Have a question about Vanatoo Speakers? Check out our frequently asked questions below or feel free to reach out to us with our contact form and we'll be sure to get back to you as soon as we can.
- What is a powered (or active) speaker?
- What are the advantages of powered speakers?
- Are Transparent One speakers easy to set up?
- Can I put a "bookshelf" speaker on a shelf?
- How do I connect my iPhone or iPod or iPad, Android device, or MP3 player?
- Can I push music to your speakers wirelessly using AppleAirPlay®, Bluetooth®, or DLNA?
- How do I connect an Apple Mac, PC or network audio device?
- Can I connect a Flat Screen TV to my Transparent One speakers?
- Can I connect a subwoofer to my Transparent One speakers?
- Can I connect the Transparent One speakers to my existing receiver or power amplifier?
- Can I connect a turn table to your powered speakers?
- How do you get such great Bass out of such a small box?
- What is ClearBass™ technology?
- Why choose two separate speakers over having both in a single enclosure?
- What is the advantage of the digital inputs on the Transparent One speakers?
- Why use speaker wire instead of having a wireless connection?
- How much power does the system draw in Sleep Mode?
- How can I adjust my Transparent One speakers so that they don't go to sleep when I am playing low levels on the analog input?
- I am connected to one of the digital input connections, and notice that the T1s are not going into 'sleep mode' even though I am not playing music.
- What is XBL™ technology?
- What is a Digital Signal Processor (DSP) and how is it helpful?
- Most powered speakers do not have grills, yet the Transparent One speakers do. Why?
- Why do the Transparent One speakers use a passive radiator instead of a port like most of the other speakers on the market?
- Do I have to use the speaker wire that was provided with my Transparent One speakers?
- Does it matter which speaker I place on the right or the left?
- Can I mount my Transparent One speakers to the wall?
- Why is there a slight delay when I switch from the analog input to one of the digital inputs?
What is a powered (or active) speaker?
Speakers can be divided into two types - passive and active (or powered). Passive speakers are your 'typical' speaker – an enclosure with speaker components only, that you need to connect to a separate amplifier or receiver. Active, or powered, speakers embed the amplifier within the speaker enclosure. Vanatoo speakers have both a passive and an active speaker and incorporate a single 2 channel amplifier to power both. This design is more energy efficient and requires only one power cord, so we felt it was better for home environments than the single channel design, which places separate amplifiers in each speaker, and is a common configuration for studio monitors.
What are the advantages of powered speakers?
Powered speakers are a more compact solution and setup is simplified
because there are fewer boxes, cable, and connections. The powered
speaker configuration allows us to include an integrated, state of the
art digital signal processor (DSP) that tunes and matches the amplifier
with the speaker's performance characteristics for optimized system
performance. This method of optimizing is very difficult and costly to
do in the classic amplifier/passive speaker model.
Are Transparent One speakers easy to set up?
The Transparent One speakers are extremely easy to set up. Just plug
your music source into the desired input on the active speaker, connect
the speakers together using the provided speaker wire, plug the active
speaker into the wall power and turn on the power switch. What could be
easier than that? Click here for detailed information on how to connect various devices.
Can I put a "bookshelf" speaker on a shelf?
Yes, you can. The very best sound will always come from having the
speakers evenly spaced at ear-height and several feet away from sound
reflecting surfaces. Speaker stands are ideal for this purpose. We
realize that most people will want to tuck the speakers away on a shelf,
table, etc. You do need to leave an inch or two behind the speakers for
the connections and for the passive radiator to have some room.
Depending on where the speakers are placed, you may want to adjust the
bass and treble controls for the best sound in the chosen location. This
will usually mean turning the bass down and/or the treble up. Put them
where you want, and adjust them accordingly!
How do I connect my iPhone or iPod or iPad, Android device, or MP3 player?
The simplest approach is to plug the device's headphone jack output into
the Transparent One analog input. If you can connect a set of
headphones to the device, you can connect just as simply to the
Can I push music to your speakers wirelessly using AppleAirPlay®, Bluetooth®, or DLNA?
Yes, you can stream your music to our speakers using various wireless formats by connecting the appropriate wireless device (e.g. Apple Airport Express, AppleTV®, Bluetooth or DNLA device, etc) to the active speaker. Make sure the device has an analog, Coax, Optical Toslink, or USB audio output. If you are streaming music using from an iOS device or PC running iTunes, using Apple AirPlay® to an Apple Airport Express, the Airport Express can be plugged into our convenient AC Aux power outlet, and connected to the analog or optical input for higher quality sound.
