BoseŽ L1 Model 1 Personal Amplification System
By Cameron Milzh
See the Bose L1 Model II Review
See the Bose Compact Model 1 Review
When Musician's Friend and Bose corporation contacted me to ink up a review of the Bose L1 Model 1 Personal Amplification System I was a little surprised. My area of expertise is not sound reinforcement. Don't get me wrong, I know good sound when I hear it, and I've taken my share of turns behind the mixing board for my band, but I haven't nailed down all the intricate details of what it takes to achieve superb live sound. You don't have to be an auto engineer to tell the difference between a BMW and a Yugo, y'know what I mean? Anyway, I wasn't even sure what the L1 Model 1 was, but I figured, hey, they're the experts and if they want me to review it, review it I will.
Something completely different
The L1 Model 1 works in a way almost entirely unlike any existing amplification system-making comparisons, even with previous Bose systems, totally useless. Instead of having a huge PA stack or a couple of mains in front of or to the side of the stage, and monitors on stage along with individual instrument amplifiers, you just have the PAS. Sounds iffy, doesn't it? After experiencing it first hand, I assure you it's not. It works extremely well, and for the purists out there who insist on having their amplifier accompany them to every gig, that's okay, the PAS will only make you sound better. But just think about this for a second: no more monitors. That fact alone gave me pause, and will for a lot of bands and performers looking to upgrade or replace their existing faulty, troublesome, and heavy PA systems.
So what was I hearing? Nice, clean, crisp sound with a lot of presence and detail. The natural-sounding clarity in the midrange was absolutely superb. It sounded good. What made this so exceptional was that I hadn't yet done any serious tweaking to the EQ or presets. I was running the L1 Model 1 pretty much flat and getting fantastic results.
At this point I finally got around to messing with the EQ and presets. The Power Stand (PS1) has presets on channels 1 and 2 that accommodate some popular instruments and microphones. The presets are arranged in banks of nine, with 10 presets available within each bank. For example, there's a basic piezo bridge pickup setting for acoustic guitar. Punch up preset 22 and play. Want to come up with your own presets for your gear? No problem-the L1 Model 1 leaves room for that, too. The R1 Remote Control gives you even more options for tweaking your sound. With level, 3-band EQ, and master volume controls, you can dial in the precise sound you want without moving from your spot onstage. The L1 Model 1 offers a completely new way to amplify live music with benefits not previously possible with conventional approaches to sound reinforcement. Is this the best system for everyone? Well, it probably won't be your first choice if you're playing Madison Square Gardens, but if you're playing the typical 300-500 person club, this is it. You'll love the portability and ease of use, plus you'll finally be able to hear yourself exactly the way the audience hears you. If Bose has their way, you will never hear bad sound again. No kidding.