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FDP Forum / Performer's Corner / Bose F1


Columbia, SC

Sep 19th, 2017 08:32 AM   Edit   Profile  

I'm close to pulling the trigger on one of these for our 5 piece. The L1, model 2 was in the running, but after A/B'ing them the other day, the F1 (top and bottom sub) sounded better to my ear.

I'm trying to go smaller, and eliminate the bulk and weight of my old large system. We don't need it. But we need to hear each other.

The old L1 was designed to go behind the band, but I can't seem to find the same claims for the F1. We can of course run powered monitors too, if need be, but I'd like to do away with them.

Full disclosure. I was very unimpressed with the L1 for several years, because I thought they sounded like crap. But then I discovered those were clearly instances of operator error.

Properly dialed in they can sound great. So, anyone using this setup?

Contributing Member

South Florida

Sep 19th, 2017 09:43 AM   Edit   Profile  

I am wondering why you don't opt to plug into a traditional powered mixer. It seems to me you get the same result with a lot more options.

I always thought of the L1 as useful for the solo acoustic performer doing coffee houses and such but somewhat limiting in a full band situation.


Columbia, SC

Sep 19th, 2017 10:31 AM   Edit   Profile  

I already have my fantastic Mackie 808, with 15" JBL passive's, Fitzmaurice passive sub, and the other guys have a couple sets of monitors, which can be used as needed. But we often play at smaller venues, and space is a premium. Plus, I'm tired of lugging around so much stuff. It sounds great, but it's overkill.


Columbia, SC

Sep 19th, 2017 10:37 AM   Edit   Profile  

Yeah, Larry, I thought the same thing about using them primarily for solo performances. But I've heard, and played in, situations where there were 5 pieces or more, with 3 vocal mics, and the sound from 1 L1, Model two, was great. On stage you could hear everything clearly, and out front, in a mid size bar/ restaurant, it sounded just as well.

Having a good mixer, and the knowledge to use it, seems to be the key.

Contributing Member

American Patriot

About as ordinary as you can get.
Sep 24th, 2017 10:30 AM   Edit   Profile  

We use one of the Bose things you are talking about but we use a powered mixer in order to plug in extra mics. Amazing the sound of these compact Bose PA's.

Tony Wright
Contributing Member

Stillwater, OK

I never met a calorie I didn't like.
Sep 25th, 2017 06:29 AM   Edit   Profile  

Did I understand that you purchased the complete F1-812 and the F1-Sub package?

That is package is intended to be placed IN FRONT of the band. There are a couple of video on the Bose and YouTube websites that show how to set up the F1 loudspeaker and the F1 subwoofer. They always showed the stack "out front". But it is your gear and your sound, so you "can" place it behind the band if you are able to avoid feedback.

My current group is a 3 piece, acoustic electric guitar, Cajon/hand percussionist and me on my P-bass. We play "Americana" (John Prine, Woody Guthrie, similar singer-songwriter tunes at low volume.

With that group I started setting the Yamaha DBR10 cabinets parallel to our shoulders so that we hear them on stage as our monitor but they are far enough forward that the audience hears them as mains. Because they are not quite far enough "back" to have the sound picked up by the vocal mics, we do not get feedback. We play very low volume, so that helps.

How low volume level? Well, it depends on the venue and audience size, but suffice to say that we have played around 125-150 outdoors with no problems. Indoors, we played a small club with around 75 patrons. Mostly we do house parties and backyard patios...

I would strongly suggest you find out if your gig volume levels will allow those Bose cabinets behind the front mics or if they need to go "out front" BEFORE you accept a gig and fight with the sound.

The Bose F1 series was intended to compete with conventional powered cabinets such as the JBL PRX series. The built in vertical stands and the adjustable angle on the F1 "top loudspeaker cabinet" are what separates these cabinets from the typical powered speaker cabinets....and the Bose quality.


Columbia, SC

Sep 26th, 2017 10:59 AM   Edit   Profile  

The set up you describe (F1 on the side, but even with our shoulders) is doable, but not what I want.

They sound great, but I want to eliminate monitors, not just replace my mains.

I believe I'm starting to swing back to the L1, model II. The F1 and sub aren't exactly light either, which is a concern. At least the L1 only has one sub to haul around.

