Reviews

These speakers excel at what Stereophile calls “rhythm’n’pacing”. That is, they are rhythmically fast and “snappy”... The review sample will not be going back (I will buy them).
- Michael Fremer


2014 Writers' Choice Award to the Vanatoo Transparent One
- John Acton


The overall performance envelope possesses true high-end aspirations and exceeds that of any separate amplifier, DAC, and speaker combination that I'm aware of anywhere near its price.
- John Acton


The Vanatoo Transparent One is at home in any discerning system. “Connectivity” seems to be the word of the new millennium and the Vanatoo’s can be connected any way imaginable, from wireless to Bluetooth, USB, digital, analog, SPDIF…Got a device? These will make them sing beautifully. Their flexibility and all-in-one capability with very few flaws both sonically and operationally lend themselves to a second system, a high rez desktop system, a primary music system in an apartment, and even as studio monitors based on their neutral characteristic and resolving power. They are easy to use, and truly are what I would consider High Fidelity… So to that I say well done Vanatoo! I look forward to seeing more products in the future!
- Michael Zisserson


“I started my listening sessions with the Transparent Ones sitting on floor stands, placed on either side of my TV, and connected to my Oppo BDP-95 Blu-ray player's analog output jacks. I used the BDP-95's variable analog output to control the speakers' volume from the player's remote. Whoa; Daft Punk's "Random Access Memories" floored me with its prodigious low bass impact. Then I noticed just how lively the sound was overall, but the bass was the star. Vanatoo claims that the bass goes down to 48 Hertz, that's deeper than other similarly sized speakers I've had at home. The Transparent Ones clicked as a home theater 2.0 system, no need to add a sub. They're a viable alternative to sound bars, and unlike most 'bars, the Transparent Ones also sound great with music.” “So we're back where we started: most folks can't accommodate big speakers. If that describes you, the Vanatoo Transparent Ones are worth an audition. “
- Steve Guttenberg


If you like bass but can accommodate only a small speaker, you’ll love the Vanatoo Transparent Ones…I’d imagine that music lovers who are also into gaming would get giddy with delight at their bass slam and prowess and while I’ve spent a lot of virtual ink in this nether sonic region, the Transparent Ones deliver an impressive musical package.
- Michael Lavorgna


We were rewarded with music—big and bold and forceful, full-bodied and lovely. I left the room feeling very happy, indeed.
- Stephen Mejias


I enjoyed my time with the Transparent One’s. These speakers are thoughtfully designed and pair well with any of a number of streaming solutions that are available out there right now. If you’re looking for a good, compact solution with audiophile quality sound for a satellite system, in a bedroom or living room for example, the Transparent One’s should be on your short list. Given them a try – I doubt you’ll be disappointed.
- Mark Vignola


“The Vanatoo Transparent One speakers have a lot going for them—multiple input sources, a built-in AC-power port for use with an AirPort Express Base Station, subwoofer auto-sensing, and good sound—all in a beautiful, compact package. For apartment dwellers who can’t afford or accommodate larger speakers, they’re also a good way to produce accurate sound from today’s various digital devices. Vanatoo offers a 30-day audition period. It’s absolutely worth your time and effort to take them for a spin.”
- Christopher Breen


“The Vanatoo’s standout talent is an ALMIGHTY kick below the waist. They go down loooooow, bro. How low? Vanatoo’s website copy says 49Hz. Proprietary ClearBass™ technology makes this happen: the basics of which are a 5.25” woofer and a rear-firing passive radiator.” “BUT the Transparent One go lower than ANY pint-sized bookshelf I’ve ever heard. These diminutive boxes put on some great sonic fireworks when watching movies. Home theatre fans will find much to like here. Desktop users will likely reach for the rear-mounted bass control to keep desk rumble to a minimum.” “The natural, emotional response for most audiophiles hearing the Vanatoo’s for the first time would be disbelief that such a great sound could be had from a complete hi-fi system for $500 – I know it was mine when hearing them in Los Angeles in June. Hearing them for considerably longer back at home, nothing has changed.”
- John H. Darko


“I can honestly say that no other speaker of this size has performed at this level in my home in the bass department. Geez, bass guitar on rock recordings was just in the pocket, and filled up the room without strain. I ended up with bass control around the 1 O’Clock position, and the treble control very close to that, with variations depending on the source material. The quantity and quality of the bass did not in any way smear the midrange or treble. As a matter of fact the midrange was open, with no overhang, and the treble was clear and smooth.” “I then decided to move the Transparent One to a tabletop… I was a bit taken aback by how big the speakers sounded in this configuration. From the next room it literally sounded like I had floorstanders installed.” “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.”
- Andre Marc


