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Inspired by the Bose L1 PAS, I tried for better results with a DIY for my gigs

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  • Inspired by the Bose L1 PAS, I tried for better results with a DIY for my gigs

    When I first saw the Bose tower I thought, who couldn't find better components and build it cheaper?

    Researched ( back in 2006) and found Tang Band 3" full rangers W3-871S. There are many great alternatives but I got those because they were 3" the perfect size for an improvement in Bose's tower's bottom end and small enough to still be portable. I built other projects using the Fostex A11 EC80 4 1/2 full-range
    Originally wanted to copy the 2-column stack of the Bose but realized that the actual practical vertical spread of ears that would be listening would be served by half that length, placed strategically depending on the relation of performer/audience.

    If I'm playing on a dance floor, I want the people standing up on the dance floor to hear more volume than those sitting down having a conversation so it goes on a speaker stand. The dance energy can be maintained without interfering with those wanting to talk.

    If I'm on a stage I can put the column directly on the stage with no stand and cover the same area.
    The original design involved a rectangular box of 3/8" plywood with holes cut out for 9 speakers, wired for 8 ohms total. The total length (height) of the box was exactly 3', perfect for mounting the 9 speakers compactly, but more importantly to conform to the component I'm most proud of: the 3' rain-gutter leaf-shield from Home Depot which, with its attachment clips removed, spray-painted gloss-black, which makes the coolest exact-fit curved front grille. To brace the curved grille so it's not succeptible to caving in the middle I added curved wooden braces, screwed in from the back of the baffle. I like the look too, but they may have a factor in isolating some of the artifacts generated in line arrays. Just a guess because they sound even across large areas of many gig rooms.

    In advance I apologize for having absolutely no specs here.
    All I can attest to is that it sounds great, projects far and sounded better than a Bose PAS in the same room when I A-B ed them.
    I should also mention that I use it in conjunction with an old Radio Shack 12" dual coil subwoofer in a 2 cu/ft home built ported cabinet which is on the floor. I send one side of my powered mixer to the sub, the other to the line array and I can EQ each side separately.
    Great results to mine and the audiences' ears and the weight is 19 lbs.Click image for larger version

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    More to follow on some updates to the design (now 8 speakers) after some off-axis listening tests on the gig revealed a treble dropoff. I fixed it.

    Line array cost: $150 - $200
    Sub is extra- all are passive speakers.
    __________________________________________________ _________
    UPDATE: On one gig I found that my off-axis (past 120 degrees) treble response dropped off. The sound was still full, but not a bright as full on. I had bought some Radio Shack dashboard stick-on tweeters on impulse years ago and figured 'why not put them on the sides?' They're 1 1/4" in diameter and weigh nothing so I bored some holes in the sides, some strips made of the carpet, wrapped them around the tweeters, forced them in the holes and trimmed off the excess with a cuticle scissors. Looks neat- that carpet is so forgiving.Click image for larger version

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    Also wanted to pole-mount using a standard recessed socket, but no room inside because of the 9th speaker on the bottom. Removed it and substituted an old tweeter that had shallow enough depth to still have room for the internal socket.
    It was not quite big enough to cover the whole hole so it's now officially a tweeter mounted in a crescent-shaped port, with 8 of the TangBands wired for 8 ohms (plus or minus, depending on what the series-parallel tweeters factor in). Of course, that's exactly what I meant to do from the beginning. And yes, the Bridge is still for sale.
    Last edited by Organcat; 11-12-2013, 11:46 AM. Reason: cabinet weight correction

  • #2
    Re: Inspired by the Bose L1 PAS, I tried for better results with a DIY for my gigs

    Nice work on the fabrication, looks professionally done. Also like how you found gutter guards at Home Depot and repurposed them, really dig it.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Inspired by the Bose L1 PAS, I tried for better results with a DIY for my gigs

