Earlier this evening my wife and I went out to eat at a nearby resturant & lounge. Was surprised to walk in and see a PAS on stage.

Entertainment was a Duo. Young, attractive lady and a gentleman, One acoustic guitar and both were talented vocalist.

We sat about 40 ft. back and 10 ft. left of stage center. The sound covered the room completely, and my wife remarked "You can hear it good, but it doesn't sound good, too much reverb. It sure doesn't sound like yours."

We have listened many nights to many different people in this lounge, some good, some not so good, the same with sound, you just never know what to expect. Somehow with the PAS I expected more.

I started writing this and it was going in the direction of being critical of the performers, but that is not the reason I want to share this story. So let me get to the point.

Reverb...... There was so much reverb in the mix it seemed everything was saturated, both voices and the guitar, and for the first time I recognized a real problem with working this way with the PAS...... The sound comes from everywhere at nearly the same volume, there is nothing to draw your attention to the stage.

I have not had a lot of opportunities to see performers with the PAS, but this was the first time with a lot of reverb and the first time to feel so disconnected from the performance. It was as if the performers and the conversation at the table next to me were occupying the same sonic space, except the conversation didn't have reverb.

There was no hint of singing flat, or lack of range, or any other noticeable deficiency in the vocal quality, that suggested that either of them needed effects to sound good. The room is fairly hard, and with conventional equipment very reverberant, their use of reverb is a choice, made from inexperience. I kept thinking, maybe if they turned it up it would be OK, but we all know that bad sound is never improved by making it louder.

If you are satisfied being, or the venue is of the type where you, the performer, are nothing more than background music, then it won't matter whether you use too much effects or not. If, on the other hand you want to be noticed, appreciated, listened to, recognized for your talent, and applauded occasionally, then keep the reverb to a minimum.

One of the selling/performance features of the PAS, is that when used as designed the Player and the Sound are coming from the Same place. Too much reverb somehow destroys this feature.

I don't know if too much reverb would have this same affect in other rooms..... perhaps this phenomenon is part of the reason Bose suggests using effects sparingly.....All I know for sure is I will be very careful in the future if I decide to use effects with the PAS.


Corrected spelling
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Original Post
I would be interested to know if you actually saw a reverb unit in this duo's equipment or got close to the performers themselves.

The reason I ask is I just got done playing a very "hard" room as you describe it: a very reverberant, reflective venue with everything dry in the mix. Yet from any more than 15 feet away from the stage, I would swear there was a big room reverb dialed up way too much. I checked to make sure I wasn't just mistakenly sending to the FX, but everything was dry and sounded dry up close.

This has been part of my struggle with the PAS. It is what I have described in the past as a sense of disconnectedness. There is a definite lack of directivity compared to a conventional speaker.

Through my telephone conversations with Ken-at-Bose, I have come to understand the cause of this: because of the wide dispersion of the L1, the PAS is difficult for our ears to localize on.

As Ken explained it, the human ear perceives wide dispersion and the resulting reflection as the indication of a large space that may not necessarily exist. Hence, what your brain perceives as a reverb in the mix may simply be the PAS in a reflective environment with its wide dispersion creating an actual reverberation in the room.

After Ken clarified this for me, I was able to calculate a sort of rule of thumb to try and get around this: the PAS seems to sound best if the distance between the L1 and the audience is less than the distance between the L1 and the side walls of the venue. This is sort of contrary to conventional speaker coverage: typically I would try to place a conventional speaker to throw the long way in a rectangular room. Not so with the PAS. I have had better results setting up against the middle of the long wall in a rectangular space with the PAS facing the short way across the room. Unfortunately, venues are seldom set up in this fashion, as in the club I played tonight. I was at the far end of the room and the farther I got from the stage the less direct everything sounded.

These observations are, of course, just that: my personal experience.

Anyone else getting this obsessed with the way this thing works or am I just taking this way too far?
You both bring up some interesting points. I, too, would be interested in knowing if there was actually a reverb unit in the mix. I've used the PAS, always without effects, in some truely nightmarish acoustic venues with great success and very little hint of excessive natural reverberation. You could certainly tell a difference in the room vs. up close, but it was a very natural and, for the most part, subtle effect. I do think your observation, Sarkis, that nearby side walls create some unusual reflections is, in some situations, is valid. Not that there's much we can do about it in most cases.

