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Swans M200 Speakers

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March 10, 2006 1:42:03 AM

Hi.

I am looking for any opinions or reviews of the Swans M200 speakers. These speakers aren't all that common as people usually generally are interested in Logitechs and the likes. The main thing I am worried about is the lack of a seperate subwoofer. I listen mostly to classsical rock and I'm not sure if these are the right speakers for that type of music. How much bass, if any at all, would be lost? Thanks alot for any input of any knowledge whatsoever.

fleft

More about : swans m200 speakers

March 10, 2006 2:57:28 AM

Most multimedia computer speakers like the Logitechs have peaky (not linear) upper bass rather than deep extension.

The Swans are an excellent set of powered monitors for the computer. They were built by Chinese Swan manufacturer HiVi and AV123, which makes some of the best internet direct speakers out there.

For a comparison, AV123 makes the X-LS for $199. Pair that with a $40 amp like the Sonic T-amp and I think you'd have a significantly better pair of speakers than the Swans. However, for the price (it has a built in amp), and comparing it to regular computer speakers, it's no competition. Most regular bookshelf loudspeakers have an bandwidth of 60-20KHz +/-3db, which these fall within. Compare them to computer speakers (such as the Logitech Z-5500 200-20KHz +/-5db according to the Audioholics review, and much higher distortion), you are getting a lot more for your money for 2-channel music listening. Oh, and the finish ain't no slouch either.

With $200 and an amp I think you can do better, but for a complete package its one of the best in its price range. Bass extension will probably be comparable or deeper than multimedia speakers, but not "peaky"--does not draw attention to itself. Natural bass; input = output.
March 11, 2006 3:56:49 AM

Hmmm, the advice is greatly appreciated. I think I might know what you are talking about when you say the Swans have linear bass, not exagerated bass. I am assuimg the blend between the midrange and lower range is no longer a problem, and this helps create a larger soundstage. But what about when I play a bass heavy song? I read a review of the Swans and it said from certain types of music you might want to look for other speakers. The speakers from AV123 I think are similar and rated for similar frequency response, 60 - 20,000Hz. I really have no chance of listening to these speakers, or anything close to them. And I REALLY don't want to waste 200 dollars. (Also I initally chcose the Swnas because they one are the VERY few powered speakers out there for a computer, and wont need an amp or any of that other hardware)

I also saw that someone connected a sperate, powered subwoofer to these speakers. Would that require expensive corssovers, cables, and audio knowledge? Maybe it would just be a beginniners project for someone like me?

Thanks, fleft
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March 11, 2006 6:43:08 AM

When you have a pair of speakers and a subwoofer, and you are trying to blend them, there are two options. One, where you play both the speakers and subwoofer full range, so the subwoofer is just "reinforcing" the bass. In this format you might get something that sounds good (if you tweak it right), but might measure weird. Alternatively, you might never blend it correctly.

Second, is to blend the system with a crossover. What crossovers do is put a gentle rolloff on subwoofers top and, and a speakers low end, like this curve (the three curves are the subwoofer, midrange, and tweeter curves, individually measured and then plotted together on a graph).



These curves add up to complex sum (as similar frequencies reinforce each other), so that the sum is a measured flat response, like so:



The easiest way to get a crossover network in your speakers and subwoofer is to simple get a receiver, which usually has a set rolloff for both speaker and subwoofer (-6db/octave) and a variable crossover, say 60-120hz. Generally you want to set this crossover as low as possible, to limit "boomy" upper bass, and anything above 80hz is highly localized. You can "hide" a sub better with a lower crossover because sub-80hz frequencies are perceived as unidirectional.

It's harder (and more expensive) if you want to truly "integrate" your Swans with a subwoofer, as they are powered speakers, whereas most receivers are set up to power passive speakers. Some receivers will provide line-outs for powered speakers, but if you do go the receiver route, you can buy better passive speakers than what the Swans provide for the money. With the Swans, you can certainly hook up a subwoofer easily with a cable splitter, but the subwoofer will just be "reinforcing" bass and the measured response won't be linear, and it might even give you peaks and nulls as same-frequencies might cancel each other out (destructive interferrence).

There's not much audio knowledge needed to set up a component system, just a chat with your local dealer or you can ask me what you'd like to know (I'm not a knowitall, as some people have accused me of being clueless on this forum, but I'll try to help where I can and you can take what I say and verify it if you wish). If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.
March 11, 2006 2:52:21 PM

I understand what you are talking about on combining subwoofer with speakers. Although I'm kind of interested in what one of the graphs of frequency response would be for Logitech2300 or 5300. You said they have peaky bass exageration, so I am assuming response would be all over place between 160 and 80Hz, and then peak around 40Hz?

Anyways, I think the idea of adding a subwoofer to the Swans is getting away from my original goal: buying the best I could buy with my money for computer speakers. I was excited to see that a "hifi", or whatever you want to call them, company was making powered speakers aimed at PC users, but now see the difference between the bass I am used to and the bass in these might not be for me.

thanks again, fleft
March 11, 2006 10:40:34 PM

Sure, if you are used to or prefer that kind of bass, there's nothing wrong with that--music is very subjective after all. However, you probably do yourself a disservice not to at least *know* what good bass sounds like, and I would suggest going to a local hifi shop if you can.

