I need more bass article

Can someone (maybe the author) please elaborate on this section of the wiki article:

Locating the Group of B1s
Where to locate the group: If the group of B1s is far from its L1, the lows will come from one place and the highs from another and this is harder for everyone to hear clearly. More than about 5 feet (1.3 m) of separation is probably beginning to compromise your spatial quality. It's best if you can keep the B1s adjacent to or within a foot (30 cm) of the PS1. Since our preferred arrangements are stacks of 2 or 4 B1s, we also like to aim those stacks sideways and place them against the rear wall if we can, because this minimizes unwanted array effects with the first reflections.

The last sentence seems to indicate that the optimal orientation for the output of the B1 stacks is going to be at a right angle to the output of the cylindrical arrays.

Did I read this correctly? Is this an accepted fact? Why is this the case?

If true - it is litterally going to blow the brains of my rhythm section to shreads.

We pulled our quad stack apart last night and did two stacks of two - in an attmept to make the bass sound less mushy out front. That seemed to be a smart move on our part. We actually put the double stacks on opposite sides of the L1 M1 - so we may try putting them next to each other next time.

Needless to say - this is why I am poking around in the wiki article.
Original Post
Hi SunDog,

We've done a few tech talks on bass, the most memorable from Chris-at-Bose out at the St. Louis L1 Users Conference.

While there is loads to learn about bass behavior, we also recognize that the variables each band/performer brings to a given situation can make many of the concepts moot. Moreover, many of the effects we can demonstrate in the classroom become less audible when everything gets combined in the real world situation of a gig.

We see nothing at all wrong with orienting B1 bass modules to the front -- so that the logos face the audience and this is by far the most common practice. It is in some situations, possible to notice a slightly smoother tonal response when you rotate 90 degrees so that the drivers in just behind the grille are up next to a massive back wall. When you do that the drivers and their mirror images created by the wall are very close to each other and the aggregate of real and image sources add coherently.

By the way, these principles and physical effects are true for ANY bass box.

I think your willingness to listen, and experiment, is by far the most valuable thing. It is also valuable to learn about the physics and pscychoacoustics of bass because you can apply that in your attempts to make things better.

I hope this is a satisfactory answer. I'll turn notifications for this thread "on" so that if you have follow up questions or comments I'll see them relatively quickly.

With best regards,


A while back, I caught a polka band, on a 24" tall stage, using two L1 Model IIs.
They used only a single B1 attached to only one of the systems.
I thought this was absolutely crazy.
A Model II sounds like a cheap transistor radio without a B1, in case you didn't know.

But...to my amazement, you really could not tell it out front that one system had no B1.
The sound, provided by that single B1, about 12' back stage, behind the performers, was full and smooth.

So my point is that bass can sound good from a B1, coming from wherever it is.
Moving them from here to there can make significant differences too.
There are guys here who use up to 20' cables to get them away or off stage, not a bad idea.
However, I've never gone that far to get a good sound.

Typically, I put my 2 to 4-B1s close to my Model II, and rarely move them in rooms where bass is lacking a bit.
I just get used to that sound in the room, and go for it.
We in the band notice, but our audiences never seem to.

In our typical live set up for the trio, our three L1s are within inches of each other.
I'm sure this helps boost the bass frequencies as well as making monitoring each other more effective.
This is all very interesting and I do have some follow up questions and comments.

First - is there an internet reference on psychoacoustics that you can recommend?

Second – I will go ahead and back up here a bit and tell you where we are struggling (so to speak).

It is our strong desire to find a bass sound that accomplishes the following:

Allow our bass player to hear his output without blowing away the crowd, and without him wearing his finger tips down to the bone from playing so hard. We would really like to accomplish this without the use of an external bass amp. As of this date with five shows under our belt (4 piece rock band – small to medium clubs), we have yet to be able to accomplish this feat. Though – we have only recently (since the last gig) gotten our system built up to a total of 8 B1s (with two model 1s). We previously only had two on the bass L1.

We rehears in a large room that allows the bass player to stand out where the dance floor would be while we play in a stage type of arrangement. Everything is fine on stage. There is a perceptible mushiness on the dance floor. At each gig that we have played, we have heard comments that the bass is just too loud in the crowd (usually from folks seated away from the stage). I generally stand right next to the bass player on stage – and it has never been an uncomfortable output for me at that location.

There is also a low end rumble that persists – even when the bass player stops playing – that we think may be linked to the kick drum mic – somehow.

We realize that each room is different – and that the presence of a crowd changes everything. We are, however, creatures that seek comfort and confidence in our sound. As the singer and r. guitarist, I am loving it where I stand. I have had only minor complaints throughout our brief experiments do date – and most of them have been due to our own errors. The bass player is struggling to find comfort in the output of the bass end of the spectrum.