“One of the truly pleasant surprises for me is that the Vanatoo active speakers are direct digital technology, meaning that the class-D-like amp is also the DAC. This guarantees the shortest signal path between digital source and the speakers, and this enables the speakers to live up to the name “Transparent Ones”. …[I] am now convinced that those who truly embrace digital music playback without reservations or romantic notions about tube warmth and vinyl analogue sound will be rewarded richly from a direct digital playback route. You won’t find this in their advertising, but they told me about it over the phone. …This is one of several examples that lead me to the conclusion that their advertising is a bit under-stated, something that is rather refreshing relief from the sea of bullshyte that the audio world can sometimes seem awash in.” “I think this is an absolutely ideal system for a desktop, for a bedroom, or a college dormitory room, especially when paired with an Apple TV or Airport Express, although high-res audiophiles will find direct connection to a computer or other high-res capable playback device even more rewarding.”
- wgscott, The Ill-Tempered Audiophool


The Vanatoo Transparent One is an interesting specimen. Definitely something you should look into if you are searching for a classier version of an iPod dock, in terms of both aesthetics and sound.
- Brian Van Eerden


After giving the Transparent One a thorough workout on my own, I got together with two MyMac reviewers. Both reactions were similar on first hearing them—a sharp intake of breath… MyMac Review rating is an enthusiastic 9 out of 10!
- Curt Blanchard


Regardless of what I play, whether it is throbbing rock, inspirational classics, stimulating jazz, brassy big band, flowing new age or soothing ballads, both instrumentals and vocals are clear, articulate and authentic to the source. These words still seem insufficient to capture my praise, admiration and satisfaction with this system, but I will continue to rave about this high quality to any listener or viewer.
- Tom Piper


I can simply say that the bass and sheer energy coming out of these small speakers was extremely impressive. In fact, it was so impressive that the folks running the demo felt the need to frequently tell the large crowd that everything was coming out of the two speakers, without aid of a subwoofer or any other hidden device.
- Jason Victor Serinus


"What’s to say? These things are $500. They are a steal."
- Mal Kenney


amazingly robust in dynamic range and bass response
- Paul Seydor


"What would it take to best these speakers in a small bedroom or even small living room setup? Well, a hell of a setup. We are talking about above average speakers with ridiculously designed crossovers, maybe a kit from Zaph Audio. Then you would need the accompanying gear, a very nice balanced DAC and preamp to get close to the noise floor of these speakers, and a then a good clean class D amp. And if you want to match them for size you definitely would need a subwoofer added to that list. All that and you may still fall short…. For bedrooms and dorms I can't recommend these high enough.. If I was confined to a small room for the rest of my life and had only one set of speakers to take with me, this would be them."
- Reddit's


…”how good can my Apple audio get?” That will lead you to an audiophile level set of powered speakers called the Transparent One from Vanatoo. The high quality of audio that is packed into this well designed and fairly compact (10″ high x 6.5″ wide) package is stunning and delivers nice clarity on the high end and respectable power on bass-worthy lows. With the thumping built-in subwoofer and powerful amplifier throwing out 60 watts per channel you will be ready to convert your desktop into a full throttle audio extravaganza.
- Alanna Kahn


Tiny. Powered. Built in DAC. Real jump. REAL jump. $500. Killer. The Vanatoo guys are basically selling crack cocaine here.
- Mal Kenney


I had the opportunity to try out these speakers as near field monitors and keyboard practice speakers. These compact speakers put out plenty of sound and some thought was put into the design as far as audio connections are concerned, making them versatile in most applications.
- Paul G.Seattle, Wa


These speakers shine like no other. I'd buy these again in a heart beat. Best $500 ever spent.
- Shri G.New York, NY


With these speakers I can input analog and digital input, Bluetooth or direct. And the sound is great. Not heavy on the base, but just right. Well balanced and perfect for our space. And now family and visitors can play their own music from laptops, iPads, smart phones and music players.
- Thomas P.West Des Moines, IA


Bottom Line - Great speakers at a reasonable price. The Vanatoo Transparent One speaker is the result of two talented and dedicated engineers following their great passion, without bean-counters interfering. Best speakers under $750 - $1,000. The market place should embrace and support products such as this one.
- Russ. HLivermore, CA


I had listened to a variety of speakers and then carefully studied internet reviews of speakers and comparisons of speakers for weeks before ordering the Vanatoos. I'm keeping them, and am very happy with my choice.
- Gary M.Dover, NH


