PA for solo acoustic gigs? Bose L1 Compact or...?

Figaro

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,768
Looking for a PA for solo acoustic gigs that is lightweight and easy to set up. Currently have a Peavey powered mixer and two heavy speakers with stands. I've read good reviews of the Bose L1 Compact system. Are there better compact systems for the same or less money?
 

Figaro

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,768
Trying to find something new or used for around $700 or less.

What about a reliable and lightweight powered speaker with a built-in mixer with reverb? Or will I have to get a separate little mixer with built-in reverb?
 

RobJ

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
498
You could probably pick up a used Behringer XR-12 and a used QSC K10 or yamaha DXR 10 for about that price. If you have an Ipad, you should be good to go. Very flexible system that should sound pretty darn good. I'm not a huge fan of the Bose Compact. Just personal preference.
 

335guy

Member
Messages
5,232
There are some portable systems that are similar to the Bose L1 Compact, and for less money. I haven't heard them so I can't say if their as good, better or worse. IMO, the Bose L1 sounds pretty fair in a small venue for solo artists. It's not all Bose cracks it up to be, but it can work if you don't need loud and the venue is a small coffee shop/cabaret. Here are a few that are similar:

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/IP500
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/IP1000
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/IP2000
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Expo

None of these have onboard effects. So you would need an effects pedal, a rack effects unit or a mixer with effects. Or, if you have an acoustic guitar amp that can take a mic and it has effects, you can use that and run it into one of these speakers systems as well. I do that with a Fishman Loudbox Mini for my acoustic guitar and it sounds great that way.

Typically, these types of systems have a wider dispersion pattern than a typical powered speaker ( approx 120 degree horizontal dispersal pattern compared to a typical 90 degree horizontal dispersion pattern of a typical horn+woofer speaker. That can work well in small places that are rather wide and shallow, as the sound is spread wide rather than beaming out from a single source. I don't think these work great in larger areas that need more volume and coverage. For that, you're better off going with a couple of quality active speakers and a little mixer, either analog or digital.

There are also mini systems that are comprised of two very small satellite speakers and a sub speaker unit which houses a mixer and the power amps. I've used this one for small, intimate gigs and the sound quality is pretty good, especially if you use an additional mixer for effects and more eq adjustments. It sounds best when you mount the satellites on individual stands and spread them apart. And it will play back in true stereo that way. It will not project very far though, maybe 25' tops.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/con...ap=y&c3api=1876,52934714882,&is=REG&A=details

And the manufacturer makes a slightly larger model with more power.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1128402-REG/hk_audio_lucasnano600_lucas_nano_600_portable.html

Yamaha also has the Stagepass which sounds pretty good a lower volumes. But no sub so there isn't as much bass as in the other setups. But it does have built in reverb.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/StagePas600i
 

billyguitar

Member
Messages
5,319
I just did a gig playing 1920s music with an upright bass and guy that doubles on saxes and violin. We were background music for a big event. We were to play while people had drinks and waited for the doors to the main hall opened up at 8. I brought my mixer and my pair of Yamaha DBR10s. These are the least expensive Yamahas in the series. I mostly played 6 string banjo but also electric guitar direct in. The bass also went direct in. We just miced the horns and banjo. The second hour was when the people, 300 or so, showed up for drinks. The people were all talking and laughing and completely drowning us out. I turned up my rig to match their volume and those little speakers sounded great and did not distort with the upright bass at all! A pair of DBR10s and a little mixer would do your gigs for under $1K and sound great doing it. At 23 pounds each I expect they weigh less than the Bose setup. I might be wrong about that, though.
 

micycle

Member
Messages
3,916
I'm really impressed with my Roland Cube Street EX what little I've been able to use it, plus it runs on batteries and is ridiculously light. I've seen a lot of buskers here in NYC using 2 of those in a PA configuration. More than enough juice for an acoustic gig. It might be above your budget for 2 of them, but I shopped around when I bought mine and saved a nice chunk of $ with a coupon code.
 

EricPeterson

Member
Messages
49,033
I use a Powered 12 (EV ZLX) on a pole and run my guitar and vocals through a Play Acoustic for processing (reverb, eq, comp, etc). This set up also works for my duo, my partner does a similar thing with a digitech vocalist for his guitar and vocals. Whole thing sets up in 15 minutes, even if you bought the pedal and speaker new you are under 700 bucks.

