Hi-Fi Sound, Maximum Portability
Who doesn’t want a system that projects balanced sound throughout the
room, that can be your monitor and your house speaker, and that you
can easily carry? At $999, the L1 Compact (L1C for short) brings Bose’s
“personal line array” design closer to reality for the gigging musician. The
system consists of four pieces: the Power Stand houses the
inputs, mixer, amplifier, and woofer; the Loudspeaker
Array houses six speakers; and there are two height extension
bars. The Loudspeaker Array travels locked into the
Power Stand (which has a handle and slipcover with cable
pouch), and the extension bars fit into an included soft
case with a shoulder strap. Because Bose built the woofer
into the Power Stand, you can carry the whole system in
one trip and still have a free hand to open doors. By comparison,
an L1 Model II (reviewed Feb. ’08) with one B1 bass
unit involves four items to carry: the Power Stand, the B1,
and two halves of the speaker column, each in its own case.
Using the Power Stand with the Loudspeaker Array in
it is what Bose calls collapsed position. In extended position,
adding the height extension bars achieves optimal projection
for larger audiences.
The L1C has the unique capacity to sit behind a line of
microphones. Though any speaker will feed back if you bring
a mic too close, the L1C is more resistant to this than anything
else we’ve tried, especially in extended position.
My first test was a solo café gig for an audience of about
40. The “stage” was to the side of the room, so there were
listeners to one side as well as directly in front of me. The
L1C definitely has the balanced sound dispersion
Bose has been touting. I could hear everything
at a comfortable level, and several
listeners I spoke to afterward said everything
was clear as a bell. I was pleased with the overall
tone on piano sounds, and the bass response
even hung with some low-end Moog patches
I put through it. Overall, I love this system for
its portability, flexibility, and tone. My only
real gripe is that the RCA and 1/8" inputs sum
the incoming signal to mono—if you use the RCA outs marked “record,” you’re getting the same signal from each side.
In rock bands with caveman drummers and shred guitarists, the L1C
was not the strongest performer for sheer loudness. Editor Stephen Fortner
notes, “The larger L1 Model II with two B1 subs will stand up to any
stageful of knuckleheads and still project.” For more civilized gigs, though,
the L1C has an unhyped, almost audiophile quality—particularly on
acoustic piano sounds—that nothing else quite touches.
The L1 Compact is geared for the singer-songwriter with one mic and one instrument. Multi-keyboard players will need a compact mixer to enjoy its clean, clear sound.
Carry or play through the L1 Compact in collapsed position
(shown), or add the included extenders and park the speakers
on top. All the connections are internal.
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Amp Up Part 1: Four Combo Amps Take the Stage
Motion Sound KP-500SN