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Swan Diva 6.1 - initial impressions (1 Viewer)

KeithfromCanada

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Keith
Alright...a quick initial review of the 6.1's I picked up today. This is based on approximately 3 hours of listening.

First off, my main comparisons for the Swan's are the speakers that I had pegged to replace my old, beloved PSB Century 800's...the Paradigm Studio 60's ($2K) and the Canton speakers ($2,600) that a salesman tried to push on me over the Studios (can't remember the model # off the top of my head but they were the towers with the built in sub).

When I heard the Studio's and the Canton, I was struck by the difference. Both did great with midrange and highs but the Canton clearly had an edge in bass reproduction. Not just depth of bass but speed as well. They were clearly designed to go low and fast. That said, the Studio's did a much better job at creating a wide and convincing soundstage. With the Canton, it was very easy to localize instruments whereas the Paradigm gave a big soundstage while keeping the clarity of the instruments intact. I realize that this is a poor description but it's the best I can come up with. I guess a better way to explain it is that with the Canton, the sound of a guitar from the left was clearly coming from the speaker whereas with the Paradigm, it was like the speakers disappeared. I should caveat these criticisms by noting that despite them, I still love both of these speakers. They each brought music to life and sounded phenomenal in their own way.

So, how did the 6.1's fair? In a word, I was floored. Like the Studio's and Canton, mids and highs were spot-on and sounded fantastic. Every tap of a cymbal and every note from a female singer sounded sweet and accurate. Even at low volume it was easy to hear the most subtle note in the midrange.

But the kicker for my ears was that the Swan's got right the two things that the Studio's and Canton's did well combined - a big soundstage with a great bottom end. Like the Studio's, the Swan's seemed to disappear and I was engulfed in the music. Like the Canton, I could literally feel the deep bass notes from across the room. Detail was never lost on any of the tracks that I played and the bass never sounded "muddy" (actually, this isn't totally true as it did sound muddy at first...until I took the foam packing insert out of the bass port!).

Last caveat - I auditioned the Studio's and Canton in an audio shop. Although the room was designed for auditioning speakers, it clearly isn't the same thing as listening to speakers in your own home...which is what I did with the Swan's.
 

gene c

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Glad to hear you're happy with the Swan 6.1's although, as you said in your other thread, I've never read a bad review about them either.

I've had my Swan's for 2-3 years now and love them. I opted for the 5.1's because they were a perfect match to the C3 center using the exact same drivers, mid-range and tweeter as the C3. But I've often wondered if I should have gone with the 6.1's anyway!

I noticed you bought the C3 but no surrounds? I'm using the 2.1 bookshelves as surrounds which would be absolutely fine as fronts for most systems. If you are looking for surrounds, avoid the R2 as it only has two mid-bass drivers but no tweeter. The specs say they go to 20,000 but trust me, they don't. 8000 is more accurate. So if surrounds are in your future get the R3's ($$$) or the 2.1's, if you can find them.
 

KeithfromCanada

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I have my old PSB Alpha's running in the back...I'm not a big fan of dipoles in the rear and prefer a good bookshelf...which the PSB is. They actually blend quite nicely with the Swans.

The C3 doesn't appear to have any trouble competing with the 6.1's on the front soundstage. Dialog is clear even during the most subtle scenes. Now, I'm coming from a system that had a weak center channel. The PSB 200C often got lost with my old Century 800 towers.

I've read a great deal about Swans and you are correct - it seems that the only speaker that has been universally panned has been the R2. If I do go dipole in the future, it would be the R3's for sure...which seems to get similar positive reviews to the x.1 line.

I debated going with the 5.1's as well but I really liked the idea that I could listen to full-range music without a sub. My sub (Adire Rava 12") is good and fast for music but it's not ideally placed in my HT room (which doubles as a downstairs family room). When properly placed, WAF goes down significantly. I also debated going with the 6.2's but the price difference was significant and I didn't like the idea of having such tall speakers (WAF again).

Speaking of WAF, the 6.1's passed with flying colors. She saw them and said "they're big...but they look nice". Doesn't sound like praise but for my wife, that's equivilant to 5 stars and two thumbs up!
 

gene c

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BTW, did you get the Black Cherry vinyl or the real Rosewood? Mine are BC and they are gorgeous! The Rosewood are even better looking, or so I'm told.

Also, even though I mentioned the R2's are lacking a tweeter, I did buy a couple from PartsExpress.com and a simple cross-over in case I ever want to go with a 7.1 system. In fact, virtually all the drivers are avalable from them.
The mid-tweeter combo is available from Madisound.com.


My only other issue is the tweeter in the C3 seems to be a bit soft or muted compared to the others. Since it's front mounted as opposed to top mounted it is simular, but a different tweeter. I had to up the high frequencies quite a bit in the receivers center channel eq which solved the little problem. I'd love to have one of the older C3's with the top mounted tweeter but it won't fit in my tv stand . This is why they changed the design.
 

KeithfromCanada

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Keith
I went with the BC...they look very nice whereas the Rosewood looks like fine furniture (not something I'm concerned about with speakers).

I read that they moved the tweeter into the box both because it made for better cabinet fits and because there were issues with muddy vocals. Not sure why that would be but that's what I've heard.
 

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