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My Review - Swan Diva 6.2

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  • My Review - Swan Diva 6.2

    I recently purchased a pair of Swan Diva 6.2 speakers, and after listening to them for a couple of weeks, I?ve compiled the following (excessively long) review for anyone who may be considering a similar purchase. Hopefully it?s helpful, and I?ll try to keep an eye on the thread in case anyone has any questions/comments.

    First, I make no claims to particular qualifications. I just love music, and finally found myself able to purchase a decent system. I wanted to find speakers that I would be reasonably happy with for 10 to 20 years and that cost no more than $1500/pair. I went to the B&M box stores in the area first and listened to Infinity, Polk, Klipsch, Definitive, and probably a few others I?m forgetting. I also looked at some specialty stores, but their speakers started around $3000/pair, so I had to rule them out. I then came across the various Internet-only brands and even auditioned some Axiom M80?s. They were nice enough, but ultimately I decided to give the Swan Diva 6.2?s a shot.

    Although I will be watching movies on this setup, that is not a priority to me; I was concerned exclusively with performance with regard to music. I listen mostly to classic rock (Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, etc.) and classical, but have a bit of everything. The Swans are used with a Harman Kardon AVR-247 receiver, Yamaha CD player (coaxial output), and various cheap cables (I?m not much of a believer in the expensive ones).

    The ordering process was, quite frankly, a little aggravating. While you couldn?t ask for more personal service than what Jon provides, you could ask for a little more promptness and organization. My order was delayed twice, and didn?t actually ship until one week after my card was charged and Jon told me it went out. Jon did not inform me of these delays proactively; I had to send him emails or leave him voicemails. In some cases, he replied very promptly; in other cases, he did not. Needless to say, all of this got a little frustrating.

    From what I?ve read, this is a fairly standard ordering experience here. Jon is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about his products, and they always arrive (and in great condition), but there are often delays or mixups. In all fairness, my order only took 8 business days to ship; it was the unpredictability that bothered me, not the overall time required. Perhaps Jon just has to deal with a particularly incompetent branch of Fedex.

    Appearance/ Installation
    The speakers arrived well-packaged and in great shape. I was able to find a couple of small scratches (to which I've added -- the tops seem to scratch very easily), but nothing severe. One of more minor reasons that I picked these speakers was their appearance ? I have a lot of wood furniture and do a little bit of woodworking myself, and just don?t care for wood-grain vinyl. The 6.2?s look terrific in their photos, and do not disappoint in person. The veneer looks great, and goes very well with the glossy top and bottom. I do wish that the finish had more of a hand-rubbed look, but this is a minor complaint and these are still the best-looking speakers I?ve seen.

    I?ve read many complaints about the Diva?s unusual binding posts, but I have to say that I don?t mind them. The included feet lift the speakers off my carpet more than enough for me to use standard banana clips. However, you might have some trouble if you had very plush carpet or didn?t want to use the feet. All in all, it?s a fair tradeoff to me to avoid having the ugly posts on the back.

    I did have a bit of trouble with the rubber pads coming off the feet, but that?s easily fixed and was my only setup problem.

    The first things I noticed about my new speakers were the soundstage and detail. In fact, at first I thought there was something wrong with them because I was hearing a number of effects that I?d never heard before. It wasn?t until I?d tried several CDs that I realized that this was the way that the music was meant to sound.

    During my initial listening, I was also blown away by the vocals. Twice, I literally said ?Wow!? (this was a little weird since I was listening to them by myself) It sounded like the singers were in my living room. Drums and acoustic guitar were nearly as lifelike. Bass response was also just how I like it ? tight and well-defined. There was plenty of power for my tastes, but no distortion that I could detect. Note that if you like a lot of loud bass with your music, I can't really comment on how the Swans would perform.

    The tweeter was also great, and my classical CDs really let it shine. I had been a little concerned about the height of the tweeter (my primary listening location is a very low-to-the-ground couch), but it turned out that I didn?t need to worry about this. In fact, the speakers seemed to be remarkably easy to place and delivered great performance to a good range of listening locations. I will say that while my current seat at around nine feet from the speakers is acceptable, I wouldn?t recommend sitting much closer.

    While I was happy with my speakers from day one, some things did take a little getting used to. Sometimes this was hearing new details that I didn?t really care to hear (an issue in some of my poorer recordings and one live CD). In some cases I found that the extra detail was not that flattering (eg, some singers that don?t sound quite as good as I?d always thought). However, I am largely used to these characteristics after a few weeks and I can?t really blame the Swans for simply allowing me to hear my music more clearly. Also, I want to emphasize that the reverse is also true ? some singers, instruments, and recordings sound far better to me now than they did before.

