I was in the market for some $600 speakers, but then I increased the budget to $1500, and was auditioning B&W 603 S3s, Rockets 750, Paradigms, Energy Veritas 2.4s, B&W 703s, and a few others...anyway:
After all the research, I decided to try out some Swan Speakers (Hi-Vi Research drivers) on recommendations by a couple of knowledgeable friends... After some due dilligence, I went with the [b][COLOR=red]Swan Diva 6.1[/COLOR][/b] mains and the [COLOR=red]Swan Diva 3C[/COLOR] Center:http://uploads2.offtopic.com/files/sherv_av_0024_small.jpg
I am just completely blown away by these speakers (they arrived yesterday), so I will put a small review here.....pics to follow in the next couple of days:
As soon as I got home, I knew this thing was up to a good start, because the 3 boxes arrived on top of a wooden Palette, each box made of really thick carton, and the whole thing wrapped in plastic so it doesn't get wet, etc.... I started to open the center channel box (which was huge for the size of the center channel iitself) and removed all the foam bricks and corners just to realize [B]there was another box inside![/B] :eek: I took the inner box out, and again, there was plenty of foam bricks and corners, and the foam molds holding the thing in place!
I pulled speaker out (it was [B]HEAVY![/B] ) but it was wrapped in an anti-scratching white fiber bag. There were two small gloves made of thin material on the top as well, so I used them to handle the speakers and remove the bag. When I pulled it out, my jaw dropped at the finish of this thing....(see below) http://forums.offtopic.com/images/smilies/bowdown.gif
I did the same thing with the mains, which were much bigger, and needless to say, the packaging on them was even more impressive than the center...it took me about 20 min to take each freaggin thing out!
If you are in the market for a $5000 speaker look at sub$1000 prices, this is the speaker for you!!!!http://pichold.com/Images/Smilies/smoke.gif
When I took these speakers out, the first thing I stared at was the Lacquer finish (truly it was Grand Piano quality) and the details. The floor studs where heafty, the connectors in the back where [B]HuGE[/B] and solid...they are bi-wire capable and they have a solid plastic cover so that they don't get dinged or anything. I thought I had pretty thick IXOS speaker wires, but when you connect them to these speakers, they look tiny :p
Once the speakers were setup around my TV, they are just a BEAUTY to look at....truly, I looked at them for about 10 min before I even turned them on, because they were such an impressive and fine looking piece of furniture....
During the last few months, I was able to see several speakers, some at much higher price as well....I saw the B&W 603s, 704s, Nautilus 804s, as well as auditioning the Rockets 750 (in South miami....Thanks Enrique!http://forums.offtopic.com/images/smilies/wavey.gif
), the Energy veritas 2.4, and some Paradigm Studios.....In true honesty, I can sit here and tell you that they don't come Close to the finish and look of these Swans! The Nautilus was the only one that I was equally or more impressed by than the swan 6.1s.
These speakers need about 100 hours to break in, so this is not an accurate assesment, but if they are going to get better with time, I cannot fathom how much better they can sound!!! http://forums.offtopic.com/images/smilies/biggthumpup.gif
I started by playing a mozart CD, a Jazz CD, then some MP3s from my iPod, followed by Norah Jones SACD, Pink Floyd, and then my AIXrecords' DVD audio sampler (all of these thru my Denon 3910 player, except the iPod). The musical accuracy was [B]AMAZING![/B]....these speakers produced sounds I have not heard on my CD's. I still have my Infinity IL10's as my surrounds, and they are overshadowed big time by the mains...they are just stunning and so clear.
The 3 things that surprised me the most are: very tight yet musically deep bass, crispy highs (perhaps too much for some, but I love them), and just astounding depth and acoustic resonance in the mids and voices. I will let them run for a couple of weeks, before giving my full review, but they are off to a blazing Start!!
I started by testing the levels using THX tests on the incredibles....the center channel had a louder level, but I left it like that for now. I then played LOTR-ROTK battle scene, Shark Tale 2 chasing scene, and Fifth Element Ultimate Edition last fighting scene....one word:[SIZE=4]WOW![/SIZE] The voices coming off that center channel were life-like, with depth and strenght! They had like a 3D spacial effect on them...wierd to explain....just like in the theaters!http://forums.offtopic.com/images/smilies/dancingcool.gif
The mains did a Superb job in doing the effects and the sounds when needed...but the Center channel here was the one who stole the show....
Again....more detailed info when I get a chance to dive in for more rigorous tests when these bad boys break in a little....
With the exception of B&W 704s, which were very close in sound quality, and the Nautilus 804s which I think did sound a little better, there is no speaker out there that has the combination of Sound, finish, and quality that the Swan 6.1s have, specially at this price range.
My colleague and neighbor has a set of B&W 603 S3 paired with a Denon 4803 Rx, and he came over to the house to check them out last nite... he was amazed at them as well, and told me that although it hurts to admit it, these bad boys are the better speakers musically (he didn't stay for the HT tests I did).
To all of you considering upgrading your mains (or your center channel) to something $2000 or less, I will tell you to give the Swan Diva 6.1s a test and I will guarantee you that it will be the speaker you end up choosing, specially when you realize they sound better, and are cheaper than a lot of speakers with much higher prices.
Finally, I will post pics in the next couple of days.....haven't had a chance yet, but I will:D