Under Low Tents and Gazebos

Hi Friends!

It's been a long time. I hope I'm doing this right. A lot has changed with the forum since I was here last! After more than a decade of Bose L1 use I sold all of my Bose gear the spring of 2015. I tried a couple of different set ups over the last few years and realized that nothing is as well suited for me and what I do as the Bose L1. So I've come full circle and just finished my first week on tour with my new Bose L1 Model 2 w/a B2 and T1. 

So far so good but I'm about to encounter a few of the venues that made me move away from the L1 approach. As a solo act (vocals and acoustic guitar) I'm often crammed into small spaces. The worst for me is when I have a low roof over the L1 like EZ-Up tents and gazebos. 

After I set up I always do what I call a "solo-act sound check" where I drag my guitar and mic out as far as my cables will allow and see how things sound "out there." With a low roof over the L1 I find that I have to boost the highs on the vocals and push more volume to get the usual L1 coverage outside of the tent or structure. That's all fine and good until I resume my performance position under the low roof with the L1. The boost in the highs and the extra volume is just too much on my ears!

So my new plan is to set the L1 up outside of the tent or gazebo and take the Master Out of the T1 to a little spot monitor (TC Helicon VoiceSolo FX150) that will either sit on my table next to me or on the ground in front of me. I won't get the benefit of the L1 as my monitor but I'm sure it will be easier on my ears.

Have others encountered this trouble with low tents/gazebos/ceilings etc. and if so, have you found any better solutions. 



Original Post


It's great to see you again.

Have you already got the TC-Helicon VoiceSolo FX150? I've got one, but don't use it much. I've not used it ever with an L1® because I haven't run into the issue you've described. I just put the L1® outside the gazebo. But I don't do as much outdoor work as you do.

Have you tried the TC-Helicon VoiceSolo FX150 on the microphone stand?


Hi ST!

It's great to be back in the world of Bose! I do have the VoiceSolo FX150. I was using it as a monitor with one of the other systems I tried for a while. I tested it out at home using the Master out of the T1 and it sounded just fine. I'm hoping it will just crip up the details and add to what I'm hoping I can hear from the L1 when it is outside of the low structure. 


Hi Matt,

I've experimented with the TC-Helicon VoiceSolo FX150. I found it worked best when I connected the T1® Master Output to the input on the VoiceSolo FX150. It didn't work as well when I ran the microphone and guitar into the VoiceSolo FX150, and then output to the L1®.  Although, as a standalone unit (when even the L1® Compact is too big), it's not bad.


Hi ST,

It's not a bad little unit. I've gone guitar and vocals directly into the VoiceSolo but only as a little practice amp at home. I'm not sure how it would work trying to fill any kind of real venue unless it was very small an intimate. 

I haven't tried going into the VoiceSolo and then out the L1 Model 2. I only had a couple of days with the Model 2 before my summer music schedule started so I only had time to get my settings right and hit the road. Even without trying it I'm sure I want the T1 controlling the sound of the L1 vs. the VoiceSolo. 

One thing I do want to figure out eventually is taking the Aux of the T1 out the VoiceSolo in case I need the Master out for something else, like a Compact, a house system, etc. but that's down the road.


The VoiceSolo FX 150 is an interesting product. I think Bose is missing an opportunity by not offering the 310M and possibly the 620M in a similar powered configuration. Although I don't have the VoiceSolo, I really like the control panel and flexibility of use. It seems to be a well thought out product. A battery option would be great.


Hi Oldghm!

It's funny that you mention the 310M. I was considering that as a compact monitor but I could hardly find any info on it. I couldn't even find decent pictures of the back to see connections, positioning, etc. I wish there was more info on these.

As for the VoiceSolo, I agree about the configuration. We had a long post about this on the Acoustic Guitar Forum. To me there seems to be a bit of a hole in the acoustic amp/portable PA market. There are 3 main ways people use these things: 1) up on a speaker stand, 2) on a table top and 3 on the floor as a wedge type monitor. As far as I can tell, the VoiceSolo is the only thing on the market that allows for all three configurations. Which is good but I wish it was just a little bit bigger to be a better stand alone mini-PA. 

The L1 Compact can work in all 3 configurations too just a bit differently. I'll be adding one of those back into my arsenal before too long.


MATT!  Around and BACK indeed :-}  I think this is great, especially having "been with you" somewhat in your experiments, over on the AGF.  Very GOOD for you!

TODAY I am being delivered two MORE L1 Compacts!  4 in all - I got these last two for my 5-piece rock band, with the idea of lowering our volume just a bit.  We start up gigging in September and I'll report back, I expect with great results - the Old Bose Way, 1 per player..

All the best - you keep rocking!



Thanks for the 310M info. I'd still love to see different photos. I'd like to see the connections in the back and how it sits at an angle and how that can be changed or maybe mounted somewhere and used in some different configurations but now that I'm back to the L1 approach it's not quite as important.

Hey Mike!

