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Bose L1 Compact or Fishman SA330X?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by LGOberean, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. LGOberean

    LGOberean Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    64
    May 31, 2008
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    Hope I've posted this in the right forum...

    I'm sort of interested in a line array system for me, but it is neither a need or nor a priority. For my kid brother, on the other hand, he's got some gigs where his Fishman Loudbox Mini doesn't quite do it.

    On rare occasions, he gigs with others, but mostly it's as a singer/songwriter solo performer, playing private gigs, restaurants, coffee shops, patios, outdoor venues, etc.

    He's looking at a used Bose L1 from a friend, I have no idea what model of Bose it is, what the price is, or if they've talked price yet.

    I don't have experience with either the Bose L1 Compact or the Fishman SA330x, but like my brother I have a Loudbox Mini, so I'm more inclined to look first at Fishman. From what I can tell the Bose L1 Compact and the basic Fishman SA330x are priced the same.

    I've watched one video where three line array systems are compared, a BagAmp, the L1 Compact and the SA330x. To my ears, the Fishman sounded best, although the Bose system was very good too. It was just the basic SA330x, without the optional Fishman SA Sub.

    So anyone out there working with either of these two? If so, do you find that your system sounds good without the optional sub? Again, in a singer/songwriter kind of application? Can the system handle the outdoor patio of a restaurant, or a venue of 100+ people?
     

  2. fitflatpicker

    fitflatpicker TDPRI Member

    Age:
    39
    43
    Oct 8, 2017
    Tenneseee
    The bose sounds fantastic. I gigged with one for years, but it’s made for you to stand in the dead area between the tweeter array, about 6 feet in front of the speaker. If you can’t be that far in front of it the threshold for feedback might be too low to play for 100 people. But I loved it. It always felt like playing acoustic, just louder. It is perfect for restaurant patios actually. But not bar gigs with a high noise floor. You can set it like a mono main and run a monitor, that raises the feedback threshold, especially if you have a graphic eq on the monitor. Fantastic sound reverb and compression on the ToneMatch mixer. If you go that route, I would plan to get the mixer too if you don’t already have a favorite.
     

  3. still_fiddlin

    still_fiddlin Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    May 6, 2009
    Texas
    I've got a L1 Compact and like it, but I've played through the previous Fish-stick (220?) and it sounds good too.

    I'd probably say for 100+ a single (new model) Fishman is going to have a little more punch, and I believe it has more inputs out-of-the-box. It has no bass though (where the L1 Compact does) but it certainly goes low enough for a couple guitars and vocals IME.

    A buddy used to play in an Americana kind of band and they used 2 L1 Compacts for *years* - I mean he got them when they were first released. He still does solo gigs with those same two, and they sent keys, bass, guitar, fiddle and vocals through the pair. Never a problem. If you have bass, they come with a subwoofer of sorts that is good enough for acoustic-y ensembles, but for a big crowd, especially outdoors, I'd want two.

    Don't know if that helps or not, but supplementing the Loudbox with an L1 Compact if that's what it is and the price is right might be an option to consider.
     

  4. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Fort Collins, CO
    My bass player has an older L1 with a sub. We used it a week or so ago at an indoor Farmer's Market. It's a noisy reverberant room and we were stuffed under a stairway. It worked great. We ran my acoustic, his bass and two vocal mics through it, no external mixer. People could hear us through out the room and we got lots of compliments (but more tips would have been better!). We use it with the full four piece band as well, using a little Mackie mixer and a DBX goRack for EQ and feedback control.

    I've never tried the Fishman, but have heard of some quality control issues that would concern me. Not to knock it on hearsay, but the BOSE has exceeded my expectations.
     
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  5. LGOberean

    LGOberean Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    64
    May 31, 2008
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    Good input thus far. I knew the reputation of Bose, but I'm still a little surprised that Bose has gotten the vote unanimously, to this point, anyway. Like I said, this is for my brother, primarily (though I'm not uninterested myself), and he's talking to a friend about an L1, so that may be the way he goes.

    Any votes/input on the Fishman SA systems, either the previous model 220 or the current 330X? I still want to look into that as well. And about QC issues, I've never heard of any, and since both my brother and I have Fishman Loudbox Minis and have gigged them for years, I'm inclined to think that quality control isn't an issue in general where Fishman is concerned.
     

  6. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 26, 2003
    The North Coast

  7. nocastermike

    nocastermike Tele-Meister

    283
    Apr 25, 2015
    ma
    The bose has a much wider frequency response and nice low end. I have the compact and the model 11. Just fantastic sounding units.
     
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  8. LGOberean

    LGOberean Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    64
    May 31, 2008
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    Jakedog, are you spitballing about other brand options, or have you had experience with or owned a Turbosound iP2000 or one his little brothers (iP500, iP1000)?
     
