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Anyone using (2) L1 Compacts?

This is really a two-part question:  First, I was curious if anyone found themselves doubling-up by using (2) of the L1 Compact units -- either to increase volume or to provide more consistent coverage?  I ask this because I am contemplating the L1 Compact; and while I can foresee it working well as a single unit in some venues, I also wonder if I might need to move a bit more air in other situations, and perhaps (2) of the L1c units would do the trick.  By this rationale, one might select between either a single L1c or TWO L1c units....depending upon venue size, coverage, people, etc.  Anyone been down this road?

The other half of my question applies to the situation outlined above as well:  Given a roughly equivalent price-point between a single L1 Model 1S (w/B1 unit) vs. TWO of the L1 Compacts......is there a clearly superior option?

Thanks for any informed opinions.

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Re: Anyone using (2) L1 Compacts?

Hi Paultergeist,

Thank you for joining the Bose Pro Portable PA Community.  I'm glad you're here. And thanks for the interesting question.

For context, I have two L1® Compacts, an L1® Model 1S and L1® Model II systems as well.

To give you an informed response, it would be great to know more about your application. Are you performing live music, performing as a DJ, or....?

Here are a couple of quick points.

  • Two L1® Compacts will give you an increase in coverage that is directly related to the distance between them. For example: If you put them side-by-side, you will see very little difference in coverage. If you put them 20 feet apart, you will get another 20 feet of coverage - in the direction of a line drawn between them.
    Imagine you put two L1 Compacts 20 feet apart against a wall. You'll get 20 feet more coverage from side-to-side. You won't get more coverage in front of the L1® Compacts.
    This applies to conventional loudspeakers too.
  • Roughly speaking: an L1® Model 1S can give you 1.5-2.0 times as much coverage in every direction depending on the room and other conditions. You gain the extra coverage from side to side AND in front of the L1®  Model 1S.
  • The L1® Compact goes down to about 65 Hz.
  • The L1® Model 1S can use a B1 or B2 bass module. These go down to 40 Hz.

Please tell us more about how you will be using your system(s) and where you perform.  Then I can apply the general comments above, to your situation.

Thanks!

ST

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Re: Anyone using (2) L1 Compacts?

ST,

Thanks for the kind reply.  In answer to your request for more background, my main application for an L1 unit -- should I acquire one at this time -- is solo instrumental guitar.  I primarily play nylon-string finger-style with some judicious use of effects (a dab of chorus and reverb).  A significant number of my public playing venues have been outdoors (courtyards, patios, gardens, etc), and it is my experience that acoustic-type amps and mini PAs can be somewhat lacking in such environments.  I am just trying to gather as much information as a can, and make some determinations if the L1 Compact is likely to be under-powered.

Thanks for the response.

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Re: Anyone using (2) L1 Compacts?

Hi Paultergeist,

and a warm welcome to the community from my direction too.

ST has already covered the question regarding the coverage when using 2 Compacts compared to one. I won't cover that as I can basically only repeat what ST has already said.

I will refer to this though.

Paultergeist posted:

The other half of my question applies to the situation outlined above as well:  Given a roughly equivalent price-point between a single L1 Model 1S (w/B1 unit) vs. TWO of the L1 Compacts......is there a clearly superior option?

Thanks for any informed opinions.

For me the the Model 1S is the superior option in just about every situation because the sound is more "refined" to my ears than the Compact, and the Model 1S is designed to cover a roughly three times larger audience than a Compact, (plus the bass response going down to 40Hz with the Model 1S compared to the 65Hz of the Compact. The Model 1S will "throw" the sound much further than the Compact and if it only has to cover a certain distance will not be quite as loud up close as the Compact.

With a Model 1S you won't need to consider which unit you're going to need as you'll always have the one that can do the biggest job.

I said above "superior option in just about every situation". OK let's elaborate on that.

If you have an L-shaped room (or maybe even a second room that you have to cover) where the people at the far end (or in the other room) can't see the L1, you would have an advantage with a second Compact because you could place that in such a way as to cover this area. 

Another advantage would be that you have a spare L1 should one fail. You'll not be covering the same area as a Model 1S, but you'll have a reserve unit should one become defective.

What you'll need with a Model 1S is some kind of mixer (for solo artists the T1 is excellent). The Compact has small mixing capabilities, albeit without effects of any kind.

I think that the rest is up to you. 

A Model 1S generally covers more than 2 Compacts.

2 Compacts mean that you have a unit in reserve should one fail.

I know you've not even mentioned a Model II, so I'll just confuse the issue a litte more. The best sound of all is here with the Model II. It's not much more to carry than a Model 1S, but the sound is even more superior to my ears.

