Unofficial Performers' Guide

The Unofficial Performers' Guide
for the Bose® Personalized Amplification System™ family of products.

December 23, 2006

The Unofficial Bose® L1™ Wiki is the new site for the Unofficial Users' and Performers' Guides. The information in this thread may not be as current as in the new wiki, but I will leave it here for backup and historical interest.

Bose® L1™ Wiki is your new source for the latest Unofficial information.

The Unofficial Performers' Guide 

If you will be using the Bose System for the first, second, or third time and are looking for quick-hit things you need to know you are in the right place. This is for you in the role of performer who may or may not actually own a System. See: The Unofficial Performers' Guide


What follows is the older version.

If you will be using the Bose System for the first, second, or third time and are looking for quick-hit things you need to know you are in the right place. This is for you in the role of performer who may or may not actually own a System. Initially, I will write this with the solo or duo act in mind. There may be another version later for larger ensembles later.

If you just got your new System then you will want to check out the Unofficial Users' Guide which covers things that System owners like to know.

Note: This document is under development. I'm planning to fill it in over the next couple of weeks so if there are bullet points without links that means that I'm working on the content. This is a collaborative effort so for now, the incomplete points are a part of a casual outline.

Setting up
If you are stepping onto the stage and someone has made all the connections for you skip down to the section about Performing.

Performing

If the stage is already set up, then it is time to talk about performing.

  • Hearing yourself

    This is a different approach to amplifying your sound. There is typically only one amplified version of your sound entering the room. That will be the Cylindrical Radiator®. Typically it will be set up behind you. Unlike conventional approaches, you will not be behind the main speakers going to the room.
    • How does it sound? - It may seem unusual for a few minutes because you are hearing yourself in much the same way the audience is hearing you. This is a big difference because you will be hearing yourself in the context of the room instead of out of context in the monitor.
    • Where do I stand? - Usually in front of the Cylindrical Radiator®. Sometimes beside it. If you are in front of it, an ideal would be approximately 7-10 feet. This is easy to work out if you have the standard 15 foot cable. Assuming you have the Remote mounted on your mic stand, the cable should be a straight run back to the Power Stand.
    • Where is the monitor? - No monitor required. You will be hearing yourself through the same Cylindrical Radiator®  that the audience is hearing.
    • Where is the reverb? - This is typically not required because you will be hearing the natural reverb in the room not a monitor mix from a floor wedge.
    • Hearing Yourself with the Bose... 

  • Microphone Technique

    "Sing as loud as you're going to sing with your lips touching the windscreen and adjust the trim so that the LED just flickers RED. (You can do this with the channel and master volumes on the remote turned all the way down. Remember that when you want to be your loudest vocally, you're lips should be touching the windscreen. You can always "work" the mic by backing away from it to lower volume but always remember that when you need to be loudest, you're kissing that windscreen. This technique is true for ANY live amplification system, not just ours. Please stay in touch with us here and let us know how you, er, well, make out." -- Ken-at-Bose

    You will probably find that you hear yourself better with this system than in other live music situations. If you are new to the experience, you may want to back off from the microphone. Try this instead. Get up closer to the mic. Relax and get used to hearing yourself. You will find it is easier to sing when you can hear.


  • Feedback

    • Feedback occurs when sound coming from the Cylindrical Radiator® is reintroduced into the System and amplified again. You typically hear either a high pitched squeal or a low pitched howl. The first usually comes from a vocal microphone and the second is more likely from an acoustic instrument like a Guitar.
    • Squeal -
      • Point the mic above the Cylindrical Radiator® and slightly to the left or right of it
      • Practice close mic technique "eat the mic"
      • Avoid leaving the mic pointed in the general direction of the Cylindrical Radiator® with nothing in between.
      • Check the gain staging. If you have the input sensitivity set too high, it can be difficult to avoid feedback.
      • Use the remote to turn down the highs a little bit.
      • Try presets #03 or #04 (High Gain Bright, High Gain Normal)
    • Instrument Feedback: The most likely candidate here is Acoustic Guitar and a low end howl.
      • Change the angle of the B1. Just change the direction at which it is pointed. Avoid having it pointed directly at the body of an acoustic Guitar.
      • Use the Remote to turn down the lows a little bit. This will tend to clean up the mix overall even if you are not experiencing feedback.
      • Try preset #44 or #85 (Sound Hole Notch)
    • Leaving the stage: Always turn down the Master Volume on the Remote.

