my homework and very much wanted the band to go the PAS route if at all possible.

The guitarist and the vocals all sounded terrific through the PAS at our local Guitar Center store, but the bass and the bass drum were wholly inadequate for this type of music, except during low volume ballads. I managed to cadge a manual off of the rep, and came back on my own armed with more detailed knowledge of the use of the system(presets especially). The reps did not really understand the PAS, and I had to learn it on my own at home to give it a fair shot.

I did a play off of a two-pod PAS using an Ampeg tube pre-amp, against an Ampeg SVTCL and PR410. I can't get around it, there simply was not enough "guts" in the PAS to do a passable John Entwhistle or John Paul Jones imitation, and I mean the sound, not the level. The store did not have enough units (or any enthusiasm either) to set up a four pod rig, but the region of difficulty was not so much deep bass as low-mid impact-critical "rise time" frequencies, where the crossover between the stick and the pod seems to occur. The result was a pleasant, but relatively disengaged sound when playing down in the first five frets.

Understand, I very much WANT to get the PAS and go that route. I am convinced that the psychoacoustics of the system effectively bypasses the whole conundrum of "stereo" in a PA, and gets back to where ensemble music really happens. But a six pod rig is a $4000+ investment for a single musician, and frankly I detect an "impact deficiency " for bass in the crossover region that I doubt any number of pods will correct.

I am more than willing to be taught what I need to do to make the PAS perform up to scratch in this regard. But I have some suggestions for Bose if I am not completely off the mark here.

First, there needs to be an alternative to the pods for a bassist. A post-crossover line-out for an 18" powered cabinet springs to mind. (Biamped Bose?)

Second, the price has simply got to come down to the point where it can compete head-to-head with the traditional rigs. If the price was in the same range, many more people would try it out and decide in favor of it, and I believe the product would really take off. As it currently stands, a professional musician that plays clubs of the size handled by the PAS, does not make the kind of money needed to buy the PAS. A divergent series, I'm afraid.

Any informed guidance is very much welcomed.
Hi Douglas,

Please do a search for DanS and you will see a number of my posts describing my process of getting my bass sounds.

In short, I play in jazz, rock, blues and etc. bands. The system is great for bass. I quit using my Alembic and Ampeg SVT preamps, they were noisy and didn't work well with the system. I am now using a SVTDI. It's way quieter and gives me the tube vibe.

First try your bass direct into the system using preset 51 or 52. Make sure you have the channel trim set hot per the manual. Now play with the tone controls on the remote. You should be getting a sound that has more of a classic sound with good mid range that will stand out in the mix.

You need a minimum of 2 B1's for bass, by the way. As for cost, I had way more money into my bass rig than the cost of a PAS. I sold all my old stuff on eBay and had money to pick up the DI.

Thanks Dan and thanks Hilmar.

Given what I've written, what PAS rig do you believe will deliver the goods? 4 pods? 6 pods? 18" subwoofer? I see that the "big bass" system powers 6 pods from two L1s, or am I mistaken in this?

From the posts, I see that the GC experience is nearly universal. Is ordering direct a better way to go?

Thanks again to those of you who share their knowledge. It is, as Dan says, an invaluable resource.
Douglas, you've articulated the problem we bassists have very well. There's a perceived lack of low end "tastiness" compared to good conventional bass rigs, at least with a single system. I'm willing to believe that the extended bass system could address this, but it has its own issues unrelated to sound quality (read on).

To me, there's also a logistics/cost component. With all due respect to Hilmar, you don't need to spend $3300 on a bass rig to get equipment with fabulous bass tone. If you shop smart, you can get it for well under $2000. My rig cost just over $1000 and sounds about as "good" (in my admittedly subjective opinion) as anything I've ever heard: SWR Grand Prix preamp (used), PreSonus Blue Max compressor (used), Stewart World 1.2 power amp (used) and an Avatar 2x12 w/horn (new). 1200 watts, and it produces the low end on my 5-string (below 40 hz) very nicely.

I've compared it to a PAS with 2 B1s (using a Bass Pod XT as a preamp/tone control) and while the PAS does a fine job, it lacks a certain something in the low end...it really only shows up in the lower registers...say, below the low A or low G, all the way down to the low B on my 5-string. I'm willing to believe that a second PS1/2B1 system could address this, but consider that with an extended system such as this:

- I've got four B1s to tote around, and 2 PS1s, plus the L1s. The bulk thus rivals that of my existing rig. It would weigh less, but not that much less.
- The cost is breathtaking. Okay, so my $1000 rig is largely made of used equipment, but even if it were all new it would STILL cost much less than half of the cost of the extended Bose system.

