How Not To Hear What You've Got

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This is a few words of advise about getting to know your new L1 .

The Simple Version

In typical A/B comparisons we try to leave everything the same except for the one critical factor we are comparing.

If you want to compare your sound with/without the Bose System, then compare:

  • Your entire (old) signal chain (everything after the source to the listeners' ears)


  • The Bose System (just the source plus the Bose System).

The Back Story

When I got my L1 System I was anxious to hear it and compare it to what I had lying around here. I wanted to be fairly scientific about the comparisons and in some cases, completely missed the point.


  • Just make the Bose System the last step in your signal chain. That is... if you do what you've been doing before and just take that last cord that would have gone to a mixer or power amp and put it into one of the inputs on the Bose System, you'll miss knowing what the Bose L1 will do for your sound.


Think of the Bose System as your entire signal chain and listen. That is:

  • Pick a sizable space (not your tiny basement practice room) and start and keep things as simple as possible.
  • Take just one input (a mic is a good place to start). Connect it to input 1.
  • Choose the appropriate ToneMatch Preset on Channel 1.
  • Set the gain (see the manual).
  • Turn up the volume until it sounds pleasantly loud and listen.
  • Work the tone controls on the L1 or the ToneMatch mixer to tweak what you hear.
  • Once you are used to how the L1 is for you as a stage monitor, get someone else to use the source (play, sing, whatever) and go out to the audience area and walk all around.
  • If you want to add effects or processors add them one at a time and listen carefully at each step along the way.
  • Accept that you will sound different, but much better.
  • Aim for "it sounds like me, only louder."

If things go poorly and you can't solve it, go straight to the Bose Community for help.

Mistakes/Corrections I made along the way

Mistake: Assumed the L1 was like any other PA

I plugged the last output from my chain of vocal effects into the Bose System


Every flaw and over-compensation in my old signal chain was amplified flawlessly. I assumed that the problems I was hearing were in the Bose System.

I eventually realized that most of what I had been doing was compensating for problems that are not with the L1 System. It was like sprinting with crutches after the broken leg had healed.

Mistake: Effects

I plugged outboard compression, EQ, and other compensatory devices into the L1 . The result is the same as above: Every flaw and over-compensation in my old signal chain was amplified flawlessly.

I assumed that the problems I was hearing were in the Bose System. I have since dropped all that other gear. It is no longer necessary.

Mistake: Guitar Effects

I ran my Guitars through my old chain of effects.


I could now hear the problems being introduced in that chain and found greater presence and clarity by simplifying and drying out the sound. (dialing back a lot on the reverb and delays).

Mistake: My old Bass Preamp

Ran my Bass through my old Bass preamp. Found that running the Bass directly into Channel 1 or 2 sounded much better.