This brings us back to the other question: Mike has heard good results many times with his 4xL1 system driven in stereo and this goes against our rule about not distributing a source to more than one L1. To be exact, he's feeding the stereo left channel to two L1s and the stereo right channel to two other L1s. I think his result is interesting and there may be something new for all of us to learn here. But if Mike can live with a bit more suspense, I first want to contrast his listening results with those that gave rise to the "don't distribute sources" rule.
In the early days of the L1, the team tried many different ways of using it, including distributing sources to multiple L1s. Hilmar is one of those who heard this personally and his experience is typical. He tells me that the sound was quite muffled and unclear and the localization was vague. The degradation was not subtle. These tests gave rise to the "don't distribute sources" rule before the system was even on the market. The rare bad listening experiences reported on the forums often seem to trace back to violating this rule. I agree with jfc that the recent disappointing results at The Girls demo in Mayfield/Cleveland
are almost certainly due to this phenomenon. The audible complaints there match Hilmar's descriptions quite well and the routing of sources violated the rule. So why isn't Mike also suffering? (or are you now just a little bit, Mike?
Well, I wonder if something different is going on with stereo-mix program material than with raw instrument and mic inputs. After all, stereo material includes some content panned to the middle and this content is ALWAYS distributed to two speakers (L&R of course) and that also violates the "don't distribute sources" rule. This paradox has always bothered me. If our rule is so important for good sound, how can we expect stereo to sound okay off the midline between the L&R speakers? We know the stereo image is messed up off the midline, but the over all sound seems acceptable. So if stereo can be an exception to the "don't distribute sources" rule, then why can't Mike use two left speakers and two right speakers? These ideas don't all mesh together nicely, do they?
I think we need to do some experiments to find out more. Mike, I'm hoping you will be interested enough to try something easy and let us know what you hear. (It might even save you some money.) Maybe we'll try the same thing here at Bose and compare notes on this thread. Leaving aside the stereo-mix issue as a harder problem, I'd first like to know if Mike gets better or worse results if he turns off two of his four L1s. Of course, the experiment is not quite that simple. We want the 8xB1s to keep playing in both cases. What we really want to compare is Mike's current setup vs. a stereo system with one L1 and 4 B1s per side. The normal way to set up such a system would be to drive the 3rd and 4th B1s on each side using Packlite amps. But since Mike doesn't have Packlites, he can do it the old-fashioned way and use his other PS1s as if they were Packlites. The wiring change is easy. Just unplug the line-in from one of the PS1s and run a cable from the bass-line-out of the other PS1 to the Amp-3-in of the PS1 you just disconnected. Do this on both L and R sides. Done.
Now for the listening protocol. Interference changes as one walks around from the front to the side, so that's how the listening should be done. Do this for both versions of the system, using the same song or songs in both cases. If you have recorded announcements, try them too. Are there any differences in sound quality? Muffled? Another thing to check is maximum output. You might think that you'd lose some when you shut off two L1s but it can't be more than 3 dB at most, and it could be as little as none. I really don't know which approach will be better over all. That's why it's an experiment. Maybe Mike has a got a good exception to the "don't distribute sources" rule. It's your system, Mike--which do you prefer?
Mike, I hope you'll try this little test just before or after one of your weddings and let us know what you find. In one case, you may show us that your current system is better than what we would recommend and that we need to rethink our rule a bit. In the other case, you may get an even better system and make some money by selling two L1s and buying two Packlites. And where would you sell those L1s? (wait for it ... ) Well, I know this band in Cleveland, see, and they really need a lot of L1s, but they don't quite have the cash for new ones.
Maybe everybody will win.
Take care and keep posting,