Advertisement
Advertisement

Thonet & Vander Ratsel BT - PC speakers with German flair

Richard Easton
12 Mar 2016
Thonet Vander Ratsel BT lead
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
125
inc VAT

The Ratsel BT are PC speakers with plenty of connections for other uses

Advertisement

Specifications

Speakers: 2, RMS power output: 75W, Dock connector: Non, Wireless: Bluetooth (EDR), Dimensions: Satellite 253x100x111mm, Subwoofer 253x253x365mm, Weight: Not disclosed

Thonet & Vander probably isn't a household name outside of Germany, but the company has been making audio equipment since the 1990s, before becoming a global operation in 2006. Nowadays, it makes equipment from Bluetooth speakers to high-end monitors. I

ts Ratsel BT is its PC speaker option and as far as PC speakers go, the Thonet & Vander Ratsel BT are as versatile as they come. There’s no shortage of connection options beyond the standard dual phono RCA used for connecting up your PC. You also have a second pair of phono connections, a 3.5mm auxiliary and Bluetooth as well. As always, throw in an inexpensive Chromecast Audio and you have a Google Cast/Spotify Connect-ready set of speakers. A convenient headphone output is also included so you have one central control point for all of your audio, which helps to keep your desk tidy.

Thonet Vander Ratsel BT subwoofer

In terms of their design, you have two stereo speaker separates and a passive subwoofer connected to a central control unit. These are all hooked up through standard speaker wire terminating in push terminals on each end. It’s a configuration not dissimilar to the Denon CEOL Carino but that did also have the benefit of acting as an external USB DAC. No such luck here, but then the Ratsel BT is less than half the price.

Thonet Vander Ratsel BT remote

The Ratsel BT has an all black finish that’s rather plain. The main control unit is about the size of a large, thick hardback book. It can be stood vertically or horizontally, but it’s not as accommodating of the latter as the Denon CEOL Carino that rotated its display according to its orientation.

The main unit is where you’ll find all of the control dials. There’s a large volume dial with separate adjustment dials for bass and treble. Annoyingly, manual adjustments to bass and treble levels are reset if you put the speaker into standby. The volume dial can be pressed in for input switching and the bass dial can be used to activate Bluetooth pairing.

Thonet Vander Ratsel BT dials

A small remote control is also included that replicates the controls, as well as including media playback controls for when you have a Bluetooth device paired. The two satellite speakers are nondescript tower-shaped speakers finished with harsh and sharp edges and a metal mesh speaker grille. Overall, the Ratsel BT are far from the most stylish-looking speakers.

The initial setup process is easy but I wish at least one of the three included speaker wires were a little longer. They’re each about a metre in length but ideally I would have liked to have placed the subwoofer a little further away. Still, speaker wire is easily obtained if you do want some added placement versatility. After that, all you need to do is hook up your various audio sources using one of the aforementioned connections.

Sound quality

Where the design left me a little cold, the sound emanating from the Ratsel BT’s speakers and subwoofer was incredibly warm and rich and was a real pleasant surprise considering their low price. There was plenty of crisp treble detail from the trumpet fanfare in Charles Bradley’s Dusty Blue to the rapturous horns in orchestral scores.

Thonet Vander Ratsel BT rear

One area where the Ratsel BT fell short was its lower end control in more difficult tracks. In general, bass was warm and impactful, but my more tricky test tracks, such Toure-Raichel Collective’s Tidhar and Tame Impala’s The Less I Know The Better led to very noticeable and distracting distortion and cabinet reverberation around the mid to low end from the satellite speakers. The weighty subwoofer proved to be fine, however.

Fortunately, these were very isolated incidents. Still, it’s a shame, as otherwise the Ratsel BT punched well above their price range where it came to sound quality. Sound separation and dispersion was as good as you would expect from stereo separates.

Conclusion

Their design might not be the most attractive, and the sound quality isn’t without a few faults, but the Thonet & Vander Ratsel BT are still great value and worthy of consideration if you’re looking for a pair of capable PC speakers.

Hardware
Speakers2
RMS power output75W
Audio inputs3.5mm stereo, 2x phono RCA
Audio outputs3.5mm headphone
Dock connectorNon
WirelessBluetooth (EDR)
NFCYes
App supportNone
Battery capacityNone
DimensionsSatellite 253x100x111mm, Subwoofer 253x253x365mm
WeightNot disclosed
Buying information
Price including VAT£125
WarrantyOne year RTB
Supplierwww.amazon.co.uk
Detailswww.thonet-vander.com
Part codeRatsel BT