For really cheap I recommend the Kustom/Powerwerks PA50 or PA100 -- the PA50 can routinely be had for under 100 dollars so I got one for the practice room/backup or from small gigs, I was really impressed with what you get for the money, I have played small sized gigs ~50 people with the PA50 and it works great, think like coffee house type settings, it is not the best in the world but gets the job done, it has onboard EQ ability, mic inputs, even phantom power (and for smaller gigs the PA50 and a condenser mic surprisingly works well)


But dont overlook a good powered 12 on a pole, it was a real game changer for my duo when we dropped the big PA, mains, etc. and went to this setup, and you can easily daisy chain a monitor if need be, the whole system becomes modular, if we need more power, add more speakers.
 

rangerkarlos

Member
Messages
5,779
I use a Powered 12 (EV ZLX) on a pole and run my guitar and vocals through a Play Acoustic for processing (reverb, eq, comp, etc). This set up also works for my duo, my partner does a similar thing with a digitech vocalist for his guitar and vocals. Whole thing sets up in 15 minutes, even if you bought the pedal and speaker new you are under 700 bucks.

For really cheap I recommend the Kustom/Powerwerks PA50 or PA100 -- the PA50 can routinely be had for under 100 dollars so I got one for the practice room/backup or from small gigs, I was really impressed with what you get for the money, I have played small sized gigs ~50 people with the PA50 and it works great, think like coffee house type settings, it is not the best in the world but gets the job done, it has onboard EQ ability, mic inputs, even phantom power (and for smaller gigs the PA50 and a condenser mic surprisingly works well)


But dont overlook a good powered 12 on a pole, it was a real game changer for my duo when we dropped the big PA, mains, etc. and went to this setup, and you can easily daisy chain a monitor if need be, the whole system becomes modular, if we need more power, add more speakers.
I'm doing the same with a Digitech Vocalist Live 3 and QSC K10s

https://reverb.com/p/digitech-vocalist-live-3?gclid=CLS3nvOV0ssCFYSDaQodVocLEg

The K10s bust OP budget though.

 

weshunter

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,236
How big are the places you're playing? Inside or out?

I've gone through a few different solutions for different sized spaces and here are my thoughts on them:
1) fishman loudbox mini -- if you're playing small places, you owe it to yourself to try this. It's not loud but it really sounds great. There is something about the midrange character of this little amp that makes my voice sound really nice. Plus it's super light and cheap, especially used. I play 90% of my solo gigs with just this.
2) powered "line array" - i've used the bose and the fishman soloamp. I prefer the latter. But overall, this is more trouble than it's worth. Somewhere this idea got floated around that these things are magically feedback resistant and that you can set up right in front of them so you can hear yourself well. And it just isn't true. The fishman is better at this than the bose but it's really no different than just about any powered speaker. Plus, it's kind of expensive and the stick is basically useless for anything other than solo acoustic gigs.
3) powered speaker(s) and mixer -- best option for loud gigs. The best i've used, and what I still use, is the Line 6 L2T. It has a useful built in mixer with acoustic modeling that really fattens up your acoustic sound and nice reverb as well. It also a VERY useful feedback reduction parameter. Everything is readily accessible with knobs and buttons, it's built like a tank and most importantly -- it sounds the best of any other speaker in its class. It has 2 10's (EDIT 1 10) and sounds fantastic. The only downside to the Line 6 speaker is that it's heavy. But you could play just about any gig with just one of these, or if you get two, you can use the Line 6 Link technology and it will automatically give you stereo effects, so again you don't need a mixer. another cool option is the mackie DLM8 or DLM12. They have some cool processing and sound good, but the controls are not at all useful or easy to get to. Plus it doesn't sound as good as the Line 6 speaker. These are, however, freaky light. The QSC's also sound very good. I preferred the K10 to the K12. The Yamaha's sound good also and are pretty cheap. You'll need a mixer with either of those options.
 
Last edited:

rangerkarlos

Member
Messages
5,779
How big are the places you're playing? Inside or out?

