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5.2F and 4.2C Review w/Pics

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  • 5.2F and 4.2C Review w/Pics

    Swan 5.2F and 4.2C Review

    Introduction

    Swan Diva Speakers first-generation speakers are revered as high-end speakers at a price that won?t break the bank. Searching the web, Swan speakers receive many positive comments from satisfied customers on different forms. As for reviews Ric Sierget of Stereotimes, is quoted on The Audio Insider (TAI) web page, ??very musical speakers? superb quality of construction and outstanding sound?. Another quote from John E. Johnson, from Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity, ?You won?t believe what you will get with the Diva by Swans speakers?an unbelievable value?. I informed a coworker that I had been looking for a set of speakers and received a suggestion to purchase speakers off the Internet. I was a bit skeptical at first. As a new person to the audio world I had spent much time auditioning speakers and was partial to a few of the speakers auditioned. Some speakers brands sampled were KEF, JM Labs, Definitive Tech., Klipsch, Infinity, Paradigm, Polk and JBL to name a few. After having a chance to hear a coworker?s 4.1F speakers my brand selection was narrowed to Swan. I called TAI and spoke with Jon Lane personally he was very kind and informative. After reading about the second generation Diva?s recently released, I called Jon to learn more about the new speakers and decided to skip the first generation speakers and try out the new 5.2 Floor Standers and a 4.2 Center Channel.

    Shipping and Build Quality

    TAI webpage mentions ?Unboxing a Swans set is a breathtaking experience?, this was no understatement. The speakers arrived on a crate wrapped in cellophane from top to bottom. With the cellophane cut and the speakers lugged inside (part of the breathtaking experience), it was time break into the boxes. The first speaker opened was a 5.2 Floor Stander. The packages are well designed to protect the speakers during shipping, a must for mail order items. Each speaker was suspended in the box by molded foam ends, typically found electronics packaging. The extra space along the length of the box was filled with foam measuring 1.5 inches thick. For another level of protection, the speakers are incased inside a cotton bag, I assume this is to protect the finish form scratching. Having pulled the speaker out of the box and installing the adjustable feet, I stood the speaker on its feet and pulled off the cotton cover.

    WOW, the finish is spectacular and receives countless complements. The shape of the 5.2F?s is awesome, not the typical bulky rectangular speaker box. From the top view, the box is tear dropped shape. This does not only look sleek, the shape aids in eliminating standing waves in the box, therefore reducing distortion. For the price range the Swan speakers have a definite wow factor and is in a league of their own.

    The sides of the speakers are covered with real Rose Wood veneers and are coated with what appers like clear lacquer. It?s smooth to the touch with no wood grain texture showing through the finish, a true high-end furniture finish. The veneer starts beneath the grill and ends about two inches short of the center point at the rear of the speaker. Because the veneer does not wrap all the way around the speaker, each side is made of one thin slice of Rose Wood, providing a seamless grain pattern on each side of the speaker. The backside of the 5.2F speakers have a four and one-half inch wide black plastic strip running down the back. The same type of plastic lies under the grill. The top and bottom of the speaker?s have a hand polished black piano top finish, sporting a mirror finish. The 5.2F tweeter is top mounted along with a cap that matches the piano top finish perfectly. I personally think the tweeter mounting on the X.2 series speakers looks more professional than the X.1 Swan speakers. For a better look at the finish and styling take a look at the pictures of the 5.2F and 4.2C below.

    Setup

    The speakers are powered by a Harmon Kardon 630AVR and linked to a Samsung DVD player. I did not run any fancy cables, just some 14 gage oxygen free copper wire. My room is about 2500 ft^3. I have my speakers placed about 5" away from the wall and 9' apart, toed-in about 15? and beside a 40" wide 6? tall armoire. The 5.2F?s are set to large and the 4.2C is crossed over at 80 Hz. The 4.2C sounded a little weak at first but this disappeared after leveling the speakers.

    First Impressions

    Once the speakers were set up, I played around with a few CDs and worked on leveling out the speakers and then put in The Aviator. It was like the movie is taking place in the living room. At one part of The Aviator, a door was rattled and my wife was not paying attention to the movie and did not notice a door was rattled. She tried to get me to check our door. Well, I tried to tell her the noise came from the movie but she did not believe at first. I had to convince her to not check the door herself. That is what home theater is all about, bringing the action home.

    5.2F

    The Swan 5.2F boast top mounted Swan Danish-style silk dome tweeters and a 5.12-inch mid-range driver that is entirely new to the Diva line. The base drivers are twin 6.5-inch high-speed speakers mounted in a tuned bass enclosure. The speakers measure about 10.5 inches wide, 15 inches deep and 46 inches tall.