Great to hear from you! I'll be curious to read what you think about an all Compact band. That will be cool. As a side benefit to the L1 approach, I got rained out yesterday at a concert in the park and it was so nice to be able to get my stuff packed up and in the car so quickly!


By nature, we are LOUD as all getout, starting with LOUD hard-hittin real drums, which I/we LIKE!  Then ME - I play guitar loud, I just do..  It's rock and roll..  All this year, I've been lining my little Fender amp to my Compact instead of the Classic, still singing thru the Classic - it has helped a good deal.  So, now the idea is to run the other guitar and the Hammond thru Compacts instead of Classics, and all vocals thru Compacts.  Bass will still use a Classic with two B1s plus a B2 via A1 - sounds great - solid and driving but not overbearing.  NO mixer needed (although two guys have the QSC iPad's), simple connections, easy schlep Compacts - I'm counting on this to be great!  We shall see..

Keep us posted Mike!

I'm off to set up at one of the venues I mentioned. The weather here has been terrible for a day and a half but it looks like the rain is gone so I'll be outside under an EZ-Up.

I'm planning to put the L1 outside of the tent for the first time ever!


Thanks for asking ST!

I think I may have set a new record for the number of times I set up, tore down and moved sound equipment! 

I'm in Door County, Wisconsin. It's the peninsula that starts just NE of Green Bay and juts up between the bay and Lake Michigan. It's a great spot and very busy during the summer. The trouble is that most things this time of year happen outdoors and they are having a very rainy summer!

The EZ-Up that used to cover the outdoor stage is gone so I didn't get to test the idea of having the L1 outside of the tent and me underneath.

I did make the mistake of putting the L1 up on the little stage with me. I figured no tent so I'd be ok. I started a half hour late due to rain so did a very quick sound check and started playing. After about three songs the bartender who works inside across the whole patio told me I needed to be louder. By the time I got the volume up to the level he wanted it was WAY to loud for me on that little stage!

I didn't have to tough it out for long. Another storm rolled in and I moved inside. But the lesson is that I need to do a much better job gauging my show-time volume level and making sure my position relative to the L1 is ok on my ears!


Hi Matt,

Two things I try to remember are, most guitar players aren't bartenders and most bartenders aren't sound men.

Unless your bartender is at the maximum distance away from you in the room or outdoor space, there is a good chance he / she is comparing your volume to that of others who use conventional equipment. By your description, I'm thinking the bartender you are speaking of was at the extreme distance but inside. My question would be, why am I on the patio if you want full performance volume inside?

I like to judge my volume by my observation of the reaction / participation of the patrons that are at the extremes of the space I am playing in. ( or the extreme of the space I am trying to cover) At a venue I have been playing recently the bartenders almost always ask for more volume, but I consistently get positive comments, tips, and requests from people playing darts at the very back of the room, twice the distance away from me as the bartenders. I continue to play at a volume that suits me on stage.

If you scroll down, there are two or three pages of info on the 310M. It is designed to sit in three different positions which provide three different coverage patterns. The only connections are parallel speakons. I think it is a good and flexible speaker design that hasn't reached all of it's potential by being offered only as an unpowered monitor.


Hi Oldghm,

Wise words and good advice!

This venue is a bit different. I wish I had thought to take a photo. The music takes place on a small raised stage out in the lawn. Right in front of the stage is a fire pit surrounded by Adirondak chairs, then a bit more lawn and then the actual bar/restaurant. 

The bar/restaurant is a large patio that is framed in with a waist high wall and then the rest is open up to the ceiling. They only use this part in the summer. When I first started playing here years ago the patio was not covered and if the weather was bad they just cancelled the music and lost all of the business they would have on a nice evening.  So covering the patio was a really smart move. Now they can move the music inside, roll down these big covers over the open parts of the wall and even turn on ceiling mounted heaters on chilly nights.

The downside of all this is trying to cover all of this musically. From my point of view, my audience is the fire pit and the folks out in the lawn. Some of these people are just waiting for tables to open but a lot of people have come to sit out there for the music. Many just bring their own chairs.

From the bar/restaurant's point of view the audience should also include all of the people at the tables on the patio and the people sitting at the bar which is all the way on the back side of the patio. This whole group is a mixed bag of people. Some are listening to the music but a lot are just their to eat, drink and talk. 

So they want me to elevate the volume to a point where the folks at the bar can hear the music. That means I need to cover the lawn, "get through" a partially framed in patio wall and across a large patio full of tables of people talking!

The last two years I was there I had different mains/monitor set ups and I think the last year I played with my old L1 they didn't have the patio covered yet so this was all new to me. 

Next time if I get to be outside I'll just put the L1 in the lawn off to the side of me so I can satisfy their volume without it hurting my ears!


Hi Matt,

Your description of the space reminds me of a restaurant / bar I played at years ago. They would feed 1200 to 1300 each Friday and Saturday and all would come through the bar waiting to be called for a dinner table. The first two hours were trying to pacify a rowdy impatient mob, and the last two hours were trying to capture them for one more drink on the way out, all while trying to play to 25 or 30 fans who came for the music. Impossible task some nights.