As far as lack of directionality, though, the opposite has been my experience. Particularly as you add more towers, it becomes much easier to pick out specific instruments coming from their source point on the soundstage.

Since the L1 Cylindrical Radiator® does not propagate much sound up to the ceiling or down to the floor, wouldn't this tend to offset overall room reverberations that we get with more traditional systems?

That is - yes, I can see that there may be more reflections from the side walls, but less from the ceiling and floor.

Interestingly - when the wall opposite the Bose systems is relatively close, there is some possibility for sound bouncing back from the wall - and a solution posted elsewhere is to tilt the Powerstand 1-3°

And - yes, running completely dry out of the Bose system, I can hear the "natural" reverb in the room. So that raises the question - is there more or less reverb when using the Bose system? Well, more or less than a conventional system also running "dry".

My guess is, that the reflections from ceiling and floor are much more problematic than the ones bouncing from the sides. Even in a room that is only 40 feet side, that's still likely 3 to 4 times the distance between reflective surfaces as from the ceiling to the floor.

A bizarre thought - if it were physically possible, would you prefer to play in a room
- 40 feet wide with a 10 foot ceiling
- 10 feet wide with a 40 foot ceiling

Don't think too much about it, just go with your gut reaction. If you were using a conventional system, there might not be a lot of difference.

With the Bose system, you might predict a much better result with the first scenario, (40 feet wide) than with the second (10 feet wide).

Does this mean that the Bose system is less flexible? I think it means that

The conventional system is going to sound about the same either way.

The Bose system is going to sound better in the 40 feet wide scenario than the conventional system.

Don't overthink it - just see how that sits with you.
Last edited by ST
To All,

I could see outboard gear but did not identify exactly what is was. I have listened to many small acoustic groups and solo artists in this room, I'm confident that what I was hearing was just simply too much reverb in the mix. Actually it was like there wasn't a mix, just wet signal only. I believe their sound would have been the same in anything but the deadest room, but, if they had been using conventional equipment with the same amount of reverb, attention would still have been drawn to their end of the room.

IF we take Ken's explanation as relayed by Sarkis, that natural reverberation can cause a loss of localization of the source, by the listener, then does it makes sense that using too much reverb will only make the situation worse?

It is a little bit troubling that on the one hand, the system is hyped as "the sound comes from where it looks like it's coming from" or "what you see is what you hear", and on the other hand the wide dispersion of the L1 causes a loss of ability to localize the source.

I have played two gigs and listened to a friend in a room about 26' or 28' X 80", with tile floor, walls of wood, stone, and metal sheeting and playing from the end or narrow wall, never noticed anything similar to what I experienced last night.

I did not know these young people and did not want to introduce myself by saying "Hey you guys sing great, How do you like your Bose? By the way you really sound terrible".

If the L1 can do what I heard, to a dry signal in any space, I don't believe it would have made it to the market place.

When I first recieved my PAS and was set up in the demon basement, there were times when I would get a real intense beating from what I thought were near, side wall, reflections. I wrote here about trying to record from a distance of about 20 feet and getting intense reverb that I was not hearing in the performing position. I am thankful that I haven't had that experience in any other room, to this point, and am hopeful it was an anomaly related to that space only.

I know a couple of guys who have PAS's and are booked in this same room later on. I will check them out, if I'm not working, and see how much difference there is. In the meantime be aware of the effects you add to your mix.

And how about some professional opinions from the At-Bose-Folks.

I’m not sure what Ken exactly meant with the statement that “the PAS is difficult for our ears to localize on”. I can check with him on Monday and see if we can clarify that.
Frankly, in that form the statement doesn’t make much sense to me. I believe that the PAS gives superb localization of a source, far superior to any conventional system (especially if it’s run in “stereo”).

There may be some confusion about “localization” and “spaciousness”. Both are perceptual attributes, which have been intensively studied especially in the context of concert hall acoustics. “Localization” refers to your ability to detect the direction of a specific sound source. Let’s say you have your eyes closed but you can immediately tell where the guitar is (as opposed to the bass or the violin). “Spaciousness” refers to the perceived size of the sound source and how much you feel enveloped with sound. Most researchers believe that a “good” concert hall provides both: accurate and easy localization and a sufficient amount of spaciousness.