Does that help in any way?

Tony

 

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Re: Anyone using (2) L1 Compacts?

Hi Paultergeist,

Thanks for giving us more information. That helps

Paultergeist posted:

ST,

Thanks for the kind reply.  In answer to your request for more background, my main application for an L1 unit -- should I acquire one at this time -- is solo instrumental guitar.  I primarily play nylon-string finger-style with some judicious use of effects (a dab of chorus and reverb).

For solo instrumental guitar, the low-end response from an L1® Compact should be fine, depending on the coverage you need.  The L1® Compact goes down to 65 Hz, and the fundamental of your low E-string is around 80 Hz. 

Are you using a microphone for the guitar or a pickup? I'm asking because this will affect how much gain-before-feedback you will get. 

Will you have a microphone for speaking to the audience?

The Bose L1® Model 1S with B1 Bass and T1 ToneMatch® audio engine will give you three mic/line inputs with another line-level input, and all with control over EQ and effects including chorus and reverb.

A significant number of my public playing venues have been outdoors (courtyards, patios, gardens, etc), and it is my experience that acoustic-type amps and mini PAs can be somewhat lacking in such environments.  I am just trying to gather as much information as a can, and make some determinations if the L1 Compact is likely to be under-powered.

Will the L1® Compact be underpowered?

We need to talk about the role of the music when you are performing. Is the music the reason people are there or are you providing background music?

What's the maximum distance you need to reach to be heard by an engaged listener?

How much background noise are we trying to overcome?

Thanks for the response.

I'm happy to keep the conversation going.

ST

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Re: Anyone using (2) L1 Compacts?

Seagullman posted:

 

....What you'll need with a Model 1S is some kind of mixer (for solo artists the T1 is excellent). The Compact has small mixing capabilities, albeit without effects of any kind.....

 

Tony and ST,  Thank you both for the kind replies.  Good points all around.  I have quoted one comment Tony made (see above), however, as it intersects with an experience I had earlier today.  In short, I went to my local Guitar Center with my own guitar and played a L1 Compact followed by a Model 1S with B1 bass unit.

First the Compact, set up in an acoustic guitar room:  The unit sounded -- to my untrained ears -- really good....surprisingly good, in fact.  Importantly, I plugged my guitar (nylon string with Barbera transducer [no pre-amp]) directly into the Compact (L1c).  There is, therefore, no eq adjustment.  Having said that, the acoustic tone in the room was excellent, and the volume was about where I would want it to be for that setting (the volume was set at about 50%).  When I tried to raise volume as part of the "test-drive," however,  the sound -- while louder -- just was not as good.  It almost seemed like the combination of guitar, pick-up, room acoustics, and L1c had originally found a sweet spot of volume at 50%, and pushing the volume harder just didn't seem to have the same quality of tone.  I will repeat saying that I thought the 50% volume was about right for the space, but I am a bit concerned that maybe the L1c does not like being maxed-out?  I will also repeat that -- although there were no eq controls in the instrument jack of the L1c, I thought the L1c tone was perfect.

And now, the Model 1S.....set up in the larger PA room:  I again plugged the same guitar directly into the instrument jack of the unit.  It sounded as though only the mid/teeter array was functioning.....very bright, trebly, lots of *air,* but not much depth.  I questioned whether the B1 bass unit was even connected.....the salesperson assured me it was, and verified that he could feel vibrations out of the B1 bass module.  At that moment, it was no where near as satisfying to play out of the Model 1S as it had been to play out of the Compact.

The GC salesperson then said that the Model 1S really NEEDED to T1 Tonematch module, and that there was only one person at GC who knew how to connect it (that person was not around).  The salesperson seemed pretty confident that -- without the T1 -- the Model 1S was not going to sound right -- but WITH the T1 properly configured, the Model 1S would sound great.  To his credit, the salesperson did briefly consider trying to connect the T1, but it seemed like it was beyond the time-lines of what was practical at that moment in time.

All this brings me to a question, then: The L1c did not seem to require the T1 module.  Conversely, I just cannot believe that the Model 1S was supposed to sound the way it did in the store.  DOES the Model 1S pretty much NEED the T1 (or some form of pre-amp with eq) in order to balance out the sound?  That is my question.  I would have expected the two units to have a similar voicing on the pre-amps, but this was not the case.  Trying to make  fair comparisons.

Thanks very much to you both.

Paul

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Re: Anyone using (2) L1 Compacts?

ST posted:

Hi Paultergeist,

Thanks for giving us more information. That helps

Will the L1® Compact be underpowered?

We need to talk about the role of the music when you are performing. Is the music the reason people are there or are you providing background music?

What's the maximum distance you need to reach to be heard by an engaged listener?

