L1 Model II

Let's talk about the L1® Portable Line Array Systems

Using proprietary Bose® technology, L1 systems combine  PA and monitors into a single, highly portable unit. The  loudspeaker can be positioned behind or to the side —and you hear what the audience hears.

Highly portable PA and monitor combined for solo performers, DJs and general-purpose use. Fixed vertical control with 180° horizontal coverage Reduced vulnerability to feedback.

Three systems to choose from (Compact, Model 1S, Model II)
Two passive bass module options (B1 or B2)
Consistent coverage and tonal balance, portability and easy setup.

I'm a sound guy and have been using a Bose L1/B2 system for several years for smaller venues. But a single Bose tower is mono and I miss the width of a stereo system, especially for keyboards and special effects like reverb and delay.
I'd like to use two Bose L1 towers but just one B2. This will help reduce the phase issues (hot and dead spots) associated with two subs running in a small room. Is this feasible? Would I need to make significant adjustments?

Thanks.

Original Post

Hi MicklePickle,

The L1 systems are engineered as an integrated system and always sold as a complete unit (Cylindrical Radiator, Power Stand, Bass module). 

To avoid issues with multiple bass modules, you can use longer cables and put the bass modules together.   As you know, whether or not this will be necessary depends on the room.  Having a couple of longer cables will give you the flexibility to handle lots of different situations. 

Does that help?

ST

@ST, Thanks very much for your quick response. The bass modules together might work (and it's worth a try), but I'd have to put them either stage left or right, as drums typically go in the middle. But it's a good thought. Bass is fairly non-directional.

I don't have a problem with buying the complete unit, but in this small room I really don't need a second sub. So the real questions remains: If I simply unplug one of the B2 subs, am I asking for (sonic) trouble? I'm hesitant to buy the second system unless it's gonna sound terrific, and the double-woof in a small space makes me nervous.

Hi MicklePickle.

How far apart will you have the L1 systems?  You can test things now. Just disconnect the B2 bass module. The L1 isn't going to sound great. Then get a longer NL4 cable (note: It MUST be 4 conductor cable). Then try moving the B2 progressively farther away and see how everything sounds.

When it comes to bass in small rooms, the only reliable answer is "it depends". So we get to experiment.

ST

I have experimented with this in the past and the results were not good, the problem being that the L1 with no bass module connected upsets the EQ balance which is automatically set according to which Bass mocule is connected and as ST has already explained they are not designed to work on their own but as a paired unit.

Using long cables and Coupling the Bass modules is the way to go and it's not too critical where they are placed, with a little experimentation I am sure you would find a good position that solves your problem. Coupling the two Bass modules does amplify the bass frequencies somewhat but this is easily addressed with EQ or switch position in the case of the B2's, my experience is that this produces a realy great sound overall.

Another thing worth considering would be to buy two B1 Bass Modules with your new L1 and couple them, this would give you similar (but not quite the same) amount of Bass as using one modal B2. I have tried a lot of combinations and prefer the sound of the B2 over the B1's but you get a lot of Bass when you couples them which is ok as it can be controlled and has never in my experience been over the top ..... just puts a smile on your face.

 

Thanks for the encouragement. I'll try the longer distance run to a B2 and see if that makes any difference in sound, although adding a second system still sounds like a "try it and see" exercise. So the real question still remains: shall I fork over big bucks for a second system in hopes it works great?

The room is only about 12' x 20' and the bands will go on the short wall, so with drums in the middle the L1 towers will be about 6 to 8 feet apart. (I'd like to keep them away from the side walls as much as practical.) There is a strong likelihood that things will get boomy in such a small space with two B2s, but  Eric'sson is right: I should be able to EQ around it if I don't run into phase issues.

It'll be a few days before I can try anything. Appreciate the help!

Yup, it's a tiny room (actually 12x25 - just re-measured), but big enough for an audience of 20 or 30. I doubt there will be full drum sets very often, but I'd like to plan the space for them. In any case, lower volume levels will be mandatory. I'm after exceptionally good sound in my old age, where the audience is quiet and you can hear every nuance. Loud isn't necessary or desired. (I know drummers who can play quietly and sparingly - a rare find.) And to my ears, the Bose system is capable of delivering remarkably high quality sound in a quiet space.  A stereo L1 system would be awesome, don't you think?

Hi MicklePickle,

Two trains of thought arise from this:

  • Check out The L1® Approach and the History of Amplification 
    • This covers some ideas about using multiple L1 systems
  • You mentioned keyboards and stereo effects
    • Please say more about the sound sources you are amplifying and which ones in particular you would like to hear in stereo
    • What kind of mixer are you using?
    • Do you have an outboard effects processor?