And what would the extended PAS get me?

The only significant advantage that going with the extended PAS is improved dispersion characteristics, which are limited to the mids and highs anyway.

My simple solution, as outlined in the thread "Using a bass rig AND the PAS" is to use my rig as usual and just take a line out of the preamp into channel 3 or 4 of one of our band's existing L1/B1 PASes, the same one I use for my vocal. I give it just enough level to hear clearly....the bass rig is still giving that wonderful throbbing low end I crave...those frequencies that are not directional anyway.

The total rig weighs more, but that's about the only real drawback I can see, assuming that I'd need the extended Bose system to duplicate my results.
Here's the solution our bass player came up with to satisfy his taste.

First a little background. We are a five-piece rock cover band (some old but mostly new, hard rock) and we own 5 PAS systems, each player has their own. Prior to the Bose transition, our bass player played his 5-sting through a Carvin R1000 head and an 8x10 cabinet. He purchased the L1/B2 PAS and was unhappy with the lower register sounds, particularly the lack of punch from the low B string. He tried going direct into the PAS with several different preset settings, he tried a Behringer Bass V-amp Pro and a Sansamp preamp but didn't like the results from any of them.

We all worked together and came up with the solution that finally produced the sound he was looking for. First of all, he was used to the tone from the Carvin R1000, so we brought it back into the loop and used the line out to feed the PAS. Instead of bringing back the 8x10 cabinet, he bought a single 15" cabinet made by Flite which only weights a few pounds and delivers incredible low end. Now he can hear himself anywhere on stage from the PAS and the Flite 15" gave him the low end punch that he was missing. I think the Flite only cost around $450, way less than the PAS extended bass system, and he was able to use the Carvin head to drive the cabinet. His vocal mic also goes to the PAS.

For the record, we also use two Behringer 18" subs for our drum mix. The drummer also owns a L1/B2 PAS setup. We submix the drums (snare, toms and kick) into a Yamaha MG10/2 mixer. We use an Alesis Quadraverb to add some tasty reverb. The left main out of the mixer goes to the PAS and the right goes through a crossover to a Peavey GPS3500 that drives the 18's. We could use the bass line out from the PAS and eliminate the cross over, but the crossover gives us a little more level control for the subs. Of course the Peavey is a little overkill, but we used it to push two double 18 JBL's with our old triple system. So far the Behringer 18's haven't flinched and they sound awesome.

I know it's a little more equipment to carry, but it works great for us and it beats the alternative of our old triple system. The drummer carries a rack which houses the Peavey amp, crossover, Alesis Quadraverb, Alesis DM Pro drum processor, Yamaha mini mixer and an eq and compressor for the kick.

We're very happy with the way everything sounds and we still don't have to rent a trailer to carry it all.

That's pretty much the same solution I came up with...I've actually considered getting rid of my 2x12 and going with a 1x12 instead to get things a bit more compact, but with the low fundamentals produced by a 5 string I doubt it would really move enough air.

The trick here is to find a cabinet that balances low-end performance against size and weight. The PAS is going to give you all the harmonics and dynamics you need to get good tonal character IMHO, so what you want is an emphasis on raw thumpuliciousness. Without having to lug a 100-lb. cabinet.
Andrew, you can check out the Flite Bass cabinets here at www.flitesound.com. Our bass player has the 1x15" and 1x12" cabinets. They both weigh less than fifty pounds (maybe even less than thirty) and they deliver great bottom end. He mainly uses the 15" but sometimes puts the 12" on the other side of the stage so the lead guitar player can hear the bass notes clearly.

I don't know if they are sold in stores, but it was a reasonable solution for a compact, light-weight bass cabinet for our bass player.

I just got back from vacation, and saw all these great posts.

I did try Dan's suggestion at GC, and find that it can almost work for the heavy stuff if I go to six pods. The other posts pretty much cover my reaction to that route. I haven't tried a Velodyne 18" powered sub with a PAS yet, but I was thinking about it.

