The first thing I thought of when I set my eyes on this Bose contraption was “Is that thing actually a solo-flex?” It does kind of look like a late night infomercial workout machine. You know the kind that promises twice the workout in half the time? That’s four times the workout! This wasn’t a solo-flex. The L1 Model II system (which is quite a sterile name) totally blew me away.LIST PRICE: $2,499
The first thing I thought of when I set my eyes on this Bose contraption was “Is that thing actually a solo-flex?” It does kind of look like a late night infomercial workout machine. You know the kind that promises twice the workout in half the time? That’s four times the workout! This wasn’t a solo-flex. The L1 Model II system (which is quite a sterile name) totally blew me away. The reason it looks different is because it is different. It is a really freaking cool kind of different. It basically is a PA system that takes little-to-no effort to operate, and it sounds amazing. Utilizing very few components, the artist performing can control the sound on stage and to the audience. The Cylindrical Radiator loudspeaker is the tall, slim center of the system. This is made up of 24 drivers that fill out the audio horizontally across the room, without sending much up or down. Bose calls this speaker technology Articulated Array. This is an effort to clarify the sound through less reverb from sound waves bouncing off the floor or ceiling. This is also designed to project from behind the performer, making it evident to identify the subject being amplified. To cover the low end, Bose implements its B1 Bass Module. Weighing only thirty pounds, the two 6.5″ drivers deliver a full, uncolored bass response. If more low end is desired, an additional B1 module can be added. The Cylindrical Radiator speaker stick and the B1 Bass module are both driven by the Packlite Power Amplifier Model A1. This general purpose use amp weighs only 3 lbs and acts as the stand for the speaker tower. Any passive speaker with a 4 ohm minimum load and a power handling capability of 250 Watts can be driven with it. A protective limiter is part of its design to keep the driven speakers from distorting or getting damaged under maximum output situations. In other words, when you blast it as loud as you can, it shouldn’t sound bad or explode. How is all of this controlled without a mixing board? Or better yet, by a musician? All joking aside, the ToneMatch Audio Engine is one of the simplest engines I’ve ever driven. You basically patch in a mic or instrument cable, set the trim, and turn it up. It’s that easy. There are a total of 5 inputs. Each channel can use the zEQ technology. All these patented terms actually sound more confusing than they actually are. It uses a preset eq that you can pick out to help it sound better depending on the device you are using. I plugged in an SM58 microphone, pushed the button on the channel I was using and picked out “Vocal Mic.” It was extremely easy. I then frightened the dog by playing around with the different delays and other effects. When a desired setup is achieved, which should take all of about five minutes, the setting can be stored to appear the same way the next time you turn it on. The first thing I did when I set it up was hook up a drum machine, a mic, and a bass guitar. I was rocking within ten minutes of ever seeing the thing. This system seems perfect for a coffee shop, karaoke bar or onstage at the next gig. It is straightforward to set up, use, and transport.