Review: Swan Active Desktop MKIII (Mark 3) Monitor

Category: Speakers

After about a week, I am very pleased with my Swan Active Desktop M200 Mk IIIs on my computer. Even with no break in, these were natural and balanced with no part of the audio spectrum accentuated or deemphasized. There is a sense of reserve to them but still the music and vocals and spoken voices are just so
listenable that I can just lean back and forget that these are little desktop speakers.

Voices have no "tizz" or edge or telephone-like artifice. You forget that the source is digital from a mid-grade sound card. The bass is strong but not boom-boxy and it is well-integrated. The speakers just throw an image into the area between them and behind them pretty realistically.

You can't really hear the drivers, either, something that only expensive monitors have. I used to have Kharma 3.2 monitors and these rival their coherency.

My previous computer speakers were Advent powered partners (now doing laptop duty), and now the Advents sound shouty and a bit stressful with a one-note bass. And these are $300 speakers.

The Swans do benefit from good cables. I use a pair of Cardas Cross's (unfortunately connected with a little mini-plug-to-RCA adapter from my sound card).

The tone controls work nicely, too, not adding any distortion that I could hear.

So, to summarize, the Swans get an A+ for tonality, relaxation, bass-quality and integration, driverless sound, sweet-sounding vocals, and overall coherency.

I bought these from

Associated gear
Cooltech PC Computer, Cardas Cross ICs.

Similar products
Advent Powered Partners, Bose Desktops.
Not surprised you are enjoying your Swans. I've had the original version for a few years, and find them to be surprisingly musical. Exactly what kind of wiring did you use?

I tried Cardas Cross and Golden Cross and some old Synergystics I had. The Golden Cross is best among these. It smooths things out without muffling anything.

It is a guilty pleasure to surf around youtube for live things and rarities. I suggest a thread on audiogon for interesting music found on youtube (or elsewhere on the web).
Mine are set up "master/slave": the unit with the amp runs off interconnect to headphone jack, and then it's a shot of speaker wire to the second box. That's what made me wonder what wire set up could be used; is the III configured the same way? J