The same... but different - or is it more than the same but louder

Taking a line from a different discussion:

Originally posted by Col. Cliff-at-Bose:
??? …

Did you try using the Beyer mic and a flat input on channels 1-3? You mentioned being happy with the mic on ch4-5. The TGX80 has a whole ton of low end when you eat the mic. Are you using it close or further away? A lot of our mic presets have a definite low end rolloff, so voices sound more natural. I know some singers prefer something other than this. After all, the instrument is really “amplified voice” and, like electric guitar, this is not the same as “normal voice, amplified”. The latter is actually the DNA of the L1, in how the vocal-mic presets are configured. ??? …

Hey Cliff,

This statement is so totally dead-on for me.

For me:

Acoustic Guitar through the L1® is a different instrument —

NOT JUST the same but louder,

it actually becomes a different instrument.

Say what?

This is similar to the way in which I relate to the Electric Guitar and Acoustic Guitar as being different instruments. The user interface is familiar but the range of outcomes is quite completely different.

With the L1® I can hear things in my Acoustic Guitars that were too subtle to detect. That is too subtle to be heard without amplification, and too coloured or obscured by other amplifiers to be comprehended, enjoyed, exploited for the music, and ultimately shared.

Now back to the voice.

Of late I have come to understand vocals in a new way. My experience of singing through the L1® is profoundly different than singing unamplified. Different too, than singing through other amplifiers.

I used to say, “… just like me, only louder”.

I’ve come to see this as a vast oversimplification. It is also why I have come to feel that the L1® is more than amplification. It has become (in concert with my various inputs), my instrument of choice.

Originally posted by Col. Cliff-at-Bose:
...After all, the instrument is really "amplified voice" and, like electric guitar, this is not the same as "normal voice, amplified"...
Huh?? Confused

I might guess, Cliff, but I'm really not sure what you are telling us...

Sign me Confused puzzled.

What I think Cliff is saying is that the wedge monitor sound has become part of the “sound” of the voice, like a Marshall or Fender amp has become part of the electric guitar sound. So, a vocalists voice through a box has a “sound” that they have come to think of as “their sound”.

Cliff: Did I get close?

Here’s what I’m saying: There are at least two approaches that I know of in amplifying voice with the L1:

The first is a realistic and acceptable illusion of the voice itself. This is what I try to acheive when working on ToneMatch. When the system is on, the goal is to have the voice sound much like the voice sounds on its own. You can do this over a wide audience area using the L1.

The second one (“amplified voice”) is making the voice sound deliberately different from a normal voice-tone for artistic reasons of the artist’s choosing. This includes adding effects such as delay, chorus, exaggerated tonal enhancement (exaggerated EQ), special effects (such as vocoder, talk-box, doubling, flanging, etc), harmonic distortion and heavy compression (dynamic range distortion). One of the ways to change things is with an exaggerated-spectrum microphone, most singer’s mics doing this when they are used up close. This of course is the reason for ToneMatch (make it sound more normal). But a singer might really like the overall tone created when they sing into, say a BeyerDynamic TGX80, even though it doesn’t sound like they sound naturally. And so, “amplified voice” becomes a complete instrument like electric guitar. Such an instrument includes the singer’s basic instrument, the microphone, the signal processing and the speaker/sound system.

In a way, the L1 turns a normal human voice into an amplified instrument that in some ways is very unlike a real human voice. A normal singer’s sound delivery obeys the inverse square law, like most “acoustic” musical instruments, loudspeakers and sound sysems. Using an L1, even with ToneMatch, the same voice thus amplified projects way further, way wider in the horizontal plane and excites the room (expecially the ceiling) way less than a real human singer because of its strong vertical pattern-control. And so, this creates really a new voice-like musical instrument that is clearer in far greater parts of any audience area than any human being has ever been. And, of course, it can get a lot louder too. The L1 turns human voice into a voice-like super-instrument that has projection qualities never realized before but creates the illusion that a real human being is singing much closer to you than the one being amplified. Frankly, this is one of the more useful qualities of the L1 for voice and singing, and for any instrument for that matter.

