I wanted to let everyone know about the Bose PAS (Personal Amplification System) and my impressions of it in use with the Zendrum...I was really looking for some advice like this before I decided to buy mine, so hopefully this will help someone else. Keep in mind these are my FIRST impressions...I have only had them a few days and have never left the house/garage with them. I will update whan I have a gig with them, which will probably be Friday.
I have been playing electronic drums very nearly as long as I have been drumming. I have owned several amps and speaker systems; always moving up, but never satisfied. It either didn't have enough wattage, or sounded too boxy, too harsh, too midrangey, etc. I have tried powered speakers, powered subs, amps and cabinets, full PA systems, everything. I have often heard Inspector 109 make reference to the fact that once the Zendrum was invented, we then had to wait until the modules caught up (which I think many of us agree has finally come to pass in the Receptor). Well, I feel the same way about amplification. If your Zendrum rocks, your playing rocks, and your module rocks, but your sound reinforcement sucks, what do you have???
I looked at the Bose stuff long ago when it came out, and was highly skeptical. Just didn't seem like ANY speakers could live up to the hype, let alone a freaking POLE for crying out loud! I dismissed it for the time being. But I was watching the positive reviews stack up on music retail sites, and people were saying "believe it!" Finally, a family member got ahold of Bose's demo DVD for the system and I watched it. I was then EXTREMELY curious...so I bit the bullet and bought a used system (well, 2 actually) on eBay.
My dual system is a pair of L1's (poles with amp stands) with 2 B1 subwoofers each...2 poles and 4 subs total. I did this so that I could run my stuff in stereo, and so that a rock trio I am in can use the whole setup as a PA.
When I first hooked them up, I had both positive and negative reactions. The claim that the system is MUCH less directional (more "radiant") than conventional speakers is true, and was immediately apparent. This is one of the main key points for me...think of hitting a snare drum. If you could see the soundwaves, you'd basically see a sphere. Now think of seeing the soundwaves from a speaker...you'd see a cone. With the Bose, you would see half a cylinder radiating forward out of the pole. Much more usable in recreating drum sounds.
Also, the volume was nice...not too harsh, but PLENTY loud. It won't take paint off your walls, but how often do you need scary volume? (I don't very often, and if I do, there would be a big front-of-house system anyway).
I was a bit disappointed in the tone at first. It seemed artificial and not very "full"...bright, but without much substance. I was immediately disappointed. But later, I read the manual (DUH!) and came across instructions for proper level setting. I used different cables so I could pass my Receptor's signal through the XLR mic inputs and cranked up the trims a bit more than I would have guessed, and BAM! I was playing drums! Seriously, I was totally blown away...the depth and realism were fantastic, and better than I had EVER heard before. And the volume at half was as loud as it had been all the way up before.
The stereo setup makes a HUGE difference over a single one. I am sure the volume would work out of just one, but in stereo the sound stage is very 3D. Even my non-musician wife had a "Holy Cow!" reaction to the difference.
Without any B1 bass modules, it really just doesn't work for drums, in my opinion. If you were playing strictly percussion like congas and bongos it may work for you, but as soon as you get below 80 hz or so (bass drum/floor tom) you just lose the lows without at least one sub. Even 2 subs is a little shy for my taste, but for the record I like it THUMPIN'. With 2 poles and 4 subs, I am very happy. Of course, I could use a LITTLE more, but I think I would always say that! Basically, the bass is nice and even, but to be honest, isn't quite as punchy as I would like overall.
One thing I had never read but that I think is important: the tone changes a lot when you turn up the volume past halfway. It sounds nice and even across the freq spectrum, maybe a little dull, at extremely low volume. It gets more and more even as you turn up. Then, at about 40-50% it sounds KILLER. Up past 12 o'clock, it starts to really smack...a little harsh for my taste. Keep in mind, this volume level is quite loud...almost unbearable at close quarters. Also keep in mind that my extreme volume test took place in my garage, which, although large, has every hard surface you can imagine and is definitely a harsh space anyway! Grain of salt on that comment...and more to come after I gig with them.
Overall, these are definitely the best sounding speakers I have played through. They are indeed pricy but I do not regret it a bit. I really hope they live up to my expectations on stage, because right now I think they are about perfect for me!