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80 of 82 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For What It Is, It's Super!
I am a professional mobile DJ in the Pittsburgh area, and I rely primarily on the Bose® L1 Model II sound system (with two B1® bass units) for my performances. When I need extra boost, I expand my sound by adding a Bose® L1 Classic sound system (the original L1 system) and two more B1® bass units to my Model II system.

However, there are times when I don't...
Published on July 2, 2009 by Les Holliday

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39 of 57 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Falls short of what market wants
The Bose Compact L1 is light and great form function. But the controls are severely limited. It doesn't do more than what most traditional amps do - make your sound loud and provide easier portability. They should just have called it Bose mobile PA because that's all it but with a hefty price tag - three times as much as a nice PA elsewhere. The controls and dials on this...
Published on August 11, 2009 by Biz Professor


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80 of 82 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For What It Is, It's Super!, July 2, 2009
This review is from: Bose L1 Compact Portable Line Array System
I am a professional mobile DJ in the Pittsburgh area, and I rely primarily on the Bose® L1 Model II sound system (with two B1® bass units) for my performances. When I need extra boost, I expand my sound by adding a Bose® L1 Classic sound system (the original L1 system) and two more B1® bass units to my Model II system.

However, there are times when I don't need the "muscle" of the full system, such as small venues for birthday parties, outdoor wedding ceremonies, etc. For that, the Bose® L1 Compact sound system is perfect! It will provide excellent sound for 100-150 people. It is an amazingly fast setup and tear-down, and it is light enough to be truly portable. Completely set up, it weighs just 29.2 pounds, so it is great for those tough small venues that have limited space, limited access, stairs, etc.

The sub-bass sound is built into the bottom unit, and there are 1/4" jack inputs for your sound source. The unit is designed to work with the T1 ToneMatch® sound engine (mixer with many presets that can contour the sound nicely). If you are using the ToneMatch, however, be advised that you will have to purchase a power adapter for the ToneMatch. (The ToneMatch is powered from the pedestal base amplifier of the Model II®, but the L1 Compact® will not power the ToneMatch.)

The midrange sound comes from a small, narrow enclosure containing six small speakers/drivers placed at precise angles to deliver sound at a 178-degree "throw" left and right. The sound WILL cover a large area evenly, which is great for those times when the sound has to be softer (dinner music, pre-ceremony music for weddings, etc.). Everyone in the coverage area hears the music at the same volume, which avoids the problem of traditional speaker systems (really loud near the speakers but diminishing volume as you get further away). I was very skeptical of this feature when I first heard about the even sound coverage, but a year and a half of using the Bose® L1 systems has made me a believer. It's sweet!

Another nice feature is that there is a 1/8" stereo input jack for iPods (also works well when sending sound directly from your headphone output of a laptop). This lends a great deal of versatility to the system.
Example 1: I did a wedding reception recently where the father of the bride had a DVD he wanted played after dinner and projected onto a large screen. The location of the LCD projector was quite a distance from my main table, and the hall had not provided for the sound of the DVD show. I brought in the Bose® L1 Compact system and set it up next to the projection table, connecting the sound directly from the laptop that was running the DVD to the Compact system using a 1/8" to 1/8" stereo jack from the laptop to the iPod input on the Compact. The sound was perfect! Far better than any portable speaker system I have heard in the past from photographers/videographers who bring portable sound with them for their PowerPoint shows. It was a simple one-cable connection without anything else.
Example 2: I did wedding ceremonies both outside and inside for crowds of about 150 people or so using the Compact system. I ran all the music from my MacBook Pro through the ToneMatch®. I also connected two Shure wireless mics through the ToneMatch as well (one on the officiant, and one on the groom, which picked up the bride as well.) Additionally, I connected my Sennheiser wireless handheld (for any "emergency" announcements that might have been necessary) through the ToneMatch. This was a more complex setup that involved power for three microphones, one laptop, and the Compact System®.

