Introducing the PackLite A1 Power Amplifier

(mirrored from this thread.)

As you know, we're very much interested in the ENTIRE experience of being a musician, whether you are jamming in your basement all the time or out gigging 7x/week. The input gained here on this message board, from musicians like yourself propel us to continue with new, well conceived and innovative products. This next new product is no different.

Some background

While many owners find that a single or double-bass system is perfect for many instruments, venues, and genres, some owners find that two B1’s is just not enough bass reinforcement. So if you’re a bass player, drummer, DJ and you are playing styles that demand more bass output, sadly an easy solution was not available for you (up to now).

Many owners have turned to purchasing third party powered subs or separate power amplifier to drive more B1s. Unfortunately, the cost and complexity of these not-so-elegant solutions negates the entire premise of the Bose system: focus more on the music, not the gear. Powered subs are notoriously heavy and require some tweaking to get it to sound “balanced” with the Bose system. Spectral balance unfortunately is never achieved- the 3rd party sub is tuned differently than the Bose system (port tuned, crossover usually too low).

The 3rd party power amp is plagued by having a form factor that’s difficult to carry. You need a rack to transport, otherwise you are stuck carrying a rack by its rack-ears to the gig (fun, right?). The 3rd party power amp solution requires a significant amount of technical setup and matching to be used with B1s. Sure, you get to drive more B1’s (they sound SO good and are SO convenient to carry, right?), but you are tasked with selecting a power amplifier that is appropriate to the Bose B1. Heck, has ever an amplifier been matched to a loudspeaker? Not often in the MI industry. That’s the reason why power amps have such detailed (and costly) feature sets. This is also the reason why powered subs are so popular these days (don’t need to research and select a separate amplifier).

The power amplifier selection process

What’s that about? An amplifier is an “amplifier”, right? Its job is to take little signals and make them large enough to push a loudspeaker cone and make fluctuations in air; a seemingly simple task. Well as a musician, you need to learn about all of these specs: Power, RMS, THD, CMRR, Slew Rate, Impedance,to name some.. all to make more sound out of your system. So you need to select a power amp that will be a good match for your loudspeakers, in this case B1s.

On top of that you need to
1) Make sure that you are using the right cable from the PS1 power stand. An incorrect cable could give you 6dB less signal than optimal.
2) Make sure all of those little DIP switches are set right on your amp for your setup
3) You need to make sure that your gain is set appropriately! Incorrectly set gain from an amp powered 2 B1s can counteract the effectiveness of driving 4 B1s together as a balanced unit.

So what’s the choice in this case? Become or find an audio/electrical engineer or… sound bad.

Well, we’ve been listening and understand that most of you just want to show up and play. What if you could add more B1 bass modules to your Bose system, keep your tone the same, but be able to increase your level? It sure would be nice if you could maintain an all-Bose solution and simply carry how many B1 bass modules you needed for a particular gig or rehearsal.
-Only need 2 B1s Friday night? Take only two.
-Need 4 B1s Saturday night? Take four B1s, no need to tweak presets and EQ. You have the same tone, only louder now. What would that take to make that happen?

In consideration that the B1 sounds so good and is so uniquely portable, why would we ever want to carry out something that weighs too much or is difficult (or impossible) to set up, just to get more bass?

The Solution

We designed an amplifier, perfectly matched for driving two additional B1 bass modules. It doesn’t look or feel like and amplifier. In fact, it is currently the lightest pro audio power amplifier on the market today.

Introducing the model A1 PackLite™ power amplifier.


The PackLite amplifier is so easy to use. After placing the amplifier on top of the PS1 power stand and plugging in the power cord, a simple connection from the PS1’s Bass Line-Out to the PackLite amp’s Input connector is all it takes to be ready to drive one or two addition B1 bass modules.

The amplifier is completely automatic for Bose system owners. It even senses what type of input cable you are using and will make adjustments automatically so that you never have to adjust a DIP switch or gain control. Everything is ready to go once plugged in.

This is a great solution for bass players, drummers, and DJs who are looking for more bass output with their Bose system.

For non-Bose system owners, this amplifier can easily drive any 4-Ohm loudspeaker capable of 250W(rms). A great product for musicians or sound people using conventional components (e.g. passive monitors and subs yuck!) to become aware of our products and approach.

The PackLite power amplifier is ONLY 3 lbs. You can literally slip this into a bag with one hand. It’s about the size of a hardcover book (or cable modem). The amplifier is very tough- it has a molded metal enclosure (and yes, could be driven over- we’ll prove that later)!

The PackLite amplifier includes a nylon carry pouch, ¼” TRS cable, owner’s guide, and warranty card.

