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Swan 6.1 vs Kef Ref 2s

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  • Swan 6.1 vs Kef Ref 2s

    OK, I finally got to compare the 2 speakers with a few cds today. Now I didn't feel like unhooking and lugging equipment around, so this is not an actual A/B test, both systems are in the same room, so I just played the same cd on each system and compared. Since they're on different equipment, take this comparison as you will.

    My kef's are hooked up to a Rotel RB-985 5ch amp with my Pioneer elite 72 as a preamp. The swans are run by a nad 2600A amp with Adcom 565 preamp. Some of the cds I compared were Styx, Def Leppard, Temple of the Dog, and Tesla.

    Now I'm not a so-called audiophile or professional reviewer, so bear with me. :D Ok, on to my subjective opinions. Both speakers sound great, but I found the kefs to be more forward on the highs, too forward sometimes. On Def Leppard's Pyromania, it was a bit too bright on the kefs. Almost painfully so, I really wanted to turn the treble down some on that cd. With the swans the highs were a couple octaves down, I guess you could say, yet I didn't feel like I was losing any detail. The highs were just right for that cd. The highs seemed to overpower the midrange a bit on the kefs, I definitely like the midrange of the swans better, the separation of instruments is more noticable, I can pick out the different instruments playing much more easily on the swans. The bass on the kefs is pretty impressive, but the swans definitely went lower, and you can feel the bass vibrating the floor 2 rooms away! I haven't felt bass like that since my old Kenwoods with 15 in woofers. They both hit quick and clear with no muddiness from either speaker. The most noticeable difference is with the kefs you can tell that the sound is pretty much coming from the 2 speakers, whereas the swans have a much fuller sound that extends well beyond the speakers. The kefs do seem to play louder at a given volume than the swans. The Kefs sound a bit cleaner probably b/c of the extended highs, although I wouldn't call the swans laid back, as the highs are very present, just voiced a tad down from being on the bright side. Vocals, male and female, sound very natural on both. They're both 2 different sounds, so it's hard to explain in words, but now that I've compared the 2, I now know why I was not satisfied with the kefs for 2 ch after I bought them, they were a little too bright on some types of music for my tastes to listen to for long periods of time, and the imaging and soundstage just wasn't there for me, no matter how I worked with positioning. I LOVE them for my HT setup though, they sound amazing, and in that respect, I would not trade them for anything! But for 2 ch I'll pick the swans, they're still every bit if not more detailed, esp. in the midrange area, but the highs are just right on my equipment for extended listening, and believe me, I've been listening sometimes ALL DAY LONG :lol: , but I don't get tired of listening to music like I did before with the kef's. These $1000 speakers are very enjoyable, musical speakers, and in my opinion, they compare very well against the kefs which retailed for about $3 grand, of course I got a great deal on those too! 8) Again, since this wasn't an actual A/B test using the same equipment, take this comparison as you like.

  • #2
    thanks for the comparison jewel! can't wait to get some 6.1s for myself :)
    Ive read all the different forums for other internet direct speakers (rockets, axiom etc) and they all seem like great products with their own sound type and following, but it seems as though the first gen swans offered through newegg present a great value, so this is why im leaning to the swans. Hoefully they will be in stock before the end of the month!

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    • #3
      thanks for the comparison jewel! can't wait to get some 6.1s for myself :)
      Ive read all the different forums for other internet direct speakers (rockets, axiom etc) and they all seem like great products with their own sound type and following, but it seems as though the first gen swans offered through newegg present a great value, so this is why im leaning to the swans. Hoefully they will be in stock before the end of the month!

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      • #4
        I have a pair of Axiom M50s in Boston Cherry hooked up to my computer. The build quality is excellent on these as well, and they look pretty nice for vinyl. They sound very good if you're not interested in hearing a lot of detail in recordings..the M60s/M80s are supposed to be a whole different class though. There are also good reviews on the Ascends and they are also supposed to be neutral and very dynamic. Rockets are popular too, some seem to like them for 2 ch listening and some don't, when I win the lottery, I may try their Reference 3, though. :D It's hard to make a decision when you can't actually hear a speaker, but after months of research, I went with the Swans and am very happy with the sound, and the build quality is excellent!! My kefs are in the Rosetta Burr finish, and are very attractive, but when friends come over, it's the Swans that make their jaw drop! They look like the more expensive speaker...go figure. :lol: My dad helped me unbox and setup the swans, and even he, who is always teasing me that I buy too many speakers :oops: , was very impressed with their sound and commented on how clear they sounded right out of the box. Until I'm ready to spend several thousand dollars to upgrade my speakers, I'll be very happy with my swans, as I'm sure you will too. And the x1 and x2 lines are both STEALS for what you get.

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        • #5
          One more comment about Newegg, they're a good company, don't get me wrong, I buy a lot of computer stuff from them, but they keep constantly pushing back the ETA dates on the swans, it's getting a little ridiculous. :evil: It probably would have been better if Audio Insider would have kept the stock on the old line too. How long am I gonna have to wait for a pair of R3s...christ??!!

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