For both applications, the Compact® delivered great sound and covered the area perfectly. I could not have asked for better sound.

There are two "sides" for input. One side is for line inputs (from mixer, musical instrument, iPod, laptop, ToneMatch®, etc.), and the other side is for a microphone input. Each side has its own volume control, which is crucial if you're a single performer. You can set your voice and instrument levels perfectly. As a DJ, though, I do not use the microphone side, so I cannot comment on how well the two sides work for single performers.

There are two official setups for the L1 Compact®. One setup is to leave the speaker in the base unit (the way it arrives). You would have to put this on a table for good sound coverage. If you used it from floor level, the sound would be muddy. This setup would be perfect if you are supplying the sound system for a keynote speaker at a conference, as an example. The unit could sit on the table next to the podium where the speaker is standing, and the sound the audience would hear would be fabulous--VERY crisp and clean.

The second official setup is to use the two extender sticks to elevate the speaker unit about six feet off the ground, which is the way you would want to set up the unit for full-room coverage for music, especially if there will be dancers!

I saw the unit being used with only one of the extender sticks, which put the speaker unit at "head level" for a seated audience. I don't know why you would use that setup, but it works fine that way (the extender sticks are identical, so there doesn't seem to be any reason you CAN'T use this setup.) Be advised, though, that Bose® does not recommend this setup.

So let's get to the bottom line:

PROs: Compact, portable, sleek. Easy setup with a tiny footprint. Great sound for what it is, delivering full bass, midrange, and highs for up to 150 people. Excellent choice for small venues, whether you are a DJ or a single performer. Great system for speakers at business meetings, conferences, church groups, etc. The sound is crisp, clean, and clear. The bass is far better than anything of comparable size, and the quality of the unit is excellent. This system is what I use for my backup system (to the L1 Model II®). It doesn't take up much space in the car, and if something WERE to happen to my L1 Model II® system during a performance, then I have a better backup system than 99% of the DJs out there.

CONs: While the bass response is very good for the size of the system, it cannot really compare to using two Bose® B1 units with a Model II system. THAT system can provide a chest-thumping bass resonance, but this system would be hard-pressed to do that. Don't get me wrong here: the bass response is very good, but it isn't what you would want for a larger venue where the bass has to carry out all over the area. And, as one should know right up front, it is NOT a unit for larger venues. It is fine for small areas, but if you have a louder, noisier, larger area, the Compact system would not be up for the task.

BOTTOM LINE: If you want terrific sound from a light, portable unit for a small venue, this system can't be beat! If you want a high quality backup system for your main sound system, it would be tough to get a better system with a better sound. If you play larger venues with noisy crowds or if you need a driving bass sound to resonate throughout the venue, then consider another alternative. (And remember, if you use a ToneMatch® sound engine with this, you have to buy the power adapter.)

RATING: Four stars because of its intrinsic limitations. It cannot be a system for a larger venue for 150-200 or more people, but it can be your answer for smaller venues and smaller crowds.
For what it is, though, it is Super!

NOTES:
* Response to reviews: Another reviewer here has stated that there are plug-ins for only voice and guitar, but that is inaccurate (see above for input variety). And as for effects such as reverb, delay, and other effects, those can be created nicely with the Bose® T1 ToneMatch audio engine, as stated above.
* The bass response difference I mentioned above between the Model II and the Compact units is approximately one half octave at the low end, according to Bose. Many people cannot hear the difference, but trained ears can. The limited power and bass response are the reasons I could not give five stars. Still, all in all, a great product!
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow, Wow, Wow!, July 2, 2009
By 
Kova (California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bose L1 Compact Portable Line Array System
"Wow" is the word that comes to mind over and over again when I use the Compact system. Although Bose initially designed this for quiet coffee house gigs and small conferences, it gives you so much more. I bought (2) of these to put one on each side of me and "chained" them together. One sounds great but two sound truly amazing. I can easily put on a show in front of a 150 people in a noisy bar. The clarity is second to none. I've tried so many "traditional" speakers over the years and the Compact blows them all away. I'm extremely picky when it comes to clarity for live sound and these speakers EXCEED my expectations which is not an easy thing to do. I'm a solo acoustic artist that's been playing for 15 years and I've tried it all. I finally own a system that gives me more than I could hope for. The system is expensive but as the old saying goes... "you get what you pay for". This system is worth every dollar and you can HEAR the difference. The competition might as well go home and cry to their Mama.