      Thanks for the compliments. The carpet and corner hardware cover all my amateur carpentry boo-boos. HD is a great place to wander the aisles and mentally assemble stuff, and sometimes you see something and have an 'AHA!' moment, realizing that you've been inspired by a part meant for something else.
      Just for fun, I'm thinking of making a slim line-array tower out of actual rain gutters if I can find some cheap 2" full-range drivers. Maybe a stereo pair, angled for complete coverage?
      If i do it, I'll post pics of the progress.
      ___________________________
      UPDATE: I just ordered 14 HiWave 2" full-range BMR speakers for $5.50 each minus a Labor Day promo discount. Wouldn't you?
      I think I'll still go with wood for the case, not a rain gutter. And I'm going to try a triangular column this time. It should be about 33" high and 3 1/2" wide for the front. I'll probably go with trimmed gutter-guards spray-painted black again and carpet covering for the rest. It should weigh about 8 -9 lbs when done and I can mount it on a mic stand.
      Progress updates to follow.
      Last edited by Organcat; 09-03-2013, 07:26 PM. Reason: UPDATE

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Inspired by the Bose L1 PAS, I tried for better results with a DIY for my gigs

        I've been wanting to build something very similar because of the Bose. Thanks for posting your project. It looks very good! I have a few questions. Do you notice any of the effects of comb-filtering with your speakers? How do the extra tweeters make it sound? Do you notice if the high-frequency horizontal dispersion is affected by how many drive units are activated? What is your high-pass frequency (like, how low will these go)?

        Also, the Bose L1 has its speakers pointing at various angles. Did you consider doing that?

        Originally posted by Organcat View Post
        When I first saw the Bose tower I thought, who couldn't find better components and build it cheaper?

        Researched ( back in 2006) and found Tang Band 3" full rangers W3-871S. There are many great alternatives but I got those because they were 3" the perfect size for an improvement in Bose's tower's bottom end and small enough to still be portable. I built other projects using the Fostex A11 EC80 4 1/2 full-range
        Originally wanted to copy the 2-column stack of the Bose but realized that the actual practical vertical spread of ears that would be listening would be served by half that length, placed strategically depending on the relation of performer/audience.

        If I'm playing on a dance floor, I want the people standing up on the dance floor to hear more volume than those sitting down having a conversation so it goes on a speaker stand. The dance energy can be maintained without interfering with those wanting to talk.

        If I'm on a stage I can put the column directly on the stage with no stand and cover the same area.
        The original design involved a rectangular box of 3/8" plywood with holes cut out for 9 speakers, wired for 8 ohms total. The total length (height) of the box was exactly 3', perfect for mounting the 9 speakers compactly, but more importantly to conform to the component I'm most proud of: the 3' rain-gutter leaf-shield from Home Depot which, with its attachment clips removed, spray-painted gloss-black, which makes the coolest exact-fit curved front grille. To brace the curved grille so it's not succeptible to caving in the middle I added curved wooden braces, screwed in from the back of the baffle. I like the look too, but they may have a factor in isolating some of the artifacts generated in line arrays. Just a guess because they sound even across large areas of many gig rooms.

        In advance I apologize for having absolutely no specs here.
        All I can attest to is that it sounds great, projects far and sounded better than a Bose PAS in the same room when I A-B ed them.
        I should also mention that I use it in conjunction with an old Radio Shack 12" dual coil subwoofer in a 2 cu/ft home built ported cabinet which is on the floor. I send one side of my powered mixer to the sub, the other to the line array and I can EQ each side separately.
        Great results to mine and the audiences' ears and the weight is 23 lbs.[ATTACH=CONFIG]39418[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]39419[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]39420[/ATTACH]
        More to follow on some updates to the design (now 8 speakers) after some off-axis listening tests on the gig revealed a treble dropoff. I fixed it.