I never did get a chance to listen to the polk audio Woodbourne but did listen to the klipsch kmc 3 and in comparison the t1's sound way better IMO. Just to add, portability was not an issue just the sound quality, The klipsch is great for that. I highly recommend these speakers!
- Dennis J.Hawthorne, NJ


These Vanatoo Transparent One's are, by far, the best powered speakers on the market today. The bass and balance on these speakers are incredible. These are very hard to beat at their price!
- Anthony R.Port St. Luvie, FL


The design of these speakers are amazing and the smaller compact size is even more amazing consider the loudness and sound quality they produce. They can be used as desktop speakers but they can certainly fill a large room.
- Chris D.Ashburn, VA


A sign of good craftsmanship is not just getting the basics right, its spending time on the little details. You can tell the designers put a lot of love and care into making these and considered the use cases closely.
- Nick P.San Francisco, CA


Shipped and arrived promptly. Well packaged. Extremely heavy compact nice looking speakers with remarkably good sound quality. Easy set up, great connectivity options. Gave a dedicated 2 hours to listening to variety of music (Temptations, Modest Mouse, The National, Vampire Weekend, Bon Iver, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Puccini's Nabucco, Miles Davis) and had a huge smile on my face the whole time. Truly shocking. Much, much better than expected. My only gripe is that they could have included the USB and optical cables but not a huge deal. I tend to tune out when audiophile writers start yammering about speaker burn in and high end speaker wire but, at the risk of sounding snobby, I will say that these little speakers have nice sound depth and differentiation. As one reviewer commented, you can hear things that you didn't notice before.
- Peter A.Kailua, HI


These are incredible. Absolutely incredible. Right out of the box, before burn in, without acoustic isolators, only 4 feet apart, no subwoofer, and they sound incredible.
- Diesel


These speakers (once a little broken in) will definitely challenge what you thought was possible from such a small cabinet!!! Read about speaker placement and invest in good stands! Try to take advantage of the digital input options, and be prepared to beam with pride!!!!!
- Reynard AClearwater, FL


The build quality is solid and it is apparent, as others have mentioned, that the speaker design was extremely well thought out; especially for varying room conditions and digital media. You won't believe your ears!
- JFNaples, FL


I have had these speakers for a week and been letting them burn in the whole time. It's almost as if I didn't need to, the sound is that good. I use a sonos system for this particular pair and the sound is beyond my expectations. The Vanatoos One is clear, conscise and the sound lively. How they managed to pack this amount of sound from something so small is truely amazing
- Corey H.Fairfax, VA


I was happy with my Creative T12 speakers for my pc desktop. They are fine little speakers. But I wondered if I could get better in a desktop/bookshelf size speaker. So I read the reviews and took a chance on Vanatoo. I mean, these are 3X the money of the other well-rated pc desktop speakers. Dear reader, if you have the money and want to take your pc music library to the next level, these Vanatoos will not disappoint
- Glenn A.La Crescenta, CA


Details in my music come out that i've never noticed before, Its so obvious of a change/improvement It's worth writing a review to boast the quality of these Vanatoo T1's. You simply cannot go wrong with the purchase of them, they are perfect for a wide range of uses from computer gaming, HIFI, music and reference monitors.
- Tim C.Bothell, WA


I use these every morning to listen to music while I get ready, and since I live in an apartment complex, it is important to me to have amazing quality sound even at low volumes. These speakers are perfect for this. I also use these to preview music that I have recorded and they give you a very accurate picture of what it sounds like.
- Conner M.San Louis Obispo, CA


I am a life-long audiophile and these are VERY good speakers. Nice design... all-in-one with DAC, amps and various digital inputs with automatic switching make this an absolutely amazing package, especially for the price.
- Gene K.Amherst, OH


They don't seem to get hot and are small enough to place just about anywhere. The auto source switching is very nice. After two weeks in the dorm, the comment was, "they have a warmth I'm not used to, it's great, great for a small room."
- Desmo


I love this product! The sound quality is brilliant. The speakers perfectly fill my living room in my small apartment and bring color and texture to every note of music that is played through them!
- Jeffrey FReno, NV


I received my Vanatoo a few days ago and I am delighted. Just now realize what I have been missing all that time with my Bose dock: great sound precision and clarity. Not only these speakers are extremely versatile (plug any source to it... they have the input for it!) but the Bass are also very impressive, no need to plug a separate subwoofer (supported though).
- Fred B.New York, NY


