Will the Bose L1 suit a solo singer with backing tracks?

Thanks to Tim for another question about the ubiquitous Bose L1…


just read your excellent article on the Bose L1 Classic PA system and wondered if you could answer a couple of questions.

I am a solo vocalist who currently uses MP3 backing tracks via a laptop running through a 500 watt Yamaha mixer and wooden cabinet speakers. Most of my work is in hotels and occasionally smaller clubs.

My questions center round whether you feel the the Bose L1 Model 2 PA System is a suitable alternative, as the classic is no longer available.

My reason for upgrading is with a view to aquiring greater clarity, something I have never been able to achieve with any of my previous equipment.

It is suggested that no additional mixer is required as there are 2 mixer points built into the base units, but as all my tracks vary slightly in volume, I assume I would need an independant mixer to adjust each of my backing track levels.

Also would I require an external mixer to add reverb to my vocals?

I would really appreciate your help as I seem to keep spending money on one set up after another trying to find that elusive clarity.

Very Many Thanks


Hi Tim

If you currently use a conventional 500w PA in the venues you work in, then without doubt the 500w Bose L1 is definitely for you.

With a Bose L1 you will still achieve the same volume as you are used to hearing from your conventional PA. In fact it will achieve higher volumes than your current PA if you want it to – this because of the unique way the Bose disperses the sound around the room.

As well as better sound dispersion, you will also notice a definite increase in the quality of your sound.

I’m sure you’ll be knocked out with it.

You are correct about the inputs on the Bose L1 being rather limited. If you buy an L1, you would be best advised to invest in the Tone Match controller as well because it will give you better control over the EQ and volume of the channels and reverb for your microphone channel etc.

If you don’t want to buy the Tone Match, you could consider using your current Yamaha mixer to do the job of EQ’ing and providing the effects etc.  Just be VERY careful how you connect your Yamaha mixer up to the Bose system though. From what you describe, the Yamaha is a POWERED mixer so whatever you do, DO NOT feed a powered output in to the Bose (unless you want to see your brand new Bose system go up in a puff of smoke)!

Most mixer/amps will usually have slave outs or monitor outs. Use these outputs, NOT the outputs which you would normally send to your speakers.

If in any doubt, don’t take a chance on getting this right…I can’t stress enough how important this is.

Instead, take your Yamaha mixer in to the music shop BEFORE you buy the Bose L1 system and ask the sales guy to connect it up for you so you can hear how it all sounds (and take a careful note of how he has wired your Yamaha mixer up to your Bose L1 for future reference).

If you do buy a Bose L1, I welcome you to the world of high quality live music – once you’ve used a Bose L1, you’ll never go back to a conventional PA.

The only people I know who don’t like the Bose L1 are those musicians who play at such high volume levels (they have 4/5/6kw PA systems) and they would have to buy multiple Bose L1’s in order to achieve the same level of volume they are used to. It simply becomes uneconomical for them to trade up to Bose L1’s – they would need to buy a dozen or more Bose L1’s at a cost of 10’s of thousands of pounds to achieve the types of volumes they are used to playing at.

The other musicians I meet who don’t like the Bose L1 don’t have a volume issue with it – they simply prefer an old-fashioned lower quality type of live music sound where the bass gives out a kinda woolly thud and hits you in the chest.

Many rock bands favour this old-fashioned type of sound so the Bose L1 is not for them (and that’s perfectly understandable).

But for high quality music which achieves the same fabulous quality of your home hi-fi system but large enough to fill a live music venue, the Bose L1 is unsurpassed…