Transparent Speaker Review: How Does A Glass Speaker Sound?

Updated: Aug 21, 2021


A quick disclaimer before we start: Audiophiles, you might want to click out now. But if you have money to burn and you’re looking for a cool looking speaker that will wow your friends and family, let's crack on.


The Transparent Speaker is cool, it really is. It’s made of glass panels enclosed in an aluminium frame, and it actually weighs around 11kg, which isn’t much compared to floor standing speakers, but for something that’s designed to sit on a table or counter, it’s pretty heavy. That also means it’s relatively stable though, so that’s nice.


Now, the reason why I said audiophiles should stop watching is that people who are into speakers would know that speakers are generally made with wood for reasons like sound vibrations, acoustics, all that stuff. There’s no dampening material in this either, which means possible internal standing waves and all. If you’re looking for a speaker purely for sound quality, you’ll probably not want to get these.


If you’re looking for a statement piece for your living room or whatever though, you’re in luck. This looks so cool. Put it in your living room, invite over your friends and I guarantee at least some, if not all, of them will marvel over this.


The unboxing experience is pretty cool too, the company even provides a pair of gloves so you can avoid getting fingerprints on the glass.


On the front, you can see the two mid-range drivers, the woofer, as well as a small panel on the bottom left with knobs for volume control, bass and treble, as well as a switch for turning the speaker on or off. There’s a small light under the volume control that indicates if the speaker is on or not.


On the back, you get a panel that has line-in and out ports, a port for power, a USB-A port that powers the Bluetooth module that can be plugged into the line-in port and a switch that flips between stereo, left or right. If you have one speaker, leave it on stereo. If you have too much money and decide to buy two speakers, you can flip one to L and one to R and pair the speakers with a cable or through Bluetooth.


Inside, you get a Class D amplifier, a DSP and the two 3-inch mid-range drivers as well as the 6.5-inch woofer.

Okay, let’s talk about sound quality. As I mentioned before, these look great. But the choice of materials used does compromise the sound, although I personally thought it didn’t sound as bad as most audiophiles would think.


Bass is relatively controlled, but I did sometimes find myself missing a bit of rumble. The good thing about the knobs on the front is exactly that, you don’t have to fiddle with a companion app if you want to boost the bass, just tweak it directly on the speaker. I typically left it at the 12 o’clock mark because I found the bass got a bit too boomy and muddy when turning the knob too far to the right.


Mids and treble are pretty decent. The separation and clarity in the upper registers aren’t as clean as I would have liked, but overall, it’s a better experience than I expected. There’s an okay amount of instrument separation in the mids and thanks to the treble knob at the front, you can, again, easily adjust the sound to pull out vocals and the treble a bit more if necessary.


The speakers do get decently loud, but do take note that the volume on your device is independent of the volume knob, so I personally recommend turning your phone or source device up all the way, then adjusting through the volume knob.


For games though, it’s generally passable. You do get a decent amount of bass, even when leaving the bass knob turned to slightly just around the mid-way mark, but I preferred to turn it up around three-quarters of the way for more impactful gunshots or explosions. Open world games like Ghost of Tsushima or games with a lot of dialogue do fine on these, with pretty clear voices.


At S$1,699 or US$1,100, it’s super pricey. That’s why I said these are statement pieces. It’s like art, almost.

So yes. Don’t get these speakers if you want something that sounds really really good and detailed and accurate. You get transparency, but in the physical sense rather than in the sound. The only reason I can think of that someone would get this is because they really like the glass design, and want to showcase the aesthetic appeal of the speaker, rather than use it for really critical listening.


Personally, I'm on the fence. I like the way they look, and I left them on my bedside table so I could use them when playing games or just to have some music playing in the background. They’re not terrible, but I don’t think they’re S$1,700 good. People with more disposable income than me could probably purchase these as decoration for their homes, but yeah, not for me.

 

Content by Cheryl Tan

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