HK’s Lucas Nano 608i is a great way to amplify yourself for small gigs- more a mini PA than an acoustic amp – but is it the best option? Ben Morgan-Brown finds out.
Germany’s HK Audio has won itself a good reputation for small-medium sized PA systems in recent years and its Lucas Nano 608i is aimed squarely at many of the players who are likely to enjoy Acoustic Review – serious gigging soloists or those playing in a duo or small band handling small venues and in need of a high quality sound.
Part of the Nano’s appeal is also, arguably, its Achilles heel – it is reliant on an iPad app for the very comprehensive mixer, so if you have already invested in an Android smartphone or other device then the Nano won’t be for you as HK doesn’t offer an Android alternative. However, what you get from having the app is a very good Bluetooth equipped mixer, so it’s swings and roundabouts.
Physically, the Nano is light to carry and both well designed and made. All the controls feel robust (a couple are a bit fiddly but they tend to be the ones you’ll set and forget) and all are well protected from in-transit damage by being recessed.
The obvious alternative to this mini PA is one of the better class acoustic guitar amps which come with mic inputs and fairly comprehensive EQ facilities, but in that latter department the Nano trumps almost all of them with an easy to use and quite powerful eight channel reverb and Bluetooth equipped mixer, which Ben demonstrates in our video. Obviously, having two separated speakers on stands gives a better spread, too.
Essentially, what you are buying is a pair of small satellite speakers housing 4.5″ woofers and 1″ tweeters in each, plus a separate sub which houses a 10″ speaker. All the speakers are made by Celestion and deliver what you can tell from our video is a good, clean sound with impressive bass response. There are certainly no complaints in that respect. Nor are there any with the mixer which is quite simple to use and allows a good degree of flexibility.
Designed primarily for restaurant or bar gigs, weddings and the like (HK says an audience of up to 120), though loud enough for those, the Nano didn’t strike us as being very loud – but it is loud enough for its intended purposes.
In terms of value for money, at its recommended price of £1,699 for the version including stands, covers etc you might think it quite expensive compared with one of the better acoustic guitar combos that, at least for a soloist, would do a fairly comparable job, albeit without such a flexible mixer facility. However, the street price of the Nano is a lot less we found and at that price the Nano becomes quite competitive and its advantages over a combo amp, however good, become more relevant,
For a soloist with just a guitar, the Nano might be overkill, but less so for a soloist with several instruments, while for a duo or a small band it comes into its own and offers an impressive level of build and performance. Particularly if you are already use an iPhone or iPad the the Nano 608i could be a very compelling buy.
Reviews are recorded in a top quality studio with the finest equipment. To get the best from our reviews and really hear the instruments perform make sure you listen on good quality speakers or headphones!
HK Lucas Nano 608i £1,499 basic system. £1,699 for stereo system with stands, bags etc.
- Product Class Portable stereo PA system
- Audience up to 120
- Max SPL peak 130 dB
- Frequency response +/- 3 dB 43 Hz – 20 kHz
- Power Rating 460 W (EIA)
- Amplifier Class D
- Active protection circuits MulitBand limiter, Subsonic filter, Thermo protection, Overload protection
- Special Features Stereo Stand Add-on is included
- Enclosure Surface-coated Polypropylene
- Weight 22.7 kg / 50.1 lbs
LUCAS NANO 608i Subwoofer
- Max SPL peak 123 dB@10%THD, half space
- Frequency response +/- 3 dB 43 Hz – 190 Hz
- LF Speaker 10″ Celestion custom-made
- Inputs 4x XLR Combo, 2x 1/4″, RCA/Mini jack 3,5mm, Bluetooth audio streaming, Link In for Twin Stereo Mode
- Outputs Speaker Out, Easy-Click, Rec Out, Footswitch/Aux Send Out, Link Out for Twin Stereo Mode
- Special Features 8-channel mixer with built-in DSP preamp and effects section, Bluetooth audio streaming, Bluetooth remote control for additional DSP functions via the LUCAS NANO REMOTE app for Apple iPad
- Pole mount M33 for the (signal-routing) S-CONNECT POLE LN, a speaker pole adapter sleeve (M33 to M20) is included
- Dimensions (WxHxD) 35 x 49 x 47 cm
- Weight 13.9 kg / 30.8 lbs
NANO 600 Satellite
- Max SPL peak 124 dB (Single Satellite),
- 130 dB (Satellite Array)@10%THD, half space
- Frequency response +/- 3 dB 190 Hz – 20 kHz
- Mid/High Speaker 4,5″ Celestion custom-made
- HF Driver 1″ Celestion custom-made
- HF horn HK Audio Multicell transformer
- Mid/high unit dispersion pattern, horizontal/vertical 90° x +10/-45° (Single Satellite),
- 90° x 30° (Satellite Array)
- Pole mount 3/8″ thread
- Dimensions (WxHxD) 14,5 x 14,5 x 13,5 cm
- Weight 1.2 kg / 2.6 lbs.