We were lucky enough to witness a demo of the Vanatoo Transparent Zero speakers by Gary Gesellschen, Chief Engineer and Co-founder of Vanatoo at the Axpona Show in Chicago this year. At if that wasn't enough, Rick Kernen Vanatoo's other esteemed co-founder granted us an interview. We asked Rick to talk a bit about the history of the company and explain the idea behind their new speakers.
We rated the Transparent zero's with 5 stars in our recent Vanatoo Transparant Zero Speaker Review. So it's clear that we are big fands of these entry-level audiophile speakers. they pack a lot of punch and features for their price. Here is the full transcription of the interview:
Vanatoo Transparent Zero Demo By Gary Gesellschen, Co-Founder of Vanatoo
So our new powered speakers are the Transparent Zero that came out last year and are pretty popular. All the electronics are built into one side.
So you plug into the wall for power cord to the other guy get some signal and hook a source and play music.
Your source can be just about anything because the amp and DAC are built into the box. Right now we playing out of a laptop with optical.You've got USB input, analog input and Bluetooth built-in.
It also comes with a remote control, hook it up to your tv and if you want to play music connect with Bluetooth. It is flexible for how to use it. About half of customers put them on a desktop which is really the reason for the unusual shape.
You sit them on your desk it points to your ears, not at your chest. If you want to use it in a room like we're doing here you can flip them over the other direction. Now it points out to the room and the magnetic grill will go either direction.
So there's even a quarter level insert to mount them on a wall. So you have got a lot of flexibility.
On the original T1's that have been been out about five years there's an LED in the back that people don't like because it's too bright. The T0 you can set it to the level you want and then stay the course.
There is also a sub output on these guys, you plug a sub in. It knows you plugged the sub in, cuts the bass out of this guy, sets the crossover and reroutes this since this guy's no longer working. Makes them play louder.
So the track I'm going to play for you, three different tracks mixed into a 2 minute sample. I'll play these guys with no sub. Remember this is our $359 dollar systems. We've got a show special for $319.
You should get something for your $359 dollar investment. We are designers and introduced this model last year, oh yeah, so yeah it wasn't we were shipping them in, we were taking the pre-orders last year on this guy and this guy isn't out yet and we're not taking orders till summer.
So well, first generation, this is second generation. First generation this was around about five years and we discontinued. Today we've started working on the new one and we made a last time sale of the original ones and then we sold them before we got new ones. So we will be out with this guy this summer.
Wanna hear what it does? Feature set with a bigger cabinet gives you a huge, better bass.
Overall the sound is remarkably the same, which you'd expect because the same people
designed it but it's a little more convincing in pretty much every way.
Interview With Rick Kernen, Co-Founder of Vanatoo
[Paul] Hi, we're with Rick Kernen from Vanatoo and we're going to talk about their new Vanatoo T0 active wireless speaker system and a little bit about the company.
[Rick] Good, So Vanatoo was started by myself and my business partner Gary. We work together for a number of years and we decided to launch on our own.
We're both engineers and we wanted to start a speaker company because we saw technology that allowed us to do things and be able to make good speaker products using the latest technology, without charging an arm a leg for it.
So we e spent five years to develop our first product, the Transparent 1 and now we've subsequently come out with the Transparent Zero's.
It's a unit that is a powered unit has the amplifier built in as well as Bluetooth, optical, USB, all built into the speaker so DAC's built in. Has a DSP built in and you're good to go. You just take them out of the box plug him in and and they run.
The name "Vanatoo", some people find interesting, comes from when we started the company we had to come up with some sort of a name so we found that there is a little island nation down by the Solomon Islands that was the happiest place on earth called Vanuatu.
And so we took some liberties with the spelling and we came up with a Vanatoo. Because we wanted Vanatoo to be a fun place to work, and a fun place for people to come find products for them to bond with. So that's that's where the name came from.
We are now working on a new product which is going to replace our first product, which is going to replace the Transparent 1. Will be the Transparent 1E or Transparent 1 Encore and this is actually a picture the Transparent 1, but the Transparent 1 E will look just like it and will be very close to this.
It has all the features that the Transparent Zeros have with the Bluetooth built in, the optical USB and this one also has coax as well as the remote control so you can plug them in to virtually anywhere in your home. They hook up to your TV and replace the sound bar of course, just a lot of ways you can connect.
[Paul] So you are one of the founders, which one is the beer drinker and which one is the wine drinker?
[Rick] I'm the beer drinker definitely and Gary is the wine drinker.
So one of the things we were trying to accomplish, is to be able to provide just a very good set of speakers for a reasonable price. In fact, you know, we we have no illusion that our little $359 dollar set of speakers is going to blow away at $20,000 pair of speakers. There's no intent to do that, but we do believe that they are Audiophile, entry level audiophile speakers.
In fact we have a saying it at Vanatoo. We want the speakers to be HSAA. Meaning, it hardly sucks at all.
And so we keep kind of a you know we want to keep it light. So we want to have speakers that people can afford and yet give you a really good experience. And so the entry level of Transparent Zeros at $359 certainly is that and step up to the Transparent One E later this summer is in 2018 will be an upgrade from the Transparent Zeros
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