Advice for a Church Venue

Will two L1 Pro16s work for us?


The church I serve at has a very old cluster (center-mounted) speaker system -- so old they don't even make parts for them. We were quoted by a local audio company approx. $50K for a professionally installed line array (I do not have the specs). The room is 100ft X 100ft (roughly square) with a balcony. Recently we purchased an L1 Pro8 for our Fellowship Hall and were impressed with it. On a whim we brought it into our Worship Center, set it up alongside the front wall on the left side of the room, and were blown away by how loud it could get and by its clarity (even up in the balcony)!


So, my question: what are anyone's thoughts on purchasing two L1 Pro16s for the room ($4,000) vs. a $50K professional line array? Pros, cons? Thanks in advance for any input!



I don't think I know enough to recommend exactly which Bose sticks to use, but some configuration should be able to handle that space quite well. That $50,000 system might have some advantages (feedback? Although my large church has a fully integrated professional system and that generates feedback too). But it's like a jet fighter program--you spend multiple millions of dollars to squeeze that last 2% of performance out of it. 

Say, when the church is full, how many people are in there? Do you do a lot of singing and so forth, or is it more exclusively preacher-focused?

Our congregation is about 250 strong. And music is a pretty big focus at our church. We have a choir and orchestra, but mostly we lead on Sundays with a band (4 guitars, keys, piano, and drums).

Hi again. I took the liberty of sharing your questions in the Facebook L1 Pro group, a very active one. 

  • One user didn't think any Bose sticks (L1 Pros with those towers) would be enough with a full house and your band going through them. This surprised me, based on what I've heard in the wild, but it's fair to let you know. One valid point, however, is that the performance of a Pro8 in an empty church wasn't a good measure of live performance with tons of people in there.
  • Several others thought Bose systems could handle it. ("It is a church, not a rock concert arena.") One specific recommendation that got support was for two Pro32's with elevated stage height, and four Sub2's. The "elevated stage height" I guess means planting them on something to help reach the balcony. I don't think this means something dramatic.
  • The FB group Admin, Paul Kersey, offered these resources:

The first link shows more grandiose installations than what you describe, but obviously they can handle smaller rooms as well.


Paul added: If L1 Pro products are the right fit, a Bose Pro dealer will tell you that. But if the L1 Pro products aren't the right answer, a Bose Pro dealer can help you with an engineered solution.


I should probably say I have no professional relationship with Bose, other than being a fan of their products, currently owning the L1 Model 2, and an L1 Compact.


I hope this helps! All my best wishes for you and your church.

I won't bore everyone with this forever, but another user chimed in with additional perspective:


Here is the skinny. With even one of these units a single person could fill that whole place with sound. My L1 M2 can be heard clearly across a lake for example. That being said, you have multiple options available to you and different challenges than a professional musician has. I highly recommend calling Bose and speaking with their sales team before making a purchase.


The L1 Model 2 is a discontinued predecessor of the Pro line, and I think a touch less powerful than the Pro32. Same ballpark though. He added you'll have to think about mixers since these units have a limited number of inputs. Whole 'nother topic I won't belabor right now. 

Hello FossMaNo1 (and Chriscom),


I think a lot will also depend on the current and future use of your facility, and the people who will be working with your equipment week-in and week-out.


My wife and I have traveled to a lot of different churches, performing with our L1 Model 1's or L1 Compacts (depending on venue size.)  I also volunteer as sound tech for one of the rooms in our large home church.  Our church is large enough to have a full-time tech staff, who have worked with pro designers to implement a large sound network.  They also have the patience to work with volunteers (like me) who know how to move faders but may not know all the ins, outs, effects and routing of the top-end boards, and how they are interconnected with each room's stage boxes.  Also, sometimes a guest speaker may show up with a laptop needing an A/V connection.


A fixed installation provides a stable environment.  Many different hands may touch the mixer during the week for worship, prayer services, teaching services, meetings, etc.  It helps if contact can be limited to the mixing board and an A/V interface, and not having tons of other wires and knobs exposed to the curious.  The staff has saved a "scene" in the mixer, so it can be "reset" for critical Sunday morning service.  The "flown" speaker placements are designed for proper coverage, and are not subject to moving or walking out the side door.  (Yes, that can happen in a church.)  Our church does have a couple of portable systems for versatility, as you do with your L1 Pro8 (which is perfect for that need.)


When visiting other churches, we always bring our own L1 system(s), unless it is a "festival" situation with multiple artists using the provided or contracted system.  Lots of smaller churches may not have a sound tech available for an evening service, and you never know if or how you might connect to it, or how it will sound, or how we might (and probably would) mess it up if we were to use it.  Plus, our normal audience is, frankly, older than our regular Sunday morning's younger worshippers.  Our L1 Model 1's could never complete with our church's installed system at its Sunday morning levels.


As far as your $50,000 quote ... get more than one proposal!  Talk to other churches, especially  those similarly sized and somewhat larger.  Make a list of your priorities, and plan for the future.  Have the contractors clearly explain why they propose certain equipment.  Will your speakers work with headset mics or podiums, do you want your worship team to grow, how much "messing with knobs" do you want the people on the platform to deal with vs. someone more experienced in the sound booth?


I'm not saying that L1 systems won't work for you -- you just have to be good stewards of your church's funds.  Good luck, and I'm hoping more folks chime in on this post!


Does that help?



Chriscom, thanks for all the work and research you've done on my behalf. It may not answer my question, but it certainly helps in understanding what questions I need to ask. Thanks!