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Swans an upgrade from Polk RTI line?


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27 replies to this topic

#1 of 28 OFFLINE   meeks

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Posted December 30 2004 - 12:27 PM

Hello, Im thinking about replacing my current polks & getting something from Swan since I have heard good things. I have RT55i's for mains & cs400i for the center. I was looking at the 2.1's & C3 in the black faux. I figure I can almost sell my current speakers & pay for the new ones. Anyone who has heard both, I would love to hear some opinions.

#2 of 28 OFFLINE   DavidCooper

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Posted December 31 2004 - 12:55 AM

I have the 2.1/C3 combo your looking at. I went from an all Paradigm system to Swan several months ago. I have heard several Polks, but I'm not sure the exact models. I'm not going to speaker bash, but I did not like any of the Polks I heard for various reasons.

The Swans are an amazing value in the BC finish. I would seriously doubt you could find a better speaker for the money. They are top notch. I have done side by sides with some B&W nautilus series against my 2.1's and they were VERY close. If you closed your eyes you would have a hard time telling them apart. Now, once you saw the price difference you would see the difference for sure!

#3 of 28 OFFLINE   Mike^S

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Posted January 21 2005 - 04:41 PM

How come there's so little talk about Swans? They seem to be very nice speakers. I've been trying to get some info about the 2.1s but it seems as if there are hardly any reviews of them anywhere. Do they really weigh 30 lbs each?

David, how would you characterize their sound? Bright, warm, neutral? I've gone from a pair of Axiom m2is to some Monitor Audio Bronze B2s, and while there were some improvements, I'm not totally satisfied.

Do you run them with or without a sub? I have a sub, but I want something that can handle some bass at high volumes.

Oh, and what kind of Paradigms did you have before you got the Swans?

#4 of 28 OFFLINE   Bryan P

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Posted January 21 2005 - 07:06 PM

There are some detailed measurements of the 2.1 at the Swan website that you may find helpful: swanspeaker.com/product/htm/view.asp?id=123

#5 of 28 OFFLINE   Mike^S

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Posted January 21 2005 - 07:39 PM

Thanks. Do you know what happened to cheaphometheater.com? They had a review on the swan 2.1s but now the site seems to be down. Posted Image

#6 of 28 OFFLINE   Wayne Ernst

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Posted January 21 2005 - 10:55 PM

Quote:
Thanks. Do you know what happened to cheaphometheater.com? They had a review on the swan 2.1s but now the site seems to be down.

Last time I visited the site (3 or 4 mos. ago) they hadn't posted any new updates in the past 1.5 years. In fact, I think the last receiver review was the Denon 1802/1803 - which kind of gives you a range of time when the last review was conducted.

Since they were not updating the site contents, they probably just let the domain expire for the site.
"My reality check ... just bounced"

#7 of 28 OFFLINE   Larry_C250

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Posted January 22 2005 - 03:04 AM

meeks - I recently upgraded my Polk setup (RT800i and CS400i) to the CMT340's from Ascend Acoustics. A very very nice upgrade indeed, sound stage and detail are much better now. The actual tone is not that different though. The RT###i line is more to the neutral side (though Ascends have it beat for neutrality to be sure). Since the Swans are also a neutral speaker, I'm sure you'll be pleased with it's performance!

Mike - the reason you hear little talk about Swans (and Ascends for that matter) is quite simple, the speakers IMO do the talking for themselves. The more you read about a speaker (internet brands) the more likely that speaker does not sound good. I recently helped a friend set up his speakers from another on-line company (not Ascends, not Swan), and they were easily the WORST speakers I had ever heard. They are so opposite of neutral it's not even funny. They sound boxy, hollow, muffled, no 'sound' jumps out at you, I found I was leaning forward actually straining trying to pick up a particular instrument. Yet, all you read about are 'those' speakers on-line, and if you post anything negative about them, you get attacked severely. If someone were to post something negative about Ascends (or Swans from what I've read), I've pretty much only read polite replies from the owners, as they know what they have, and they also know where the criticisim (it's either a shill for another internet brand - probably the brand I don't like, or the person doesn't like a neutral sound, a lot of people don't) is coming from.

In the end, I had it down to Swan's and Ascends, but I liked the techonlogy of the Ascends better (Areogel, crossovers, and the Phase plugs) so I decided to give them a try and not only was I not disappointed, but I am elated with the sound I get from them. Even my wife made positive comments (and that would be like her making a positive comment on a football game - it just doesn't happen).

If the Swans interest you, I'd say go for it - give the 2.1's a try and let us know. If they're anything like the Ascends, I'm sure you'll be very very happy indeed!!

#8 of 28 OFFLINE   Larry_C250

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Posted January 22 2005 - 03:09 AM

Oops, one more thing - I only compared the RT800i's directly to the 340's. I did not compare the CS400i to the Ascend 340 center. I have always found the CS400i to be a bit boxy sounding, and also a bit on the warm side, but it was HUGE step up from my 10 year old Yamaha center, so I never really gave it much thought until I heard the Ascend center. The Ascend is so natural it's scary. When I put on my Norah Jones SACD, you could swear she is in the room singing to you (wouldn't that be sweet Posted Image), and dialogue in movies is much clearer and more natural.

