Bose PAS

lukejazzlukejazz Natchitoches, Louisiana✭✭✭ Dunn Belleville, Dupont MD50
If anyone here tries or has tried the Bose Personal Amplification System, I'd be interested in hearing what they have to say. It seems ideal for the types of situations that many in this group would be performing in.

Here is a link in case you haven't seen/heard of it.


  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622

    Neil from Pearl Django has that set up and I have been with him when he has used it. Let me say... it sounds so good. The only down side to it is the size. The thing is tall and the amp / base unit is heavy. But if your willing to lug it around you will be very happy with the sound you get. Neil uses a single mic and just leans in when it's time to solo. I can't say enough about how good the system sounds. Also it has (I think) 4 or 5 inputs and a direct out so it works well for gigs big or small.

  • Archtop EddyArchtop Eddy Manitou Springs, ColoradoModerator
    Posts: 589
    Back in June 04, I posted the following comments about the Bose PAL on the Yahoo site. I've reposted it here for those of you who may not have seen it. (Please note, at the end of the posting, I'll give you my current assessment of the system...)



    Last month, I had the opportunity to borrow the new Bose PAL (the personal linear PA system) three times. I used it with a Gypsy jazz lineup of two Selmeresque guitars, a bass and vocals.

    I think the system is great for small clubs, restaurants, and limited outdoor areas like patios, weddings, and backyard parties.

    For larger events, or events requiring a more "power" sound (i.e., electric guitars, rock, etc.), you may require additional PALs -- at $2k a pop -- or simply another system.

    Here are my observations from my gigs:

    The first gig was an outdoor pool party. We played in a semi-covered area. Set up took about 10 minutes and we began playing for about 50 people who were widely scattered around us. Within nearly an arm's-reach proximity of us were actors (portraying living statues). I kept my eyes on them to see if they exhibited any signs of distress from the volume levels. They seemed perfectly at peace. A friend walked around the area while we were playing and reported volume levels were excellent at all locations, near or far from the Bose.

    Then an interesting thing happened.

    Suddenly a group of people walked into the pool area. This group consisted of several hundred people, all with drinks in their hands, chatting away, and walking into the pool area like the stream of humanity walking onto the track during the Olympics opening ceremonies.

    This would be a real test of the system since they had no idea we were playing by the pool. Additionally, they were escorted around a blind curve directly in front of the band. It was a total surprise and exposure to the band.

    Not one person gave us that startled look you get so often from people when the music is disturbing their train of thought. They knew we were there, they could hear us playing, but no one seemed to be taken aback by the volume.

    I know from playing in loud restaurants that it can be distressing for people seated near the band. You can see them straining to carry on conversations, and yet just ten yards away, listeners can't hear the band effectively due to the din of ambient noise.

    None of these problems occurred using the Bose. Additionally, as the area filled with people and their chatter, the Bose maintained an equal sound integrity around the area. With the Bose set up behind us, our sense of sound was not disturbed by the growing volume from the crowd. It was as if we (the musicians) were sitting in a sound bubble.

    At one point the fine wine and drinks helped elevate the people's chatter and I had to slightly increase the overall volume of the system. At no point, however, did the room take over the sound or the sound take over the room.

    Similar positive experiences happened at the other two gigs.

    I used a Schertler Dyn G contact pickup on my Favino for the gigs. The sound was so accurate to my ears, that it was often hard to differentiate the sound from my guitar vs. the Bose column.

    And therein lies an interesting dilemma. At one point our bass player complained he thought the column was not "working" or at least turned down too low. In actuality, the reproduced sound was so accurate it was difficult to "hear" it when playing acoustic instruments. If you're playing a solid body electric guitar, you could hear the sound distinctly from the column, however acoustic instruments by their nature are "full volume" when you play them.

    It required a bit of a paradigm shift. Our ears are often accustomed to traditional sound systems where we tend to listen to our system for the sound. In order to do this, we turn up the volume. With the Bose, if you turn up the volume to the point you can hear it above the acoustic instrument you're playing, chances are you will be playing at an excessive volume for a small room. I would still need to experiment with this idea, but I think it is best to set your levels where it sounds good coming through the system, and then turn the total volume back a bit.

    Playing with the Bose brings back a sense of unity for the band members since everyone can hear everyone else -- clearly and accurately. It helps to eliminate a lot of the stage vs out-front sound anxiety and most importantly, by providing an acoustic equilibrium, it places the "song" where it should be, as the star of the performance.

    I also own a Mackie system, and for larger venues it remains the appropriate gear. But for smaller venues, which is usually what I play, I prefer the ease and sound of the Bose. I hope to purchase one soon.


    I never bought the system. I didn't need to--our clarinet player owns one and we can use it whenever needed. I still think it sounds great! However, there are a couple of down sides:

    -- The venue we play on Saturdays has the four of us crammed into a small "stage" area--maybe five feet by six feet. The stand on the Bose takes up a footprint of about two square feet; and ideally, it should be set up two to three feet from the walls. This just can't happen on our "stage."

    -- While the system can handle four inputs, its designed to be a personal system, meaning one PAL per person. When I ran three guys through the system, we used a Mackie board. Frankly, when using the Mackie board, you have to lug around as much equipment as if you just brought the Mackie system. (The sound through the Bose though is great!)

    -- Finally, most importantly: The system only works well if you have plenty of clear, level floor space in front of you. If there are any major obstructions near the the tower (or if you are on a raised stage where the people might be sitting lower than the bottom of the tower), the sound gets muddy fast! In the venue for our weekend gigs, we have a booth right next to where the system needs to be placed. This booth blocks the sound to most of the room, eliminating any of the Bose's sonic advantages.

    In the big scheme of things, for this gig it's more reliable to use the Mackie with a single powered SRM450 than to use the Bose. However, I really like the Bose and look forward to using it at other venues.

    Last note: For what it's worth, both Don Doucette (my rhythm guitarist) and I use Schertler Dyn G pickups, and they sound great through either the Bose or Mackies.

    I hope this was useful information...

  • lukejazzlukejazz Natchitoches, Louisiana✭✭✭ Dunn Belleville, Dupont MD50
    Posts: 39
    A big thank you to you gentleman.

    Eddie - your ending comments were very valuable. In thinking about the system it's easy to overlook the importance of the venue characteristics. So often the area in which we musicians are asked to perform is entirely inadequate for good performance. (You want the 16 piece Big Band where??)

    An interesting part of the approach of the system is the elimination of a need for monitors plus a house system. Seemingly, that would make it a lot more financially feasable. Even at three or four systems it may pay off in the long run - especially considering the great sound. That's a very important part. As musicians, we probably tend to listen very criticially while a large percentage of our audiences may not. In general all they think about is whether they had a nice time or not when they're recalling the event.

    One of our top priorities should be the sound we make - that is the essence of music after all - making sounds. As someone that does more teaching than performing, I see this all the time - students get so interested with what notes to play and left hand patterns they may overlook the sound they're making. Then they meet me and their whole world comes crashing down around them ha ha (just kidding).

    If the system doesn't work well in every venue however it's a bit pointless. Kind of defeats the whole purpose if you need more than one type of system.

    I hope we have more comments on this rig - I'm still interested. And thanks Eddie for your comment on the Schertler pickup - I'm interested in that too. I have a Highlander under the bridge saddle set up and it's really a disappointment sound-wise.

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