        Line array cost: $150 - $200
        Sub is extra- all are passive speakers.
        __________________________________________________ _________
        UPDATE: On one gig I found that my off-axis (past 120 degrees) treble response dropped off. The sound was still full, but not a bright as full on. I had bought some Radio Shack dashboard stick-on tweeters on impulse years ago and figured 'why not put them on the sides?' They're 1 1/4" in diameter and weigh nothing so I bored some holes in the sides, some strips made of the carpet, wrapped them around the tweeters, forced them in the holes and trimmed off the excess with a cuticle scissors. Looks neat- that carpet is so forgiving.[ATTACH=CONFIG]39514[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]39515[/ATTACH]
        Also wanted to pole-mount using a standard recessed socket, but no room inside because of the 9th speaker on the bottom. Removed it and substituted an old tweeter that had shallow enough depth to still have room for the internal socket.
        It was not quite big enough to cover the whole hole so it's now officially a tweeter mounted in a crescent-shaped port, with 8 of the TangBands wired for 8 ohms (plus or minus, depending on what the series-parallel tweeters factor in). Of course, that's exactly what I meant to do from the beginning. And yes, the Bridge is still for sale.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Inspired by the Bose L1 PAS, I tried for better results with a DIY for my gigs

          I have been working on a main house sound system project for almost a year now (see the "PA System Rebuild Project" thread) and am also a musician that has been impressed by the Bose sound. For quite some time I was researching components relating to planar lens horn stacks together with 6.5" woofer stacks. I finally came full circle and asked myself "what kind of sound do I want?" and went back to memories of a subbed Bose system that I heard back in the '80s (the "mid/high all small cone" configuration), then started researching components for a line source column mid/high section. My choice? -- 3" neo Faital Pro's (3"ers seem to be the "right" size). Compared to your Tang Bands the sensitvity is comparable but with a little more power handling, but they're also more expensive though I believe more suitable for a front house mix system for a band.

          I was ready to order 24 of those drivers when I saw the Carvin TRX 3903 columns, each 21 lb 31.5" module w/9 of the very same 3"ers that I was about to order. The price was so reasonable ($500/module and well engineered) that I bought two modules and will add two more. I am now working on the subs and should soon have four neo 18" drivers.

          Incidentally, it's my opinion that using small cones only (no tweeters) will give the best results, but would like to know what you think if you're using tweeters. The key is finding the biggest small drivers with smoothest high end (5k+), which 3"ers seem well suited for. The Bose 4.5"ers actually do not have nearly as smooth a response and get their nice sound primarily due to their processing.

          I like the looks of your system and the creativity incorporated -- wish I could hear them!
          Last edited by DrummerLikesSpeakers; 10-20-2013, 04:56 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Inspired by the Bose L1 PAS, I tried for better results with a DIY for my gigs

            Originally posted by RoboCam View Post
            I've been wanting to build something very similar because of the Bose. Thanks for posting your project. It looks very good! I have a few questions. Do you notice any of the effects of comb-filtering with your speakers? How do the extra tweeters make it sound? Do you notice if the high-frequency horizontal dispersion is affected by how many drive units are activated? What is your high-pass frequency (like, how low will these go)?

            Also, the Bose L1 has its speakers pointing at various angles. Did you consider doing that?
            Thanks for your interest. I've just completed the new version using 14 BMI hi-wave 2" speakers. More details on that in another post, but to answer your questions:I do have to boost the highs on my powered mixer's amp EQ, but the results are good. The extra tweeters are strictly to compensate for off-axis loss, which is noticeable and the sound is not consistent with the on-axis sound (these tweeters were leftovers and were light & cheap)- however it works fine for my purposes and better than nothing. I'd considered skewing the speakers for the next incarnation using the BMIs but now that it's completed, the BMIs are amazing- they seem to be very true even at 180 degrees. Bose isn't really a line-array, just a stickful of alternately-aimed speakers. I guess they could argue that it's 'really a DOUBLE line-array', just with really large spacing. :D

            Since I always use a home-built sub with this and my new system, I deliberately put a 100 mfd electrolytic in series at the connector to filter everything out below 150 Hz (I'm guessing- I did it by ear) so the speakers could provide more efficiency by not having to strain to put out low-freq all the time. Here's the sub- it weighs 23 lbs.