It will be available this week via Bose direct (check the Bose site on Friday) and on Musicians Friend (in the U.S.). In November, product will be available at Guitar Centers nationwide. The product will be available in Europe early 2006.

The PackLite power amplifier will retail for $399.99 here in the U.S. The PackLite extended bass package, which includes two B1 bass modules and the PackLite amplifier, will retail for $999.97.

As always, we’re open for questions! More info to follow also.

Attachments

Original Post
That's right jimg. Chain those A1-B1 pairs all you want. Eek

quote:
Originally posted by jimg:
Hey, I'm sure you guys have tested this thing out a TON, which means you probably hooked up like 100 B1s to a single PS1 via chained A1s, just to see what it was like......

Do you have a picture of something like that ???

(:^)
Is the Packlite the same amp that is in the powerstand, just repackaged? I would think that you would want all B1's being driven by matching amplifiers.
Since the Packlite puts out 250 watts into 4 ohms, what is the result of hooking up just one B1 to the Packlite amp? Is running a (3) B1 system possible?
Robert L
The PackLite amplifier uses new power amplification technology, not the same amps that are used in the PS1 power stand although the PackLite performs the same (only lighter and smaller).

You could hook up a single B1 to the PackLite amplifier and it would work fine. However, you would be shy of obtaining the full 6dB increase of perceived output which is what you get when you double loudspeakers and supporting amplification.

Hope this helps.

Kyle
quote:
Originally posted by Steve-at-Bose:

He was able to bring his master volume way down and get his tone with more dynamics given all the extra headroom.

Steve


Steve,

This is the kind of thing that keeps hanging me up. On the one hand someone will say you don't really benefit from the extra B1s unless you are really cranking, and then this statement. (above) This one seems to me to be the way it ought to work.

Oldghm
quote:
Originally posted by Kyle-at-Bose:

The PackLite amplifier uses new power amplification technology, not the same amps that are used in the PS1 power stand although the PackLite performs the same (only lighter and smaller).



So it will be no problem getting four of them into the PS2. Right?
quote:
Originally posted by Oldghm:
Steve,

This is the kind of thing that keeps hanging me up. On the one hand someone will say you don't really benefit from the extra B1s unless you are really cranking, and then this statement. (above) This one seems to me to be the way it ought to work.

Oldghm


Ahhhh, I see where I'm hanging you up. The key to unlock this door is dynamics and headroom. Our bass player has a pretty soft touch most of the time so when he wants to jump on it, having the extra headroom with a PackLite(tm) extended bass package makes a big difference.

We'll be grooving along on a mellow song like Tom Petty's Breakdown and then we'll jump into Gimmie Some Lovin' and he'll pound it and drive the whole band/song.

The real magic of having a PackLite amp with a system for a bass player is that you can keep the tone the same at any volume. The components of the system are designed to work together (which is not what a lot of other speaker manufactuers are focusing on right now) so you can just plug and play.

Did that help?

Steve

PS The web site finally went live late last night. Check out http://www.bose.com/musicians
quote:
Originally posted by Robert L:
Is the Packlite the same amp that is in the powerstand, just repackaged? I would think that you would want all B1's being driven by matching amplifiers.
Since the Packlite puts out 250 watts into 4 ohms, what is the result of hooking up just one B1 to the Packlite amp? Is running a (3) B1 system possible?
Robert L


Oooh - Glad you asked, what great questions!

Is it the same amp as in the PS-1? NO.

We designed a smaller, more efficient amp with newer technology. We needed it to fit into a more compact package, still supply the power we needed, and remain cool and reliable.

But you are absolutely right about 'matching' the amps. We went to great lengths to design all the technical qualities (like gain, phase, power, etc.) that will make an extended bass package sound great when added to a standard 2-B-1 package. So one of the advantages to this system is that it is completely "plug-and-play" with the PS-1.

Can we use 3 B-1's? Yes (2 on the PS-1, 1 on the Packlight)

Compared to a two B-1 system, if you add the Packlight plus two more B-1's, you will gain 6 dB of headroom on your bass sound. The spectral balance stays the same, so your tone is still nicely matched. But you can crank overall volume more, if the bass was limiting you, or you can turn up the bass that much more on the remote for more punch.

If you add just one B-1 with the Packlight instead of two (for a total of three B-1's), you still have increased your Max Headroom (anyone remember that character? - I'm dating myself) by 3.5dB. However, the bass balance will have changed slightly, and you would want to turn up the bass on the remote about 2.5 dB to compensate.

Just in case anyone was womdering, you should not connect 3 B-1's to one packlight, it's designed to drive one or two.