We will keep trying - and your input is greatly appreciated.
Hi SunDog,

I think others will answer some of your questions better than I.

There are some good lectures from past L1 conferences on the subject of psychoacoustics. I particularly recommend Chris Ickler's talk. If you click on L1 Videos below, under my name, you'll be taken to the page on the L1 Wiki that has these videos. You may also enjoy my talks on ToneMatch and Room Acoustics, and Cliff's talk on spectral identification. It'll be start. Wikipedia is a good source too.

On the subject of bass sound in your band, I can tell you that every time I've put a bass player on a long cord (or wireless system) and asked them to listen to their bass sound in the audience, they're horrified. It doesn't sound like it sounds on stage. Bass travels so differently than mids and highs. The only consolation is that the audience is used to hearing the bass differently from on stage and usually they like it. This is I think part of what drumr is saying above.

If you are getting comments consistently that the bass is too loud in the crowd, this would be an indication to me to turn down on stage. Or change the tone to have less deep bass.

On the subject of rumble, you should be able to confirm that by dropping the level of the kick drum mic suddenly when you hear the rumble. If the rumble dies away quickly, you've confirmed the problem.

Forgive me if you've already supplied this information elsewhere, but are you using any T1 Tonematch audio engines? If you are, check out the KickGate function. It's new technology for nailing the problem of bass feedback through the kick drum mic. If not, check out the T1. I'm not trying to sell you stuff. I just want you to know what we've done on this particular problem.

Don't want to step on toes or make accusations that are not applicable, just want to offer an opinion.

In recent weeks I have listened to a number of bands playing an outdoor venue in downtown Lexington KY. With only one exception, every band I heard, ruined their sound with too much bass. The kick drum and the bass guitar become audibly inseparable, vocals have so much bottom dialed in they are unintelligable, and the sound is just one big rumble.

Modern speakers, mixers, eq's and other gadgets allow us to modify the sound of anything we wish to make loud. Learning how to "accurately" EQ so that we get a good tonal balance is very hard to do, especially when we are influenced by so many who have listened to bad sound for so long.

The L1 systems allow the user to get a very professional, quality cd like sound. It is my opinion that every group who is interested in getting the most from their L1s should concentrate on a mix that one would expect to get in a quality studio. Listen and strive for separation of instruments. Try to spread them spatially and spectrally.

Sometimes the tone that an individual might desire for their instrument is not what would make the band sound best. When playing in a group, the group sound should rule over individual desire.

Bass tones are appreciated most when heard in combination with other tones. When I think about bass guitar and bass drum I think accent. These need to be heard clearly, distinctly different, they are what holds a group together so their importance can't be overlooked, but, if everything starts to rumble and run together maybe one needs less bass instead of more.

Sundog, without hearing your group I surely can't say if any of this applies to you or the group, and it is not my intention to suggest that it does. We need an editorial page or opinion page so thoughts like mine don't end up in somebody's thread mucking up the flow. Smile

Originally posted by Ken-at-Bose:
Forgive me if you've already supplied this information elsewhere, but are you using any T1 Tonematch audio engines? If you are, check out the KickGate function. It's new technology for nailing the problem of bass feedback through the kick drum mic. If not, check out the T1. I'm not trying to sell you stuff. I just want you to know what we've done on this particular problem.


Hi Ken,

I am the drummer in Sundog's band and run the T1 for the band. The kick drum mis (Audix D6) runs through the T1 using the tone match input and the kickgate. I've dialed the "tightness" setting back as far as I can w/o having the gate close prematurely in an attempt to reduce the pickup from other instruments, mainly bass guitar. I also have it pretty far into the hole in the front head to minimize p/u from external sources, but I don't want to much of the higher freq beater slap from the batter head and not enough low end woof. It still seems to pick up a lot of external sounds and of course low freq are fairly omnidirectional. We continue to experiment and I'm sure we'll get it dialed in! Thanks for your suggestions!
Originally posted by Oldghm:
Don't want to step on toes or make accusations that are not applicable, just want to offer an opinion.
Bass tones are appreciated most when heard in combination with other tones. When I think about bass guitar and bass drum I think accent. These need to be heard clearly, distinctly different, they are what holds a group together so their importance can't be overlooked, but, if everything starts to rumble and run together maybe one needs less bass instead of more.


