Sometimes, downsizing is good—like when backbreaking sound systems shed the pounds but still deliver the volume. The Lucas Nano is the first “personal P.A.” that I’ve reviewed that you could take to the gig on a motorcycle. (It weighs 23 pounds, and measures 16.5" x 15.5" x 12".) While it won’t fill an arena, for instant parties, presentations, weddings, and even venues like restaurants, the Lucas Nano is a surprising, wellengineered performer.
The Package The ported cabinet has an 8" woofer with a 160W Class D amp, and drives two 3.5" satellite speakers (35W each). These latch into the cab for easy transport. Satellites can be set up in several ways: stacked on each other and mounted on the top of the woofer, everything snaps into place—no wires. You can also stack the two, mount them on a pole stand that fits into the base to raise the satellites’ height, and run a speaker cable to them; or go for stereo, and mount one on the woofer and one on a floor stand, or both on floor stands. Link two mono units to create a more powerful stereo setup.
The satellites’ small size and 60-degree dispersion lets you fit the system into places where larger systems might not work. For example, snap the satellites into the woofer and raise the entire assembly on a chair so the sound is “off the floor” and at ear level. Or, when running in mono, separate the two satellites for greater coverage.
Inputs and Controls The system has three mixable inputs for various needs. The first handles mic or line signals via a combo 1/4" jack, with volume and “contour” control; this feeds both channels with stereo setups. Varying contour tunes the response for voice; for line ins, boosts the highs and lows while cutting mids as you turn it up. The second input has two combo jacks for stereo line level signals (summed for mono setups, and switchable to instrument levels), along with volume and contour controls.
The third offers dual RCA jacks or a 3.5mm stereo mini jack—ideal for playback from consumer gear like iPods, DVD players, and the like. Backing tracks, anyone? This input has volume and contour controls as well.
Other controls include woofer level, balance control for stereo setups, and stereo/mono switch, along with two 1/4" jacks that can send a mix of all signals to a recorder, or serve as thru jacks for input 2. This configuration allows using the Nano as a stage monitor setup, with the outs going to the front of house.
Is It for Real? While you need to be realistic about the size of the venue that you can fill with this system, I think anyone would agree that the sound levels surpass its size and weight. What’s more, the convenience factor is off the hook—set up anywhere, any time, with minimal hassles. There’s a wide variety of “personal PAs” available, with price points ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. While you can spend less (or more) than what you’d pay for the Lucas Nano, HK has prioritized cost effectiveness to give more than expected for the price. If you’re considering a lower-cost system, I think it’s worth stretching the extra couple hundred dollars and if you’re considering a higher-priced one, you might find that the Lucas Nano does everything you need anyway.
Easy to transport, set up, and tear down. Multiple inputs. Allows various mono and stereo configurations. Clean sound and overload protection. 8" woofer provides decent lows.
$1,100 MSRP, $700 street