Bose L1 Compact

The new Bose L1 compact seems to have caused quite a stir among musicians and I’ve had three people this week ask me about it.Bose L1 Compact

The feature that seems to be capturing everyone’s imagination is its sheer portability.

As usual, Bose won’t release any RMS power output ratings so until we can open one up to see exactly what Bose have put inside it, we’re pretty much guessing at the moment.  Of course taking a screwdriver to the L1 and opening it up would immediately void the guarantee, so rather unsurprisingly no-one thus far has offered us up their L1 Compact to butcher yet!

However, initial information coming in from those who are currently using the system is that the L1 Compact has around HALF the power output of the previous L1 model.

So this suggests to me that it may only have one power amplifier inside it – and that’s most likely to be the Bose standard 250w RMS amp (although this can’t be confirmed as yet).
If true, that would be fine for a single instrument like a solo sax player or solo guitar player in a small venue, but would be nowhere near powerful enough for anyone who is a Vocals/Backing Tracks or Guitar/Vocals/Backing Tracks type of entertainer (unless the gig venue is not much bigger than the size of your living room)!

You may remember that some time ago I reported my findings after having tried out 2 x 500w L1 systems with 4 bass subs (ie 1000w in total). I found that particular setup severely lacking in power. The 2 x 500w systems struggled in a relatively small venue when it was busy with people. It just couldn’t “punch” out above the general burble of a lively crowd and limited especially when anyone sang falsetto.

So this suggests that even if you bought FOUR of the new L1 Compacts, they may still struggle to fill a busy small venue. That’s not so good news, and carrying around FOUR systems that are still not loud enough to do the job hardly makes this system what you could call “portable” (4 systems would be rather expensive too)!

Come on Bose – if you disagree, prove us wrong. We asked you a couple of years ago to accompany us to a gig one night and see the trouble we were having with two Bose 500w L1 limiting at relatively low volume levels and struggling to fill a lively small venue. You refused.

So here’s our next challenge. Come out with us to a gig. Let us take you to a small venue with one of your new L1 Compacts and/or to a medium venue with two of your L1 Compact systems and see how they perform. You do say it should handle these sizes of venues and these are the typical environments your customers are aiming to use these systems in. We’ll play a “live” gig and lets see how your system performs. Can’t be fairer than that can we?

Regular readers of this blog and my articles on the MP3 Backing Trax website will know that I personally use 2 of the older 750w systems with 4 subs (1500w total). On Saturday night I played at an engagement party in a medium-large hall which was three quarters full with about 150 people. There were 2 vocalists, 1 keyboard, plus backing tracks and the volume the two Bose systems put out was JUST loud enough and no more.  If the venue had been any bigger or there had been 200 people in the venue, my 2 x 750w systems would have struggled a bit by the end of the night when the volume was pumping out, the crowd were all up dancing and they’re in that “end of the night noisy party” mood.

So the new Bose L1 Compact looks like it may be only powerful enough for a single instrument in a small venue.

I’d probably NOT recommend the L1 Compact to a self-contained vocal act out there using backing tracks unless you are gigging in a small, quiet venue – perhaps as live music in a resaurant or a quiet little piano bar or something similar.

That would probably be the perfect setting for the L1 Compact…