Singer-songwriter Keelan Donovan, originally from Maine and now based in Nashville and Austin, knows the road. “After I graduated Belmont University, I knew I wanted to tour. So, from 2015-16 I was playing around 200 shows a year out on the road. Anywhere, for anyone, any time – I would book the shows myself and just play, play, play. I was trying to get my name out there, but I was also learning more about my music and performing every day.”
The things he learned during those intensely busy years helped him focus in on his performance style and learn to recognize the tools that make performers sound their best – and now a key piece of his successful performing regimen is the L1 Model II portable line array system from Bose Professional that he travels with and uses at many of his gigs, including house concerts and smaller venues.
“At this point, I almost think of the L1 as a traveling companion and a partner,” he notes. “As I was playing that intensive schedule of 200 or more dates a few years ago, lots of the venues and house concerts had these Bose L1 systems, and they were just remarkable, and I knew that the time would come when I needed my own L1. When we were planning my current house concert tour, I didn’t even have any other P.A. in mind.”
Donovan loves the compact nature of the setup: “It’s basically just this one speaker and the B2 subwoofer. It’s easy to travel with and very easy to set up, and it just sounds phenomenal. It acts as both the P.A. and my stage monitor, so I’m hearing what the audience is hearing and can really dial in my sound. It’s crystal clear without any buzz. The audio is always very clear for the audience too and never muffled, which gives them an opportunity to digest my lyrics. I use the T8S ToneMatch engine with it, and lately I’ve been exploring the on-board effects to enhance the sound further. I’m particularly fond of the flanger and delay. It’s all right there. These systems are known for canceling out feedback, and it’s true – with other systems, placing it behind the performer would bring up all these ugly feedback issues, but it’s never a problem with L1 systems. I couldn’t ask for a better partner on the road and in unfamiliar settings night to night.”
As Donovan hit Dallas in May, he was able to experience a much larger Bose Professional system. “I played the House of Blues in Dallas as an opener, and they have a Bose ShowMatch system installed there, which is a bigger system for larger venues. “That was one of my favorite shows in a long time,” he notes. “I was the opener for the pop-rock band Smallpools, who are friends of mine. I’m not from Texas originally, but it’s grown to feel like home very fast. As an opener, you don’t know what to expect from the crowd, but it was a sold-out show, and they made me feel very welcome. The sound was amazing – I distinctly remember actually feeling my guitar strums through my body as I was playing, like I was feeling the music in a physical way. I felt like that system was sending directed sound waves to every person and every corner of that room. It was a remarkable feeling.”