Sorry, I know this is a 'Swan' thread, it's just that I've read Swans are neutral as well, so you may find a similar perfomrance with them.

#9 of 28 OFFLINE   DavidCooper

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Posted January 22 2005 - 04:30 AM

Hey Mike.....as far as the way the Swan's sound I would say they are extremely neutral. They don't color the sound in anyway. They have a VERY detailed top end but in now way harsh or bright. You can listen to them very loud without lasering your ears off.

The mid's and lows in the 2.1's are very nice as well. These are bookshelf style so they don't play super low. They aren't meant to do that anyway. IMO they sound very similar to the nautilus line of B&W speakers. I did some side by sides with 805's and they were hard to tell the difference between the two. I'm dead serious! The price difference is huge though! For the price of the BC Swan's they are nothing short of a steal.

#10 of 28 OFFLINE   Don Scott

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Posted January 22 2005 - 05:11 AM

Hey Larry what is "the on-line company with the worst speakers you had ever heard". I'm very interested in getting some axiom speakers this year, and if you are referring to this company I'd like to know any negatives towards them. Thanks

#11 of 28 OFFLINE   Larry_C250

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Posted January 22 2005 - 08:52 AM

Hi Don - I was also considering Axiom since they are a Canadian company. However, I had read that they were on the 'bright' side, therefore I crossed them off my list as a 'bright' speaker would not work very well in my room.

That being said, I have never heard their speakers (although I would really like to one day), so now you know those weren't it.

I'm sorry I'm so evasive, it's just that my comments are very damning to the company in question, moreso as I was expecting so much out of them and was so utterly disappointed, which is rare for me. See, I am a big movie and music fan, and speakers to me are either "that sounds pretty good", or "that's sounds interesting", or "I've got to get me some of these" (paraphrasing Will Smith here, sorry Will). I've never had such a negative response to a pair of speakers before. But because of this, I don't want to post the company's name, as many people really like their sound, and who am I to tell someone what they like is really crap? I honestly believe the shills convince these 20 somethings that the speakers are good, and after a while they brainwash themselves into thinking that in fact they are good, as the most common theme I read about from new owners of these speakers are similar to mine, but two or three days later, all of a sudden they love them (maybe a subliminal message encoded in the crossover Posted Image).

I will say though Don, the Axiom sound, as I've read about it, is pretty much polar opposite of the 'bad' speakers I heard, so I'm sure I'd very much like them. If you have a room with carpet and not many sound reflecting surfaces, I'm sure they'll sound great for you too!

I do prefer a neutral sound with detail though - which was why I narrowed my choice down to the Ascends and Swans. I prefer to listen to the music or the movie, and not the speakers (I hope that makes sense), and that is what a good neutral speaker will do for you. Albeit, sometimes movies or music is recorded very poorly (even mainstream), and if so, a 'coloured' speaker will most definitely improve the sound of the recording (assuming you like the sound to begin with), whereas on a good neutral speaker, it will sound like a bad recording (and I have a few of those Posted Image).

If you like a more forward, detailed sound, then I would definitly give Axiom a try, I'm sure you'd be very happy!

#12 of 28 OFFLINE   mackie

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Posted January 22 2005 - 09:09 AM

Larry - I'm looking at on-line speakers right now. Please PM me the name of the company you're referring to. Thanks.

#13 of 28 OFFLINE   Kin Poon

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Posted January 22 2005 - 09:21 AM

Dont forget HTD Level 4 bookshelfs....they sound similiar, if not better then some of the Sonus Fiber i heard of due to more dynamic reponse. (similiar to SB3 in the mid's and high, but more mellow, as mention before reminds of the sonus concertos) However, with the level 4, you do need a pretty strong amp to push them. I use a parasound HCA-1000A power amp to push it...and wow does it sound good. For 400 dollars a pair, they even sound twice as good as my father's Monitor Audio Silver series (my opinion so dont attack). the high is so clear and undistorted, and the mid is silkly smooth and shows off even the most subtle detail. The low end carries a good deal of weight, listen to braveheart soundtrack and you will know what i mean. However, the bass is never overdone and never calls attention to itself.

The level 3's i returned since they are basically hometheater speakers. But for 200, the midrange and low end was great, similiar to NHT SB2, but with a more shrilled high. For movies however, this speaker would rock and does not need alot of power (going from 1014tx to parasound really showed how the Level3 perform though, almost like a new speaker). Some people on the forum might think the L3 and the L4 sound the same...give both good clean power and you will know the difference, especially in vocal, classical, and jazz music. IMHO, the level3 are horrible for music (sometimes boomy bass and the highs arent as clear, almost grainy), and mainly excel in movies.

if you have a 1014tx class level reciever or something like the 2805/3805, get the Level3, but if you have like a 4805 or a yamaha RX-V1 and up, get the Level 4.