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  9. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 26, 2003
    The North Coast
    I've tried a couple recently. Several folks in my line of work around here have ditched the Bose stuff for them. I'm a fan. Half the price, and excellent power and sound. I'll be getting myself either a 2000, or the new 3000 later this year.

    I know a couple people that are pairing the 2000 units with the behringer XR Series mixers and running whole ensembles right off their iphones or iPads. I don't need that many channels.

    The Bose may be a little higher quality fidelity in *some* situations. But nowhere near double the money good.
     

  10. LGOberean

    LGOberean Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    64
    May 31, 2008
    Corpus Christi, Texas
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  11. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 26, 2003
    The North Coast
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
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  12. jimash

    jimash Friend of Leo's

    Nov 5, 2013
    NJ
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  13. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 26, 2003
    The North Coast
    They're incredible. Really. I waited for some fellow musicians around here to guinea pig them, and I've been nothing but impressed. But really, it shouldn't surprise. Turbosound has been one of the go-to names for large venue sound and line arrays for decades. They've just put their tech into portable systems now.

    For those looking at the L1 compact, compare to iP500. Its half the price and does the job, plus has the iOS app for full control. It's a killer unit.
     
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  14. LGOberean

    LGOberean Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    64
    May 31, 2008
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    This is good to know, thanks. I didn't know about this Turbosound iP series of linear array amps before starting this thread. The iP500 would go easy on my brother's budget, and it's good to get a recommendation. I also checked it out on Sweetwater, and it's had some really good reviews there. I'll pass on the information. Thanks again.
     
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  15. ac15

    ac15 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    May 9, 2005
    CHICAGO, IL.
    I was probably one of the earliest users of the Bose L1. I’ve had it for damn near 15 years. For a solo gig like the op described, I’d probably opt to bring an acoustic amp. I don’t know about the Bose compact, but there have been many times when I wished I had a more traditional PA instead of the L1. Certain things are a pain (using effects, using more than one input), and though it sounds great, it’s awkward to cart around.
     
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  16. Random1643

    Random1643 Tele-Meister

    405
    Mar 11, 2015
    Upper Midwest
    Just my 2 cents. I played in a fingerstyle guitar/harmony vocal duo for 9 years; we played hundreds of gigs using a Bose L1 w/ bass module. I found the Bose sound quality to be consistently compressed, plasticene, unnatural. The other guy owned the equipment and was willing to schlep it around and manage sound, so it was just one of those band compromises for me. That said, the system does give you instrumental and vocal clarity, and provides decent sound dispersion for both indoor and outdoor gigs. There are of course some larger venues that a system this size can’t handle and we sometimes used more powerful gear. But in my experience there are definitely trade-offs with a Bose. A musician buddy has the Compact, so I've used that maybe a dozen times. Same trade-offs as the L1 IMO + a thinner sound overall.

    I’ve played a bunch of the portable systems including Yamaha StagePas, Turbosound, Fender Passport. In each case the owner had opted for the cheapest, lowest-powered systems, so I can't really make a fair comparison. For a series of institutional gigs in 2012-13 the agency had purchased a ton of the Stagepas systems. The cool thing was you just showed up and plugged & played at this or that campus; the down side was - even in a medium-sized room - pushing sound through an under-powered amp outa cheap little speakers. Sounded like cr*p. In smaller rooms I'd forego any amplification, push my voice a bit, make it work without the Stagepas.

    For me, in this price/performance range, Fishman’s SA220*, the "Fish Stick," is the best for acoustic amplification. The sound quality is amazing, full, balanced, clear. I use “as is” for solo gigs and add an Allen & Heath ZED-10FX mixer for duo and more. Been gigging with the SA220 for the last 4 years. It replaced my bigger, heavier solo rig - think Yorkville 15s, 3X200 amp powered mixer, monitors, etc. The entire Fish Stick system weighs less than my old powered mixer. For solo gigs I'm playing guitar, banjo and Portuguese cavaquinho - all wired for live sound - plus singing, and couldn't be happier with the sound. Fishman customer service in my experience is first rate.

    *I have not yet tried the SA330x.

    Again, just my ears and experience. YMMV.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
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  17. LGOberean

    LGOberean Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    64
    May 31, 2008
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    It's good to see some positive feedback about the "Fish Stick." I have had nothing but positive experiences with Fishman products: the onboard preamps in my acoustic/electrics, a friend's Fishman 100, my own Loudbox Mini...So my first inclination was to look at the new SA330x. Of course, as I said, this data collection was for my younger brother, so ultimately it'll be his decision. He was talking to a guy about an L1, and now I've told him about the Fishman SA330x and the Turbosound iP series. Thanks again to all for your input.
     
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  18. Georox

    Georox Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 30, 2014
    The tan house in AZ
    Bose products are overpriced.
     
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