How much background noise are we trying to overcome?

ST

ST,

Thanks for the kind reply.  I guess there are just too many variables for me to even know myself what to expect.  Background noise would primarily be the conversations of people.  I expect to be mainly background...but that can change.  I will often be outdoors......it just seems like the outdoors can kind of suck up available headroom and volume in amplification.  Perhaps I am asking you an impossible question.

Let me ask you just this: should I be able to dime the volume on these systems IF I DO find myself needing more volume?

Thanks again,

Paul

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Re: Anyone using (2) L1 Compacts?

Hi Paul,

I'm sorry you didn't have a better experience at the store with the L1® Model 1S.

From your description, I'm certain the B1 bass module was not functioning correctly. If things are working correctly and you connect an audio source to the Compact Channel 2, and then connect the same audio source to the L1® Model 1S analog input on the power stand - the sound should be similar. For the simple test you tried, the T1® should not have been a factor.

The B1 cable might not have been correctly connected at one end or the other. I can't explain the salesperson's impression about feeling vibrations. Based on what you described, the B1 was not working correctly.

More in several hours...

ST

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Re: Anyone using (2) L1 Compacts?

Hi Paul,

I found this on this Barbera Transducer FAQ page.

Do I need a pre amp?
That depends on what you are plugging into. A passive piezo type pickup requires a high impedance input in order to function optimally and to maximize tonal potential. A simple pre amp will optimize the tonal potential of whatever you are plugging into by providing an optimized electronic interface between the instrument and amplification system. Some acoustic instrument amplifiers are designed with an optimized pre amp stage built in. Electric guitar amps have a relatively high impedance input stage but they are generally optimized for magnetic pickups which employ a lower input impedance.
Generally speaking you can plug straight into a guitar/bass/combo type amp. If plugging into a mixing board or a keyboard amp a preamp is a must. Mixing boards do not have high enough input impedances to obtain the full tonal potential from a passive pickup.
A pre amp is not for boosting gain, it is for maximizing tonal potential by optimizing the electronic interface between instrument and amplifier. A pre amp will also help buffer (protect) your sound from being degraded by effects pedals and signal processing devices.

In light of this information, I wouldn't be surprised if the L1® Model 1S had more mid-range emphasis or piezo quack. But this should not have affected the bass.

Since the Barbera is piezo pickup, you would want a T1® if you get the L1® Model 1S.  T1® channels are high impedance inputs suitable for use with a bare Piezo pickup (on without a preamp).

You'll need the T1® anyway if you need to connect a microphone for talking to the audience.

ST

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Re: Anyone using (2) L1 Compacts?

Hi Paul,

ST's given you a lot of information again I'll try not to duplicate. I'll just try to pick up on one or two points here.

Paultergeist posted:
First the Compact, set up in an acoustic guitar room:  The unit sounded -- to my untrained ears -- really good....surprisingly good, in fact.  Importantly, I plugged my guitar (nylon string with Barbera transducer [no pre-amp]) directly into the Compact (L1c).  There is, therefore, no eq adjustment.
This statement isn't actually correct. I take it that the guitar was plugged into Channel 2 on the Compact via 1/4" Jack (guitar cable) with the selector set to Guitar. At this point the Compact is using a Tonematch preset albeit one for a steel string with piezo. It's still being EQ'd although not specifically for a nylon strung guitar.
 
 Having said that, the acoustic tone in the room was excellent, and the volume was about where I would want it to be for that setting (the volume was set at about 50%).  When I tried to raise volume as part of the "test-drive," however,  the sound -- while louder -- just was not as good.  It almost seemed like the combination of guitar, pick-up, room acoustics, and L1c had originally found a sweet spot of volume at 50%, and pushing the volume harder just didn't seem to have the same quality of tone.
If volume set at 50% means that the volume control was at "12 o' clock", this is where I would normally be running the Channel 2master on my Compact. Turning it up past that will make it louder. It could be, however, that the volume at "50%" as you put it was also enough for your ears in that particular room using a Compact and turning it up was too much for your ears. 
 I will repeat saying that I thought the 50% volume was about right for the space, but I am a bit concerned that maybe the L1c does not like being maxed-out?  I will also repeat that -- although there were no eq controls in the instrument jack of the L1c, I thought the L1c tone was perfect.

 Up close and pushed I personally find the Compact to be more "aggressive" (for want of a better word) than a Model 1S or a Model II. 

Regarding "there were no eq controls in the instrument jack of the L1c" I've already mentioned the Tonematch Preset on Channel II.