The level 4 really deserve a strong power amp though.

#14 of 28 OFFLINE   Kin Poon

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Posted January 22 2005 - 09:28 AM

and btw.....only polk that can rival the level 4 is their LSi series, but they do cost some dough so it better sound good.

However, i prefer the sound of Level4 and Swan 2.1. There is just something i dont like about the LSi...and yet i still dotn know what it is.

#15 of 28 OFFLINE   Mike^C

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Posted January 22 2005 - 07:30 PM

I believe that brand would be Rockets Posted Image

#16 of 28 OFFLINE   Jon Lane

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Posted January 24 2005 - 03:14 AM

Thanks fo the nice words. We believe the Swans have that neutral sound because Swan uses some rather impressive drivers that lend themselves to minimalist crossovers. That, along with higher than average sensitivity seems to make for a I-can-hear-my-amp sound; that neutral signature many have come to know and love.

Thanks again for the comments. Posted Image

#17 of 28 OFFLINE   Nhan_H

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Posted January 24 2005 - 05:48 AM

I've had the pleasure of listening to pretty much all of and owning a couple of the internet-direct branded speakers.

All are very fine speakers. If Larry is indeed referring to the Rockets, I think his attacks are really negative, and leaning towards inflamatory comments. My experience with them is totally the opposite of what his may have been.

But to answer the original poster's question, yes the Swans are a step up from the Polks.

#18 of 28 OFFLINE   Mikey B

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Posted January 24 2005 - 06:41 AM

Hey Larry,

I don't know you or the speakers you are referring to. But I do find it almost impossible to believe just about any speaker to sound as bad as you describe. I think the people who get bashed for criticizing any particularly popular product is because the bashing is considered excessive.

I don't hold anything against you for speaking your mind, but do you REALLY think the speakers you referred to are utter crap? I, along with many others, am a critic of Bose cubed speaker systems, but I don't believe they are crap though. Overpriced and under performing? Yes. But not crap. That is excessive and not necessary.

Maybe you could make some specific observations about the speakers you did not like. Tell us what electronics and source was used. Have you gotten to listen to them (or will you) after some break-in period? If you still feel they are crap, then go ahead and say so and reveal the speaker in question. Hold firm. But do be prepared for owners to defend their position. Make very fair comments, and I suspect you will not be bashed for them.

Letting a girl know she is not your cup of tea for whatever reasons is one thing, but telling her she hit every ugly stick possible while falling out of a tree is going over the top more than just a bit....and unneccessary (for you analogy fans).

#19 of 28 OFFLINE   stephen shadow

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Posted January 24 2005 - 08:02 AM

Mike is right. I never cease to be amazed by the hyperbole employed by some people to compare good products. It is not enough to prefer one speaker over another, one must be great, the other "crap." I have heard two of the three speakers referred to in this thread and they were both good. Personally, I prefer my Martin Logans over both but that does not make them crap.Posted Image

#20 of 28 OFFLINE   Larry_C250

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Posted January 24 2005 - 08:15 AM

"Letting a girl know she is not your cup of tea for whatever reasons is one thing, but telling her she hit every ugly stick possible while falling out of a tree is going over the top more than just a bit....and unneccessary (for you analogy fans)."

LOL - that's a good one!!! And of course, you're absolutely right.

I think my emotional response came from all the contradictory information there is out there about "these speakers". When I heard them for the first time, I was expecting a totally different sound based on what I was reading and what people were saying about them.

How about I use an analogy - for those of you that like sugar in your coffee, what if you accidently put salt in there instead (I know this from experience btw Posted Image), and took your first sip expecting to taste something sweet..... that's the best way I can describe these 'speakers'. Unfortunately, that is how I honestly felt they sounded when I first heard them, based on what I was expecting. Maybe it's my fault for expecting too much, I don't know, but base on what I heard, my comments in my original post are the conclusions I have drawn.

But, as we all admit, speakers are very very subjective, and this is why I will not name the company. It is only my view - but I can say my friend likes them very much, and and there are many other people out there who love them - so I don't think my voice should really count for anything, other than what it is, one persons opinion.

There are a lot of on-line speakers out there though, the aforementiond Ascends, Axioms and Swans, as well as Aperion, HTD,Fluance,Magnepans, Rockets/Onix Refs, Streem, Salksound, Tyler Acoustics , etc. My only point is when you're dealing in the 'on-line' jungle, you're going to have to take what you read with a grain of salt (or sugar). If you can, I would always recommend now that you listen first before you buy if at all possible - most of these dealers have a forum where you can possibly hook up with someone in your area for an audition and make the decision yourself.

I'm sure when I listen to them again, my categorisation of the sound will go 'above crap' (just like after my third sip that salty coffee started to taste not too bad Posted Image), it was strictly a reaction based on my expectations, nothing more, nothing less.