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Vanatoo Transparent One Powered Monitors Review Print E-mail
Thursday, 04 April 2013
Article Index
Vanatoo Transparent One Powered Monitors Review
Set Up and Listening
Bonus Interview

I should note that, at this point, I tweaked the speakers a bit by using a PS Audio C7 power cord instead of the stock cable, and I also substituted the supplied speaker cable with a single run of QED silver plated copper terminated with bananas. These items elevated the performance of the Transparent One a notch, but note the speakers sounded very fine with supplied ancillaries.

I continued to hear what I found to be an extremely clean and grain-free treble, and a very transparent midrange. This was apparent when playing albums with lots of ambient content, like world music fusion master Jai Uttal’s Thunder Love. The exotic Indian instrumentation, dub beats, and studio embellishments flowed organically and really showcased the very natural balance of the speakers.

Comparing them to the Paradigm Shift powered monitors was tricky since they left my house six months ago, and they don’t include a digital input. However, working strictly from memory, they were cut from a similar cloth. The Vanatoo probably offered up the more authoritative bass and sounded “bigger” over all.

Vanatoo Transparent One Powered Monitors

The Vanatoo’s also work with an Apple Airport Express, which allows you to stream music from iTunes on any Apple device, or any computer running iTunes. It works with Apple TV, and just about any portable device, Apple or not, from what I gather. Connectivity options are very impressive, to say the leas.


We may be entering a new era for active speakers with the popularity of computer audio, and proliferation of digital connection options available to consumers. The huge improvement in wireless connections and their wide spread integration into home entertainment is another important factor. I believe relative newcomer Vanatoo has leveraged much of this sea change into their exciting, and excellent-sounding Transparent One active speakers. This reviewer believes they are very much a super buy at $499 a pair.

As a matter of fact, the Vanatoo speakers have caused me to rethink a few things. I had already been along this path, but I have come to believe that simplest is best, and the shorter the signal path the better. Going forward, I will recommend a pair of active speakers, preferably with a built in DAC, like the Vanatoo for certain types of setups. For those seeking to set up secondary systems, systems for a smaller space, or for those looking to graduate to high fidelity on a budget, a pair of Vanatoos, with a either a computer or streamer, is the ticket.

I believe a pair of Vanatoo Transparent Ones, digitally connected to source component, pays dividends over a “budget” set up with an amplifier, cables, and source. If you have analog source component, like a turntable or a tape deck, no problem, there is an analog input. If I have one nit pick with the Vanatoo, it is that it would have been nice if it handled up to 96 Khz source material natively (it is down-sampled to 48 khz). This is an absolutely minor consideration, since 99.9% of source material is 44.1/16 bit standard CD resolution. That aside, I can easily call the Vanatoo Transparent One a best buy for 2013.


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