I strongly suggest to buy the "Bose T1" to go with this system. It makes all the difference in the world and no other mixer comes close in clarity or features.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars because there's no built in reverb. Everything else about it is stellar.

Since this is Bose's first attempt at a "compact" system, I can hardly wait to see what they come up with for the 2nd and 3rd generation.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best investment as a performer and mobile DJ, April 4, 2011
This review is from: Bose L1 Compact Portable Line Array System
Some of you who are reading this are probably still very skeptical about the L1 Compact because of all the mixed reviews. Well, I just bought the L1 Compact last week as I am both a songwriter and a dj. As I ran some tests, i decided there are some things certain people should know about the L1 Compact.

1) If you are a solo performer (acoustic guitar/vocals), you can't find a better way to amplify yourself. This unit is light, convenient, and the throw of the sound is very long compared to your normal acoustic amp combo. I upgraded from my Fishman Loudbox 100 and I have to say this was by far the best investment I've made for music in a while.

2) If you are performing music by yourself (guitar, keys, etc.), the L1 Compact will cover a very large audience and is perfect for bars, restaurants, cafes, church, street performing, just about any gig with 20-100 people in a room. Although, I did use it in church today at about 60% with about 200-250 people there and someone made the comment that they could hear me loud and clear from the opposite corner of the church.

3) There is no phantom power on the mic channel, so if you don't have a decent cardioid/supercardioid dynamic mic, you should invest in one when you get one of these. The Shure SM58 or Sennheiser e835 are great choices.

4) If you are planning to DJ with this system, I suggest that you look into a powered sub and one more L1 Compact OR the L1 Model I w/ 2 B1 bass modules. For me, it makes sense to use the powered sub and a second L1 Compact as sometimes I will be doing multiple things (ceremony, cocktail hour, dj) at events, so borrowing one L1 Compact from the dj setup won't be such a big deal. DJing with one L1 Compact only will honestly work for parties of 20-40, but if you add a solid powered sub to one of these babies, that number easily shoots up to 75-100.

5) You cannot technically use the a B1 bass module or the packlite system with the L1 Compact, but if you have crossover, there may be a workaround for you.

6) The L1 Compact is essentially mono, but the effect of the sound makes it stereo-like. You will notice there is an RCA input on Channel 2 so there stereo parts will be audible, but not distinguishable as far as the lateral position in the mix.

7) The type of sound that comes out of the L1 systems are a different kind of loud - it's not really SPL, it's more like "sound teleportation" for lack of a better term. It really is an amazing phenomenon.

8) There isn't much reverb on either channel, so it's a drier, cleaner sound that your normal PA.

