Do I Need to Upgrade from the L1 Model II to the L1 Pro32?

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This article expresses my opinion and experience. Please post comments to Twitter @ST_Muso or LinkedIn @STPro. Thank you — ST.

L1 Model II to L1 Pro32.jpg.jpg

I have an L1 Model II. Do I need the L1 Pro32?

I tortured myself with this question for months between the product announcement last fall and when they were available to order in late January. Here's why I ordered the L1 Pro32 with Sub1, and what I've learned since then.


Background

I've had an L1 Model II since Bose introduced them in 2007. I have used up to six for a large home concert venue. I've also used four outdoors for bands, and occasionally just two in a traditional Front of House setup.

The L1 Model II served me well as a solo singer/songwriter act and in bands singing and playing electric guitar. When playing electric guitar, I use a Kemper Profiling Amp for amp modelling and effects. Most of the time, I used a single B1 for the bass module, but I could scale up to two B1s or a B2, depending on the gig. When doing band gigs, I used a single B1 for me. I relied on other band members to bring whatever they needed for the gig. When doing sound for the whole band, I would bring more L1 Model IIs -typically, one per player. I might bring two F1 stacks (F1 Model 812 with F1 Subwoofer). For smaller gigs, I might set up two L1 Model IIs at the front of the stage.

The L1 Model II with a T1 ToneMatch Audio Engine was the best PA system I had ever used, and I was happy to use it exactly as Bose recommended (behind me on the stage). If the stage was tight and the venue small, I would use an L1 Compact. However, there were very few venues where the L1 Model II couldn't fit. And I preferred the sound of the L1 Model II over the L1 Compact,

Happiness

I always used the T1 ToneMatch Audio Engine with the L1 Model II and considered them as a single unit. The L1 Model II was my personal system for vocals and guitar. If the situation required amplification for more players, we'd use more systems. I never needed more than the four inputs available on the T1 ToneMatch Audio Engine.

I had grown used to having the T1 ToneMatch Audio Engine mounted on my microphone stand in front of me. I had everything organized around playing like that, and it all just worked.

Before the L1 Model II I played through the L1 Classic. The total system carry-weight with the L1 Classic with two B1 bass modules was 135 pounds. By comparison, the L1 Model II with B2 is 110 pounds. The biggest difference was the L1 Model II power stand that was smaller, lighter, and much easier to pack and carry. I liked the portability of the L1 Model II. I rarely begrudged the size, the weight, or the floor space (26" x 30") required on stage.

The Wish List

There weren't many things I wished for in the L1 Model II.

  • Easier to pack in the car
    On those rare occasions I carried multiple systems or the B2, I wished the systems were lighter. The B2 is awkward to load in and out of a passenger sedan. I stopped driving a van when I got my first L1 in 2004.
  • Easier to move through a busy venue
    Some places where I play do not have a separate stage entrance. That means I load my gear in through the venue. Tear down is so fast with the L1 Model II, I'm often ready to leave before all the patrons have left the venue. Winding through the people with the gear could be awkward.

Things I Noticed About the L1 Pro32

Since I use the L1 Pro32 with the Sub1, these comments apply.

  • The Sub1 is the heaviest component, but at only 35.5 pounds, it is slimmer and lighter than a B2 (45 pounds)
  • The L1 Pro32 power stand is only 13 pounds. The L1 Model II power stand is 25 pounds
  • The Cylindrical Radiators weigh 15.6 pounds (two pieces total weight)- that's less than one of the Cylindrical Radiators for the L1 Model II (34 pounds)
  • The Cylindrical Radiators are the same length as the L1 Model II. That's great. I don't have to rethink how I will pack them in the vehicle
  • The L1 Pro32 with Sub1 or Sub2 takes less floor space than the L1 Model II with B2
  • The L1 Pro32 with Sub1 is slightly louder (+ 2dB) than the L1 Model II with B2. I haven't been able to test the drop-off over distance, but from the charts I've seen, the L1 Pro32 should project even farther than the L1 Model II
  • With lower volume drop over distance, at some point, the L1 Pro32 will outperform the Sub1 and Sub2 at a distance. This also happened with the L1 Model II and B2
  • With three channels on the L1 Pro32, and phantom power built-in, I won't need a ToneMatch mixer every time. That's one less piece of gear to carry and set up. I can use the L1 Mix app using a small tablet mounted on my microphone stand. I can work with the built-in reverb and ToneMatch Presets. For more demanding situations, I can still use my T1 or T4S/T8S.
  • The Sub1 performs like the B2. For most situations, that's plenty for me. If I need to scale up for more bass, I can use the second Sub1. Yes, I got two. I could have gotten a Sub2, but then I wouldn't have the option to scale down.
  • I like the option to set up the Subwoofers in cardioid mode to avoid bass reverberation on stage. Excessive bass on stage has made it hard to hear myself at times.

