Preview & Listening : Bose L1 Model 2

sandeepmohan

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I was invited to an event at a friends house to celebrate Waitangi Day. This is the signing of the treaty for New Zealand. Its basically the founding document of the country. The event usually goes with what we call Kotahi, a live music festival. Due to uncertainties around the darn virus, we pre recorded the event in November last year and did a live launch yesterday on the Tube. I was present on the day they recorded the event so have a pretty good handle on what I saw and heard.

On walking into my friends house, I spotted these slender Bose towers in his living room. Clearly its a PA system from Bose. The L1 Model 2. This system dates back to 2007-2008 so quite old for what it is. Its a line array speaker system. Each tower comprises of 24 high frequency 55mm (or 2.25inch) drivers in a cylindrical radiator enclosure. This is paired to a B1 bass module that houses two 5.25inch drivers. We had two of these B1 modules, one for each L1. Not visible in the photo. Connectivity is via phono, xlr and a proprietary Bose Ethercon system for connection between the two speaker modules. The source of this system was a headphone out from the TV, going into a little Yamaha mixer and then to the amplifier. The design and setup of the system is such that you can get up and going in less than 10 minutes. By PA standards, that's really fast. Its also light weight, at 45kilos. The build is a mix of aluminum and plastic baffles. The slender towers are self powered and rated at 4ohm so not an easy drive. The B1 bass drivers are rated at 8ohms.

Its safe to say that anything you stream and play off the Tube has a good bit of compression that comes with it. What I heard from this Bose pair of speakers left me stumped. The tonal balance was surprisingly good and that wall of sound got me to just sit there and soak it all up. I could easily tell the sound was not exactly as I heard it on the day of the recording. It was so darn close to it though, that I ended up sitting in front of these for two hours! The system was dynamic in its presentation and stayed composed when pushed hard. Vocals were clear. Bass was staggeringly good for what is a tiny bass driver. You could foot tap to the kick drum and the sound would stop when it should. No unnecessary extension of bass. One of the bands (The Nudge) used a synthesizer of sorts for bass notes as the band does not have a dedicated bass guitar player. I kid you not, eyes closed, you would have said there was a bass guitar in the room. The system reproduced highs and lows of bass tones with incredible accuracy. There was no audible distortion either. All in all, it was an entertaining listen. There was definitely some dsp trick work going on as I could not reproduce the same levels of clarity on my own system. The sound I have is a little more towards flat. Time to eq the heck out my system! I can't be bothered about flat frequency response anymore.

To end, I was truly amazed at the sound of this compact PA system, inside a home! Sure enough, these won't find favors under the 'WAF' category. That said, for all the hate I had towards the brand Bose, I finally found something (other than the old 901's) that actually sounds good. The L1 comes highly recommended. Even if its a speaker system thats a no-go due to its PA nature and category, give them a listen. I guarantee, you won't get up from that seat.

One thing to note about such a system, you need to play them reasonably loud. I am not sure what it would sound like at your typical domestic gain levels. We had these puppies cranked up but not to blaring loud levels.
 

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abhinaba

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I heard about it in PS Audio's Ask Paul (McGowan) show. He was praising a lot about the system.
 
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