I want to throw one more wrench into the mix here at this point. It seems to me that in using the tower in conjunction with the bass pods, we are effectively using one set of acoustic principles (the PAS principles)for everything above 180hz, and another set of acoustic principles (the conventional principles) for the bass frequencies.

The tower portion of the PAS radiates close to 180 degrees, which the pods apparently don't quite manage. The tower also throws a transverse "wedge" which makes the perceived level drop less with distance - in inverse ratio to the distance - than with the conventional system OR THE BASS PODS which throw a "cone" - for which the level drops off by the square of the distance. This would seem to make the current system a hybrid, and would explain many of the phenomena we've been discussing.

It may be that what's needed is a bass tower which uses the same pychoacoustic principles that make the tower speaker work.(Use 6" long travel drivers and tuned ports?) The current PAS would seem to be halfway there; the upper half. Many bassists per this message board have had to tweak their PAS rig to bring the bottom half of the system up to the outstanding level of performance of the top half of the system. It's because the bottom half isn't operating by the same set of rules.

Your basically right that the B1s (and nearly all bass boxes) are spherical radiators, at least unless they are very big in at least one dimension (stacking 6 B1s starts to behave a little different, although not much).
Interestingly, for most situations that is not much of a problem. In most rooms you have two components to the low frequency sound field: A) the direct sound from the speaker (that drops with 6dB per doubling of distance) and B) the sound reflected off the walls (which is mainly constant level throughout the room). This two components add and for most listener position you get a mix of the two that is pretty similar to a 3dB per doubling fall off as you get from the Cylindrical Radiator(tm) loudspeaker for higher frequencies. I've actually measured that in couple of rooms and it was a pretty good match.

The B1 was designed as a scalable solution for all different kind of instruments. One B1 is plenty for voice, guitar, keyboard, horns etc., but its certainly not enough for most applications of bass guitar. I think 2 B1s are certainly advisable. In some cases even that is not enough, so players have started combining that with conventional bass rigs or powered subs. The best solution will depend on your personal preferences and requirements and this may require some experimentation. There is no right or wrong. Whatever works for you is the best solution.

Hope that helps.


Thanks, it ALL helps. I even checked out Bose's own acoustic cannon until I actually found out how big it was. How about folding that over like a bass flute or a serpent?

I will be mining the other posts for placement tips for the B1's, as I assume boundary effects and corner loading could dramatically alter the sound. I have seen some generalized sites discussing the critical nature of placing subwoofers in correct proximity to an associated tower. Do you have specific data about B1 placement relative to the PAS tower?

Thanks again.

That's a great idea, swelltone.

The existing extended bass option is simply not cost-effective IMHO. It winds up being several times the cost of a good bass rig and doesn't really do anything that a conventional bass amp with a line out into the PAS cannot do. The uniqueness of the PAS is in the L1s...the B1s are just woofers. Really nifty woofers, but just woofers nonetheless. So why spend such a huge amount of money for a pile of breadbox-sized woofers and a power stand?

I love the sound I'm getting from my hybrid conventional amp/PAS setup, but I'd like it if I could reduce the bulk without breaking the bank. As it is the largest item I my band carries by far is my 2x12 bass cabinet.
Interesting idea...but a quick look around revealed subwoofers that aren't significantly smaller than my existing 2x12 cabinet (though they are smaller, they're not a lot smaller). Unless I can see some real benefit to altering my rig (which works really well), there's no point.
Andrew, two 12 cab cool! But a 15 or 18" inch powered sub with a crossover? shoot! lets kick some bass butt. You take your bass pod or whatever split the signal-one to the pas one to the sub. AND Bam BABY!You get the dispersion the highsCooland the low end at any volume. And to me the bottom end coming out of nice sub is much better than most bass amps that to my ears sound twaakie anyway. See for me I'm into "the sound that's in my head" and I hear bass up or in there. (could be cause it's hollow Wink HEY YOU CAN EVEN SHARE YOUR SUB WITH THE DRUMMER FOR THAT BASS DRUM-BASS THING! And you know that rocks! My point is I'll take a fridge to the gig for the sound. for me right now the pas sounds better than the fridge. AL....
Hey BassGuys...
I'm the guy who started this thread. I wrote it before I bought two PAS/B1 setups mainly to replace our PA. When I first got them I started experimenting using one for bass use. I tried EVERY hookup combo there is using the PAS, B1s, SVT4PRO, PR410HLFs and PR15H.
Now, with all due respect to the engineers at Bose, it just doesn't make it. To borrow an old HotRod addage, "there is no substitute for cubic inches". I know that the "numbers" are there but consider the difference between headphones and high quality stereo peakers or a very good recording of a live performance and being at that performance. So much of what we bass players thrive is felt as well as heard. And don't try to tell me that you can't feel it even as a listener in a large venue.
That being said, I still use my Ampeg SVT4PRO driving two PR410HLFs. However, now I run a cable from the head's line out to the PAS/B1. After setting the level of my amp I bring up the line out until I just hear it comming from the L1, then back it off a little. What's added is a presence and clarity that wasn't there before...awsome!
Bottom line...I'll continue to pack all that bass gear but not all that PA gear. Our vocals and band has never sounded better.
That's exactly what i'm doing (albeit with a different bass amp and cabinet) and it does indeed sound really amazing.