And now, the Model 1S.....set up in the larger PA room:  I again plugged the same guitar directly into the instrument jack of the unit.  It sounded as though only the mid/teeter array was functioning.....very bright, trebly, lots of *air,* but not much depth.  I questioned whether the B1 bass unit was even connected.....the salesperson assured me it was, and verified that he could feel vibrations out of the B1 bass module.  At that moment, it was no where near as satisfying to play out of the Model 1S as it had been to play out of the Compact.

What I'm reading here is for me like trying to compare apples with pears.

Let me expand on this. You're trying to compare the sound of 2 different systems set up in 2 different rooms. This for me is a no go, and any salesperson who has any idea of what they're talking about or doing, would set up both systems together in the same room. It's not as if the Compact is too heavy or bulky to carry into the larger PA room, and you don't need a degree on rocket science to dis- and re-assemble a Compact.

The second thing is that you're going directly into the analogue input of the power stand without any preamp whatsoever. A piezo pick-up sounds (to my ears anyway) really bad without a preamp. It will sound thin, brittle and "quacky". This means that even if the bass module was connected correctly and functioning properly (which ST is questioning and I join him in his suggestion that the B1 was not connected/functioning properly) the guitar would not sound particularly good.

The GC salesperson then said that the Model 1S really NEEDED to T1 Tonematch module, and that there was only one person at GC who knew how to connect it (that person was not around).

At this moment in time I personally would have considered leaving the shop and either coming back another day or giving them a miss altogether. Connecting the T1 is not an issue. The only problem ist actually only the learning curve of how to use it. It's not really difficult, but without any background knowledge whatsoever the salesman wouldn't be able to demonstrate it for you. You've definitely not had a good demonstration of the Model 1S which means that you've not been able to compare the 2 units.

 The salesperson seemed pretty confident that -- without the T1 -- the Model 1S was not going to sound right -- but WITH the T1 properly configured, the Model 1S would sound great.

At this point I would have to agree with the Salesperson although I am really doubting his competence considering what you've described here.

 To his credit, the salesperson did briefly consider trying to connect the T1, but it seemed like it was beyond the time-lines of what was practical at that moment in time.

Actually connecting a T1 to a Model 1S or Model II is only a case of taking the tonematch cable and connecting it to the only 2 connections where it will actually fit. It's basically nothing more than an ethernet (network) cable. I don't understand that anything can be "beyond the time-lines of what was practical at that moment in time," unless of course the shop was imminently closing. I would otherwise be questioning the integrity of the shop. 

Are they only interested in a quick sale or do they want a satisfied customer to be leaving the store? If the second was true, maybe the salesperson should have asked if it were possible for you to come back another time when their "expert" was available so that you could have a decent "test drive" of the systems.

All this brings me to a question, then: The L1c did not seem to require the T1 module.  

The Compact functions extremely well without a T1. It was designed for just such usage. I use mine with and without. It's a nice luxury to have a T1 when using a Compact, but for just a guitar and 1 microphone, the Compact was designed as a stand alone unit and functions excellently as such. For me the Compact punches well above its weight.

Conversely, I just cannot believe that the Model 1S was supposed to sound the way it did in the store.

There's no way that the Compact should win hands down in a head to head with a larger L1 system. No way whatsoever.

 DOES the Model 1S pretty much NEED the T1 (or some form of pre-amp with eq) in order to balance out the sound?  That is my question.

I would always advise using some sort of mixer between a main amplifier and an instrument which doesn't have any sort of preamp whatsoever as is apparentlythe case with your piezo pick-up. A bass guitar can sound pretty good going straight into the analogue input on the power stand, but I would expect a piezo to sound unsatisfactory. If you're going to be spending the sort of money that a Model 1S costs, it's not (in my opinion) advisable to try to cut corners and expect it to sound good. If the T1 is above your means at present, then just about any mixer is better than going directly into the power stand than your guitar without a preamp.

 I would have expected the two units to have a similar voicing on the pre-amps, but this was not the case.

This is the problem. You're using a pre-amp with the Compact (with a Tonematch preset) but not on the power stand. The 2 systems should sound similar, with the Model 1S sounding a bit more refined than the Compact. This is OK. The Model 1S is in a different league/price range.

 Trying to make  fair comparisons.

Thanks very much to you both.

Paul

A fair comparison would be to go to a shop where you can hear both units in the same room, both using a T1 (yes the Compact doesn't absolutely need a T1 but for a good comparison I would do this as then the only variable would be which L1 system was being used). Maybe the shop where you were can give you this comparison, but if there are any other shops within reach that also stock L1 systems maybe I would be looking in their direction.

It's been a long post Paul, but if you're still here and reading, maybe I've written something that can help you to come to some sort of a decision, and you're welcome to any help/suggestions that we can give/make. 

Tony