Vanatoo — not a fictional planet from Doctor Who but an American loudspeaker company built around the work of one Gary Gesellchen and one Rick Kernen, who this commentator first encountered at a Newport Beach hi-fi show back in 2013. That meeting led to our review of their debut product: the Transparent One — a US$499 powered loudspeaker with serious low-end assault.
Six years later comes a revised version: the Transparent One Encore. The T1E starts with the same MDF cabinet that houses the same 5.25″ aluminium mid/bass driver – and backed by the same 5.25″ rear-facing passive radiator – but is now augmented up top by an all-new 1″ aluminium dome tweeter.
A more notable change comes in the form of the T1E’s 24bit DSP crossover that feeds one Class D amplifier per driver: 100 watts to the mid/bass driver, 20 watts to the tweeter. This once powered loudspeaker is now an active loudspeaker.
“The DSP crossover results in a smoother, more organic sounding midrange. The off-axis response is improved, which results in better imaging. The new 1 inch aluminum dome has better response and lower distortion than the T1’s silk dome. This helps make that smooth transition from the woofer, and results in more air in the top end. And it looks pretty cool,” says Gesellchen.
According to Vanatoo’s (most excellent) press release manufacturer, there is no (need for a) mid-bass hump to create the illusion of bass. The T1E reportedly measure -3dB at 48Hz to go lower than other standmounts of a similar size.
Odd then that the impetus for this Encore edition reportedly wasn’t so much to improve sound quality but to broaden functionality. A remote control wand is now part of the package and the suite of hard-wired inputs – USB, coaxial, TOSLINK and 3.5mm analogue – has been augmented by wireless aptX Bluetooth.
And like the majority of active loudspeakers, the T1E are a cinch to setup: apply power to the master speaker, loop in the slave with a four-conductor loudspeaker wire (supplied) and you’re off to the races. Office users will likely want to make use of the bass tone control when placing them on a desk.
The Transparent One Encore are available now – to US customers only – directly from Vanatoo for US$599/pair. A 30-day home audition period is yours for the taking.
Further information: Vanatoo
Photo credit: Lee Shelly Photography