Panaray® MB4 Modular Bass Loudspeaker

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Classic This information is applicable to the L1® Classic
L1 Model I This information is applicable to the L1 Model I
L1 Model II This information is applicable to the L1®  Model II

Panaray® MB4 Modular Bass Loudspeaker

Bose Questions and Answers

Q: Can I use the Bose® Panaray® MB4 Modular Bass Loudspeaker with the L1 Classic, L1 Model I or L1 Model II?

Hilmar-at-Bose [1]

The MB-4 can not be used as a replacement for the B1. The impedance and EQ do not match particularly well and in general we recommend using B1s.
If you still want to use the MB-4 you would have to use an external power amp. Connect the Bass Line Out of the power stand to the input of the external power amp (that feeds the MB-4). In this case you should not connect any B1s to Amp 3 out of the power stand.

Q: Can I use the PackLite® power amplifier Model A1 to power the Panaray® MB4 Modular Bass Loudspeaker?

A: the Output specifications for the PackLite® power amplifier Model A1 are similar to the Amp 3 (Bass Out) of the PS1 Powerstand (250 watts into 4 Ohms).

Hilmar-at-Bose [2]

I would NOT recommend connecting an MB4. Its impedance doesn’t match the power stand particularly well (although you can safely hook up 2 MB4) and the bass output you may get is probably similar to that of a single B1, which is about half the weight and half the size. As Ken & Thomas have already pointed the power stand can sense the presence of a B1 and adjust the EQ accordingly. That is not the case for the MB4 so the overall system voicing will be somewhat off.

MB4 Product Data Sheet - pdf file

Note: The MB4 appears in the history of the development of the L1 . See: The Invention of the B1

MB4 Owner's Perspective

If the opinion of one who has tried them (MB4s) in most every configuration imaginable with L1s, it's not worth the hassle. I have eight B1s and would rather handle all of them than the MB4s. It only took a couple of times comparing the ease of loading the B1 in the back of an SUV to the effort of lifting the MB4 over the same height to convince me the B1 is better suited to my needs.
Once you have adjusted to the spectral balance of the L1/B1 there really is nothing to gain by using the MB4, and there is the chance that you upset the spectral balance to the point of dislike. Most Bose products seem to work best when used as designed. The MB4 has a recommended eq depending on which panaray speaker it is combined with. You must have a panaray controller or amp with eq card to access those eq curves.
Of course there will always be arguments for and against the need for special eq as it pertains to Bose speakers, but, if you enjoy the way the L1s sound, then you are already a fan of their way of doing things so why mess with it?
The B1s and the power stand are designed to use a 4 conductor cable so the power stand can read the number of speakers attached. The MB4 uses a 2 conductor cable so there is no information for the detection circuit. How important this is I really don't know, but there is more to the DSP than just impedence matching.
When I was using the MB4s (with a Panaray system) I used an amp with considerable more power than the 250 watts provided by the powerstand or the A1.
When I bought my first L1 I really wanted to use my MB4s because I felt like I already owned the equivalent of $1200 worth of B1s. In the end I trusted the judgement of those engineers <quoted> above, and never looked back.

Source: Oldghm [3]

  1. Hilmar-at-Bose message board post March 2004
  2. Hilmar-at-Bose message board post December 2003
  3. MB4 Owner talks about his experiences message board post September 2011