    One of the things that drew me to the Swan speakers was the incredible range. Part of the range that appealed the most was the highs delivered by the 4.1F auditioned. The 5.2F?s are no let down in this area, not too bright for my ears or too neutral. I have not heard any speaker that has the exact sound as the Swan, but love them. The top mounted tweeter seams to fill the whole room with strong details but with no bleeding ears after movies or hours of jamming.

    A distinct part of the 5.2F speaker?s large range is the lower end of the sound spectrum. I put in some Smashing Pumpkins and listened to the Red CD from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Track 7 ?to forgive? has amazing low base along with Track 13 on the blue CD ?by starlight?. I have not experienced base like the 5.2F from any speaker with only two 6.5? low-end drivers. No boominess, the Swan?s just play whatever is thrown at them, one strong base note after another. In ?by starlight? the 5.2F?s are able to carry the long heavy base guitar notes and is felt throughout the whole room. These notes have slight frequency changes that are reproduced well by the 5.2F?s. It shows that much time and precision went into tuning the speakers. One problem exists in this area. The speakers move so much air the grill vibrates. Sometimes the emblem is heard bouncing off the speaker box. This is only with very low base and the volume is reading around ?10 dB, a volume that is too loud for continuous listening in my home. I did some playing around and find the rattle was not heard with the speakers crossed over at 80 Hz. If you are looking for bone shattering base I would go with a subwoofer for LFE. Although incredible it?s base abilities are, is not all the 5.2F has to offer.

    With my eyes closed and acoustic instruments playing feels like the instruments are in the room. Whether it is a strike of a drum, strumming of guitar strings, or the smashing of a symbol, it sounds stunningly real. In terms of real it is not just the sound the instrument makes, it?s a drumstick striking a drum, the gentle sound of fingers running down guitar strings or the sound of a breath. I find the 5.2F speakers to reproduce high quality sound in an undistorted detailed way. I assume this is partly to deal with the flat frequency response Swan speakers typically have, allowing the sounds emphasized by the sound engineers to shine while other more settle sounds reside in the background.

    The imaging is remarkable, while set to two-channel stereo some songs sounds as if singer?s voice comes directly from my armoire where the center channel is placed. This is noticeable when positioned anywhere in front of the speakers, not just in the sweet spot. Sometimes I take a double take at the receiver to make sure the setting is set on two channel, not three channel stereo.

    I find the build quality and sound of the 5.2F speakers and stands out when compared to speakers in and above their price range. I went to listen to some of the speakers previously auditioned and walked away form the store with a smile on my face.

    4.2C

    The 4.2C has two 5.12-inch drivers with a 28mm silk dome tweeter. Check out the pictures below, the center channel is a rear-ported box, on the large side for drivers measuring just over five inches. The box measures 20.5 inches wide at the front tapering to the rear, 7.5 inches high and 12 inches deep.

    Does the 4.2C keep up the 5.2F?s? I was a little worried about the 4.2C not matching the
    5.2F but find it hard to find any noticeable lag in performance and soundstage when watching movies. One of my favorite movie clips is in Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, chapter thirty-nine where Helm?s Deep is attacked. Before the battle starts rain begins to fall and impacts the soldiers armor. The sound reproduced by the 4.2C is very metallic like rain on the metal roof. Before the Orcs attack a few of them let out a blood-curtailing growl, the berth and growl of the Orcs is felt, impressive for 4.2C speaker size. The Star War movies have many awesome sound affects one being the Light Saver. Many times when the Light Saver is welded, the sound starts at the center channel and then goes to one of the front speaker. The 4.2C sound couples well with the larger 5.2F speakers.

    For a center channel the 4.2C packs a natural sound and complements the 5.2F well, a real bargain at the $329 dollar interdictory price.

    Conclusion

    I feel that Swan has kept their reputation if not out done them selves with the second-generation speakers. The 5.2F and 4.2C speakers have incredible performance and look, a defiant bargain for the price. Jon Lane was very helpful and delivers first class service and product. If you are looking for new speakers, I defiantly recommend the new Swan speakers.


    David Van Allen (DVA)

    Click on link for pictures
    http://www.frappr.com/?a=myfrappr&id=486791

  • #2
    I just received my 4.2F speakers that will be used as my rear speakers. I wanted some wall mounted speakers but my new house would require an asymmetrical setup. After some research I have heard that many smaller rear speakers leave out or are incapable of reproducing some of the lower frequencies. This should not be as much of a problem with floor standing speakers. Can?t wait to hear how the rears sound. Also, I plan on comparing the 4.2F?s to my 5.2F?s. Please allow some time for this info I am currently moving and my wife is due shortly after we get into our new home. I should have something by mid April.

    DVA

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