Anywho, if you're still undecided, you should check one out at your local Bose store, or on YouTube. Buying this unit has to have been the est decision I've made in a while. Rock on Bose!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Bang for the buck, August 28, 2010
This review is from: Bose L1 Compact Portable Line Array System
I understand what other reviews say regarding the lack of options on the controls (reverb) and other conventional effects and controls, However, If you want to get the best bang for your buck, and are playing for more than 150 people, BUY TWO OF THESE, and get a descent mixer like the Mackie 1202 with 7 band graphic eq, and onboard effects!!! I purchased two L1 compacts, and run each them in stereo outs, and the sound is nothing short of SENSATIONAL!!! Plus you have all the power, and quality sound any dj, or even trio act could want and less than most any other conventional setups would cost. Plus setup time is almost non-existent, and you dont have to break your back!!! One less trip to the chiropractor and this system just about paid for itself. It was also suggested buy the sound tech at G.C. that two of these instead one one "L1" model one with one sub would produce better sound dispersion, and I agree 100%!. If your in the market for a bose setup, This is the deal. You won't regret it.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bose L1 Compact sends the sound to those who are there., June 27, 2010
This review is from: Bose L1 Compact Portable Line Array System
I have used many sound systems over the years (30) and if you are good with gear and understand eq, mic pre, set up, this system by far out does anything in this price range. What is so special about the bose L1 Compact is just that its compact and light. Yes its not for playing at concert arenas at a Who volume level. But where the Bose L1 System shines is if you are working musician who needs to set up and travel to play for 100-150+ people this system cant be beat. If you need verb get a pedal like the Fishman AFX Reverb or TC Electronics. (there are others as well) With a Guitar and Fishman Aura it sounds like you are in the studio. Then there is the set up you walk in with your guitar, Bose L1 Compact and in 1 min you are ready to play your set/sets. No other system can do that. (IMHO) This is the best for under 999.00. Bottom line is if you are a person who really likes fidelity and the sound to touch everyone ears this is the system. Now for Large venues or outdoor gatherings over 150+ no this is not the system but nor was that what this was created for.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good option, but study it before, March 23, 2012
This review is from: Bose L1 Compact Portable Line Array System
We were a bit surprised a few weeks back when our lead singer showed up at practice with a Bose L1 Compact. The last thing he told us before buying it was that he was seriously looking at a Samson P.A. system. The Bose L1 Compact was a a surprise. As a 30+ year guitar and bass player and amateur soundman, I had never seen one of these.

Our singer, the proud new owner explained the design concept to us. Our lead guitarist and I listened astutely. We had been wanting to find a way to set up at practice with less clutter - maybe even without amps. We are a 4 piece. After giving it some thought, we decided to hook up our singer and his Shure SM58 into channel 1 on the Compact. My humble and reliable Yamaha MG102C mixer would feed the rest of us into channel 2 on the L1 Compact. The mixer had our lead guitar going from his Fernandez Ravelle into a Vox Soundlab then direct into the mixer. His SM57 for vocal got its own channel on the mixer. My Ibanez bass went direct into the mixer. My Sennheiser 835 got its own channel for vocal. Our singer plays rhythm guitar. His signal went from his guitar to his POD and then direct into the mixer. We were amp-less. There was no mic on the drummer.

We played over 3 hours plus. Afterwards, we all agreed that this was the best sound we had ever achieved at a practice. The mix was good. Everyone could hear everyone else. The feedback issues were minimal. The dispersion was excellent. The sound quality produced by the L1 Compact was impressive.

This little unit was not designed to be operated this way. On the other hand, we are not the first to try this. There is a band in the area (Central Florida) that sets up this way. Many posters around the internet reviewing the L1 systems comment on how using a mixer is a big help with the L1 series. We could not have done what we did without one.

Looks like the L1 Compact will be foundation for our sound for a while. This is a pretty impressive product.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where Have You Been My Whole Life, September 20, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Bose L1 Compact Portable Line Array System
Good Points

1) The Bose L1 Compact yields the BEST acoustic sound I've ever heard. First time you plug it in you will be amazed at how LOUD you can get while being only inches from the speaker. Traditional speakers would be feeding back at those decibles. The same goes for microphone...you can stand right in front of the speaker and it won't feed back.

2) It's only 30-pounds or so. You no longer need a truck to haul your equipment around. In fact I fit my guitar, L1 Compact, T1 ToneMatch, and necessary stands and cables on my motorcycle to gigs....No lie!!!

3) This one speaker is your monitor as well as house speaker. Forget about those traditional mixer boards, amps, monitors, house speakers, and millions of cables going every which way. Put this L1 behind you and you will hear exactly what the audience is hearing.

