Thonet & Vander is a fairly new addition to the audio market, but they are definitely trying to make a name for themselves in the US. I have been able to spend the last few weeks listening to their Bluetooth-enabled, high-end speaker set dubbed Koloss. With a name like that, you would assume that these speakers would be powerful, large, and beastly. Thonet & Vander sure hope you think so, but let’s take a look and see if they actually live up to that name.
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There is no looking past the fact that these speakers are absolutely enormous compared to the normal Bluetooth speakers we see pass through here at AndroidGuys, but then again, these are not really meant for portability. At almost 2-feet tall, each speaker makes its presence known in whatever room it’s in. I had a nice place next to my television that I planned on putting them, but when they arrived, I was worried that they might be too large to fit where I had planned. Thankfully, the fit was perfect, and they were setup within minutes.
In the box along with the Koloss, you will find a 3.5mm to RCA cable, a cable for connecting the left and right speakers, a European and US power cable, and a remote control. I was hoping for another cable for connecting these to my television, but thankfully I had an optical cable that I used instead.
The overall design and build quality of the Koloss is pretty nice. They feel sturdy and well built when you pick them up, but they are not so hefty that you will have difficulty moving them around if needed. Each speaker comes with two 6.5″ woofers made of “aramid fiber,” basically Kevlar, topped with a silk 1″ tweeter. The speakers have mesh covers on the front to protect the drivers from damage, but it is easily popped off. I immediately took the covers off because the woofers have this awesome yellow color that contrasts well with the black wood body.
One great thing about the Koloss is that it has a bevy of ways to connect it to devices, there are both digital and analog inputs on the back of the device and you can also connect wirelessly over Bluetooth 4.1. All the buttons are on the left side of the left speaker, which is where you will find the “Pair” button to pair your Bluetooth devices.
Setting up the Koloss is fairly simple even with the almost useless instructions and paring over Bluetooth is a snap, but using the Koloss proved less user friendly that I expected. First of all, the remote included in the box uses a CR2025 battery that was not included, and I had to do volume adjustments and source selections on the speakers themselves. This sounds like a first world problem, but I would expect a battery to be included with a set of high-end speakers.
Once I actually had the remote powered, using it was extremely challenging. The sensor for the remote is on the left speaker, and it has a tiny field-of-view in which the remote is picked up. Do not expect to change the volume or source from any extreme angle using this remote. Furthermore, there is no display on the speakers to show you a volume level or anything else. When you are using the remote, there is no way to tell if you are actually changing the volume until you hear it increase or decrease. You also have to memorize the source order since there is no display to tell you which source the Koloss is using for audio. All together, this proved to be a pretty frustrating remote experience.
So after all of that, how does the Koloss actually sound? To put it briefly, extremely nice. Let me preface this section by saying that I am not an audiophile, and these speakers are definitely not reference speakers. That being said, the sound you get out of the Koloss is going to be enjoyable for pretty much anyone who hears them. I had numerous friends and family members come listen to the Koloss, and the unanimous result was that the sound is awesome. On the side of the speaker and on the remote, you have the option to adjust treble and bass to your liking. Although, this does prove to be somewhat difficult with the lack of a display to look at.
Thonet & Vander tout the Koloss’ ability to provide a perfect balance of purity and power, but I found that the speakers sometimes put power over purity. With 160W of power (80W per speaker), these speakers can crank out some serious volume. The bass on the Koloss is occasionally overpowering to the mid and high range when listening to music, but that was pretty much remedied by playing with the bass levels a bit. At normal listening levels, the clarity of sound is great and separation is quite nice. Crank these bad boys up into party volume territory and you begin to lose some of the clarity, but most people will likely not mind or even notice.
This experience seems to be pretty similar between both Bluetooth and digital inputs. I never suffered from any drops or stutters when playing over Bluetooth from my Nexus 6, but I found the range to be pretty poor. I could only go about 30 feet away before music just stopped playing. I was hoping for a slightly larger Bluetooth range, but I guess I will just have to leave my phone when I need to grab a drink.
Overall, the sound that I got out of the Koloss was extremely pleasing, but definitely not perfect. It will definitely not blow anyone away, but the sound from these speakers are fun and can get loud enough for whatever you need. Be careful not to shake your house to the ground.
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As my first foray into Thonet & Vander, the Koloss has me interested in the company and makes me want to check out some of their other offerings. These speakers are far from perfect, but they provide a fun listening experience and would be a great addition to many people’s speaker setup.
The range of audio inputs available, the enjoyable sound quality, and the cool design make the Koloss an awesome set of speakers for the average person. The poor remote control experience, absence of a display for volume/inputs, and lack of audiophile sound will probably make this system a turn-off for those looking for a purer sound.
At the $400 price point, I think that the Koloss speaker is a definite contender for the average customer’s speaker needs and would recommend it to anyone looking to get into a quality speaker setup. You can check out the Koloss at Thonet & Vander’s website or on Newegg.