Vanatoo Transparent Zero Loudspeaker Review Follow-Up

In my review of the $359/pair Vanatoo Transparent Zero desktop speakers, I noted that while playing Kanye West’s “I Am A God,” the active speaker produced a high-pitched whistle/screech noise. After we published the review, Vanatoo co-founder Gary Gesellchen suggested that instead of the cause being a design flaw, the noise was an artifact of an air leak due to loose screws. He recommended sealing the air passages by taking off the active speaker’s handle and tightening the screws all the way in.

I did exactly that and again cued up “I Am A God”, and… the same issue occurred. It wasn’t as high pitched as the first time but was still quite present, which is a shame both because I was hoping this would solve the problem and since Yeezus is one of the greatest albums of all time and “I Am A God” is an integral part to its narrative.

However, I don’t think it’s fair to yet render a final opinion on this otherwise excellent set of speakers, as perhaps I received a defective unit. If Vanatoos provides a second sample I will of course publish as soon as possible an update.

mraudioguru's picture

...chuckle of the day:

"and since Yeezus is one of the greatest albums of all time"

MalachiLui's picture

so I assume you don't like good music. "Yeezus" is one of the greatest albums ever made (probably top ten, and better than most if not all Beatles, etc. albums) and Kanye is the second best (behind David Bowie) musical artist to have ever walked the planet. if you don't like "Yeezus," please explain why because I'll debunk every excuse to not at least have an appreciation for the album (appreciating and liking are not the same thing btw).

and since you seem to not like "Yeezus," then I assume you don't like "Station To Station" either. both follow very similar narrative arcs and are more similar than most people think. there's a conspiracy theory that Bowie predicted Kanye, of which parts are kinda absurd but the two are musically and conceptually connected.

have you even listened to "Yeezus" all the way through?

Lazer's picture

John Coltrane is the greatest musician to ever walk the planet. It’s really impossible to say. This planet has been home to thousands, maybe millions, of people that are musical geniuses.

Paul Boudreau's picture

That quoted statement is just that. One of the great things about various forms of “art” is that we are completely free to like what we like and no one can tell us different. The words “greatest” and “best” in lists are a real problem since they in fact are attempts at manipulation of someone else’s likes & dislikes. Substitute “my favorite(s)” and all is well, I think. As an example, yesterday I read someone’s list of the “greatest drummers of all time” which didn’t include Louis Bellson, Max Roach, Tony Williams, Ginger Baker, Mitch Mitchell or Keith Moon, just to name a few.

mraudioguru's picture is in the ear of the beholder. Not everyone is going to like the same thing you do, (add movies, coffee, cars, etc).

Yes, I have listened to Yeezus. Didn't like Kayne going in, still don't like him.

I am absolutely no music scholar or critic, but have been listening to high quality gear for over 40 years, (I was in the high-end audio business for 25 years). Comparing him to Bowie seems just wrong to me, but again, I'm not the scholar you are...

mraudioguru's picture

...from your response that I missed this:

"Yeezus" is one of the greatest albums ever made (probably top ten, and better than most if not all Beatles, etc. albums)"

Well, you just lost all credibility with me.

mraudioguru's picture

...wasn't it John Lennon who said "We're more popular than Yeezus now."


MalachiLui's picture

the Beatles were bigger than Jesus, and Kanye is greater than Jesus (and therefore better than the Beatles).

seriously. kanye is a god. it was my twitter username at one point and it's a true fact.

MalachiLui's picture

so you say that you disagree with my opinion but also say to me "I'm not the scholar you are." you admit that I know more about Kanye and his music and what makes it great than you do but then say that I've lost all credibility because of my high regard for "Yeezus."

and you also say that you didn't like Kanye going into "Yeezus." well this is an album that requires an open mind and repeated listenings. if you have a strong hatred for Kanye then this album isn't going to help that but still...