Improvements

1) If the L1 Compact had built in reverb then that would go a long way. As it is, you'll need to supply your own effects.

2) The L1 Compact doesn't work well having more than 5-mics (from a mixer board)running to it. It will start to feedback under those conditions. I suspect the L1 has a built in Gate as well as Compressor/Limiter. So if you have multiple signals never allowing that Gate to close you tend to get feedback. Like the Bose video shows....it's better if each band member has their own Bose L1 with 2-signals (voice/instrument) going into it.

3) The L1 Compact doesn't allow the T1 ToneMatch to mount anywhere on it like the L1 Model 1 and 2 allow. Knowing that you are going to want effects on your signals, your T1 is just going to have to flop around on the ground out of reach. Also the B1 Bass module is NOT compatable with the L1 Compact.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Sounding PA I Have Ever Owned, January 14, 2011
By 
Old Gray Moose (CowVille, TX USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bose L1 Compact Portable Line Array System
I have played in multiple bands and places with multiple PAs and sound systems. NEVER have I heard sound like this. I researched this unit for many months before I finally went to a Bose store and asked for a demo. That sealed the deal and it has been all good. So far I only used it for parties in private houses (indoors) but people are very happy with the "loud but not uncomfortable" sound and the way it fills the space.

It doesn't have everything I MIGHT want but I knew exactly what it had and didn't have when I bought it. So I have a hard time docking it a star for not being designed to be something else.

Check it out carefully so you are not disappointed at what it doesn't do (see other posts) and that way you won't have any false expectations.

And regarding "bass". If you expect to play dance music thru this or are in a rap group this will NOT be enough punch in the low range for you. If that is the case you may want to consider one of the beefier L1 systems or a traditional PA.

But for the solo singer (or duet) with an acoustic guitar, or for playing most types of music (from TV, iPod, etc.), this PA has no equal when it comes to portability and sound quality....AWESOME!!!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Expected More From Bose, August 15, 2010
I had bought the Fishman SA220, but was not satisfied with the sound. I had a suspicion that the Bose L1 would simply blow the Fishman away, since many years ago in my rock era I had a Bose 802's and a 502 subwoofer system that was just incredible. So, I sent back the Fishman and ordered the L1 Model 1. First thing I noticed was how big and heavy it is. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I was surprised at the size of the power base. However, the subwoofer is not all that big or heavy (compared to the old 502).

After setting it up for a test (less than 5 minutes), I determined that the sound quality was indeed superior to Fishman, but still didn't have the "wow" factor of the 802 system. I realize that the 802's are about 3 times the cost and used huge globs of power, but I just expected more than what I heard from the L1. Anyway, I used it last night on a little job to provide backround music at a dinner party. Just about at the end of the evening we heard a pop and the system went dead. The power light was off but the fuse was still good. Apparently the power module blew. Musicians Friend is taking care of the return already, but gee, I just expect more than that from Bose.

In hindsight now, I'd probably have been better off keeping the Fishman considering the price ($999), and all the features the Fishman has that the Bose doesn't. The Fishman does not have the sound of the Bose, but still it is not bad.

PROS: Excellent sound quality / Quick and easy setup

CONS: No crossover adjustment between the sub and upper speakers / No effects / No AUX outputs / A wee bit on the heavy side / In my case, defective product design, since mine blew up.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exelent for what I need, March 21, 2012
This review is from: Bose L1 Compact Portable Line Array System
I have a magic show, before this sound system I had to carry a 145 lb sound system, and transport it in a pickup along with all the other equipment of the show, now with this wonderful portable sound system everything can be transported in a normal car. And the quality of the sound it's the same, last month I did a show for 400 kids in a school and the sound was great, even with all the noise 400 kids can make. Highly recommended.
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Bose L1 Compact Portable Line Array System
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