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Bose L1 System Reviews

Updated on March 23, 2010

All About the Bose L1 Systems

Bose L1 systems produce incredible sound - there's no question about it. But since I've owned one, I've realized their uses go far beyond what most people anticipate.

So I've dedicated this page to review the Bose L1 Systems, particularly the L1 Model 2, but also the L1 Model I and the L1 Compact.

Bose L1 System Basics

Bose L1 systems are truly remarkable systems. They are commonly used by solo artists, DJ's, duet's and trio's of all sorts, churches, full rock bands, and many, many other live performers.

Their clarity is impeccable, and what truly sets them apart is their Spatial Dispersion and Articulated Array speaker technologies, which distribute the amplified sound evenly to the entire room and audience.

The effect is something like wearing headphones in the sense that the sound (both tone and volume) changes very, very little as you move around the room.

I've unleashed my L1 Model 2 system in a number of different venues including my home living room, garage, an acoustically tuned theater that seats 300, several different church auditoriums, and a full size school gymnasium.

Remarkably, the venue seems to have little impact on the sound performance of the unit. I've yet to be disappointed with the way it sounds in any situation

The 3 Different Models

There are 3 different models of the Bose L1 System. Below is a brief summary of the differences. A more detailed summary of each individual model can be found below.

The L1 Model II

Newest and Most Advanced ModelImproved EQ for Superior Sound QualitySignificantly Improved Portability- Lighter and More CompactDesigned for Easy Use w/ ToneMatch 4-Channel EngineThe L1 Model 1Lower Price than L1 Model 2Large, Heavy, Bulky Base/StandBuilt in 4 Channel Mixer (limited functionality)The L1 CompactSignificantly Lower CostMuch Less Volume and Presence than other ModelsTwo Channels with ToneMatch PresetsDesigned for Solo Performer on a Budget

Bose L1 Model II Review

When I first was reading reviews and doing research to find the differences between the Model 1 and Model II, I had a hard time justifying the difference in cost. At the time, Bose was giving a way a free B1 with the purchase of a Model 1 system, effectively making it an $800 upgrade to buy a Model II with a B1 vs. a Model 1 with a B1.

So obviously, I had every reason to want to choose the Model 1 over the Model II.

But when I went to my local Guitar Center and tested both units side by side for over 3 hours, there was no question about which unit to buy.

My test was as thorough as I could make it in that setting. I ran the same mixer into each unit one at a time, and turned the Trim to the same level on both Bose units.

I then took various sound inputs and sent them through the mixer, switching the output cable from the mixer back and forth between the two units. I tested dozens of different songs, a couple different microphones, and a couple high end acoustic-electric guitars. The results were unanimous among my posse of 3 audio-tech nerds.

The L1 Model II was hands down better sounding. The bass was more crisp, the treble had more sparkle, and the mid-range had more bite. The unit also had a noticeable increase in headroom.

(which means it had more power to push, and therefore was clearer and less blurred at an identical volume as the Model 1)

Buy your Bose L1 System on eBay - The ONLY way to save money on the cost!

I'd recommend buying your Bose L1 on eBay if you don't mind a little wear and tear. These units hold up great, and since the warranties are tracked by serial number, Bose doesn't seem to be concerned with who the owner is if the unit is still under warranty.

Generally speaking, you can save 25%-40% off of what the systems go for new, so you're getting a great deal.

Bose set's the prices dealers are allowed to sell their products for (in a manner not too different from Apple). The bottom line is that you will not find a discount on a new Bose L1 System anywhere. In light of this, look to eBay. At any given time there are a handful of Bose L1 Systems for sale on eBay, so look for one in working condition that's priced reasonably.

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