We spent a good deal of time considering whether to imbed a specific wireless technology into our speakers, and instead chose to offer a speaker that works with all of these technologies. With wireless standards and technologies still evolving, we felt this was a more flexible approach that better protects your investment. Later, when you want to upgrade or switch your wireless capabilities, you won't need to replace an otherwise perfectly great set of speakers.
How do I connect an Apple Mac, PC or network audio device?
Transparent Ones have four input options - analog, audio USB, optical
TOSLINK®, or Coax- which allow you to connect to a wide variety of
devices and audio networks, such as those from Sonos or Logitech. Visit
our Compatibility section to learn how to connect to some common audio
sources and audio home networks. If you don't find your device, contact
us, and we may have some ideas.
Can I connect a Flat Screen TV to my Transparent One speakers?
Yes as long as the TV has variable outputs. Not all flat screen TVs have this feature.
Can I connect a subwoofer to my Transparent One speakers?
Yes, Although Transparent One speakers were specifically designed to
produce rich, full, satisfying bass without the need for a subwoofer, we
do provide a subwoofer out connection with a fixed crossover frequency
of 125 Hz. Set your subwoofer to the maximum crossover point and the
Transparent One electronics will automatically set the crossover between
the Transparent One speakers and the subwoofer. All you need to do is
set the subwoofer volume.
Can I connect the Transparent One speakers to my existing receiver or power amplifier?
Yes, if your receiver/power amplifier has preamp outputs. Connect the
preamp outputs directly to the analog connection on the Transparent One
active speaker. In most cases this is done using the 3.5mm to RCA cable
provided with your Transparent One speakers. DO NOT connect your
receiver/power amplifier's speaker outputs to the T1s directly (the
outputs used to connect to a set of passive speakers). This could damage
either your amplifier or the Transparent One electronics.
Can I connect a turn table to your powered speakers?
Yes. Run the output of the turn table into a phono preamp that has the
required RIAA filter incorporated. The output of the preamp would then
be run to the Transparent One active speaker. For the most convenient
operation it would be best if your phono preamp had a volume control.
How do you get such great Bass out of such a small box?
Our ClearBass™ technology reproduces the lowest possible true bass from a very small enclosure.
What is ClearBass™ technology?
ClearBass technology is Vantoo's unique design which uses a combination
of a patented XBL woofer, a custom passive radiator, and digital signal
processing filters to achieve very low, clean bass from a small speaker
Why choose two separate speakers over having both in a single enclosure?
One of the great joys in listening to music is when it sounds so real,
you feel you could reach out and touch the artists. Stereo imaging is
what makes this possible, and in order to create true stereo imaging,
speakers need their space. Why? Audio engineers use stereo imaging to
give the music spatial location and depth, so that it "comes alive" in
your living room. If the lead guitarist of your favorite rock band
stands on the left side of the stage, the audio engineer will mix the
audio so that we hear the lead guitar from the left speaker a little
louder and a split second before we hear it from the right speaker. Most
experts agree the optimal distance between the right and left speakers
should be about the same as the distance from either speaker to the
listener (i.e. listener and speakers form the 3 points of an equilateral
triangle). So if speakers in a single enclosure are separated by 18
inches or so, the optimum listening distance is an intimate 16 inches. A
few feet further, and most of the imaging and depth are lost. So to
enable proper stereo imaging for all sizes of listening environment, we
needed to separate the speakers more than was possible in a single box
What is the advantage of the digital inputs on the Transparent One speakers?
Each day more and more of our music is moved into the digital domain. As
such we have designed the Transparent One speakers to accommodate your
digital music as much as possible from the three digital inputs
(optical, coax and USB audio) to the digital signal processor on to the
Class D digital amplifier. With this design, your digital music can be
sent to the Transparent One speakers directly from your digital music
source, conditioned through the DSP, then amplified by the Class D
amplifier never leaving the digital domain until the point it is sent to
the speaker drivers themselves. Not only that, but we have designed the
Transparent One electronics to handle high definition digital music up
to 96,000 samples per second and 24 bits wide, which is roughly 3.26
times higher resolution than a standard CD. We feel the advantages to
this digital centric design is that it is more cost effective,
repeatable, lower power consumption, and via the DSP provides a means to
better match the amplifier to the speaker than could be achievable cost
effectively in an analog only system. And in case you were wondering,
the first thing the Transparent One electronics does when it receives an
analog input is convert it to high resolution digital.
Why use speaker wire instead of having a wireless connection?
Affordable audiophile quality is a key feature of our speakers and
wireless technology would have significantly increased the price. While a
big appeal of wireless is the desire not to see speaker wire, each
speaker would still require its own power cord, which can offset this
How much power does the system draw in Sleep Mode?