Thanks so much Tony!

Tony Wright
Contributing Member

Stillwater, OK

I never met a calorie I didn't like.
Sep 26th, 2017 09:56 PM   Edit   Profile  

I know guys that have taken one or two of the L1 with a couple of bass modules and used a traditional sound mixer to blend all the vocals and instruments. It works just fine. Can that be scaled down to one L1 with bass module? Of course, depending on the size of the room and the expected/required volume levels.

I know more than a couple of local club bands have Bose L1 systems that they use primarily for vocals and acoustic electric instruments and then appropriate size guitar and bass amps for the rest of the instruments. It works fine for those bands.

Seems to me that more than a couple of Guitar Center are rental sites (I live in a circle of 4 GC: OKC, Norman, Tulsa, Wichita) for the Bose L1 system. Perhaps it is worth renting one for a night and giving it a good work out to see if it is what you want or need.

As an alternative...

I own four Yamaha DBR-10. 23 pounds, 700 Watts, powered cabinet. These are pretty sweet cabinets for mains or monitors. If you want simple load in and load out...lower cost....lighter weight.

I have used all four as mains at one gig...just two on tripods and two for monitors on a couple of gigs and I also use them parallel with our shoulders facing the audience, WITH THE SPEAKER SITTING UPRIGHT ON THE STAGE.

Keep in mind that we do not play large venues. Typically, 50-125 people at our performances...small venues, back yard-patio for house parties...even living rooms. But there is enough "guts" in the DBR10 to support a "club dance band" that has around 125 to 150 patrons.

Better than the Bose L1? THAT is for you to decide.

To be honest, since I do sound for hire on occasion, I wanted a more traditional PA so I did not have to explain the operation to clients.

Oh, one more thing...I use a QSC K10 bag for my DBR10. At the time, there was not a bag for the DBR10 and if I moved to the DBR12 bag, it was about $20 more than the QSC K10 bag....

I kind of hope you opt for the Bose so you can tell the rest of us how much you love it.

I linked the Guitar Center dot com via the FDP below specifically because you might be able to see one of the DBR10 in the local Guitar Center.

FDP Link to Guitar Center listing for Yamaha DBR-10


Columbia, SC

Sep 27th, 2017 05:22 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks so much Tony! Once again.

I'm pretty set on the L1 model Ii at this point. Local guitar center does not carry them. Have to go 100 miles North or South for a bigger store with sound departments. Of course they can order one for me, but I'm looking on eBay right now and see some pretty good discounts. Buyer beware, I understand.

I'll post my experiences here once I get some experience under my belt.

Contributing Member

St. Louis

"Thumbpicks don't slide into soundholes"
Sep 27th, 2017 08:03 PM   Edit   Profile  

If you are placing them behind you for monitor duty as well be careful of placement. Feeding back is never fun.
I use an L1 compact as my needs are not large. I was at a place the other day and they had an L1 copycat system ( harbinger)with a bigger line array etc. more power so I figured it would really be great. The only problem is my L1 line array is I guess intentionally designed with the extensions to be above normal mic height for a standing singer. The other used larger drivers for the line array and I never heard so much feedback. I think it was because the line array was larger but no higher and the drivers were low enough to cause problems.
The F1 looks very interesting to me but I really don't need the extra horsepower. When I do I add a small studio sub to the L1 if there is a bass player or a little more juice needed. Good Luck! Interested to hear the results.


Columbia, SC

Sep 30th, 2017 01:51 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thump picker, I looked at the Harbinger, but was not impressed. The mic preamps are almost useless.

More importantly, the sound guy at GC said it was their house brand, and he didn't think much of them. Built to a price point.

Lost a bid on EBay yesterday that I thought I had on a model II. Will keep looking!

Contributing Member

St. Louis

"Thumbpicks don't slide into soundholes"
Sep 30th, 2017 09:13 PM   Edit   Profile  

Probably any unit could benefit from a good mixer in front of it. I use a Mackie Dfx in front of my Compact when I need more mic inputs. It's still quiet and all but gives you more flexibility. I'm just too lazy to haul more gear than I require anymore. Keep on hunting. You'll find it!

FDP Forum / Performer's Corner / Bose F1

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