Did you try your SVT preamp (only) into an L1 with TWO B1s? That's a configuration I'm thinking of for situations where I REALLY don't want to carry my cabinet.
That setup is exactly what I've also found works best. Take the LINE OUT from the SVT preamp and go into any available channel in the PAS. Then dial in the Bose to taste. Just be careful not to overdrive it, as you can incur unintended severe compression/limiting. For situations quieter than a full-blown rock band, the L1 + 2 B1 setup is great, and very "hi fi".
the positioning of the B1 modules is of critical importance. mid and high frequencies tend to travel in a straight line hence wisdom of the cylindrical speakers. lower frequencies are much more maliable. if inches matter so much why not get an 18" reverse folded horn that doesn't come to full volume until 30 feet in front of the cabinet? try aiming yer B1 modules and placing them in close proximity to a hard surface wall. the B1s handle 250 watts each, they will effectively then be using the entire room as an amplification / sound dispersal device, just the same way the open-backed bose wave radio-cd's do -- they just don't work if ya don't place 'em next to a wall. love and peace.
We used our systems in a college theatre last night, with no wall behind the L1's or the B1's, and they still sounded great. I had an unrelated physical problem with my PAS, which I've reported elsewhere, but our workaround didn't diminish the sound at all. I'm glad that using 4 PAS's on stage makes setup a bit more flexible than most situations we find ourselves in on road gigs.
Your mention of the 18" folden horn coming to full volume at 30'jogged a memory of my first gig back in 1974. I had a cerwin vega/peavey 18" folded horn cabinet and an SVT head. On the first song[the real me by the Who] I couldn't hear my self loud enough so I kept turning up, about halfway through the song I looked up and saw everybody crowded by the exit door at front of the club and to my left the bartenders where catching bottles falling off the shelfs. The good old days. So I didn't give up the 18 just added an 8x10 cab so I could hear myself on stage. Things are slightly better for everybody now with the PAS.
Originally posted by Hilmar-at-Bose:
A post-crossover line-out for an 18" powered cabinet springs to mind. (Biamped Bose?)

You can use the "Bass Line Out" on the PS1 for that purpose. It's post-crossover and if you are not using any of the B1 bass modules it gives a flat 40Hz to 180 Hz output.


What are the implications of this for 5-string bassists that need response in the 30KHz-40KHz range? Is the roll-off below 40KHz abrupt and what is the depression (dB/SPL) at 30KHz?

Thanks & regards,
Lloyd Hansen
Originally posted by YerBASSicCyberDude:
What are the implications of this for 5-string bassists that need response in the 30KHz-40KHz range? Is the roll-off below 40KHz abrupt and what is the depression (dB/SPL) at 30KHz?...

A minor point ... you really don't mean "K"Hz (that's thousand); you mean 30-40Hz.

re: roll-off: To my ears, it's not a sharp "cutoff". We play a 5-string bass, an 88-key Roland keyboard, and a "Porchboard Bass" through two systems (w/ 2 B1's each) and only occassionally do we need to tweak the bass EQ up a little bit to keep the lowest range in balance; it's mostly a matter of differing room responses (because sometimes we have to tweak it down, too!).

before I answer the technical stuff, please let me try to clarify a few things. Many people think that a 5-string bass need a speaker with a frequency response down to 30 Hz or you wouldn’t be able to hear the low B “properly”.