I've gone through a few different solutions for different sized spaces and here are my thoughts on them:
1) fishman loudbox mini -- if you're playing small places, you owe it to yourself to try this. It's not loud but it really sounds great. There is something about the midrange character of this little amp that makes my voice sound really nice. Plus it's super light and cheap, especially used. I play 90% of my solo gigs with just this.
2) powered "line array" - i've used the bose and the fishman soloamp. I prefer the latter. But overall, this is more trouble than it's worth. Somewhere this idea got floated around that these things are magically feedback resistant and that you can set up right in front of them so you can hear yourself well. And it just isn't true. The fishman is better at this than the bose but it's really no different than just about any powered speaker. Plus, it's kind of expensive and the stick is basically useless for anything other than solo acoustic gigs.
3) powered speaker(s) and mixer -- best option for loud gigs. The best i've used, and what I still use, is the Line 6 L2T. It has a useful built in mixer with acoustic modeling that really fattens up your acoustic sound and nice reverb as well. It also a VERY useful feedback reduction parameter. Everything is readily accessible with knobs and buttons, it's built like a tank and most importantly -- it sounds the best of any other speaker in its class. It has 2 10's, which is unusual but sounds fantastic. The only downside to the Line 6 speaker is that it's heavy. But you could play just about any gig with just one of these, or if you get two, you can use the Line 6 Link technology and it will automatically give you stereo effects, so again you don't need a mixer. another cool option is the mackie DLM8 or DLM12. They have some cool processing and sound good, but the controls are not at all useful or easy to get to. Plus it doesn't sound as good as the Line 6 speaker. These are, however, freaky light. The QSC's also sound very good. I preferred the K10 to the K12. The Yamaha's sound good also and are pretty cheap. You'll need a mixer with either of those options.
Scoping your recommendations, the L2T is a 1x10. L3 maybe?

http://www.sweetwater.com/c134--PA_Speakers?params=eyJmYWNldCI6eyJCcmFuZCI6WyJMaW5lIDYiXX19

EricPeterson and I are using our Vocal Live boxes as mixers.

Your advice is solid though.
 

Moxsam

Member
Messages
2,953
I'm not sure if they were the exact same model speakers but there was a thread here last week about Alto speakers sounding boxy, and not that great. I believe the guy wished he saved and bought something better.

Every company builds stuff to a price point. When you buy cheaper stuff you are going to get less than great results. There are very few (if any) deals in live sound or any music gear where you can buy the budget stuff and get amazing results. You will always be stuck saying "they sound pretty good for the price." Which means they don't sound very good. Also consider that when it comes time to sell, if you bought the cheap budget stuff you will be lucky to give it away. If you spent a little more and bought middle of the road stuff you will probably be able to sell it for what you were going to buy the cheap budget stuff for anyway.

Check out Yamaha DXR or DBR series stuff also Electrovoice ZLX series for speakers that sound better than the budget stuff but the cost is still reasonable.
 

3dognate

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,062
A line 6 L2T

it's got on board 2 channel mixer with effects and feedback suppression....

Guitar + Cable + Stand + Clip on or on-board tuner
Mic + Cable + Stand
L2T + power cable + Stand

Doesn't get much more compact than that... 2 trips to the vehicle without a cart... put it behind you and off to one side and monitor off that. With feedback suppression you can get pretty good volume before feedback.
 

weshunter

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,236
Scoping your recommendations, the L2T is a 1x10. L3 maybe?

http://www.sweetwater.com/c134--PA_Speakers?params=eyJmYWNldCI6eyJCcmFuZCI6WyJMaW5lIDYiXX19

EricPeterson and I are using our Vocal Live boxes as mixers.

Your advice is solid though.
Hey, you're right. I've probably played 50 gigs with mine thinking it had 2 10's but you're right, it definitely says 1 10" on there. Boy, then it's REALLY heavy for a single 10" speaker but it does sound really good. I don't know where I got the idea that it had 2 10's in it.
 

335guy

Member
Messages
5,232

Moxsam

Member
Messages
2,953
I would also google Make + Model + Problems before you buy anything.

Especially do that with the Line 6 speakers.
 

3dognate

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,062




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