  • The Remote

    • Why is volume control in front of me? Where is the sound-guy?
      The Remote gives you the final say about how you will sound in performance.  The System once set properly is very stable and does not require a lot of real time tweaking. It is there for you to use if you want, but it does not have to distract you from doing the show.
    • What are all these knobs and what will they do for me?
      • Find the Master Volume (ringed in red). This is your main control for all the sound coming out of the System. It is the control in the center near the bottom of the Remote.You will want to turn it down when you are not actively using the System.
      • Use Channel 1 and 2 Level controls (just above the Master) to work out the balance between the two channels.
      • Use the Tone controls. Start with all these straight up at 12 o'clock and adjust to suit you. 
        Important: There is a tiny delay between making an adjustment and hearing the difference. Make small adjustments and then listen for difference. Otherwise you may tend add too much EQ.
    • Make sure that the Remote is visible and easily accessible to you as you are playing. Use the velcro to make it stationary so you can adjust the controls with one hand.
  • Stage Volume

    You and your audience are going to be hearing your performance in a new way. It is counterintuitve but to be heard and understood you will probably run your stage at a lower volume than you have with other gear.
Getting Ready
This section will suggest things that you can do to prepare to use the System for the first time. For example:
  • Rehearsal

    When you are rehearsing, stand or sit in the same positions as you will when performing. You want to hear yourself in the same way in rehearsal and performance so that making the transition from one to the other is relatively easy. One of the features of the System is localization: being able to hear everyone in their relative positions on stage. It is good to get a sense of that before you get to the stage.

  • Practice Your Microphone Technique

    If you are a vocalist, one of the single most important things you can do is practice your microphone technique. You get the best gain-before-feedback using close micing. The presets for vocal mics are designed for close micing.
 
Working with Others
 
Want to Help?
If you would like to add to this living document or make suggestions about it, please post a reply in this discussion (thread).
Change Log
2006/03/23 Links to Get Plugged In section on the main Bose Site
2006/02/21 Quick setup example:
Duo (Printable pdf versionf)
2006/02/21 Quick setup example:
Soloist (Printable pdf version)
2006/02/20
Quick Setup - Printable version 
2005/12/30 Corrected Links (also links in from ST Blog) 
2005/12/29 Added images
2005/12/28 Speakon connectors, more emphasis on delay on remote = over-EQ, new section about hearing differently added to microphone technique. - Thanks to Drumr for suggestions in a PM.
2005/12/26 Reformat so major points are more apparent - Thanks to Andrew and Alan.
2005/12/26 Presets section - emphasis on close mic technique
2005/12/24 Performing/Feedback/Remote notes - specifically Microphone Techniques
2005/12/23 Expanded explanations in the Performing Section
2005/12/22 First Version

Attachments

Original Post
If you would like to help, consider anything that you as a performer wish you had known sooner.

If you have ever set up the Bose System for a performer who has not used it before... What are the most important things to say or do to help the performer to be successful?

Please post a reply here and I'll find a way to incorporate it into the Unofficial Players' Guide.

Thanks!
My one best piece of advice:

With the remote positioned such that you have good visual and physical access, stretch its cable behind you so that it's completely uncoiled and laying flat on the floor. Setup the PAS at that spot. If the cable isn't a more or less straight line, the column's too close to you.
I'd emphasize more strongly how important it is to "eat the mic." Specifically, the presets are set up so that it sounds GOOD when you do this.

Anyone who's used a conventional PA is strongly conditioned to not do this and it's hard to get them to accept the idea.

Also, YMMV but I've found that when I do get feedback (even after doing everything else right), rolling off the highs on the mic a bit works really, really well without dramatically altering the sound...so start there if feedback persists.
Hi Alan, Hi Andrew

Thank you for your suggestions. I've tried to incorporate your ideas through some rewrites and major reformatting (so it is easier to identify the content).