Very good comments. One thing I've learned mixing in my home studio is the art of subtractive eq to carve out sonic space for the different instruments. Case in point is the bass guitar and kick drum. Can't say as I've got it right yet but I'm much more aware of the problem, and of course admitting that one has a problem is half the battle! I can't stand it when all I hear is low end mush either and struggle to get definition (attack) while also getting the thump in the chest. Having a bass player & drummer who listen to each other is also critical. I think Phil and I work pretty well together in that respect! I've been amazed from time to time when we get locked in together, it sounds so good and punchy.
Hi bikerdude,

Below is a link to Cliff's presentation on "Identifying Spectral Excess", that was mentioned by Ken earlier. It's about an hour long but it might take much longer for it to really soak in, however, for me, just a few minutes watching Cliff create a preset for my vocal, with my chosen mic, was a huge eyeopener (earopener) into a different and more honest way of hearing what I was doing.

I think I fight constantly with the desire to sound big and the desire to sound right. There is a happy medium between pure natural and artistically enhanced that is achievable, finding it is the hard part.

I like the term you used, "subtractive eq". In the music world so many times, less can be more. I, like so many others, recognize when I hear it, but I don't instinctively know how to get there myself. The search is a constant learning process.



Edit to revise link
Hello, all-

My first Bose post!

Anyhoo, I'm the Bass player mentioned in SunDog and BikerDude's band above, and have been playing electric bass for 34 years.

Some background on our first setups-

Lead vocals and rhythm guitar into a single L1 with 2 B1s.

Lead guitar, backing vocal and kick drum into a second single L1 with 2 B1s.

Active Bass into a SansAmp, then into a 250-watt MarkBass head, then into a single MarkBass 15" ported enclosure with horn.

Later gigs have been the same, but with addition of 4 B1s (and pack lights) per side.

I have a few issues I'm working on-

1. Every now and then in practice or live I've heard a low bass rumble underneath songs. It almost sounds like a low-end feedback in about the low "A" range. When I've heard it, I have stopped playing, and it is still there, so it is not me making the sound, and it definitely is not my amp.

2. Lately we have been rehearsing with me going into the first L1 (in place of using my amp), and sometimes my volume drops or the feel changes. It is almost like a compressor is activating in the L1, but neither channel 1 level lights (in the remote or at the L1 base) are in the red at all. I suspect it is because we are running vocal, guitar, and bass into a single L1, but I don't know.

3. I have yet to get a bass sound I REALLY like going into the Bose system. It sounds fine until the guitars are added, then it seems "wide" or "mushy". With my little amp, I get the punchy, "tight" or trebbly sound I'm looking for, and it is easy to hear because it is physically coming from a different place than the other instruments.

Some of our stages are small, so leaving my amp off the stage would have some real benefit.

We are a cover band, and the bass is pretty demanding. We play everything from Rush and Steely Dan to Black Crows, and even some slap/funk parts. I use the SansAmp presets to quickly change between three tones to fit most songs.

As (another) aside, I have EMG active pickups in a jazz bass, but I have the front (bass) pickup almost off. I am DEFINITELY not going for a thunderous, boomy bottom end like a lot of bands go for. I'm hunting for definition between notes, and clarity.

Unfortunately, I think the only thing that is going to solve my sound tweaking issues is time and experience with the Bose system.

Well, that's probably enough fodder for a first post. Thanks all for the help and advice, you guys are great!
Phil and Roger,


This is so cool to have multiple members of a band here to work through the issues.

Oldghm, I think your post was/is brilliant. It immediately reminded me of the Cliff Goodwin (musical director for Joe Cocker for 12 years in the day, and MD for the band we built to launch the L1 in 2002-2005 -- The Linemen.)

You can watch a chapterized version of his talk HERE.. It won't prescribe equipment fixes, but it WILL talk a lot about what you guys do -- play together.

Are there any live performance videos of YOU GUYS we could watch to get a better idea of how you play?


I think there is some early video of us playing our first performance together - but that was pre-Bose - and it is not something that I am particularly psyched to share.

I dont think that it would be too hard for us to set up a camera this sunday and knock a couple of songs out on video.

What do you think would be the most helpful kind of material to evaluate. We have some very busy stuff - and some very simple or sparse stuff. We have some where the bass is very prominent and some where it is more in the background. Almost all of it has two guitars going - and we make a conscious effort to not have both guitars playing the exact same thing. The drums are in a wide dynamic range as well. The vocals are all in the higher registers - we have some harmonies going on - sometimes.


We have some audio tracks on our Facebook and Reverbnation pages that you can check out - if you think that will help get an idea of how we play:


There is some good thumping in our hard rock version of Free Falling. Our cover of Jesus Jones's Right Here Right now is very busy on all fronts. Our version of Tommy James' Dragging the line is pretty true to the plodding nature of the song - with a few twists.