The T1 speakers draw less than half a Watt (less than a standard night
light), and go into sleep mode after 10 minutes of quiet (i.e. no music
being played and the digital connections have been dropped).
How can I adjust my Transparent One speakers so that they don't go to sleep when I am playing low levels on the analog input?
The Transparent One speakers will automatically go into the sleep mode
after 10 minutes of quiet. If you are seeing this happen when playing
your music at a very low volume level, slightly turn up the volume on
your music source and slightly turn down the volume knob on the back of
the Transparent One active speaker.
I am connected to one of the digital input connections, and notice that the T1s are not going into 'sleep mode' even though I am not playing music.
As long as the digital connection is active the Transparent One will not
go into sleep mode. Due to the nature of the digital inputs, even if
the music source is not sending out music or is "quiet", the Transparent
One electronics sees that connection as active.
What is XBL™ technology?
The XBL technology is a patented technology which eliminates some of the
non-linear properties experienced in the classic woofer design. What
that means to you is that a woofer which is designed with the XBL
technology will reproduce its full frequency spectrum with much less
distortion. Less distortion = truer reproduction of the music.
What is a Digital Signal Processor (DSP) and how is it helpful?
There are a number of design parameters that are critical to the design
of a good pair of speakers. One of the most critical parameters is how
the speaker responds to every frequency of audio from its lowest
frequency to its highest frequency. Put another way, you wouldn't want a
set of speakers that played the mid-range frequencies three times as
loud as the low and high frequencies. As such, most speaker developers
strive to design their speakers to output a relative flat frequency
response with no frequency greatly emphasized nor greatly diminished.
This is where the DSP comes in. Since we "marry" the amplifier to the
speakers we can we can use the DSP to adjust out any bad habits the
woofer or the tweeter have native to their makeup. As such, Transparent
One speakers are extremely flat over their frequency range (you can see
this in the specifications section of the Transparent One product page).
Most powered speakers do not have grills, yet the Transparent One speakers do. Why?
We wanted a nicely finished speaker that was visually versatile enough
to fit in with a variety of home décor, so we dressed them up. For those
who prefer the "no grill" look found on studio monitors, or want the
flattest frequency response possible, our grills are easy to remove.
While we agree with audio engineers that grills do change the speaker's
performance slightly, we have designed the Transparent One grills to
minimize those performance changes as much as possible.
Why do the Transparent One speakers use a passive radiator instead of a port like most of the other speakers on the market?
Actually the Transparent One speaker design did start out to be a ported
system. However we ran into two difficulties. The first minor problem
was that when playing very low frequencies we could hear port noise, or
what is sometimes called "chuffing" from the air moving in and out of
the port. There are a number of good port designs out there that can
greatly reduce this effect with different port topologies but at some
point it is always there even if it is just a little. The second problem
was that in order to make the speakers the size we wanted and still
play down to the legitimate low frequencies we wanted, the required port
would be too large. The laws of physics wouldn't allow it. However, we
found we could fit a correctly sized passive radiator in the small
enclosure and produce the low frequencies we were looking for, so the
passive radiator design won out.
Do I have to use the speaker wire that was provided with my Transparent One speakers?
You do not have to use the wire that came with the unit. We do recommend you use either 16 AWG or 14 AWG for best results.
Does it matter which speaker I place on the right or the left?
No. The active speaker has a L-R switch that you set to designate which
side the active speaker is on as viewed from the front. You can put the
active speaker on whichever side of the room is most convenient for you
and still hear the music as it was directionally recorded.
Can I mount my Transparent One speakers to the wall?
Yes, but we don't recommend this from an acoustical perspective. When a
speaker is placed very close to a wall, it creates a boundary
reinforcement, which means the wall has the effect of slightly
amplifying the bass. If you need to mount the speakers close to a wall,
we recommend you turn down the bass slightly (using the bass control on
the back of the active speaker). Remember to allow for some space for
the control and inputs, use a shelf that is rated for the weight of the
speakers, and secure them so they don't move around.
Why is there a slight delay when I switch from the analog input to one of the digital inputs?
When the Transparent One detects the music on the currently selected
input has stopped, it scans the other inputs to see if there is another
signal to start playing. In the case of the analog input, the
electronics waits for 15 seconds of silence before searching any of the
digital inputs to account for the inter-track quiet time so that we
don't falsely switch away from the analog input before the start of the
next track. This type of detection is not necessary for the digital
inputs, as they indicate the completion of the music by dropping the
digital connection altogether.