I really appreciate your help with this.

Anybody else got some quick hit, top of the list, low hanging fruit, high yield suggestions?
quote:
"Sing as loud as you're going to sing with your lips touching the windscreen and adjust the trim so that the LED just flickers RED.



What I do is take the mic behind the PS1, kneel down and YELL!! into the mic while adjusting the trim control to just below RED. This is because when I think I am "singing normally" it is not as loud as I will sing when the band is cranking behind me. I find YELLING into the mic to fit this better.

I did this for my friend Toby who was having feedback probs with his system. He reported back that it sounded better than ever and had more gain at his last gig.
Gonna open up an old can of worms here...
If someone-at=Bose would come yp with a short adapter, that would fit in the PS-1 that would reverse the direction of the L-1's, the wole unit could be turned around for easy access to the control panel. It wouldn't have to be very big [tall] so it wouldn't add a lot to the overall height of the PAS.
While it might not be ideal for taking with you to a gig [or would it?] it would be great for those who were new to the PAS and needed to experiment with gain staging and presets, as well as "which one goes where." I use my PAS at home and when buddies come over to jam there's too much leaning over and trying to read upside-down trying out new instruments and mics.
I'd be glad to draw up my idea if anyone there would be interested. I don't have access to a machine shop anymore or I'd make up a prototype out of plastic. One male and one female connector, another bayonet receiver and a few inches of wire would be all it would take to finish up the the adapter.
Isn't it worth considering?
Hi Weasel,

Thanks for your thoughts.

For this discussion let's focus on things that a Performer can do to get a quick start and great experience with the System (in its current state).

Hi Everyone,

I think the "old can of worms" is in the What can we do for you and Controls on the back discussions.

Good thoughts, and probably best explored in one of the two linked discussions.

Thanks all.

-- click image above for printable version (Adobe Acrobat PDF file approx 660 kb) --

More detail on Channels 3 and 4.

Note that Channels 3 and 4 are best suited to line-level connections but instruments with passive pickups may require a preamp or processor to provide a sufficient signal.

edit: added more details on Channels 3 and 4 (Thanks TLR for the suggestion)
Hi ST -

First, thanks for all you provide to the forum. It is a benefit of tremendous value to the whole community.

One nit on the otherwise fabulous Input/Output Panel Guide: Ch. 3 & 4 don't perform so well for many passive 1/4" instruments, when plugged in direct, since these pickups do not produce 'line-level' output.

My '78 Ric bass plugged into Ch. 3 or 4 sounds decidely underpowered and wimpy...unlike the active pickup-preamp instruments that I've heard through those channels, all of which sound great. It might be worth an addition to the description to avoid confusion (you know, 'cause bass players are so easily confused... Wink ).

TLR
Hi Mark,

Back on page one of this discussion I have a link to a pdf version.

It's not very pretty - just a pdf version of the 'printer friendly' view.

The official documentation from Bose is on the

edit:
Please see the next post for download links.

Production Documentation page. That's all pretty neatly organized, although sometimes it's not obvious where to click. Sometimes you have to click on the numbers indicating the file sizes.

quote:
Also, I recommend a "DOWNLOAD" link be avialble at top of these forums for all the files available, neatly organized in folders/sections or pages...


As for the rest... Forums are inherently messy, community driven collections of volunteer contributions. The two Unofficial Guides are a frail attempt to provide another mode of access to knowledge scattered here and there. Any registered member of the forum can post downloadable files as attachments to posts and links to downloadable files elsewhere within the posts.
The link above to downloads on the main Bose site has been moved to:
Downloads

We also have another downloads page in the L1® Encyclopedia FAQ and wiki with the same files and usually some things that have not been officially posted on the Bose site. These are "official versions" that just happen to be available here first.

Downloads in the L1® Encyclopedia FAQ and wiki.

There is also a link to this near the top of the main message board page. Your will see it if you click the first "Musicians" link at the top left of any of the Message Board pages.

If you are looking for it later, use the search box in my signature line of my posts and type in downloads and click "go".

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