So many times we are asked to do the impossible. It is disheartening to be hired as "live entertainment" only to be relegated to "live background music" by the demands of the management. I don't mind being background music, but management needs to understand how their decisions affect what we are capable of overcoming. Sometime it might be more profitable and more enjoyable to have a designated area where one is expected to entertain and a quieter area where patrons can escape and socialize, instead of blasting the entire area and making it uncomfortable for everyone.

I was in Asheville NC this past weekend. Our group of eight had dinner in an establishment that was so loud we couldn't wait to get out. They were very busy so maybe that was the plan to get more turnover, but I will hesitate to go back there.  

There is a river front restaurant near me that has a large dining room with connected patio that is walk in level in front and 12 feet high on the river side. There is an outdoor bar at ground level right on the rivers edge and between the two is a sand volleyball court with a nearby stage. They have solo and duo entertainment on weeknights and Sunday afternoons that play on that stage in the middle of nowhere. I have never understood why, and how they expect a solo musician to connect to people that are 30, 40, 50 or more feet away. It is an impossible task, but the last three owners have done things the same way. The "last three owners" might be key words here.

I hope your plan works for you. We call what we do "playing music", but the reality is, it's hard work and often misunderstood by those who hire us.


Oldghm posted:

Hi Matt,

Your description of the space reminds me of a restaurant / bar I played at years ago. They would feed 1200 to 1300 each Friday and Saturday and all would come through the bar waiting to be called for a dinner table. The first two hours were trying to pacify a rowdy impatient mob, and the last two hours were trying to capture them for one more drink on the way out, all while trying to play to 25 or 30 fans who came for the music. Impossible task some nights.




This is very apt description of the situation! I should mention that the couple that owns this place are really good folks. They run a great business and take really good care of me. They also take good care of their customers too by offering just about everything you can think of. They have 3 different small bars so folks can easily get drinks no matter where they are. They have indoor and outdoor seating. A fireplace and heaters outdoors when it gets cold and they will even come around with blankets for the people sitting outside around the fire pit. A couple of years ago they bought a huge golf cart type vehicle and will go pick people up and drop them off around town. All of that is great but they are, with the live music, trying to be all things to all people. 


"Sometime it might be more profitable and more enjoyable to have a designated area where one is expected to entertain and a quieter area where patrons can escape and socialize, instead of blasting the entire area and making it uncomfortable for everyone."


I was hoping to be able to chop up your post and reply to it in pieces but I can't figure out how to do that!

The paragraph above would be a wonderful way to have music at this establishment. And there have been times when this has happened (before they closed off the patio.) 

I count myself as an original singer/songwriter first so I go into every show with my plan being to play mostly originals with a few choice covers thrown in (mostly as excuses to introduce more originals) and then I see how the show goes. I played bar shows for years and can do tons of covers but I try to avoid them. Even if someone requests a cover song I'll still steer the show back to my material unless the situation calls for more covers. 

Several times at this venue I've been able to play the whole show like a concert, playing my original songs and telling the stories that go with them. It's interesting to see how the evening goes when this happens. The people who come and join us in the "music area" can, for the most part, instantly tell that something is going on, that they are walking into a performance and they behave accordingly. The listening begets more listening. Others who are finishing dinner want to be a part of this so they get drinks and come and join us. It really speaks to your statement about it being more profitable and enjoyable for everyone. 

The opposite is also true that if most of the people are talking, that tends to beget more talking and then I know I'll be in more of a background mode. Those nights are certainly much less rewarding!


Hi All,

I'm really enjoying this discussion, happily following along.

Matt Wahl posted:

I was hoping to be able to chop up your post and reply to it in pieces but I can't figure out how to do that!


Here's how to do it.

  1. Reply with Quote
  2. Click where you want to split the quoted text.
    • Press Enter
    • Press Left Arrow once (you may be able to skip this depending on your browser)
    • Press Enter three times

I've got more notes about that here: Splitting a Reply with Quote.

Here's a video.

Not intuitive at first, but it comes easily after that.


Thanks ST for the tutorial.


I can't imagine having enough original material for a full evenings gig. I checked out YouTube. First I got the other Matt Wahl, but quickly realized which one was you because of the original music. You have a knack for making music out of your everyday experiences, pretty cool. I've been to Home Depot many, many times never thought of writing a song about it or buying beer there. 



Thanks Oldghm!

I don't have much of a YouTube presence so I'm sure the other Matt Wahl comes up first. He and I just connected. About once a year I get a call or email from a place in New York (where he lives and plays) asking about me playing. Now I have his email so I can point people in the right direction.!

I've been writing for a long time and have 7 CDs of original songs and slowly but surly I'm working my way toward number 8 so I have a pretty good stock pile of songs. Add in some covers and I can easily do 4 hours of mostly original tunes.


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