I don't post a lot of reviews on Amazon. But I LOVE THESE SPEAKERS! Every time I listen to them I am reminded of how happy they make me. If you have speakers attached to your computer and you listen to music on them, buy these speakers!
- Stephen K.Bayside, NY


The two pairs' sound seemed similar, but there was more harmonic detail on the Vanatoos. The music was a bit more lively and the highs were more extended. We ran through the comparison set. Then someone asked to turn the volume up, and on went some cuts from Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense. We found that the Vanatoos kept going a bit further where the AEs ran out of steam. Bass was shockingly good from such a small box. Dancing broke out. A good time was had by all.
- Michael M.Salem, OR


Side by side against the Audio Engine's, there's simply no comparison whatsoever. Extraordinary bass, pinpoint imaging, and sparkly highs. As for inputs and features (including bass and treble controls!), they provide versatility beyond anything available at this price.
- StereomanLos Angeles, CA


The sound is spectacular (clarity, separation on tracks, range) on the different types of music (acoustic guitar, classical, rock) that I've tried streaming from the AppleTV (via iTunes Match, or AirPlay). The Xbox games and streaming video over the console also have great sound. I like the acoustics of this better than a friend's 5.1 setup that he spent $1700 on.
- BB13Bellevue, WA


Well, in mid April 2013, we finally gave in and got the Vanatoos. The AEs are now in our son's room. He is pleased but we are delighted!
- Anthony L.West Seattle, WA


Sound quality is without question the best I have ever heard in a near-field listening environment on my PC. The rear bass radiator design offers a stunning level of tight bass for a speaker of this size. I mean wow! It feels like throughout quality. The weight feels substantial. The cherry wood finish is gorgeous.
- Les K.Millbrae, CA


As other reviewers mention, the overall sound quality is awesome for such a small package. You don't need to be an audiophile to recongize the difference in clarity and range compared to other desktop or bookshelf speakers. The Transparent Ones do an impressive job of handling different types of music
- Shawn HWoodinville, WA


Within minutes after opening the box, I had a fully wireless system controlled through my iPhone (via Apple TV). No setup, passwords or fuss. The connection options and built-in amplifier completely eliminates the need for a stereo, making my audio system truly transparent. The sound quality and range still amazes me no matter what kind of audio I pump through, it can handle it all.
- Randall S.Spokane, WA


So I am a minimalist. I do not want to buy a set of hi-fi speakers, a DAC, an amplifier, yadda yadda yadda. I want my room to have a clean minimalistic look, and not have to have a power strip to accommodate for all the audio crap an audiophile would typically have. These speakers are hooked up to my iMac via USB, and my airport express through fiber optic. Airplay is lossless and sounds gorgeous, and gaming is....just awesome. I don't even use an additional subwoofer, and I'm more than happy with the bass levels. there you have it...these speakers have been given two thumbs up by myself (an IT guy), my brother (a professional musician and audiophile), and my wife (need I say more).
- Ryan O.Elkridge, MD


Love, love, love these speakers! They were incredibly quick and easy to set up and the quality of the sound coming from these speakers is amazing! I connected the speakers via a Mini-TOSLINK to TOSLINK connection to an Airport Express and use the speakers wirelessly to stream music and/or control iTunes from my iphone from anywhere in the house. There are so many connection possibilites, I can't make up my mind what to try next!
- Sarah W.Los Gatos, CA


Firstly, I was amazed when everything played properly the first time! Secondly, I was struck by the quality of the sound coming from the speakers. I picked Adelle's "Someone Like You" (it was my wife's iPod, OK ?!), selected the proper interface over which to play (in this case, my AE Hub) and I got sound. Beautiful sound, clear, accurate with plenty of mid-bass (which was surprising to me given the size of the speakers) and a very dulcit quality. The amount of volume that the speakers are capable of producing was also surprising to me. It's not ear shattering but plenty of volume for the way I like to listen to music.
- Reese F.Essex Junction, VT


I was very impressed with all levels of tonal reproduction (highs, midrange, and bass). As mentioned in the article you won't get over the top bass from a speaker this small but I did hook up my high quality Velodyne 10 inch sub-woofer and it not only worked flawlessly (regarding auto cross-over sensing) but they sounded truly amazing together.
- Ed C.Santa Cruz, CA


I really enjoy listening to clear, clean music, and it seems you have to pay thousands of dollars to get that level of fidelity in speakers these days. With the Transparent One speakers, you not only get the clarity and precision of high-end speakers, you get it in a very compact, affordable, convenient set of self-powered speakers with a wealth of connection options.
- Mark L.Normandy Park, WA