Vanatoo Wants You

There are loads of active speakers out there promising to be your one stop shop to audio bliss, but one in particular stands out for its combination of features, build quality, sound, and price – Vanatoo’s Transparent One. Of course $500/pr is still a pretty significant chunk of change. What if Vanatoo could keep most of what made the T-One such a great buy, and cut the price nearly in half? Now that would be impressive.

Well, that’s just what they’ve done with the new Transparent Zero. Of course some sacrifices had to be made to get the price down to $299/pr, but a lot less than you might think. The One’s 5.25” woofer and accompanying passive radiator have both shrunk to 4” in the Zero, but bass response still extends into the low 50Hz range. A total of four channels of Class D amplification supply power to each driver, and while the T-One’s coaxial digital input had to go, you still get AptX Bluetooth, optical, USB, and 3.5mm analog inputs. You also get a subwoofer output, and a remote to control everything.

The Zero also has a few tricks of its own, including a clever flippable integrated stand that allows the Zero to either fire up if it’s sitting on a desk, or straight ahead if it’s on a TV stand or bookshelf. Interestingly, in place of the speaker wire that was used to connect the Transparent One speakers, the Zero uses what looks like an Ethernet cable, but is actually a 10 conductor design (instead of Ethernet’s 8) and an RJ-50 connector instead of RJ-45. Vanatoo chose to do things this way for lower cable resistance, but if you’re worried about being stuck replacing a proprietary cable, don’t be – standard RJ-45 Ethernet cables will work just fine.

The Transparent Zero certainly makes a strong case for itself as the first rung on the ladder up from built-in laptop or TV speakers, and hopefully we’ll get a chance to play with them and fill you in on the full details. Stay tuned.