Every time I have heard them they sounded horrible, thin, uninvolving and flat, three times at shows I couldn't stand them any time, I walked right past them this year due to prior experiences.
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I heard them at RMAF2007 in the Clayton room. The front-end was a 581, the preamp was a VAC (don't recall the model) & the power amps were Clayton M200 monos. I also have forgotten the cable brand.
The sound was very nice. I was quite impressed w/ how much the overall sonics involved me.
Mrs. Gershman was there herself giving the demo (she was a nice hostess).
I'm afraid that my limited experience was quite opposite to Kennyt's!
I heard them at HE 2007 in NYC. I remember being impressed to the point that I told the designer that it was the first time I really appreciated his speakers, even though I'd heard them at previous years' shows. The front end was all Classe, IIRC. My gut tells me they are great speakers, but finicky as to associated gear and acoustic environment.
Just noticed this thread about Black Swans. I own a pair since last summer and couldn't be happier about it. These are definitely the best speakers I ever had in my system and I've had some good ones. To me they are very musical and smooth sounding bur not at the cost of rolled off extremes. They are very involving with all clarity and resolution you could wish for and yet they lack any kind of brightness and edginess. Properly set up the soundstage is as wide and deep as you could wish for. My associated equipment includes Wadia 581SE going directly to Nuforce 9SE V2 monos. The speaker cables are Magnan Signature (used by Gershman at some shows). Interconnects are balanced Acoustic Revive and all power cords are LessLoss.
Yes, there is a lot of competition at their price range but the Black Swans are the most difficult to find used on Audiogon.......Wonder why?