Vanatoo Transparent One Encore Review (T1E) – Studio Monitor Reference Grade!

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These Vanatoo Transparent One Encore speakers can do many things and they do them well. Let’s look at some of the components these can replace.

Power Amplifier
Preamp with Tone Control
DSP Controller
Active/Passive Crossovers
DAC
Speaker Cable(s)
Power Cable
Bluetooth Receiver
Some Bulkier Bookshelf Speakers
Sound Bar

Vanatoo T1e Speakers

Rick Kernen and Gary Gesellchen are the owners and creators of Vanatoo. They’re some of the nicest guys I’ve met in HiFi. They love what they do and it shows in their customer service and their product. I like these guys, even if Jay from the Vanatoo Haters Association doesn’t.

In engineering and design, there are always constraints and compromises. This is true for every product I’ve ever reviewed and everyone from this point forward. The trick is to find the proper balance of compromises to achieve the intended goals of the end-user.

Sound Quality

I find them to have a surprising amount of bass considering their compact size. I’ve reviewed other speakers that use a 5.25″ driver, and none of them shake the desk like these can. When turned up, they want to walk off the desk. I think part of that is due to the passive radiator they chose to use instead of a port. It’s no wonder they sell these IsoAcoustics stands on their website. I would recommend anyone considering these to get stands that can decouple these from the table.

The treble response from the 1″ aluminum dome tweeter is crisp and clear. I prefer the highs from a well-tuned aluminum dome compared to a silk-dome, so I was happy to see aluminum used in these. The Transparent Zero’s had a silk-dome.

The coherence between the bass and the treble is seamless thanks to a bit of help from DSP which allows them to use steeper crossover slopes. It would require a speaker box full of components if they were to use a passive crossover network. As a result of the steep crossover, the midrange is accurate and free of unwanted resonances.

I used the shelved DSP mode at my desk and flat mode in my living room. I turned the limiters off. I preferred these at my desk, but I also am used to much larger speakers in my living room, so I’m spoiled. At the desk, these are nearly unbeatable at this price. Maybe others can come close for less, but they won’t have the features that these have and I doubt the fit and finish will be this good.

If you are set on using these in a living room, pairing them with a subwoofer with a flat response across the crossover region will help fill out the low end. These can auto-sense when a subwoofer is connected and apply either a 120hz high pass/low pass or 80hz high pass/low pass depending on the mode. Not very many powered speakers apply a high pass to the main speakers, so that feature is appreciated. It allows the speakers to play much louder without having to rely on an external DSP processor or room EQ on an AVR.

Frequency response on these is extremely flat. I measured in-room with my calibrated mic and ignoring my untreated room’s interaction with these speakers, they look very similar. My graph is in gold.

Vanatoo T1E Frequency Response

Pros

  • All-in-one solution
  • Does a lot of things well
  • Lots of Input options
  • Auto switching between sources
  • Custom drivers
  • Passive radiator eliminates port chuffing
  • Quality construction enclosure (3/4″ MDF)
  • Nice fit and finish
  • Small enclosure
  • Sound quality is excellent
  • Flat frequency response
  • Bass response is good for this size enclosure
  • Can be used a nearfield studio monitors
  • Precise center image nearfield
  • Steep crossover slopes: 36dB from the woofer to the tweeter, 48dB for the low cut
  • Auto low/high pass crossover when it senses a subwoofer
  • Shelved mode to account for placement
  • Option to use limiters (dynamic range compression).
  • Thoughtful extras – enable button on remote, ability to disable Bluetooth, led dimming, L/R switching options
  • Tone controls (bass and treble)
  • Excellent price/performance ratio

I’m having a tough time finding cons for this speaker because I agree with the choices they’ve made. These Vanatoo T1e’s can do a lot of things well.

Nitpicking was necessary to come up with some of these cons.

Cons

  • Slow auto/on. Approximately 8 seconds
  • Confusing custom settings although you may only need to use it once during setup
  • You need to download the user guide with the custom settings from their website
  • Not as wide dispersion as other speakers. They have a smaller sweet spot than I prefer

Conclusion

Compared to the Vanatoo Transparent Zeros that I reviewed, these give you all of the features of the T0’s, with better bass and crisper highs, in an enclosure that isn’t that much larger. Like the Transparent Zero, these are extremely capable at a desk. They are so accurate, they can be used as studio reference monitors. Listening to the sound demos from my video review, I was amazed by how close the sound from the Transparent One Encores was to the original source file.

These can also serve as a sound bar replacement if you don’t mind having two speakers flanking the sides of your TV. I would recommend getting speaker stands. If you go that route instead of a sound bar, you’ll be rewarded with sound that is excellent for TV, movies and music. I can’t say that for most sound bars that I’ve reviewed. That’s why I placed them so high on my Speaker Leaderboard.

Disclaimer: This product was sent to me by Vanatoo free for review. Amazon Affiliate links below earn me a commission if you purchase a product using the following links.

Buy the Vanatoo Transparent One Encore on Amazon

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