I hope this helps!

Bill
Oldghm, Let me offer what may be a weak analogy/example.

Pas with 2 b1's playing recorded music say at 85db average all controls 12:00. Now you want more bass so crank the remote knob to 3:00 or to 6:00. You should notice an increase in bass!

Now, Pas playing exactly as above only with the packlite and a couple more b1's. All controls 12:00. It should sound exactly the same as the above setup. Now crank the low freq. knob on the remote to 3:00 or 6:00. I believe the increase in bass would be substantially stronger than in the Pas with 2 b1's, although playing with the remotes at 12:00 both systems should sound exactly the same.

This low freq. headroom will be more prevelent at higher volumes than at lower volumes.

Hope this helps
jgnelson,

I am not sure, but I think to understand this new concept, one has to separate "more bass" into at least two, maybe more catagories.

More Bass, as in turning up the Bass or LOW control is not necessarily what Bose is doing with this new addition, although there is room for that if that is what you want.

More bass, as in adding B1's with the PackLite offers potential for more output but only if the source provides a stronger signal or a signal with more bass content.

More Bass, as in turning up the volume, and all frequencies are boosted, maintaining the same spectral balance, without breakup at higher overall SPL with the PackLite system than the PAS double B1 is capable of.

Somebody please correct me if I am wrong or misleading.

If I understand correctly, if your chosen instrument sounds best to you with the LOW EQ control set on 8, It won't matter whether you have 1 B1 or 4 B1's, the tone will be the same. If spectral balance is not changed by adding more B1's, the results of turning the LOW tone control should not vary with the number of B1's.

I may need something stronger than aspirin.

Oldghm
Oldghm, If you are playing with a single b1 with the low freq. boosted to 8, the overall spl will not be able to get very high because that single b1 will quickly max out the 125 watts available to it.

Add the packlte and the other 3 b1's and then the maximim spl available should be much higher.

It may not change much if you just added the a1 and b1's and left the overall volume the same.

If you played pre recorded dance music as loud as a double b1 pas could play, and added the paklite-2b1 package, I presume you would hear a definitive addition of low frequency output.
Hi Oldghm,

Sounds like you are getting your head around this.

"If I understand correctly, if your chosen instrument sounds best to you with the LOW EQ control set on 8, It won't matter whether you have 1 B1 or 4 B1's, the tone will be the same. If spectral balance is not changed by adding more B1's, the results of turning the LOW tone control should not vary with the number of B1's."

I think you are really close here.

If you are happy with the Bose System with whatever number of B1s you are using - then you may not need a PackLite ™ extended Bass package.

If you are looking for more low end - then it's worth checking out.

I so wanted to get into this whole analogy about adding wheels to a golf cart - but Steve-at-Bose beat me to it with pints of beer.
quote:
Originally posted by ST:

I so wanted to get into this whole analogy about adding wheels to a golf cart - but Steve-at-Bose beat me to it with pints of beer.



I got into golf for the exercise, so unless I am playing in some kind of organized event, I almost always walk, I may not relate to how many wheels on a golf cart; but I do know that adding more clubs to the bag doesn't make my score any lower and I'm packing the weight for nothing! There might be an analogy in there somewhere.

And I thought that was pints of bass he was talking about, you must be thirsty. Smile

Yes, I think I am getting it now, and I think I understand why there was no other way Bose could have designed the system without risking the plug and play features that makes the PAS so appealing and delightful to use. There is a part of me though that wishes for a switch to turn off the circuitry that counts B1's and attenuates accordingly.

Oldghm
hi all

one thing i didn't understand. in bose catalog it sais that each B1 has 250W rms at 8ohm, it means that if you have 2 B1s we will have 500W at 4ohms. right?

each A1 at the same catalog gives 250w at 4ohm.

my question... why bose says that each A1 can drive 2 B1s (500W at 4 ohms) if it has only 250W at 4ohms? is just to drive a half of b1 power to protect them? i guess not...

i dont understand this...: anyone can help me with this?

Confused

thanks
I've had L1 & 2-B1 for several years now, play keys, & often have to supply bass lines. In a smaller area, the 2-B1 setup suffices in a pinch (but not really)

I can't wait till I have $1000...I am ready to invest in the Bose solution for my bass response needs. I've considered and tried various solutions, but prefer the plug-n-play fidelity of the Bose approach.
Hi

I wrote that each B1 bass bin has 250w at 4 ohm.

so the A1 packlite (250W at 4omhs) can not push 2 bass bins B1 (500W at 4ohms) because he only delivers 250W at 4ohms. why bose has done this?

quote:
Originally posted by ST:
Hi Alvarinhas,

I'm not sure where you are seeing 250W rms at 8 ohms. If you can send me a link to where it says that, I'll forward that to Bose to have that corrected.