What Else

Although I never wished to play music via Bluetooth or to manage the L1 Model II with my phone or tablet, I've come to appreciate these features in the L1 Pro32

Bottom Line

I didn't need the L1 Pro32. The L1 Model II has served me well, and it has aged better than I have over these fourteen years. I appreciate the lighter load and that the new system is easier to maneuver in tight spaces. I'm grateful the L1 Pro32 will fit into all the spaces I have organized for loading and storing the L1 Model II. That means I don't have to re-think or find new ways to do things.

With the pandemic restrictions still in place here, I haven't been able to test the limits of the L1 Pro32, but from what I've been able to do, it should perform at least as well as the L1 Model II. The new features were not must-haves for me, but the true test is if I'd be willing to give them up. Having spent some time with the new unit, I don't think I'd be willing to go back.

Comparison Table

Questions and comments or LinkedIn @STPro.Thank youST.
Feature Bose L1 Model II with B2 Bose L1 Pro32
  L1 Model II B2 85x200.jpg L1 Pro32 with subs 121x205.jpg
Feature Bose L1 Model II with B2 Bose L1 Pro32
Horizontal dispersion 180 degrees 180 degrees
Vertical dispersion 0 degrees (straight) 0 degrees (straight)
Output 115 dB / 121 dB peak  With Sub1: 117 dB / 123 dB peak
With Sub2: 122 dB / 128 dB peak
Audience up to 500 not specified
Speaker Array Twenty four 2.25" (57 mm) articulated array Thirty two 2.00" (51 mm) articulated cricket drivers
Woofer Two 10" low frequency drivers in the B2 Sub1:One 7" x 13" neodymium racetrack transducer
Sub2:One 10"x 18" neodymium racetrack transducer 
Low Frequency  40 Hz - 3dB With Sub1:37 Hz - 3dB
With Sub2:42 Hz - 3dB
Crossover 200 Hz 200 Hz
Power to speakers Biamped
  •  250 Watts RMS mid-high Cylindrical Radiators
  •  250 Watts RMS B2
  •  500 Watts total
Biamped
  • Power Stand 480 Watts RMS mid-high array
  • Sub1 480 Watts RMS
  • Sub2 1000 Wattes RMS
  • 960/1480 Watts total
Weight Total system weight  49.67 kg (110 lb)
  • Power Stand: 10.7 kg (32.0 lb)
  • Cylindrical Radiators (pair): 15.3 kg (33.7 lb)
  • B2 Bass Module: 23.67 kg (52.2 lb)
Total system weight with
Sub1 29.1 kg (64.1 lb)
Sub2 36.4 kg (80.3 lb)
  • Power Stand: 5.9 kg (13.0 lb)
  • Mid-High arrays (2) 7.1 kg (15.6 lb)
  • Sub1 16.1 kg (35.5 lb)
  • Sub2 23.4 kg (51.7 lb)
Dimensions (H x W x D) L1 Model II Power Stand
213.4 x 66.0 x 66.0 cm (84.2 x 26.0 x 26.0 in)
B2 Bass Module
59.4 x 33.8 x 48 cm (23.4 x 13.31 x 18.9 in)
Footprint (floor space required)
L1 Model II with B2 (W x D) 71.0 x 66.0 cm (28.0 x 26.0 in)
L1 Pro32
213.5 × 34.5 × 55 cm (84.1 × 13.6 × 21.7 in)
Sub1 53.0 × 25.0 × 53.0 cm (20.9 × 9.8 × 20.9 in)
Sub2 69.0 × 30.5 × 55.0 cm (27.2 × 12.0 × 21.7 in)
Footprint (floor space required)
L1 Pro32 with Sub1 (W x D) 59.4 x 55.1 cm (23.4 x 21.7 in)
L1 Pro32 with Sub2 (W x D) 65.0 x 55.1 cm (25.6 x 21.7 in)
Sound Projection Click for more comparisons
ToneMatch® Presets No Channels 1 and 2
Full suite of ToneMatch Presets available in the ToneMatch mixers, built-in. Set using the L1 Mix App.
Battery No No
Connections Input
  • 6 mm (1/4" Tip-Ring or Tip-Ring-Sleeve) balanced / unbalanced
  • ToneMatch Port
Channels 1 and 2
Combo Jacks
XLR / 6 mm (1/4" Tip-Ring or Tip-Ring-Sleeve) balanced / unbalanced
Channel 3/Aux Input
  • 6 mm (1/4" Tip-Ring or Tip-Ring-Sleeve) balanced / unbalanced
  • 3 mm (1/8" Tip-Ring-Sleeve) accepts stereo or mono input
  • Bluetooth input
Tone Controls No Channel 1 * Bass / Treble Channel 2 * None
Line Out No XLR balanced
Bluetooth input No Yes: Channel 3
Supports Bluetooth 5.x
Reverb No Channels 1 and 2 Yes
Channel 3 None
ToneMatch Port Yes full support for T1/T4S
T8S not supported
Yes full support for T4S/T8S
power only for T1
System EQ No Yes
Live/Music/Speech/Off
Scenes No Yes
Store/recall system settings via Bose L1 Mix App
Bose L1 Mix App No Yes
Wireless control over volume, tone, reverb and system EQ