            But now that I've built the new line-array, I'd recommend using the BMIs in any number you want while P.E. still has them. At $5.50 ea in lots of 8 or more how could anyone go wrong? I have great dispersion, a weight of 9 lbs for the entire cabinet loaded with 14 speakers, and a cost to build of under $100. I ordered a buyout bunch of quick-disconnects to avoid soldering- I'd highly recommend that too. You can then change your wiring scheme at will to experiment with 'tapering', i.e.: wiring the inner speakers to be louder and tapering towards the ends. Here's the config I used: Click image for larger version

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            OK I was saving this for a new thread but here's some progress pics of the new unit.
            Click image for larger version

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            Attached Files
            Last edited by Organcat; 12-14-2013, 10:19 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Inspired by the Bose L1 PAS, I tried for better results with a DIY for my gigs

              [QUOTE=

              Incidentally, it's my opinion that using small cones only (no tweeters) will give the best results, but would like to know what you think if you're using tweeters. The key is finding the biggest small drivers with smoothest high end (5k+), which 3"ers seem well suited for. The Bose 4.5"ers actually do not have nearly as smooth a response and get their nice sound primarily due to their processing.

              I like the looks of your system and the creativity incorporated -- wish I could hear them![/QUOTE]

              I only used tweeters in this version because I noticed a dropoff in highs when off-axis. My new design using 14 BMI hi-wave speakers has fantastic horizontal dispersion. Pic; Old on L new on R Click image for larger version

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              As to power-handling, I use my system for medium-loud gigs max., I do gigs for the over-50 crowd almost exclusively so I don't need to thump any chests- as a matter of fact it could be scary if I did. And ambulance sirens could drown out my singing.

              I use an old EV Entertainer powered mixer with 10-band EQ and about 100 w RMS per side, so it's really flexible and loud enough for everything I do.
              I haven't really pushed the new array of 14 BMI hi-wave 2" speakers past levels for my gigs, but I suspect at 12 w RMS per speaker you could push these pretty hard proportionally. I also wired a 100mf capacitor in series to cut lows out below about 150 Hz- that also raises the capacity when they're not trying to cover the low end. I use a sub so that range is covered well.
              The BMIs are still available at PE and at $5.50 in lots of more than 8, you could build my project including cabinet and hardware for under $100 just for fun and see if you couldn't sub it out for the Carvin in smaller venues, even A-B it on bigger ones. The whole thing weighs 9 lbs. vs. 19 for the old one, if that makes you more eager to make your own. Total impedance 11.4 ohms for my wiring scheme:
              Click image for larger version

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              • #8
                Re: Inspired by the Bose L1 PAS, I tried for better results with a DIY for my gigs

                Now the system is completely assembled as envisioned. The 9 lb line array and subwoofers are built and now it's time to replace the old EV Entertainer powered stereo mixer with a new set of separate components. My goal was premium sound and plenty of power with a complete assembled weight of 32 lbs or less- which is the weight of the EV head.
                Now I have a Yamaha MG 8 channel mixer with built-in FX and compression (!) on my mic channel. Weight 3.5 lbs. A new Behringer INUKE 3000-DSP power amp ( 7 lbs) with plenty of power for clubdates and the added bonus of 2 ohm performance and built in DSP including the 8 band parametric EQ per channel that I've used to make this thing punch, but with extreme clarity. You can save your settings to 12 user presets to compare your ideas. No more sepearate EQ or compressor. It's all in a custom crafted rack cabinet with an internal socket for pole-mounting (12" pole) the line array right into the cabinet, which sits on the sub.
                A Power strip is also mounted internally. For gigs, it's plug in 2 speakers, unroll AC cord, plug in and I'm ready to go.Click image for larger version

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                I haven't weighed the new cabinet yet- ( I'll update) but the sides are 1/2" plywood. The top and bottom surfaces of the cabinet are 1/4" wood to save more weight.

                UPDATE- With all the wiring installed it weighs 33 lbs. Same as the EV it replaced+ 1 lb.. Considering the 50% improvement in subjective quality and strength of sound, I'd call this project a big success. The treble sounds, well THERE, right in the room without a hint of treble hyping and the bass has extreme PUNCH but without any boominess or mud attached to it. You feel it hitting you, but there's no resemblance to sitting in traffic next to a car with subwoofers pumping.
                Last edited by Organcat; 05-18-2014, 07:01 AM. Reason: UPDATE

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Inspired by the Bose L1 PAS, I tried for better results with a DIY for my gigs

                  PSEUDO-BOSE LINE ARRAY PA

                  I'm considering building two line array modules of (12) speakers each, using
                  Dayton Audio CE65W 2-1/2" drivers, hoping to achieve response of 150-16,000 Hz
                  and planning to use them with a separate powered sub to handle below 150. Dayton claims response
                  of 105-16,000, with a sealed F3 of 98hz.

