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Vermouth Audio Little Luccas MkII Limited Edition Loudspeakers

12-12-2017 | By Al Chieng | Issue 94

Little in Name Only

After a number of reviews of products from Indonesian company Vermouth Audio it was time to sample where it all began. The company's founder, Hendry Ramli, started the company on loudspeakers, so I was excited to finally listen to a pair. Enter the Little Luccas MkII Limited Edition (with what Hendry calls the Upgrade 2). Do not let the "Little" in its name fool you into thinking that Vermouth would not put the work in the product, as the speaker ticks all the boxes in terms of construction and components. First of all the speaker is a two way bass reflex with a rear firing port. The speaker consists of a five inch papyrus paper, specially made large voice coil mid woofer, paired with a RAAL true ribbon tweeter made to Vermouth's specifications. Hendry designed the speaker to be a Swiss army knife of a bookshelf with the goals of it having a big soundstage while being transparent, dynamic, and neutral, with a clean and impressive low frequency. Finally, the loudspeaker had to be easily driven by most amplifiers, also easy to set up/placement. Basically he wanted everything a person is looking for in a loudspeaker.

Vermouth Audio Little Luccas MkII Limited Edition Loudspeakers

Out of the wooden crate I was immediately was impressed with the speaker cabinet. Finished in solid pieces of teak this speaker looked like a finely made piece of furniture. On closer inspection however I did see a small crack in the front baffle of one of the speakers. This could have happened for a number of reasons but I was assured by Hendry that obviously a brand new pair ordered from Vermouth would not have such an imperfection. The sloped baffle showed me that Ramli was serious about the time/phase alignment of the mid woofer and tweeter. What makes this Luccas as a MkII Limited Edition Upgrade 2? Hendry gave the following breakdown:

  • Upgrade from Jantzen 15awg wired coil to Jantzen 14awg foil coil
  • Upgrade from Jantzen Standard Z to Jantzen Superior Z
  • Upgrade from Jantzen RSS resistor to Jantzen Superior Resistor
  • Upgrade Internal wire Binding Post to Crossover from Vermouth Rhapsody Internal Wire to Vermouth Red Velvet Internal Wire
  • Upgrade Internal wire Crossover to Mid Woofer from Vermouth Rhapsody Internal Wire to Vermouth Red Velvet Internal Wire
  • Upgrade Internal wire Crossover to Tweeter from Vermouth Serenade II to Vermouth Hybrid multisize OCC internal wire
  • Solid wood crossover panel
  • Point to point wiring

Much like their loudspeaker wire, power cords and interconnects Vermouth has definite attention to detail. After carefully unpacking the loudspeakers, it was time for a hookup and listen. The speakers had already made some reviewer runs, so I was assured that it was well broken in. Manufacturer's recommendation for setup is anywhere from 5 to 8 feet apart and settled on 6 feet with slight tow in to dial in the image.

Vermouth Audio Little Luccas MkII Limited Edition Loudspeakers

I started the review process with the tube amplifiers and immediately fired up "Tighten Up" by the Black Keys to see how the speakers dealt with pace and rhythm. The first thing that came to mind was great control from the 5-inch papyrus paper mid woofer and a directness that I was surprised to hear from the RAAL tweeter. Ribbons have the criticism of not having enough presence and sometimes are not complimentary to certain genres. The tweeter treated the song with great intensity while not being shrill or sharp. Overall this was a great way to start the listening experience.

Round two started out with some vinyl and a "Liszt Piano Concerto No. 1 in E flat Major" performed by Gyorgy Cziffra with the help of the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra. The tone of the piano was immediately heard with clarity and control. I appreciate when a loud speaker is able to reproduce the flourish and creativity of the artist. So far these loudspeakers were not disappointing. At this stage in the game the speaker was seamless between the two drivers that Hendry decided to incorporate in the Little Luccas.

Sampling the loud speakers ability to image was next and I chose the original soundtrack Lift to the Scaffold composed and performed by Miles Davis. The track "Motel" was well presented as the instruments came to life in my listening room. It was evident the spacing and overall setup while keeping the group together. The Little Luccas speakers gave satisfying levels of width, but were a tad short on depth bringing the listener a few steps towards Davis, but feeling the back wall a little too early.

I was really having a lot a fun at this point so my next track was decided on bass response. Post Malone's "Rockstar" rang through the Little Luccas with tight authority. Obviously these bookshelf style speakers where not going to plumb the depths, so expect to get a subwoofer (or two) to help in this department. Mid bass was fast and accurate and the flow of the rappers was clear.

My last two tracks were meant to see how female voices were reproduced. This is where the true strength of these loud speakers shine. The ribbon tweeter producers a great non fatiguing airy sound. Daniela Andrade's cover of "La Vie En Rose" was pure and touching with her voice put on full display through the loudspeakers. They revealed her range and made my listening space into an intimate recording studio with her and a guitar. The next and final track was Jessie Reyez and her breakout song "Figures." To characterize her voice as unique would be an understatement and was a pleasant surprise for me in pop music this year. The loudspeaker rendered her voice with great presence and intensity. I was happily surprised by the lack of fatigue as some loudspeakers would reproduce her voice at a level that could make my ears bleed.

After reviewing my notes I was impressed in many ways by this loudspeaker. I paired it with multiple solid-state and tube preamplifier and amplifier combinations and repeatedly given the gift of engaging music. I did like the combination of tube amplifier and solid-state preamplifier the best and a little more power did open them up a little (although my 25-watt chip amp drove them quite nicely). Your results may vary, but do not count out low power with these speakers as they will still sing but room size will play a part in how much you want to turn them up. 

In the end what kind of loudspeaker do you get for your hard earned money? I believe that you get a very solid performer at a bit of a discount compared to its rivals in the same price range. Vermouth was able to package a very capable loudspeaker coupled with premium parts by leveraging its place in probably saving in the manufacturing process. Just because they saved by producing this speaker in the developing world does not mean that the quality of construction is not there. Additionally, Hendry has melded almost seamlessly the RAAL ribbon with a traditional cone to give this bookshelf the ability to image and give some authority. This speaker is not for the person looking for the top most resolution or the most bottom dwelling bass. Instead this loudspeaker is meant for the majority of music in representing a cohesive, realistic and pleasing presentation. 

Take care.

  • Design: Two-way bass reflex, rear firing port
  • Midwoofer: Vermouth 5" Special Made, large voice coil, Papyrus Fiber Cone
  • Tweeter: RAAL TRUE RIBBON, Vermouth Special Specification
  • Frequency Response: 48Hz-38kHz ±3dB
  • Bass extension: 42hz (-6dB)
  • Sensitivity: 86dB @ 1W @ 1m @ 1 KHz
  • Impedance: 8ohms nominal, 6.2ohms minimum @220Hz
  • Crossover frequency: 3.6KHz Premium components.
  • Internal Wire: Vermouth Serenade II & Vermouth Rhapsody
  • Connector: 1 Pair Vermouth Tellurium Copper Rhodium Plated Binding Post
  • Power Requirements: 20 to 150 watts
  • Dimension (H x W x D): 340mm x 175mm x 320mm
  • Cabinet: 24mm Face Grain wood board, Minimum resonance enclosure & internal bracing.
  • Finishes: Close Pore Satin Finish

Vermouth Little Luccas MkII Limited Edition Loudspeakers (Upgrade 2)

Retail: $2447 USD

Vermouth Audio

Hendri Ramli

Jln.Gatot Subroto Tengah No.100X Kav.15

Denpasar - Bali (80231) | Indonesia

[email protected]