Hands-On Review:Bose® L1™ Model II Amplification System

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The new wave


Bose L1 Model II Amplification System

What are you looking for in a PA? I’m not talking about your existing  PA system, I’m talking about starting from scratch to come up with  something as close to perfect as it possibly can be. First and foremost,  I think most would ask for clean, clear sound. I’m sure another common  theme would be ease of use. And wouldn’t it be nice if your  amplification system sounded nearly the same in all venues, regardless  of acoustics? Personally, I’d love to have a system that was lighter as  well. All of these requests might sound like an impossible wish list,  but thanks to Bose®, they aren’t. With the introduction of the L1 Model II amplification system, Bose has taken another step toward developing its concept of the perfect portable sound system for musicians.


The sonic solution


The first-generation L1 loudspeaker was born of an ambitious mission  to conquer the myriad problems traditional PA systems present. The main  issues being excessive reverberation from directional sound and room  acoustics, as well as high sound levels on and near the stage. Through  its innovative Cylindrical Radiator® design, the L1 produces a wide  dispersion pattern and balanced sound that projects evenly, so sound  levels drop off more slowly, and extremely high volumes are less  necessary. With less directional sound, feedback and unwanted reverb are  also less of a problem. The L1 also eliminates the need for separate  main and monitor systems, since musicians can perform in front of the L1  system.


The original L1 represented an incredible breakthrough in live sound,  but soon Bose was itching to upgrade it. They wanted to make it easier  to use, increase the tonal balance of the sound, improve the overall  sonic performance, and make it even lighter and more portable. With the L1 Model II, I believe they’ve achieved their goals. The L1 Model II system is made up of three main components: the L1 loudspeaker with its power stand, the B1 Bass Module, and the T1 ToneMatch audio engine.  Together they boast all the features of the current L1 as well as the  improvements Bose was aiming for and musicians will love.


Tall, dark and handsome


The L1 Model II loudspeaker and its power stand feature high-quality construction and  include fitted gig bags for easy transportation and protection. Inside  the grille of the L1, every other driver is angled in a left-right  pattern, part of the Articulated Array approach Bose developed for  better coverage. Since it shares many features from its predecessor, the  L1 Model II delivers the same clear sound and even, consistent volume levels as the  first L1. With increased sound dispersion from the Articulated Array  speaker design, the overall sound is wider and stays fuller and more  defined throughout the sound field.


The upper and lower sections of the enclosure weigh less than 20 lbs.  each, so they’re easy to handle. While the original power stand was  extremely portable, the Model II stand is about 1/3 its size and 1/2 its  weight. There's also a perfect space between the legs for your B1 Bass Module. The legs are also retractable, so the base takes up less space when you’re moving it as well.


Box full of bass


As part of the next generation L1, the Model II systems include a B1 Bass Module.  It works with the Cylindrical Radiator speaker to deliver full-spectrum  amplification that guitarists, keyboard players, and even singers and  other instrumentalists will appreciate. For musicians who live in the  lower clef, a double-B1 setup is recommended. Even though the B1 is  small, it still pushes plenty of deep, and powerful bass. Inside the  surprisingly light enclosure are two high-output 6-1/2" drivers  controlled by a self-adjusting, active EQ circuit that dials in the bass  response to match the instrument you’re playing.


Tonal toolbox


Bose experimented with ToneMatch presets on the first L1 system, but  to see where they’ve taken it is exciting. The T1 ToneMatch™ audio  engine delivers all-in-one mixing and effects processing with presets  based on the instruments you play. For musicians without a dedicated  sound man it is a powerful ally in the nightly fight for consistent  sound. It ensures that everytime you're onstage, you'll get the best  sound possible without spending hours in sound check.

The T1 audio engine attaches directly to the L1 with a custom bracket  at about waist level. It can also attach to your mic stand with an  optional bracket. But there's good news for existing L1 system owners as  well. The new T1 ToneMatch audio engine is backwards-compatible to work with the first L1. This two pound unit  replaces your mixer, but does more than just a mixer. Its powerful  digital circuits allow you to mix the audio from four channels (three  preamp channels, one stereo line input channel) to the L1 but also give  you access to the ToneMatch preset system for instantly dialed-in sound.


The presets are optimized for the instruments and microphones  musicians use onstage. There are presets covering guitar, bass,  keyboard, organ, drums, accordion, harmonica, upright bass, violin,  various wind instruments, and even settings created with manufacturers  like Taylor guitars and Audix mics. A USB port lets you connect the T1  to your computer for saving presets and updates, which include more  presets from companies like L.R. Baggs, Lakland, Rickenbacker,  Breedlove, and others. The USB port also allows the T1 to serve double  duty as a computer recording interface fueled by the ToneMatch sounds.  You also get a selection of studio-class reverb, modulation, delay, and  dynamics processing effects which can be applied individually across all  four channels.


The L1 Model II system with the T1 ToneMatch audio engine is the easiest way to get the defined and detailed Bose sound in a live  sound setup. And since you’re in control of the sound, you won’t waste  any time wondering what the mix sounds like in the house.


Features & Specs

L1 Model II Loudspeaker:

  • Cylindrical Radiator with Articulated Array
  • 2-piece, interlocking design
  • Integrated power amplifier in base
  • Analog line-level TRS input
  • Trim control
  • Signal/clip LED
  • Bass module output
  • ToneMatch™ port
  • Bass line out for PackLite system or powered sub
  • Retractable legs

B1 Bass Module:

  • Compact, lightweight enclosure
  • Fits between legs of power stand
  • 2 - 5-1/4" bass drivers
  • Line out for additional B1 connection

ToneMatch audio engine:

  • ToneMatch presets
  • EQ and effects processing
  • Chromatic tuner
  • Large backlit display
  • Audio input mixing capabilities
  • +48V phantom power (Ch. 1-3)
  • ToneMatch single-cable connection to L1
  • Mic/line inputs (1 – 3)
  • Line inputs (4/5, L/R)
  • Trim controls
  • Signal/clip LEDs
  • Balanced TRS preamp out (1-3)
  • Aux output
  • Balanced TRS Master out
  • USB port