The main contributing factors for spaciousness are “early lateral reflections”. These are reflections from the sidewalls. Reflections from the side help quite a bit with creating a sense of space and envelopment. Reflection from the floor and ceiling are less desirable since they don’t enhance spaciousness but can negatively impact clarity and spectral balance. There are very interesting physiological reasons of why lateral reflections are perceived so much differently than vertical ones. I could drone on for hours on this topic, but I’ll save that for later.

Anyway, it’s not too much of a surprise that most renowned concert halls (e.g. Musikvereinssaal in Vienna, Concertgebow in Amsterdam, or Boston Symphony Hall) have a “shoebox” shape that is long, narrow and tall. This shape provides good lateral reflections pretty much everywhere in the audience. Ironically, it’s not very popular with architects since the sight lines are terrible. Visually oriented architects prefer the “shell” shape, which provides great viewing but (unfortunately) no lateral reflections whatsoever.
But I’m digressing again…

The L1 does (in my humble opinion) the best thing. It radiates very wide horizontally but very little much towards the ceiling. Thus it provides enough energy for lateral reflections but keeps interfering ceiling reflections at bay. Since it’s a single source, it provides very easy and accurate localization, but in most venues the image will also be pleasantly spacious. That’s at least my own experience.

I will take up this topic with Ken to make sure we get that really clarified.

Hope that helps

There was no hint of singing flat, or lack of range, or any other noticeable deficiency in the vocal quality, that suggested that either of them needed effects to sound good. The room is fairly hard, and with conventional equipment very reverberant, their use of reverb is a choice, made from inexperience.

Oldghm, did you ever see the 1953 Sci-Fi Movie, It Came From Outer Space (starring Russell Johnson, aka the Professor from Gilligan's Island? When space aliens would inhabit their bodies, the characters would speak with really heavy reverb.
Maybe that's what happened to your duo...
Originally posted by Hilmar-at-Bose:

The main contributing factors for spaciousness are “early lateral reflections”. These are reflections from the sidewalls. Reflections from the side help quite a bit with creating a sense of space and envelopment.


Does this mean that the narrower the room, the earlier the reflections, the more spacious the sound? Seriously how does the width of a reflective room affect the L1 sound?...Or..At what point is the room so narrow that the reflections create undesirable sounds?

One more thing I noticed about the duo gig was no bottom end. They were using one B1. It is not unusual in this room for the bass to be a little strange. Usually when you walk in the front door(about 70 feet from the stage) all you hear is low end that becomes less prominent as you get nearer the stage.(I'm speaking of low end from a solo or duo acoustic act without a bass instrument.)

Kenny, I'm not sure about the space alien thing, the last time they visited here they took much of my memory about such things with them. Listened to some of your music, very good. Thanks for the link.

Hi Folks,

Hilmar has got it right. And I apologize to Sarkis if our telephone conversation the other day was not clear: I thought I was saying exactly what Hilmar has stated as it is part of what we generally agree on in the field of psychoacoustics.

One thing to add: what we perceive as "reverberance" is caused physically almost entirely by the persistence in time of an acoustic event. Spaciousness -- the feeling of envelopment and room size is different. Localization -- where we perceive the sound to be coming from -- is different again.

Localization is almost entirely determined by the direction of the first arrival of sound (almost always the direct sound from the speaker in this case) and thus is almost entirely immune from the effects of reflections.

Spaciousness is heavily determined by lateral reflections, which are produced in relative abundance by the L1 because it's so wide in its pattern.

High reverberance is caused by lots of reflections in rooms with little absorption. The L1 is particularly good at NOT producing as much reverberance because it sends little sound to the upper walls and ceiling where many detrimental reflections originate and are perpetuated. My very strong suspicion is that the performers in this case were, therefore, using reverb and it sounds like from the report, too much. This can be a hard habit to break I've noticed.

So, the L1 is spacious, highly localizable, and low in generating reverberance. A very nice combination.
Originally posted by Ken-at-Bose:

One thing to add: what we perceive as "reverberance" is caused physically almost entirely by the persistence in time of an acoustic event.

Spaciousness is heavily determined by lateral reflections, which are produced in relative abundance by the L1 because it's so wide in its pattern.

It would seem that these two (reverberance and spaciousness) are tightly connected. And perhaps more so with the L1 because of the abundance of the lateral reflections, which can have the effect of lengthening the time of the acoustic event.