Here is a clipping from the Owners Manual with the correct information.

http://products.bose.com/pdf/c...rs/og_packlitea1.pdf
exactly ST. i saw this at

http://www.tabelas.abc.pt/4bosemusic.pdf

Bose® Personalized Amplification System –

BOSE® PERSONAL AMPLIFICATION SYSTEM – B1 BASS MODULE

Dimensões (LxPxA): 25cm x 45.7cm x 38cm
Potência: 250W r.m.s.
Impedância: 8 Ohm
Peso: 13 Kg
Saco de Transporte: Incluído
Código EAN: 17817332675

so...

1 B1 bass bin - 250w at 8ohms
2 B1 bass bin - 500W at 4 ohms
A1 amplifier - 250w at 4ohms

so Bose has made a amplifier that uses only half of the power of the speakers
???


quote:
Originally posted by ST:
Hi Alvarinhas,

Each B1 alone presents an 8 ohm load.

The Packlite® is designed to drive up to two B1s in parallel. That is: 250 watts into a 4 ohm load.
Hi Alvarinhas,

Thanks for the link to the document.

I cannot find anything similar in the English documentation and while I don't see anything that looks like a problem here, let me see if I can get some help from someone at Bose.
Hi Alvarinhas,

This is my interpretation of the chart you linked to. I do not intend to be speaking for Bose and hope to be corrected if wrong.

The Speaker (B1) has no power.

The chart indicates the "potential" or power "handling" capability of 250 watts. It (the B1) is designed to work efficiently at 125 watts, but it will handle up to 250 watts of power.

It is not uncommon to see speakers that are rated at twice the power handling at peak as they are for continous use.

So .... Bose has made a speaker that is capable of handling twice the power (in peaks) that it takes to make it work as intended.

Does this help?

O..
thanks oldghm

in the portuguese catalog it says 250W rms, and the rms value is not the continuos or peak (peak values is the rms value multliplied by 1,4). in the same catalog we can see that the mkII system has 750W rms (250W tower + 500w to 2 B1) wich gives 250W rms per each B1 at 4ohms.

"So .... Bose has made a speaker that is capable of handling twice the power (in peaks) that it takes to make it work as intended." So why Bose can handle twice of power in B1's with powerstand and not in A1 packlite, in wich uses half of the power? it does not make any sense Confused

the A1 packlite should give minimum 500W at 4 ohms or 250rms at 8ohms to take the maximum capabilities of the B1 bass bins

quote:
Originally posted by Oldghm:
Hi Alvarinhas,

This is my interpretation of the chart you linked to. I do not intend to be speaking for Bose and hope to be corrected if wrong.

The Speaker (B1) has no power.

The chart indicates the "potential" or power "handling" capability of 250 watts. It (the B1) is designed to work efficiently at 125 watts, but it will handle up to 250 watts of power.

It is not uncommon to see speakers that are rated at twice the power handling at peak as they are for continous use.

So .... Bose has made a speaker that is capable of handling twice the power (in peaks) that it takes to make it work as intended.

Does this help?

O..
Hi Alvarinhas,

OK, on further review it would appear that there are several misleading bits of info in the catalog.

I was assuming that the US version is the same internally, except for the power supply, as the units sold elsewhere in the world.

A comparison of the charts you linked to, to the US version shows inconsistancies that I won't try to explain away.

US Model I

http://pro.bose.com/pdf/pro/tech_data/L1/td_l1_m1.pdf

US model II

http://pro.bose.com/pdf/pro/tech_data/L1/td_l1_m2.pdf

I guess well have to wait for someone at Bose to clear this up.

O..
Quite frankly, to me it looks like a copywriter mistake.

The amp built-in to the L1 columns which drives the B1(s) is virtually identical to the amp in the separate A1. Both are a 250W-into-4ohms amplifier. (As ST noted above, one B1 gives 125W rms "acoustic output"; two B1's give twice that.)

It may be the confusion of the copywriter ... that the "rating" for the L1 columns was assumed to be that for the amp, when it should have been for the "acoustic power" with number of B1's specified in each description.

That misunderstanding was then probably just "copied over" into the description of the stand-alone B1 itself.

That's also why Bose tends to avoid relying on 'specs'!
thank you for your responses.

i guess i'll return the 2 systems, because it doens't match with the specs of the catalog. i'm not going to pay for one copywriter error in the portuguese catalog. i thougth that i had 2000W in bass and i find that i only have 1000W (8 B1 bass bins) Confused

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