Hi ST,

Thanks for the link. I watched that video several years ago before I bought my first L1. As a result of that video and many reviews, I bought the fuil package of L1, B2 and Tonematch mixer. I later sold the Tonematch as I quickly outgrew 4 channels when mixing bands.

As the video explains, the L1 system was designed for individual musicians, one per musician if in a group. If a small band is doing its own mix from stage, it can work pretty well. But if I'm out front as the sound guy, there is no way for me to mix the band if everyone is running through a separate Tonematch mixer.

I solved the problem by using a small, 16-channel digital mixer. Now I can run everything through the Bose and (generally) get a pretty good overall mix. I still have to ask musicians to play a little quieter now and then, but they usually agree. But even though my mixer is stereo, a single L1 is a mono device. This is another reason the video promotes the use of mulitple L1s: the audience has an aural sense of where the musicians are on the stage.

Especially in a small room, stereo can dramatically widen the listening experience. I usually don't pan hard left and right, but I do pan the musicians a little based on where they stand. Special effects work much better in stereo; in fact, that simulated "room bounce" of reverb and delay suggests the sound would be coming from more than one direction. My mixer provides basic effects onboard, so I rarely use external processing. Many keyboard patches are stereo as well, including piano, and they sound way better in stereo.

My sound sources are what you would expect and vary per band: vocals, guitar, bass, percussion, horns... whatever shows up. (Nothing more challenging than a trumpet in a small room!)

But back to my original question, running a mono signal through two separated speakers can create phase issues, especially with bass. I'm liking the idea of placing the B2 modules together - or my original thought - just using one B2 and unplugging the other. My challenge is coming up with a way to try it before buying.

Hi MicklePickle,

It's an odd coincidence. Yesterday, I had a conversation with someone who wants to create a recurring musical event in a room 12' x 30' with up to four performers including percussion (but not a trap kit). She will seat 30 people in this room.  She will set up the stage on the short wall. That's non-negotiable. We talked at length about the merits of having one system or two. She is not interested in stereo imaging, but she is considering the merits of the Cocktail Party Effect.

MicklePickle posted:

Hi ST,

  • Thanks for the link. I watched that video several years ago before I bought my first L1. As a result of that video and many reviews, I bought the fuil package of L1, B2 and Tonematch mixer. I later sold the Tonematch as I quickly outgrew 4 channels when mixing bands.

As the video explains, the L1 system was designed for individual musicians, one per musician if in a group. If a small band is doing its own mix from stage, it can work pretty well. But if I'm out front as the sound guy, there is no way for me to mix the band if everyone is running through a separate Tonematch mixer.

I solved the problem by using a small, 16-channel digital mixer. Now I can run everything through the Bose and (generally) get a pretty good overall mix. I still have to ask musicians to play a little quieter now and then, but they usually agree. But even though my mixer is stereo, a single L1 is a mono device. This is another reason the video promotes the use of mulitple L1s: the audience has an aural sense of where the musicians are on the stage.

Thanks for the background information.



Especially in a small room, stereo can dramatically widen the listening experience.

As you know, the L1 has extremely wide horizontal dispersion.  This does two things.

  • Gives you a wider-than-usual stereo sweet spot
  • Softens the stereo effect because there's less separation (especially in a narrow room where you have early side reflections)

I usually don't pan hard left and right, but I do pan the musicians a little based on where they stand.

Running two L1 systems in your room, put them behind the band (or flanking the trap kit). Pan each sound source so it is heard through only one L1. This will

Special effects work much better in stereo; in fact, that simulated "room bounce" of reverb and delay suggests the sound would be coming from more than one direction. 

You've probably got a lot of room bounce (from the sides) now. 

My mixer provides basic effects onboard, so I rarely use external processing. Many keyboard patches are stereo as well, including piano, and they sound way better in stereo.

Yes, run the piano stereo.



My sound sources are what you would expect and vary per band: vocals, guitar, bass, percussion, horns... whatever shows up. (Nothing more challenging than a trumpet in a small room!)

But back to my original question, running a mono signal through two separated speakers can create phase issues, especially with bass.

And you can alleviate that by running each sound source through just one L1.

I'm liking the idea of placing the B2 modules together - or my original thought - just using one B2 and unplugging the other. My challenge is coming up with a way to try it before buying.

You don't need a lot of bass support in this room, perhaps just for bass guitar and kick drum (if you're going to amplify it). I wouldn't pan those up the middle in this room. I would consider getting a B1 for the second L1. 

ST

Thanks ST,

I hadn't thought about the L1's added dispersion and its effect on stereo imaging. Sounds like a bonus! Apparently cocktails taste better too!

Given that, it sounds (so far) like a good idea to assign instruments and performers to individual L1s. We'll see how that works out. I can do that to eliminate phase issues with bass and maybe kick. An organ with lots of low end may be a little tougher. But you have me eager to play around with it.

Thanks very much for your observations.

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