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Hands On Review: Bose L1 Model II with ToneMatch

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Playing live music is full of equipment challenges. And though it seems counterintuitive, playing in a small room is often more complicated than filling a stadium with sound. My folk/Americana trio, the Gimcrack Slackers, recently faced the small-room/live-sound challenge, playing a small club here in town. But thankfully, our friends at Bose were nice enough to loan us an L1 Model II with ToneMatch for the gig – and it performed admirably!

We had no trouble assembling the L1 Model II, although the low ceiling did make for a little excitement. Once we had the unit put together and positioned where we wanted it in the room, it was time to start plugging in and choosing ToneMatch presets for our particular setup. Our instrumentation consisted of two acoustic guitars, a banjo, an electric bass, and two vocalists. The vocal mics went into channels 1 and 2, with the banjo mic in channel 3. Channel 4/5 (a stereo pair of 1/4″ jacks) accommodated the two acoustic-electric guitars running direct into the module. The electric bass was amplified using an external bass amp.

The ToneMatch has presets that let you shape the sound for what you have running through the L1 Model II. For mics, all the usual suspects are included, along with voicings for various guitar pickups, basses, and much more. The menus are easy to navigate, and the presets sound great. After just a few minutes of selecting presets and dialing back the brightness of the acoustic guitars just a touch, we were ready to take the stage.

Now, for how it sounded. In a word: amazing! The room was filled but not overpowered by the sound system. The L1 Model II offered up very natural-sounding reproductions of all the instruments (even the banjo!), and we received several compliments on the sound after the show. When you couple the L1’s painless setup with its superb sound, it’s easy to see that Bose has a real winner here. We really didn’t want to send it back!

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