Any comments on this and the questions addressed to Hilmar in the post above would be appreciated.

What I am looking for is information that will allow us to make good judgements when we set up in potentially difficult rooms.

Thanks, Oldghm
Thanks to Ken for clearing this up.

Reverberance and spaciousness are related but not as close as one would think. The early lateral reflections that contribute to spaciousness have to arrive between 10ms and 50ms after the direct sound to be effective. "Reverberance" is mainly influenced by sound that comes later than 100ms after the direct sound.

That may also answer your earlier question. From the geometry one can calculate the arrival times of early reflections and it becomes clear that a room is rarely too narrow (unless it's a hallway or such) to provide good spaciousness. The problem is usually to wide or the angle of the walls. Walls that open up like fan direct lateral sound away from the audience. Good for viewing but not for listening.

Unfortunately, bass propagation is also significantly determined by the room. In general bass level rises as you approach the walls and thins out somewhat towards the middle of the room. Depending on symmetries and materials there can be pronounced standing waves that vary considerable with location in the room.

In practice, there isn’t too much you can do about all of this. The rooms are as they are and there will always be a certain variability from venue to venue. This being said, I still think that for the Cylindrical Radiator Loundspeaker™, this variability will be less than with any other loudspeaker that I know (short of headphones).

The way our system is designed, your best bet is to make it sound good at your player position. This will in nearly all cases provide the best sound for the majority of the audience as well.

I hope that answers your question

True...the PAS is no guarantee of great sound but it helps.

I played a 12x32 room for a nursing home family-night party. We sat up at one end in a 10x6' "cave", acoustic guitar in PAS 1, Kick in PAS 2, Mackie 1402 mxr had 1-acoustic gtr, bass via POD, 2-vocal mics, and a mic for the mandolin.

When I had set up and before any mic'ing, I noticed right off that my D'jembe drum sounded dull & flat...usually it sounds big, deep, and warm. I knew we were in trouble.


1) Vocal mics ALL sounded hollow, very difficult to get them EQ'd for a smooth sound that we normally get in church or bigger rooms.

2) Kick drum w/D6 preset sounded flat and hollow. Djembe sounded awful, I unhooked the mic, went natural (it still sounded awful).

3) Bass gtr thru the POD sounded bad, couldn't get it dialed in with any of our favorite presets.

4) Lead singers acoustic w/preset 40 and a few others...sounded thin and brittle, we cranked up the bass and cut the treble way down getting it to be just passable.

The only instrument that really made the cut was the mandolin thru a 57 into the mixer. It sounded better than ever.

Our entire set was a struggle. I couldn't sing well because my vocal just didn't sound smooth as it usually does. Steve said he had to sing too loud and at the end of the night he was getting hoarse.

As the set progressed I did manage to improve the lead vocal slightly, but defeating the bass rolloff switch. But we never got into a comfort zone as far as the sound goes.

Maybe some experimenting with PAS position could have helped, but we didn't have time.

Now, with all that said...I had set up a video camera about 1/3 the way back in the room, off to one wall behind a piano so it wouldn't get bumped. I taped the whole performance.

Listening to it on my computer speakers here at work this morning, the sound is not too bad at all. Very surprising and much better than I was expecting from what I heard on stage.

The bass guitar is non-existent but the vocal sounds pretty clear if a bit low in the mix.

Steve's acoustic sounds big and dominates the mix. Mandolin sounds fine, kick drum sounds flat, but can be heard, it just sounds like it's unmic'd.

Steve's vocal was down in the mix, but sounded pretty good.

End analysis is that even in the Worst-case-scenario we came out sounding pretty good. Even though it did not sound so good to us. Possibly we are just so used to the sound in church which is totally full and even, that we freaked out a bit.

It still beat the old 3-tier approach.

So this is a cloud with a silver lining.
I plan to dump the video to my computer next week and will try to post something if i can get the file small enough and still retain some quality.
Last edited by DrumrPete
To me, the PAS is a guarantee of great live sound. There are no more "bad rooms" for me, period. Maybe it's how I play guitar - or the Taylor and Rainsong guitars I play - or where I play guitar - but I've played in warehouses and tight rooms and outdoors and garages and rest homes and a veteran's hospital and have had no trouble whatsoever being heard, understood, and appreciated.

And no one has ever said "turn it down" except for my wife, in our living room, when I start rocking out with a Led Zeppelin MIDI.

