Product Reviews

Sneak Peak - Bose F1 Flexible Array Loudspeaker

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There's been a lot of buzz around portable PA the past few years, thanks mostly to power amplifiers becoming smaller and lighter. The idea behind portable is that you can take it anywhere, the downside of which is that all performance venues are not alike -- so the decision of what to buy has always been a question of what's the best fit for most situations.

The engineers at Bose have come up with a solution to speaker systems easy to understand (and even easier to implement) for smaller venues, or outdoor patios. Last week, we got to look at, and listen to, the new Bose F1 Flexible Line Array system which begins shipping September 1, and here's what we thought after our initial demo.

Four speakers in one box! With a simple push or pull to the top or bottom of the speaker array, it was easy to reconfigure the elements to cover a wide variety of rooms vertically. Take a look at the images below to see what we mean.

coverage 1  coverage 2 

coverage 3  coverage 4

With the speaker position in J configuration we were immediately able to cover the front rows with the speakers above the listener's heads on a platform or stage. The effect was immediately noticeable as the elements were manipulated. The "C" configuration could cover a small hall or church with a stage and a balcony while the reverse "J" configuration nicely covers a room with no platform and a raked floor or balcony where some of the listeners ears are position higher than the speakers. Straight allows you to keep from bouncing sound off the ceilings when not needed. Pattern control is a beautiful thing.

Read more: Sneak Peak - Bose F1 Flexible Array Loudspeaker

 

Electro-Voice Roadshow 2014 - the place we found a new favorite

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maxresdefaultIf you've followed what we've written for long enough, you've seen us switch gears and to offer new favorites of powered choir microphones, earset microphones, powered speakers, line arrays, video projectors and equipment in general.  And we think that's okay.  If we didn't have new favorites, that would mean that our suppliers were still turning out the same old stuff in new packages, and that's just not the case. 

In September, we were invited by Electro-Voice to come out to one of its roadshows.  Thankfully, it was here in Columbus, so we didn't have to travel very far, and they fed us lunch.  That's always a plus.  

For about two hours, we listened.  We sat outside and got to hear most of the Electro-Voice product line at a full-sized outdoor stage.  The picture above is not the Roadshow, but just a file photo. 

At the Roadshow, we heard larger-format line arrays for festival-type use, line arrays for permanent installation right beside those larger arrays, new powered speakers on stands next to large-format conventional speakers with small format installation speakers close by, and more.  Events like these are really rare, so we always try to get out to hear the lineup, especially when it's in a real-world setting. 

All of it was pretty impressive, but one particular speaker group really stood out - the new ETX powered speaker family.  Shown in the photo above. 

We heard a 2-way 10".  I like small loudspeakers, so I was immediately interested.  One listener interrupted and asked "is the sub on?"  It wasn't (we were all fooled).  Amazing bass response.  Then the demonstrator added the sub, switched it off and them fired up the 12", added the sub to that, fired up the 15", added the sub.  Eventually, he moved to a 15" 3-way with two subs underneath.  We heard $100,000 line arrays, we heard $500 smaller speakers, and people kept asking to listen to the ETX again.  So we listened some more.

Read more: Electro-Voice Roadshow 2014 - the place we found a new favorite

   

LiveMix Personal Mixing System - Part 1

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by Mike Sessler, ChurchTechArts.org

livemixThere are no shortages of personal mixing products any more. It wasn't so long ago that Aviom was the only game in town. The Digital Audio Labs Livemix is a product that I've been waiting to review for almost a year. We first saw it at InfoCom 2013. We shot a video of it back then, but it wasn't quite ready. A few weeks ago, a big box arrived on my doorstep full of personal mixing goodness.

We'll do this in three parts. First, an overview. Second, we'll dig a little deeper into the components and how they are laid out. Finally, how does it actually work. From the outset I'll say that I like the system. It's built well, sounds good and offers some unique features that no one else does - at least not the way they're implemented here.

System Components

Like most personal mixing systems, the Livemix consists of two main parts; the input module and the control surface. Here, it's implemented a bit differently. The input module consists of the Central Mixer or Mix-16 and either an analog input module, the AD-24 or a Dante expansion card. And of course, you have the personal mixer itself. Now, you might notice something right away that is unique here. The personal mixer is called CS-Duo, which I suppose stands for Control Surface, Duo. There are actually two complete personal mixers in each control surface.

While that might initially sound confusing, it's really not in practice.

Read more: LiveMix Personal Mixing System - Part 1

   

LiveMix - Personal Monitor System

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Let's just call this a pre-review because we're pretty early in the acceptance cycle for LiveMix, but all looks pretty convincing that this is a personal monitoring solution that is both affordable and effective.  As they say "Simple enough for volunteers, deep enough for professionals." 

The system is available in two packages - one with analog inputs and one with Dante for digital.  Both are $3999 for eight users with mixers, cables, a hub, mic stand mounts, and your choice of input device.  Additional personal mixers (each accommodates two users) are just $524.99. 

We were introduced to LiveMix by one of our larger church clients and also by a system integrator in the upper midwest.  Take a look at the video below (it's well thought out and tells the story pretty convincingly), and if you'd like more info, give us a call at 800-747-7301.  We'll have it up on the site for purchase soon. 

 

   

Bose L1 Compact - perfect portable PA system

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Could there be a more polarizing company in the universe of audio than Bose?  Bose's marketing slogan is "Better Sound Through Research".  Critics have restated that as "Better Sound Through Marketing" and have derided the product with chants of "No Highs, No Lows, must be Bose."  Frankly, I like Bose products, in general, and have wondered what I've been missing that others have found so easy to dislike.  Sure, they've had some dud products, but so has every other manufacturer on the planet. 

Let me introduce you to the Bose L1 Compact by telling you my story.  Several months ago, our Bose sales rep dropped off the L1 Compact and left it.  He said "Just try it someplace, and I think that you'll like it."  A week went by, and then another, and then two more.  I hadn't touched it, and I knew that he'd want it back.   Plus, I had given my word that I'd try it. 

At the church I attend, we were planning an outdoor service to dedicate our community garden and I had been asked to make sure that we had a sound system capable of accommodating both acoustically-flavored live music and the spoken word for about 150 people outdoors.  And any of you who don't have a dedicated portable sound system at your church (and who know what a pain it is to round up a system in order to take something outside) will appreciate what I'm about to write. 

I had spent the better part of two hours going down to church, looking through the youth system, the main system extra gear, even the old gear, and thinking about how to get the system outside while still being ready inside for the regular service.  That day, I would be the lone sound technician for both locations and there wasn't another experienced tech to be found, even to carry a speaker.  Thinking about what might have been unassisted set-up and tear-down, I was a little bit stressed and maybe a tad bit grumpy.  Maybe.  Most of you have probably never felt that way. 

Then it dawned on me.

Read more: Bose L1 Compact - perfect portable PA system

   

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What others say

Also wanted to let you know that our first week with the new system was incredible!!!
People were really blessed, and were so blown away at the clarity of speech and audio overall in the entire space.

So thank you so much!!
--
Phil Kosakowski
Director of Technical Arts