    In terms of comparisons, I did not do any A/B testing with these speakers so the following comments should be taken with a large grain of salt. These speakers sound significantly better to me than anything else I listened to, and in my opinion are easily worth the money. They are in a completely different league than anything I heard in the big box stores. Unfortunately, as I didn?t do much listening in the stereo stores, I can?t make a good comparison to B&W and those types of brands.

    My ?second choice? for speakers was the Axiom M80, but ultimately I?m glad that I picked the Swans instead. In my biased opinion they look nicer, are less sensitive to room placement (perhaps due to being front-ported?), have more precise bass, and have vastly superior vocals. The Axioms, on the other hand, seemed slightly better for drums and had a more detailed tweeter. However, this isn?t to say that either tweeter was necessarily better; I think it?s a matter of personal preference. While I could hear amazing detail with the M80s, they were also on the verge of making me cringe when reproducing some high notes. I could see having a problem with fatigue during extended listening sessions with the M80 (though that is only speculation), but I have had no such problems with the Divas.

    I?m very happy with my Swans, and wholeheartedly recommend them to other music lovers. They're great with almost everything I've heard, and vocals in particular are unbelievable. My listening experience and research indicates that you?d have to spend at least twice the money to find a comparable speaker from another brand and upwards of three times for a noticeable improvement (although I?d loved to be proven wrong on this point). The biggest negative in my experience was the ordering process, and as mentioned above, this was a matter of frustration. Overall, great speakers for a great price ? I could hardly be happier.

  • #2
    Very nice report....thanks!

    I've listened to all the .2 towers at their shop in Pasadena, CA and like them quite a bit. Their sheer size and bentwood cabinetry is amazing. Unfortunately for me, the deal breaker was the binding posts. I didn't want to compromise my cable/banana selection just because I have thick carpet. :cry: Because of this one issue I'm going (on faith) with the .1 series. It sure would have been nice if this shop also carried the original .1 series so one could compare the two.

    How many hours did you break-in these speakers before critical listening and reporting on them? Also, does your HK have a high current amp?


    • #3
      At risk of invalidating my opinions for many of the folks here, I'm probably not a good person to ask about break-in. I tend to think it's a myth, and agree with analyses like this one. I began listening to my speakers critically the day they arrived. I've now had them for a bit over two weeks, and would say that they've probably experienced 50 or so hours of use. They do sound better to me now, but I think that that's purely a function of my having gotten used to them.

      As for my HK, I am not using it with an external amp and have been unable to find specs on its power delivery to 6-watt speakers. If it's of any use, I can tell you that in my fairly large room (12' x 35' x 9' high), it can easily drive the Swans to painfully loud levels without any distortion that I can detect -- I've given myself several headaches experimenting with this. However, I only sit around 9' away from the speakers and do not like my music as loud as some.


      • #4
        No worries...... 8) I get new speakers (to date) once every 15 years or so. When I purchase the new Swans I'll probably get an SPL meter and disk to calibrate the system. I've never been 'scientific' like this before. I just hook them up, place them where they fit best in the room and then enjoy! :D


        • #5
          I am glad that you like your 6.2 because I love it very much. I am not a good writer therefore I am afraid to write review about the 6.2 but I can share my experience with the Swan 6.2

          I got my swan 6.2 since march 07. At that time, I used the Pioneer Elite VSX 26, the CD player is Nakamichi and the cable is MIT terminator 3 interlink, same for speakers cable. I like the sound of the swan, very nice but I found that I am missing something. I strongly believe that the 6.2 can produce much more but have no clue what was missing.

          I went ahead and upgrade my system. I bough the Acurus A200 power amp to drive the Swan 6.2. the sound improved just a little bit. Then I bought the Rotel RC1070 preamp, just go to 2 channels, wow, I found that I got a completely new set of speakers. This is exactly I am looking for, I smile and smile.

          One day, I read the article from Jon regarding to the interlink cable, silver versus copper conductor, I decided to give it a try. I bought a used cheap version of silver sonic line interconnect cable for my preamp and power amp , I can tell you the sounds is unbelivable, much better, much more than i can imagine, it is so great from the top to the bottom. I am not a big fan of cable but now I am. I just wish that I have the money to buy the new set of Slinkylinks cable.

          And lastly with my equipment upgraded, my wife bought me the Cambridge Audio DVD89 so I can play SACD, DVD audio (well, I prefer the Azur 640C V2 but i have to compromise with my wife because she loves to watch DVD so having HDMI will make her happy), the Swan 6.2 sounds even better, I can confidently say it is hard to get something even $3K to match with the Swan 6.2. Actually, I went to Tweeter to demo the Arzur 640C. They used the 640C and CA integrated amp to drive the Focal 918SIG Profile 918, no way it can match with my Swan 6.2.

          Now, all of my problems are solved, mostly from my setup not the Swan, now I have so much fun with the Swan 6.2. This is a very very nice speakers, very smooth, very detailed and great soundstage.