Vanatoo Transparent Zero Review
The main aim of Vanatoo Transparent Zero active speakers is to make the setup more simple. A full array of digital inputs are all set in, and the only thing you need to do is plug the power cord. That way, you do not need to buy additional amplifiers, interconnects, and speaker cables.
But there is one problem with that, and that is why many audiophiles are a bit cautious about active speakers, and it is the sound quality. The many functions in one speaker compromise the sound, especially in regards to noise.
It is possible to have such an active speaker that eliminates this problem, but you have to pay a lot for that—a five-figure number price.
The engineers at Vanatoo have decided to change how the world sees active speakers for a price much lower price.
The Vanatoo Transparent Zero has all the parts custom-made. Even the drivers are designed and built from scratch.
The shape of the speaker is a truncated square pyramid. This design serves to smooth out any internal resonances. They might not be the best-looking speakers in the world, but when you take off the grills, the silver woofer and shiny tweeter look cool.
The inset tweeter is a 1-inch soft-dome that is slightly below the speaker’s face height, allowing it to sit flat on its face without even touching the dome. The loading is narrow and makes the tweeter’s sound more directional. The tweeter also uses a button magnet which is very common in tweeters.
The woofer is a 4-inch driver with an underhung voice-coil. That means it uses a shorter coil than the magnetic field, so it stays whole inside the said field.
If you take the woofer out of the cabinet, you will see that it has a large magnet, but what is interesting is that the vented pole piece is missing.
A vented pole is a hole on the magnet that functions to vent out the trapped air behind the dust cap. According to the Vanatoo engineers, the driver has enough paths to air out that vented pole piece could only cause harmful effects.
Vanatoo Transparent Zero has a small radiator to match the small size of the woofer. Typically, the practice is for passive radiators to have twice the driver’s area or at least two radiators per active driver. The idea with Zero is to have a radiator with twice as much floppy potential without having double size. On the radiator’s back, a piece of material looks like cork, which provides weight and keeps the driver from leaking sounds of high frequency.
I suggest using the Auto button of the remote control and leaving Vanatoo to guess what input will be using.
If you want to use the buttons on the bottom area, you need to press the Enable button. That way, you get access to the Bluetooth pairing and adjustment of treble and bass. Treb mid and bass mid buttons have the purpose of a reset to a neutral position. Bluetooth set up is easy, and you only have to enable it on your smartphone.
There are inputs for power, optical, USB, and analog on the right speaker’s back. RJ50 connector is not sending any data. It connects the powered speaker with the passive one and has six conductors for the woofer and four for the tweeter.
There are a V-T-B switch and Pair/Prog buttons, which is a bit strange because they determine the function of the Volume, Treble, Bass knob on the right speaker. Not only that it changes the Volume, treble, and bass, but it also changes the speaker’s software settings.
For example, if you want the Vanatoo Transparent Zero to be in mono mode, you have to unplug the speaker from its power. Ensure that the volume knob is on three dots while the V-T-B switch is in the B position.
While plugging the power back, hold the Pair/Prog button. When you release it, the light on the front of the speaker will blink. That means you have the powered speaker by itself.
It isn’t straightforward, and you need to have a list of all these combinations to unlock features, so I doubt many will use it at all.
Here is a list of the combinations:
Function Knob Position V-T-B Position
Reset to default 1 V
Enable sleep mode 1 T
Disable Sleep Mode 1 B
Enable must be pressed on remote
before changes to VBT/Pair 2 V
Enable must be pressed on remote
before changes to VBT/Pair/Input 2 T
Shelved DSP(for close to walls) 2 B
Flat DSP(for stands) 3 V
Stereo 3 T
Mono 3 B
Auto input on sleep 1.5 V
Keep input on sleep 1.5 T
Limiter On 1.5 B
Limiter Off 2.5 V
Powered speaker on the right 2.5 T
Powered speaker on left 2.5 B
The amp is a four-channel D2Audio Class-D with 48 watts for each driver. The crossover is 48dB/octave at a very low 2200 Hz, which means it can integrate without problems with the 4-inch woofer.
If you play the music via Bluetooth, the sound is flat and worse than with other inputs. But it still is suitable for having it as background music.
The optical input lacks warmth, but it sounds more spacious.
USB seems to be the perfect balance of depth and clarity.
Looking at these speakers’ sizes, you surely don’t expect a high sound quality, but you will be surprised.
No matter what kind of music you prefer, from classical to pop, from heavy metal to alternative, be sure that these speakers can image well.
They project dimension, shape, and weight into the room. The sound expands even behind the speakers, making them invisible.
It is such a pleasant surprise from such small speakers.
The instruments, the vocals have color and life, and the cymbals shine as well. The mids have the perfect amount of warmth, while the treble is smooth without exaggerating or fatigued.
It has fair resolution and transparency, never sounds messy, and no distortion.
Once again, it shows that you shouldn’t judge the book by its covers. These speakers might be small in size but not at their heart.
Vanatoo Transparent Zero sounds like a perfect speaker. From the perspective of musical enjoyment, it is difficult to find any sonic flaws in the speaker.
For sure, it’s worth the money you pay, so if you are looking for a compact desktop speaker with excellent performance, look no further.