Thonet & Vander Hoch Powered Bookshelf Speaker Review
- POWER OUTPUT - 70W RMS (35W + 35W)
- FREQUENCY RESPONSE - 50Hz - 20kHz
- ACOUSTIC BOX MATERIAL - Wooden box HDAA
- ACOUSTIC BOX SIZE - 460 x 181 x 230 mm
- DRIVER SIZE - 2 Woofer 5.25"
- DRIVER MATERIAL - Aramid Fiber
- IMPEDANCE/POWER - 10 Ω 30W
- TWEETER SIZE - 1"
- TWEETER MATERIAL - Silk
- IMPEDANCE/POWER - 6 Ω 24W
- ANTIMAGNETIC SHIELD - yes
- CONTROLS - volume, treble, bass
- INPUTS - Dual RCA stereo
- COLOR - Black or White
- Off-axis response
- High-pass filter
- Overall sound quality
- Fit and finish
- Some high-end distortion
Thonet & Vander Hoch Bookshelf Speaker Introduction
We reported on Thonet & Vander a while back when they announced they were shipping their speakers to the US. To recap, the German company has decided to try to break into the US market with their line of (mostly) self-powered 2.0 and 2.1 speaker systems. They have a wide range of speaker offerings from studio monitors to satellite/bass module form factors. Our favorite from their website was the Classic 2.0 speakers that took bookshelf speakers and put amps and controls inside of them.
When they approached us about a review, I didn't specify what I wanted. I mentioned that I liked the bookshelf offerings better than the satellite ones but I didn't put out a specific model I wanted. I was very pleased to see that they had sent the Hoch.
Aside from the name, which sounds like a drink high school kids try to procure from their crazy uncles, the Hoch speakers look very much like the Axiom M22s. Those of you that know my history either from the forums here on Audioholics or from AV Rant recall that the first speakers I bought were the M22s. Seeing something that looked just like them made me want to give them a listen. They even have the same black dust cap though they've switched out the aluminum cones for woven fiber. Considering the Hoch speakers retail for $199 a pair and the Axioms (which are a bit bigger) cost $519 a pair, my excitement was doubled.
The Thonet & Vander Hoch speakers came double boxed. As I sort of expected with a new speaker offering, the outside box was very well designed and professional but the interior packaging was basically rectangular pieces of foam fitted around the speakers. I expect that the final product will have molded foam or something that can be easily reused. Regardless, the speakers arrived in good condition.
Wish me luck trying to get these back in this box for the return shipping
The Hoch speakers come with all the cables you'll need including a standard RCA, 3.5mm to RCA, speaker cable to connect the two speakers, and a power cord. There is a simple manual that you'll really not need as the inputs are really self-explanatory. There is a plug for the power cord, two stereo RCA inputs, and a power button. On the side of the right speaker are controls for volume, bass, and treble. If you've ever hooked up anything, ever, your only question will be, "Which speaker goes on the right?"
The one with the controls. There, I saved you having to read the manual (which is good because I couldn't find that tidbit in the manual anyhow).
Pretty self explanatory
If you've spent any time at the Thonet & Vander website, you'll probably be impressed with the quality of the images and design. After looking at the images of the Hoch speakers, I really had my hopes up as to how they would look and perform. While we'll cover performance in a bit, looks were not as good as I hoped.
You've probably heard the phase "good from far, but far from good" to describe something that looks good from a distance but not so hot up close. Used cars often fall under this category. From the front, the Hoch speakers look pretty good. Up close, however, the seams in the vinyl wrap are often not exactly matching, the edges sometimes overlap, and the back has a very weird inset with some discolored edges.
They are only $200 a pair - something to keep in mind
I was particularly disappointed in the grilles. The yellow drivers are easily seen through it (probably not an issue with the black model) as is the frame. They constructed the grille frame out of wood (which I prefer) but the fabric is wrapped messily and you can see where they cut off the excess with a knife. The posts are long and plastic and hold the grille on so securely that I was afraid I'd break the grille every time I removed it. Now, for the MSRP of under $200, you really can't expect completely flawless fit and finish out of speaker, but I hope that mine was a pre-production pair and that some of these issues will be fixed in the final model.
Leaking glue, cut lines, staples from the logo, and a grille post begging to be broken