That’s really not the case. The sound of the bass does not only consist of the actual “fundamental” tone (i.e. 31 Hz in case of the low B) but also many multiples of that frequency (i.e. 62 Hz, 93 Hz, 123 Hz, etc.), which are called the “harmonics”. In fact the amount of energy in the fundamental is relatively small as compared to the rest, so you really don’t loose much by keeping the response low at 30 Hz.

Furthermore, very low frequencies (say below 50 Hz) are not perceptually associated with “bass” or “thump” or “punch” but are much more like an indistinct rumble. We actually have analyzed the frequency content of a lot of recorded music and there is little energy below 50Hz and virtually none below 40Hz. The only type of content that uses very low frequencies regularly is movies. But there it’s not used for musical purposes but as a sound effect, e.g. explosions, starting rockets, a T-Rex stomping along, etc.

In live sound situations very low frequencies tend to make the sound very muddy unless it’s carefully designed fixed installation (as it is in theaters), so most live sound amplification gear will not go particularly low. For example an Ampeg SVT cabinet is only specified down to 55 Hz and most people would claim it does a very adequate job on a 5 string bass.

In fact our B1 goes actually deeper than most other bass cabinets. But it does stop at 40 Hz and does so very abruptly. You will not be able to get any usable energy out of the B1 or the Bass Line Out at 30 Hz. The reason for this is mainly protection. Most bass box designs cannot handle anywhere near the fully rated power below their port tuning frequency and there is no point in trying. They can’t radiate any appreciable amount of sound energy and it’s very possible to damage the driver.

Anyway, if you have a chance, why don’t you just plug in your bass into a double B1 system and let your ears decide whether there is anything missing or not?

Hope that helps

Has anyone studied/tried these (http://www.genelecusa.com/products/subwf.php) sub-woofers for kick-drums and/or bass? Although they weigh (way) more than the accoustic wave cannon, they are much smaller and claim a pretty flat frequency-response 19-80Hz +-3db with high SPL although the reference to "short-term" RMS power might be a little disturbing for the demands of musical-performances.

What other sub-woofers have folks used satisfactorily for kick-drum and bass?

Thanks & regards,
Lloyd Hansen
Thanks Dan, Hilmar, Andrew, Steve.

Your responses are very instructive and appreciated. I think I'm in love with PAS and I have to get some of them.

Something to think about might be what the instrument is producing and what relative energy is it producing in its fundamentals vs its overtones. It seems to me that one naturally wants a sound-reinforcement system that reproduces whatever the instrument delivers albeit at higher SPL. The musician can then concentrate on plying his art using his instrument and the reinforcement gear delivers the SPL.

What I think I have learned from the many posts in these forums is that no arguments of convenience or appologies for the PAS in this area are required. One simply needs to know that PAS faithfully reinforces the 40Hz-20KHz portion of what is given to it and delivers it in a highly unique and desireable way (wide sound-cylinder with low SPL fall-off with distance) and it is packaged for highly-desireable ease-of-transport. If one wants reinformcement below 40Hz, it must be obtained with some other reinformcement tools. I.e. one needs to be cognisant of the limitations of PAS as well as its benefits.

Thanks & regards,
Lloyd Hansen

Well said! I think that last paragraph is the challenge for any and all loudspeakers and that many companies are trying to do just that (and have been for many years).

I feel that today with inexpensive, high quality power amps and good manufacturing practices that most mid-to-high range speakers can achieve your goal, the trick then becomes coverage. The L1 shines here in my opinion.

Filling a room with even sound is hard to do and I think you'll find that is the next frontier for speaker designers. (you read it here first Smile) The greatest improvments have been made in the huge venues and I think that you'll see more attention being spent on the small venues where probably 90% or more of music is made.

Interestingly, when you get to the low frequencies in small rooms, you get a lot more room peaks and nulls, so adding a 40Hz or lower wave might not be a good thing if your end goal is clear sound.

Thanks for your observations/comments,
I played in a large outdoor area with a similar setup. My rig: SVT4PRO + 1X15 + 2X10/horn. I took the line out and went to a BOSE input. I loved the extra clarity and sound dispersion, but ran into the compression issue. I tried to adjust the gain staging carefully, but that's hard to do in the middle of a performance. Using the LINE OUT on the Ampeg, I could easily adjust the level going to the BOSE. My question - Might I be better off by sending the BiAmp HIPASS output, instead of the full range signal? I suspect that the compression is triggering because of the low frequency content.

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