Review: Swan M200MKIII (UPDATED impressions)

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by lordsegan, Apr 21, 2010.
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  1. lordsegan
    I just got my Swan MK200MKIIIs.

    The first thing that I noticed was that the box was extremely heavy! Both speakers are heavy, but the speaker with the amp is heavier than my Onkyo AV receiver.

    After opening the box, I found that both speakers were encased in cloth and plastic coverings, and white gloves were included in the package!

    Thus far**, I have not had a chance to plug them into my main transport/DAC setup. Instead I have only plugged them into the 1/8" plug on an HP Pavilion laptop with unknown DAC.
     
    **See update below, and later in thread.

    Initially, I forgot to set the bass and treble controls to their middle point (suggested setting). They were set to their lowest setting. At that setting, the music sounded good, but not really impressive. (Better than your average logitec speakers, certainly, but not amazing). It sounded a little "distant" and "weak."

    After a second with the manual, I figured out what I had done wrong and set the controls appropriately.

    Wow.

    Playing CDs via itunes via this unknown DAC, the Swans sounded as good as any speaker system I have ever heard.

    The tightness of the bass is perhaps the most remarkable aspect of these speakers. There is a "slam" associated with bass notes that I have rarely heard before.

    Overall, these speakers remind me VERY much of Sennheiser headphones. They are not bright. I would almost say that the treble is very slightly recessed. The level of detail, however, is excellent, and the speakers reproduced the male vocals of Frank Sinatra better than any speaker I have ever heard before.
     
    These speakers are also the most "directional" of any I have ever used. Within in their "cone" the sound is very different (louder, fuller) than outside of the sound cone. I use these at a computer, and its perfect. They would even be good for a private office. Not what I would pick to fill a room for a party, however.

    These speakers were not especially kind to MP3s. There was an immediate and almost upsetting difference between 128kbit mp3s and CDs. A 192kbit pandora.com stream fared better and was very enjoyable.

    As a final note about sound quality, I would not call these speakers extremely "loud". This could be a result of my source, but even close to max on the laptop, the 2'o'clock setting on the speaker was comfortable.

    These speakers are as good as any I have ever heard.

    Can't wait to pair them with a real source.


    Update: I still cannot connect these to my DAC because I am waiting for my SPDIF adaptor.

    I did get to plug them into my XONAR D2X sound card (PCM DACs).

    WOW.

    Even better! AMAZING. And LOUD. At 12'o'clock they are as loud as I would ever want, and my source volume is only at 60% as well.

    Out of my soundcard they were also kinder to MP3s than out of the laptop and iphone. I still prefered CDs, but the MP3s were not as different.

    These are the best speakers I have ever owned, without a doubt.

    In light of the above, it is hard for me to recommend them for an ipod or iphone, but they are amazing if given a proper source.

    Note also, these speakers seem fairly "directional" at least compared to my Polks. There is a noticeable difference in sound when you are only ~ 30 degrees off axis.
     
    UPDATED:
     
    6moons audio review is VERY similar to my impressions:
     
    http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/swans2/1.html

    "
    Regardless of virtue, no product will be all things to all men. While the speakers performed in exemplary fashion as computer monitors, they were more suited for musical satisfaction than gaming pyrotechnics. Acoustic music lovers will delight. Those demanding peak levels and gut-thumping bass should look elsewhere. These speakers are designed to stir the soul, not rattle the teeth. This is a musically satisfying design for the audiophile seeking a better lifestyle component. Shamelessly attractive and overbuilt given their modest price, it's an easy and enthusiastic recommendation. In America, the Swans M200 Mk III is sold direct through The Audio Insider."
     
    I agree. Personally, I love them.
     
  2. FeiJai
    Thanks for the review. There aren't many reviews for these speakers. I was trying to decide between these and the A5 and I think the A5 will suit me better. Some of my older collection of songs are of 128kbit MP3s and the A5 is a bit more forgiving.
     
  3. Francinium
    Hmm I was planning on getting the MKII because I heard these were so loud but now I don't know. How big is the room you were testing in?
     
  4. lordsegan
    Medium large... 25ft by 25ft or so. I think it was the source, honestly. I will plug them into a real DAC tonight.
     
  5. Francinium
    Damn that's about the size of the room I'd have them in, I eagerly await your DAC results [​IMG]
     
  6. Townyj
    Damn i hope you dont make me regret purchasing the D1080MKII 08 speakers! I am waiting on them to be shipped.
     
  7. Hansen
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Townyj /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    Damn i hope you dont make me regret purchasing the D1080MKII 08 speakers! I am waiting on them to be shipped.



    I hope you do not regret. I too was thinking of getting the M200MKiii, but I decided to go with the D1080MKii 08 instead and I am very satisfied with my choice. Also, it is $400 versus $159.
     
  8. EphemeralHope
    With a DAC, these speakers will definently be loud enough. unless you're in a big room - then two bookshelf speakers would never be enough obviously [​IMG]
     
  9. lordsegan
    Update: I still cannot connect these to my DAC because I am waiting for my SPDIF adaptor.

    I did get to plug them into my XONAR D2X sound card (PCM DACs).

    WOW.

    These are totally different speakers. AMAZING. And LOUD.

    These are the best speakers I have ever owned, without a doubt.

    In light of the above, it is hard for me to recommend them for an ipod or iphone, but they are amazing if given a proper source.
     
  10. JonathanHF
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lordsegan /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    I just got my Swan MK200MKIIIs.
    At 12'o'clock they are as loud as I would ever want, and my source volume is only at 60% as well.




    Make sure you set the volume to 100%.
     
  11. Francinium
    Man I know I don't need anything that loud but I might just have to after your impressions.
     
  12. lordsegan
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by JonathanHF /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    Make sure you set the volume to 100%.



    For analog out? I still dont have my external DAC setup, this is now using the high quality soundcard dac.
     
  13. bumbabeef
    I have these speakers and they are plenty loud. I can hear them upstairs at half volume.
     
  14. EphemeralHope
    honestly, these speakers are by far the best in its price range(IMO of course) - but people always recommend A5s at this price point... this is SO much better and is actually an upgradeable platform with a DAC, sub, sound card, etc etc.... and yes I have heard both :)
     
  15. lordsegan


    Quote:

    You think the MKIIIs are much better than the A5s? I never did get a chance to listen to the A5s. What is better about the Swans?
     
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