And so, you can use the L1 for voice in at least two modes that I can think of:

1. Voice, amplified normally
2. Amplified voice

That is the distinction I was/am trying to illustrate.

This is the ideal thread to ‘amplify’ on this topic of the human voice.

I just recently installed two L1 Model II’s in the Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club here in Calgary. One of the requirements was to provide a ‘voice’ system, not a ‘music’ system. The founder of this chain of clubs, Mark Breslin, made it quite clear that every nuance of the stand-up comedian’s voice had to be clearly heard by everyone in the audience at the same volume.

Given that those audience members are anywhere from three feet to sixty feet away from the stage, and are seated to the extreme left and right of the performer, this presents huge problems for traditional commercial speaker systems. How do you evenly cover the audience with quality sound in the vocal range only?

The answer, of course, is the L1.

As Cliff points out: "Using an L1, even with ToneMatch, the same voice thus amplified projects way further, way wider in the horizontal plane and excites the room (expecially the ceiling) way less than a real human singer because of its strong vertical pattern-control. And so, this creates really a new voice-like musical instrument that is clearer in far greater parts of any audience area than any human being has ever been."

The truth of this statement is in the reviews of audience members, performers, staff and the senior management of this franchise operation after the opening weekend: Of the fifteen Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Clubs now in operation, Calgary has by far the best sound.

Not only the best sound, two L1’s (with single B1’s and a T1) come in at less than half the cost of a more complex fixed system using conventional speakers.

The president of Yuk Yuk’s, Jeff Silverman, declared that any new club they would be opening would have the L1’s as their standard sound system. No questions asked.

I play about 4 award ceremonies’ here each year. I get the jobs not because of my music but because they can hear what each presenter is saying throughout the room without cranking the volume up. It’s the perfect system for this.

A couple of other points that are relative here:

The sound had to appear to be coming from the performer. This helps the audience focus on where the action is.

Also there couldn’t be any speakers between the performer and any audience member. i.e. clear sight lines.

The room dimensions are quite unusual for public performances. It is 55’ by 55’ and has a 8’ T-Bar (dropped) ceiling. Most six-footers can easily reach up and touch it. If this room is not a “wedge pattern in a box” I don’t know what is.

Seating is available for 250 people, and they had sell-out crowds for their opening weekend.

Try and picture how difficult these constraints were for sound designers trying to come up with a solution without employing flush-mount ceiling speakers.

Hey there Bose Guy in Calgary,


I used to play Yuk Yuks - not the comedy, but the warmups before the main events: the show before the show.

The sound was abysmal.

On the stage all you could hear were the monitors. I didn’t get to hear the audience responses until I listened to the recordings later. Twas sad sad sad.

I’m sure that a couple of L1®s would have made all the difference.

By the way - some of the weirdest and oddly profound conversations I’ve ever had were in the green room there.

Cheers and Congratulations!

Hey, ST!
I’m assuming you’re talking about the Vancouver club. How long ago was that?

I’ll be trying to upgrade each of the existing locations where sound is deemed to be ‘unacceptable’. Wish me luck.

(Scoring is one thing, but I’m looking for the ‘hat trick’.)

Hi Garry,

That was at least a decade ago, probably longer, back when it was on the old Expo site in the Plaza of Nations.

It was not in the (relatively) new location up on Burrard St.

I forgot to mention…

One of the great things about live comedy vs. what you see on TV is being able to really hear and see intimate details in the delivery. The L1® would certainly make a huge difference.

A microphone in the hand of a wicked comic is just something behold.

Now that takes us back to a different point: Why would someone choose to go out, when they could stay at home in the comfy cocoon with their own popcorn and washroom.

It’s gotta be better than the big screen tv and stereo.