I recommend you try listening again, keeping in mind that this is an extremely cinematic industrial electronic album with punk rock attitude. it has a complete narrative about the trappings of celebrity and ego and how that is just a cover up for vulnerability. it's a very human story really... just keep an open mind with it.

and I also have a hard time believing that one could NOT enjoy "hold my liquor" and/or "bound 2." charlie wilson's heavenly vocals on the latter get me every time. and the former is brilliant in so many ways.

Eskisi's picture

Kanye is such a worthless clown.

In interviews he tries — unsuccessfully — to explain the hollow arrogance of his lyrics. But this, “In an interview with W in June 2013, it was made known [by Kanye] that the song was inspired by a 'diss' from a major fashion designer during Paris Fashion Week, where West was informed that he would be invited to a widely anticipated runway show only on the condition that he agree not to attend any other shows...” may be have pushed the triteness to a point of no return.

Bowie too was a bit of a laughing stock in the 70s with his outfits and the many filler songs on his albums. But time made us forget those and his many brilliant lyrics shines through the decades. No such prospects for Mr Kardashian.

MalachiLui's picture

I corrected that for you. you're welcome.

and you say that all of Kanye's lyrics are just "hollow arrogance." that's really not true. the first two songs on "Yeezus" show the character's massive ego that comes from the trappings of the celebrity lifestyle. (the album's story follows a CHARACTER who is an exaggerated version of Kanye at the time.) on the third song "I am a god," we see that his ego is to the point where the only person in the same league as him is Jesus. but there's also the line "I am a god/Even though I'm a man of God/My whole life in the hand of God."

"new slaves" shows the character trying to reconnect with the people but failing to do so. "hold my liquor" is when his vulnerability starts to show beneath the massive wall of ego, of which is in peak form on "I'm in it" which shows the character not being able to wake up from the nightlife. he finally begins to realize on "blood on the leaves" that he's missing true love, which he finds at the end on "bound 2" (see the line "one good girl is worth a thousand bitches"). and on the penultimate track "send it up" he tries going back to the nightlife but finds it empty.

I know you're a troll so I shouldn't be explaining all of this but this might be helpful to the other guy in the comments section here as well.

MalachiLui's picture

Bowie's 70s albums (especially that 1976-1980 golden run) don't have ANY filler tracks AT ALL. you are officially a crackhead.

Andy18367's picture

..[Fremer], is that you? (Why are you posting replies under Malachi's name? :)

MalachiLui's picture

Fremer doesn't do the all-lowercase thing like I do sometimes (see our respective twitter tl's as proof of that).

and if you saw my tweets you'd know that Bowie is also my favorite musical artist of all time with Kanye following right behind.

"Blackstar" might be one of my top 5 favorite albums of all time with "Low," "Station To Station," and "Lodger" probably within my top 15-20.

Eskisi's picture come in every age. You do not need to be a bitter old man.

Lazer's picture

That you stand up for yourself and can defend your opinions intelligently, even after you deliver a shot(insult) back at the troll. Keep up the great work. Your contributions to this website make it even more entertaining and informative. Maybe I’ll even give Kanye a try....

Andy18367's picture

You have excellent taste. 'Low' is one of my favorite albums. I just ordered the 2018 remaster, which has provoked a lot of strong reaction, much of it negative, because I want to hear what Visconti did with/to it. Interested to hear your thoughts.

A bit of old-man history re Bowie -- when I was slightly older than you are now, the one Bowie albums everyone had, even if they had no other Bowie albums, was ChangesOne, his 1976 greatest hits collection. I know compilations are not high on collectors' radar; I just mention this as a social indication of his reach. Few people I know owned any other Bowie, but they all had Changes. I think 'Fame,' his 1975 collaboration with Lennon, which was a big hit, put him on the mainstream radar. His next and even bigger mass market breakthrough was 1983's 'Let's Dance,' of which I'm not a fan, except for 'Cat People [Putting Out Fire],' which was put to great use in Tarantino's 'Inglourious Basterds.'