Reverb is unnecessary with this system - this coming from a guy who always drowned his voice in reverb with the old fashioned systems. But some folks (like John Lennon) always want effects on their voices, and they are going to have them even if they're compromising their PAS sound. The cool part is, I don't have to sit and listen to such things!
Hi All,

I've always been of the "I don't know art, but I know what I like" crowd. Tech specs bore me, while I do appreciate that others get into this stuff and admire them for it. On this topic at hand, I'd just like to say that my duo (keys & acoustic guitar w/vocals) has been using our PAS for a few weeks now. One of our regular gigs is in the bar/lounge of a popular western MA restaurant, converted from a former large post office building, the interior of which is entirely polished granite walls AND flooring, with very tall ceilings. On a weekend evening, the crowd is literally abuzz, saturating the atmosphere with an almost impenetrable, thick fog of conversation. It's a bit like sticking one's head inside a beehive, without the stings!

We'd actually vowed last year not to book any further work there, as we couldn't stand the acoustics and the psychological wear 'n tear of trying to hear ourselves with anything remotely resembling clarity...let alone expecting the crowd to hear/appreciate us. We were using 1 or 2 Mackies and a Mackie mixer, with a very spare amount of Nanoverb (my partner is one of those who just has to have some 'verb on her mic, unfortunately for her).

Since debuting our PAS at this place, and without drawing any attention to it, both of the bartenders and the owner have individually remarked on the MAJOR improvement in sound. And these are the guys who should know, hearing acts there week after week. They said they've never heard a more clear system. The owner wanted to know more about it and I initially begged off, telling him I love to sing the PAS' praises. "Bore me", he replied. I think he might buy one now for the restaurant's use.

The sound isn't perfect, given the natural echo chamber we're working in, there. But we don't have to blast out to cut through the muck, so the diners at table literally right on top of us aren't compromised, while the people in the opposite corner of this rectangular setting still hear us fine.

As someone else wrote in another thread, I don't think I could ever return to a 3-way system and would almost seriously think about giving it all up instead, were there no other choice. Thank you, Bose!
My "day job" is a recording engineer and/or producer in my little studio in my rather remote area. It's great work, and we put out some very good sounding CDs.

One of the things I often have to deal with in working with clients is the client wanting what I feel is excessive reverb, feeling that more is better, or being less than confident/comfortable with their voice.

I usually explain that reverb has the effect of pushing the voice (or whatever it's used on) AWAY from the listener in the aural field, which lessens the impact and connection of the voice, and therefor, usually of the song as well. That doesn't mean that a little reverb in a recording is not usually a good thing, because it is, if only to keep the singer from sounding like they are sitting on your lap singing in your face. Many of my recording clients ask me during mixing, "Could you add some reverb to the voice?", never realizing that there has been reverb on their voice every time they have heard it. It's just that my goal with reverb or anything else has been for the listener to say "Wow, listen to that voice" or even better yet "Wow, what a powerful song", not "Wow, listen to that reverb."

But as most folks here are finding and or reporting, the bloom of the sound in the room generally provides sufficient reverb. The performer doesn't sound like he/she is sitting in the audience's lap, because he/she isn't. there are probably some rooms that would be improved by some subtle reverb/ambience added, but they would be few, in my view. But that means another thing to get used to for the performer, as noted here - it sounds drier on stage. But the added impact of the performance on the audience is sure worth it, in my opinion.

To me, the goal of sound equipment and processes in general is transparency - not the way that word is usually used in audio-speak, meaning some sort of high-endy clarity, but transparent in the sense you don't see it, you don't even know it's there. The same could be said about the musicians if you want to get really idealistic - that the only thing perceived should be the intent of the song, or the glory of life and existence, or something like that. Of course, I tend to get a little over the top with my philosophizing, in case you haven't noticed. Any, I'll shut up now - my very best and thanks to all, for all - Don
I finally got some video of our church group live with the PAS at a nursing home. I described our sound problems in the post above.

I taped it with a sony DV cam about 1/3 the way back in the room stuck off to one side behind a piano, and protected by an open door into the hallway.

I had to knock the quality down a bit to get it to post on the web. For better or worse, here it is.

It's Windows Media Video...Click the link below then scroll down a bit...I hope it works.

Last edited by DrumrPete

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