Framingham – Microsessions is perhaps the ultimate response to an era with so much music. Described as “speed-dating for live music” and held in the indie capitals Brooklyn and Austin, Microsessions hosts groups of artists playing three 15-minute sets in three different rooms as three audience groups move from room to room, and then spend the last 30 minutes listening inthe room of their choice. Microsessions founder Paul Schomer knew that to make each room’s experience as up-close-and-personal as possible, and to let the music be presented as the artists intended it to, he chose portable systems from Bose. These include Bose F1 Model 812 powered loudspeakers, L1 Model II systems with B2 Bass Modules, S1 Pro powered speakers used as monitors, and T4S ToneMatch digital mixers.
“Through over 25 Microsessions showcases in Austin and Brooklyn, the L1 systems have provided consistently superior live audio — there’s never a bad sound night with Bose,” says Schomer, who has also worked for NPR as senior producer for online cultural programming, where he launched NPRJazz.org and produced the first episodes of NPR’s top-rated music discovery podcast All Songs Considered, which turns 20 in 2020. The Microsessions concept gained traction quickly, as Schomer refined it over time and moved it to ever-better venues, including Music Lab in Austin and Complete Music Studios in Brooklyn. As Microsessions expanded and changed venues, the Bose products like the L1 Model II offered a solution that works in a variety of venues and configurations, and its light weight and extreme flexibility are positives for Schomer, who sets up and tears down the spaces in each location. “Microsessions is all about the music — the performance spaces we choose are intimate, and the audience groups are purposely smaller, focused, and highly attentive,” he explains. “The main challenge is creating that perfect listening room experience in multiple, unique spaces at the same time, and I can’t imagine a better, more flexible sound system that provides such superior sound quality than the L1. Many of the spaces we utilize are not made for music performance, and using the Bose L1s makes amazing sound happen very easily.”
Bose sound technology also keeps Microsessions modern: “The sound quality of the L1 units is light years beyond the old, battered sound systems in the rehearsal spaces or random rental gear we’d had to work with up to that point, just another level entirely,” he says. “Using the Bose L1s allowed us to experiment with new, alternative venues to make the magic happen. The systems made these spaces — most never used for live music before — truly come alive with sound.”
Logistics are critical for an event like Microsessions, and Bose comes through there, as well. “Assembly and mobility of the L1s is unparalleled in cases where we have unorthodox room configurations. Using the T4S ToneMatch mixer with the units is easy and massively flexible. I have a rotating crew of sound engineers who work the showcases, and they were all up to speed within minutes on the systems. Even my house staff have done minor tweaks when required — these are mostly people with no experience running sound at all.”
Musicians and audiences have noticed. “I remember the first showcase after we switched over to the Bose L1 units at Music Lab in Austin,” Schomer recalls. “We had about 125 people attend, many of them regulars, and I must’ve had a dozen of them comment on the sound as they walked out, how great it was, what a difference it made to the experience. And musicians, who are almost by definition a collection of demanding and finicky listeners, simply love the systems. Their reactions are always the same: ‘This sound is incredible, I can hear every nuance of my vocals and instrument, when does that ever happen?’ And if an act has worked with an L1 before, they are visibly comforted when they hear the systems will be used for their Microsessions performance. Standard response: ‘Great! I love those systems!’”
Photo caption: Andrew Nolte and band performing at Microsessions in Brooklyn, featuring a Bose L1 Model II system and B2 Bass Module. Photo by Heather Moran. © 2019.