As for the admonitions in some of the comments to clean up your language, I would say that it's not about the words you use, but how you use them. And you sling pejoratives with much more elan than the old man, whose insults are more of the 'so's your mother' variety. I hope he learns a thing or two from you!

DrJB's picture

Hey Malachi--I appreciate your passion for Kanye, and I personally think that New Slaves is a powerful message that needs to be heard. I had a similar experience when I was your age with Bob Dylan. Blonde on Blonde and John Wesley Harding were far better than most of the pop music that was in heavy rotation including Lady Madonna, Oh Blah Dee, and Let it Be. Dylan was just so much better than all of that, and certainly any intelligent person would agree with me.

Then I went to college.

My roommate took one look at my record collection and invited me to join him on a shopping trip to the venerable "Hill" in Boulder, CO, not far from our dorm. We brought home John Mayall, Allman Bros (Fillmore), Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Otis Rush, and Joni Mitchell's Blue. My devotion to Dylan was not completely derailed; however, it never seemed as cult-like or important from that point forward. I still have all of those records along with dozens of others that we acquired in 1974-75 including Electric Ladyland which became both of our favorites. By this time, Dylan was just a Jr. High/High school memory.

Maybe someone can figure out what I'm trying to say here.

mraudioguru's picture

...hours "on the Hill". Trade-A-Tape & Records, Albums On The Hill, WaxTrax. Eating lunch at "The Sink". One of my favorite times in life.

Thanks for the memory recall.

DrJB's picture

I'm so impressed that you remembered the names of the record shops--you did spend a lot of time up there! Never ate food at The Sink but drank gallons of beer ($1 pitchers on Fridays). Usually went for burgers at Round the Corner. They had $1 pitchers too, but The Sink had ambience until they remodeled it in the mid 70's. Been living in Ft. Collins for the last 29 years...not Boulder, but not Greeley either! OK, I won't hijack Malachi's review any further.

Michael Fremer's picture
Can we all just get along?
orthobiz's picture

Malachi, you are young but wiser and more literate than most anyone I know your age. Let the naysayers have their naysay. Don't engage, just chill. Your opinion is your own and you don't need to go overboard to defend it. I have zero Kanye, but after looking through this I might expand my horizons!


KLW's picture

ML....think you are a cool/erudite person and on track for great things in the future. You are well gifted to receive this position/opportunity from Mr. Fremer (Think you know and appreciate this)
Pls do not take my opinion personally.....and hold steady to yours:

This guy is super Cheeeesy....I do not see/hear Any talent. Someone who outright compares themselves to God, in this way, should just stop.....Really!!! Classic narcissist. While commercially successful, he is not even close to the top of musicianship. Period. Hendrix runs infinite circles around this hack. (His brand is even is trying to operate as an Architect’s office, which is laughable). At best he is a “lifestyle brand” with no real talent.

More original rappers include: Digable Planets, Beastie Boys, Biggie Smalls, Eminem, Dre, Snoop, Outcast There are way more

Even a favorite band of mine (no one here will know) Guided by Voices aka Robert a way more prolific/deeper song writer then Cheeesy will ever be

Kevin L Westerbeck

DrJB's picture

Hmm. Interesting, Kevin. Just listened to an original vinyl pressing of Songs in the Key of Life-- Stevie"s "Black Man" said it all sans profanity, but, nevertheless, with impact and grace:

We pledge allegiance all our lives
To the magic colors, Red blue and white
But we all must be given The liberty that we defend
For with justice not for all men, History will repeat again
It's time we learned, This World Was Made For All Men.

Is history repeating again? Check it out. USA Today.

"Stevie Wonder calls Kanye's slavery comments 'foolishness,' comparable to Holocaust denial"

KLW's picture
JoeESP9's picture

ML It's your thing and you're allowed to like whatever you like. However, I have never liked much of what David Bowie did and I like even less of what Kanye does. I have recordings by both and they're on my not play unless requested list.