Swans M200 - A Review

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Parker Clack, Mar 13, 2007.

  1. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Our good friends at The Audio Insider just sent me a pair of their Swans M-200 multimedia speakers. TAI is the direct conduit to Swan Speakers, and is responsible for Swan development in North America and elsewhere.

    I have been wanting to replace my warn out Altec Lansing ADA-305 setup for some time but I haven't been all that impressed with the models you can find at such stores as Best Buy, Circuit City, etc. and have had my eyes on the M-200s for some time. I am using these speakers with my PC at home and this review will be using this type of setup.

    Speaker Design

    First off lets look at the packaging of these speakers. They come shipped in the usual packaging but in addition they come shipped in a cloth bag.

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    This is a shot of the front of the speakers with the grills on. I put a soda can in between the speakers to give you a perspective as to their size. At 7.0×9.2×13.8 in. (W×D×H) these are not your usual multimedia speakers. One speaker consists of the volume, bass and treble controls.

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    This is a shot with the speaker grills off. The speakers consist of a 5.25 polycone midwoofer and 25mm soft dome tweeter.

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    Here you can see the back of the speakers that consist of a port for each and hefty binder posts for connection of the speakers with each other. One speaker comes with a detachable power cord for the amplifier with on/off switch and inputs for connection to your computer.

    Each speaker in housed in a flat black box with walnut finished side panels. I have them setting on my cherry finished case that I built to hold my laserdisc collection so you can get an idea of their color. The fit and finish is first rate.

    Amplification

    As these are active speakers they contain a built in amplifier to drive them. The amp is rated at 15Wx2 RMS (5 ohms, 1Khz, THD85dB.

    Specifications

    System Type: 2-way 4th-order vented box-system
    Frequency Rage: 62Hz-20kHz (-6dB)
    Harmonic Distortion: 100kHz-20kHz70dB

    Listening Tests

    To me the test of a speaker is how good it sounds to my ears. (Which in my opinion should be the real test of any speaker anyway). So I put in a multiple of CDs and DVDs to check out how they handled a wide variety of dialogue and music.

    My sound card is the Auzen X-Mystique 7.1 Gold. I am listening to 2 channel audio.

    CDs

    1) Flim and the BBs - Big Notes -Funhouse
    2) Alanis Morissette - Jagged Little Pill - All I Really Want
    3) Emerson Lake and Palmer - Works Volume I - Fanfare for the Common Man
    4) Black Sabbath - Paranoid - War Pigs
    5) Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 In D Minor: Choral - Herbert von Karajan conducting.
    6) The Beatles - Abbey Road - Come Together

    DVDs

    1) Terminator 2 - Judgment Day (Two-Disc Special Edition)
    2) Toy Story 2 (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    3) Saving Private Ryan
    4) Das Boot
    5) Heat
    6) Firefly -TV Series
    7) Perry Mason - TV Series

    Conclusion

    All I can say is wow! I put these through a lot with checking out the low end to the high end for music and for clearity of dialogue on the TV shows. Bottome line: They sounded great. They were very clean sounding with no muddy low ends or shrill high ends. In short they are high end speakers for your desk top.

    At $189 a pair through TAI (
     
  2. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Happy to see you like them, Parker (as if there was any doubt!). [​IMG] I’ve been using the M200s for a couple of years now, and they definitely are sweet. Try adding a little sub, like a M&K sealed 10”, and you’ll really be rockin’! I don’t think anything else can touch them for the money. Anytime I see someone on a Forum making an inquiry about some good computer speakers, I jump in and recommend the M200s. [​IMG]

    By the way, everything I’ve ever seen about the M200 power gives power at 30-35 watts.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  3. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Thanks Wayne. I was just going by the package info that came with the speakers.

    TAI, also sells several speakers for home media that are three piece set ups but I wanted a two speaker set up.

    Parker
     
  4. Scott Kriefall

    Scott Kriefall Second Unit

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    I too have owned a pair of Swans M200s for a few years, purchased from AV123 back when they were the US-based Swans importer. I believe the official power specs are 36 watts/channel, unless Swans has switched to a cheaper amp module since mine were made.
     
  5. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

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    I ordered these from Newegg a few weeks back. The first pair were DOA; dead amp. Sent them back, got another pair this past Monday. I'm just now doing some critical listening with Apple Lossless files, and these are definitely a step up from every other pair of speakers I've ever owned. My previous computer speakers were Altec Lansing MX5020s (2.0); there was always hiss present, but I am happy to report that there is no hiss present with the Swans unless you put your ear up right to the speakers, and even then, you really have to try to hear it. I also have a stereo system in the living room; a Sherwood RD-6105 receiver with JBL E30s and a Dayton 10" subwoofer. For critical listening, I think the Swans are better.