                  Two questions: 1) If I make the enclosures smaller for easier handling, (to about .03 vs. .05 recommended) would I reduce the
                  low end too much to get my desired 150 hz floor? 2) I'm thinking of angling the face plates
                  as shown for maximum lateral dispersion- Bose does this, but other commercial line arrays don't.
                  Is it worth the trouble?
                  Here's an illustration of my concept:
                  Click image for larger version

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                  • #10
                    Re: Inspired by the Bose L1 PAS, I tried for better results with a DIY for my gigs

                    Someone else on here built their version of the splayed array around this same time frame (I think - in 2013?). Have no idea how you'd find the thread though. IIRC, they maybe used some TangBand W3 FR drivers?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Inspired by the Bose L1 PAS, I tried for better results with a DIY for my gigs

                      Originally posted by Bwarchitect View Post
                      PSEUDO-BOSE LINE ARRAY PA...
                      Is it worth the trouble?
                      Last month I worked with a Bose array, It ( and another Bose array I saw a week later ) utilized the T1 Box for EQ.
                      Do you plan to accommodation for this?
                      "Not a Speaker Designer - Not even on the Internet"
                      "If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Inspired by the Bose L1 PAS, I tried for better results with a DIY for my gigs

                        Originally posted by Sydney View Post
                        Last month I worked with a Bose array, It ( and another Bose array I saw a week later ) utilized the T1 Box for EQ.
                        Do you plan to accommodation for this?
                        This will be intended for a small club hosting mostly acoustic bands, and I use a 31-band equalizer between the mixer and the power amp, so hopefully I will be able to do some tests and EQ the frequency response fairly flat. I will use a separate powered sub for everything below 150 hz and use the EQ to roll off the bass signal for the line arrays.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm a musician that often gets stuck in the corner of a room with lousy acoustics, and have always been impressed by the great sound musicians get with those Bose columns. I've made a few projects with these little Peerless/VIFA speakers, and am thinking of giving them a try in something like this.

                          http://www.parts-express.com/peerles...-ohm--264-1144

                          I already have some good sounding DIY floor speakers, but to get better sound at multiple "ear levels", I'm hoping this will be a nice add on. I'm thinking maybe just 8 speakers, and these little 2-1/2 ones ought to let me keep it down to 6 feet (good since I have a small car!). I'll probably have to raise it on some kind of pole too. I was most worries about the possible complexity of resonance calculations, but I guess this is not a "bass reflex" design, and so no complex volume and port calcs need to be done. In any case, for a $100 project, its worth a shot! Tell me... where did you get the idea of wiring the middle speakers for more volume? I'm not sure that would be good for me to do, though maybe wiring the uppermost ones louder would work for me.But this is honestly the first time I've seen anyone do that.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by RandyC View Post
                            ... where did you get the idea of wiring the middle speakers for more volume? I'm not sure that would be good for me to do, though maybe wiring the uppermost ones louder would work for me.But this is honestly the first time I've seen anyone do that.
                            This is one of the approaches to tapering that has been around for a while - manipulating the impedance of the various segments. The center segment has the least impedance and the outer most segments have the higher impedance. Trace the wiring and you can see and determine the impedance of each segment.

                            "Not a Speaker Designer - Not even on the Internet"
                            "If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm going to try this with the small (2-1/2) full range VIFA/PEERLESS speakers I mentioned (data sheet attached). If I used them to make a column, how would I handle that? I don't want an open back, and it doesn't look look any columns do this anyway. But these are not "bass reflex" speakers, so I wouldn't be making ducted ports, right? So should I build it assuming a totally sealed "acoustic suspension"? I understand that method has low efficiency, but has the flattest response. That shouldn't be a problem since power is pretty easy to have with modern heads, but how would I know if this speaker would work well with a sealed cab?

                              http://www.parts-express.com/pedocs/...spec-sheet.pdf

                              Comment

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