Building and Testing the First L1® Prototype

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So I built this thing that was 8’ tall and had a floor footprint of about 6” across and 7” deep. It broke apart in the middle using a pair of plates to hold the two sections together and didn’t have a bass system as it was designed to go down to about 90Hz. I figured this would be fine for my own use as a keyboard and voice system.

The most intuitive choice I made was to use the little drivers from the Bose Wave Radio. Now this wasn’t what you’d call a rock and roll instinct. I mean, really; radio speakers for amplified music? Be serious, Clifford. But I figured if that little 2-driver radio would play pretty loud with high fidelity sound for a living room full of people, then 32 of them in a line array with mutual coupling to help out the low end would probably be pretty impressive.

So I got some play money from the company and built a system. It also included a 400w/ch stereo amp, and equalizer and a crossover in a plastic rack-case. And there was a square base-stand for the line array. All this had to be assembled at the gig, sort of like an erector set, but I figured it was worth it.

When I first played it; in the “Monster Lab” at Bose, a large development space for our big sound systems; and got it eq’d right, I was stunned. I could definitely play my GEM RealPiano Pro2 and VK7 organ too loud, to my delight (Just wait till those guitar players hear this). But when I played a commercial CD through the thing, I was even more stunned. Walking around the room, I was totally stunned by the wideband coverage and the consistency of level at any distance from the thing. I remember this clearly.

I raced into Ken’s office and dragged him out, probably frothing at the mouth. Listening, we both then knew we were on the right track and the train was rolling.