    I'm hearing details I've never heard before; in Keane's "Frog Prince," the drumstick hitting the snare actually sounds like a drumstick hitting a snare! I don't think the JBLs can compare with Swans with respect to clarity and imaging, but they're still decent speakers for the price ($115/pair). The JBLs can produce good sound and can perhaps be comparable when SACD material is being played through my DVD player (Pioneer DV-588), but the Swans really kick it up a notch.

    The Swan M200s are definitely worth considering if you want to upgrade your computer speakers.
     
  6. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    Glad to hear you got a pair that work! I just upgraded to Swan Diva's for my HT from Ozhometheater.com and I'm very pleased with them. Better in every way from what they replaced.
     
  7. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

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    Not anymore. [​IMG]

    I finished listening to an album about half an hour ago. For the next 15-20 minutes, I didn't listen to anything. Then suddenly, I heard a hiss coming out of the right speaker and it was getting louder and softer. I turned up the volume and it started to come out of the left speaker too. Now, only distorted sound comes out of the left speaker and only hiss out of the right.

    There have been a couple of negative reviews of the Swans posted in the last few weeks on Newegg, and both were related to the amp. Must've been a bad batch.

    I hope I don't have to pay another penny to get this fixed.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Jon Lane

    Jon Lane Stunt Coordinator

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    We've had about ten pairs as of late with bad amps -- this model's first issues, literally, in over a couple thousand pairs since 2004 or so. Apparently all went to new Egg.

    I've been replacing them with direct swaps.

    If you have a bad pair, let me know personally and I'll make it right.

    Not so incidentally, HiVi just upgraded all manufacturing standards for small active systems (M200, S200, T200, etc.) and I'll have 150 pairs arriving in three weeks that reflect that enhanced method. Costs went up fairly dramatically, so no more $189 M200's, sorry. I'm now at $219/pr although Steve at OZ Home Theater may be posting a few bucks off that figure when I restock us both.

    Also, there'll be a new M200MkII due sometime about June. I don't have all the specs yet, but it looks like all electronics now match the higher performance units of the S200 series model. I see a new torroid power transformer, German film caps, new film pots, better power supply, and even some nifty new speaker cables, all along with the better onboard amps. Anticipated resell price should be about $299/pr.

    I'll post up more MkII details when I have them. I'll try and attach some pics of the stern end of the M200MkII plus the new internals showing the different electronics.
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  9. Cogito

    Cogito Auditioning

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    Ya know, I've owned my Swans for about three years now. I bought them based upon the the amazing reviews they have gotten.

    Well, here's my mini-review...

    First of all, these things are built VERY well. No other amplified multimedia speaker I can think of comes close to the fit and finish of these for the money. They look expensive and feel expensive.

    Setup: My listening setup is in a 9 x 12 room with carpeted floors and standard 2 x 4, gypsum board walls. The speakers sit on top of a glass computer desk about three feet apart on center and about 18" from the wall. My seating is equidistant to the speakers.

    Sound: First thing that comes to mind is that these little speakers have plenty of amplifier headroom. Even with uncomfortably loud music, I've yet to hear any clipping artifacts or driver overloading. There seems to be a multitude of power rating listed on these speakers depending on the reviews you read, but my manual says 27 watts/ch RMS. regardless of the actual rating, these speakers can belt it out.

    The high end is a bit soft and warm, but this may be caused by the upward direction the tweeters point due to the slope of the front baffle. Upper midrange is strong, but not overbearing. Upper base? Here's where things get ugly... The upper bass is bloated, fat and muddy. Male voices boom out with both a nasal and boxy growl. I'm not sure if Swan did this intentionally to make these speakers appeal to the computer gamer and their sound effects, but it doesn't do music and justice. As a note though, if I move my seat back, these bad qualities disappear and they take on a whole new smooth sound. So to find out if this was a standing wave issue in my "computer room", I decided to hook them up in my listening room to my ADCOM GFP-555 II preamp (Using an RCA to DIN cable) and put them on top of my main listening speakers. I started out moving the speakers inward, about three feet apart and sat back to listen. Yup, there's the boom again. Then I moved back about six feet and once again, the sound mellowed out and they sounded fantastic. As a note: Bass extension is non-existant below 50-55 Hz. As such, these speakers would certain benefit from a subwoofer.

    My conclusion: There are better and cheaper choices out there for computer/multimedia speakers. Klipsch really comes to mid with their popular 2.1 systems. However, I think these speakers would excel as "high-end" stereo TV replacement sound system or iPod based dorm room sound system where one can be more than 5 feet or so away.

    On a scale of 1-10, they get a 7
     

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