Bookshelf Speakers

Vanatoo Transparent One Active (Powered) Bookshelf Speakers


Design of the Vanatoo Transparent One Speakers

Gary and Rick sent over a pair of Transparent One’s in Cherry color. The speakers have a solid feel and appear to have nice build quality. While the overall look of the speakers might not turn heads (the size and appearance is pretty routine and one might say conservative), they’ll likely fit into most rooms and decor without many arguments from the aesthetics committee. Removing the front speaker panel, I was greeted with a woofer and tweeter. I might have preferred that the speaker grill had magnetic attachments vs. the push kind I found here, but this is a small quibble.

From the back the dominant feature is the passive radiator. Below that are several controls and various digital inputs (Coax and Optical), as well as an Analog and USB inputs. There are nobs to control bass, treble and volume. There are also speaker terminals: Only one of the Transparent One’s is actually an active speaker - the second speaker is passive. In order to set up the system, speaker wire is included to run from the powered unit to the unpowered unit. Lastly, there is a power output. This, I thought, was a really nifty inclusion. The Transparent One is meant to be paired with some sort of streaming device like the Apple Airplay, a Sonos or a Logitech Squeeze Box. By including a power port on the back of the Transparent One, only one power cord needs to be run to the wall.

Internally, the Transparent One’s are powered by a Class D amplifier from D2Audio. Gary and Rick tell me they listened to many different Class D products before choosing the D2Audio unit. What makes this unit unique isn’t just the sound; this chip also provides integrated digital signal processor (DSP), the ability to support direct digital inputs and tone controls. All of these features are taken advantage of in the speakers. For example, the Transparent One’s utilize the DSP to specifically process incoming audio to match the drivers for a nice, flat response.