I would say that these are pretty representative of us in a basement - with a little editing here and there.
Originally posted by Wiz:
I cant watch those videos...they dont load..using safari....anyone got any ideas...


Well Wiz, they're not loading for me either. Let's holler for ST.


Cliff Goodwin's talk that Ken linked above is working.

Welcome bikerdude & Phil Bass!
Great to see the band all here, a rare sight to see on the forums, stick together, you'll get this worked out.

A couple things.
In my first years with the L1, I played in a 4pcs rock band with two L1s & 4-B1s, it was a bit limited volume-wise.
Our lead guitarist tended to drown things out and hurt our ears with his piercing tone.
He is a fine guitarist, but just wasn't listening to the whole picture, as the rest of us began to turn down.
Bass was never an issue, so this takes a bit more thought.

Listening to your Costello cover though, things sound just fine...was this a live-with-the-L1 recording?
It sounds studio to me...if that is live, I don't hear any problems at all.

If you are using the kick gate, then your bass/kick relationship should be pretty clean, that cured our rumbles.
In the early days I did a lot of complaining about the excess rumbling of the B1s, and the lack of "Punch".
Punch, is something I had to rethink...as OLDGHM mentions, there is just too much of it in live music today.
Professional shows go way overboard on bass, and we'd come to expect it, but now I'm over it.
Balanced is better.

Our bassist plays with an extremely light touch, I can barely see his fingers moving, and he puts out big tone.
Not sure why that is, he's using a Fender Jazz with the Jazz preset in the T1 through a Model II w/4-B1s.
Some nights, when the bass is overwhelming, he'll drop down to two.
We are NOT a loud band though, much of the reason our sound works so well...we also have three L1s, one each.
That helps tremendously.

Here is an example of our kick/bass relationship, live, with a mini-DV about 40' out.
Worn out tune, but a pretty good sound, Mustang Sally.
The kick is a little on the "clicky" side, but I was sharing the bassist's L1 that night, and he likes it that way, it gives him all the low frequencies to work with. I'm singing thru a Compact.

As your whole band is here...it tells me you are all concerned about your sound.
Have you thought about buying more L1s? Three or four would be really cool and would solve more problems.
Do all of you sing?
If so, each having his own is a huge help when monitoring, and it will separate instruments out so much better too.

Looking forward to hearing more from your band, I love your songlist...hang in there, it gets better.
Drumr - et al,

The recordings on our FB page are us playing live as a group - but live in the studio. The Bose system is not involved in any of those recordings. Roger can elaborate on the mixing and editing process - if that would help.

We tried to do some recording with the Bose stuff last sunday - but we just had the video recorder and we felt that it would not represent very well. Roger has a portable digiatal recording device that is much better at capturing the full spectrum - but he left it at home.

Phil found some EQ advice in another thread that we are going to try next sunday - and see if that solves the problem.

We just got booked for a couple of more dates on the smallest stage in town - so we are in urgent fix mode at this point.

The good news is we are all pulling together to try to help all the band mates have a great experience playing while at the same time providing a quality product for the audience and venue management.

To answer your other questions, Dan and I are the singers - with me handling all of the lead vocals. I also use a Vocalist Live 2 to supplement some harmonies.

Most of the venues that we play would be hard pressed to accomodate the presence of another L1.

I am finding that I am liking having the drums on the side - as opposed to the traditional back center spot on stage.

I think that we do a pretty good job thinking about dynamics and where not to play. We have room for improvement for certain - but we are at least conscious of the need to not constantly hammer our instruments. I think that once we find this last piece of the puzzle - that we will be golden.

Thanks for the compliments on the songlist - we are putting a lot of effort into not playing the same thing that everyone else in town plays - but to make it stuff that everyone likes and relates to. The response in a live setting when we whip something unexpected out creates a really great feeling in the group.

I think that we do a pretty good job thinking about dynamics and where not to play. We have room for improvement for certain - but we are at least conscious of the need to not constantly hammer our instruments.

Very Cool, your recording showed that.

Phil found some EQ advice in another thread

EQ, L1 & B1 placement, band member positioning, and overall volume control are your main options at this point.
Just wanted to let everybody know that with a little bit of persistence, tweaking and reviewing some pertinent wiki articles, that our band has found solutions to all the issues that we were having.

Phil played today's rehearsals without his bass amp - going direct from his sansamp to the L1 (with 4 B1s). He took a system home with him during the week and worked on eq issues until he found the approach that works well for our music. Maybe he will chime in and get a little more specific on the tweaking.

We have a gig this Friday on a very small stage - see my other thread about that subject if you want to see a pic.

Thanks a heap to all who offered their assistance.

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