Anyways, good luck with your musical enjoyment, regardless of what you buy!

P.S. As for peaky bass without much extention, it would look more like a massive peak at 90hz (for the Z-680), and peaks and dips from 90 down to 60hz, and then finally a curve that dives to maybe -30, -40db at 40hz.

Whereas with a "hifi" 8" sub, like the Hsu STF-1, you'd get a flat "curve" from 100 down to 28hz with no deviations for more than 0.5db up or down, and then a dive below 28hz. Granted, it is $300 retail.



This is generally what is meant by "peaky bass"--there is no lower end or "real" bass extention, just the illusion of more bass by pumping the upper registers (more audible, more thump, less deep bass).

For the Swan M200s, the F3 (or -6db point) is 55hz. I wouldn't be surprised if that's more extention than most computer subs. It certainly wouldn't have the "noise hump at 90hz" to provide hip hop thump I guess, but thumpy bass makes a lot of music unlistenable.
March 11, 2006 11:07:27 PM

Astrallite Dude :) 

Congrats :D  You are indeed knowledgable regarding "good" audio. It's refreshing to discover genuine knowledge residing within this Forum after all of the juvenile Fanboy flame to-and-fro'ing :) 
March 12, 2006 2:11:23 AM

Thanks for the vote of confidence ecosoft. I just believe in good sound, but I also understand that sound is subjective.

On the flip side I expect the same for others, which I think leads to friction for others with me, because they subjectively *love* their systems, but won't accept that there is better out there, or try to tell others that their system is the end-all-be-all, and "HT" stuff is snake oil or whatever. Being open minded I think is the most important stuff of any hobby, otherwise you limit yourself, and others if you hold stiff to a "fanboy" mentality (that's not based on any objective facts).
March 12, 2006 4:08:19 AM

Ok, so, what would I have to do to add a seperate, powered subwoofer to the Swans? I saw some woofers that had a dial on the back for both volume AND corssover frequency. Assuming I would be to find a subwoofer that was small, matched well with the swans, and had the aforementioned features for around 100 dollars, what else would I need?

thanks, fleft
March 12, 2006 6:10:23 AM

The subwoofer crossover will only drop the curve on the subwoofer's frequency response, not the speakers, so the complex sum won't be optimal, and might even get some nulls (destructive interferrence). If you go with the Swans you will need an active crossover to split the signal between the subwoofer and Swans.

In my experience active crossovers aren't very cheap, are they are specialty items and fall under the "seperates" market. I'm not very experienced with these things (they are called pre-pros), basically a receiver without an amplifier, and generally cost in the $250+ range, such as the Outlaw ICBM-1.

I think the cheaper way to go (and more versatile) is a pair of passive speakers and a receiver. The direction you are taking (adding a subwoofer to powered speakers) is actually a more expensive venture since its the kind of "custom tweaking" more commonly seen with people who use nearfield studio monitors.

However, if you don't mind the possibly non-optimal meshing, and just running both the subwoofer and Swans full range, then all you need is a $5 cable splitter at Radioshack.
March 13, 2006 1:58:13 AM

Ok, so, lets say I buy the Swans and the Athena P4000 subwoofer. The subwoofer has a phase dial, so if I tune that to around 60Hz, the Swans will play from around 60 - 20,000 and the Athena will play from around 60 to 30 or so.

Makes sense to me, but that doesnt mean much. Then all I would need is a adapter, and I'll be set.

Any comments or thoughts?
March 13, 2006 10:34:09 AM

Athena ASP-400 back end:


If you set the crossover to 60hz, the Athena will have a -6db/octave drop from 60hz upwards.

However, as you can see from the photo, the subwoofer does not have pre-outs for powered speakers. The only way to properly crossover both speakers and subwoofer through the ASP-400 are if you have passive speakers and power them from the subwoofers "high level input/output."

So I'm curious and a bit confused. How are you going to limit your Swans to from playing below 60hz frequencies? The subwoofer doesn't have pre-outs for powered speaker bass management. Do you already have a pre-pro/bass management system like the Outlaw ICBM-1?

If not, then the subwoofer would be playing primarily 1-60hz frequencies with a -6db/octave slope beyond that, and the Swans will be playing full range, 1-20,000KHz. Like I said before, you'd probably see alot of bass cancellation and peaky response this way, but if you don't mind that, go for it.
March 13, 2006 3:41:04 PM

The picture you have there is of the Athena P-400, which is the model before the Athena P-4000. Although Im still not quite sure if the newer model has what you are talking about.

The reason I said the Swans would play only above 60Hz is because that is their natural frequency response so to speak. However, I wasn't very accurate with this. Their specs are around 55 - 25,000Hz, so I assuming they wont play anything audible below 50Hz or so in most listening conditions. Therefore, If I have a sub with a variable crossover set to around 50 Hz, and its natural frequency range is from 25 - 180Hz; it will play from only 50 - 25Hz. Together, this should make a somewhat decent combination.

Of course, I probably have some of this wrong, feel free to tell me where I went wrong, etc.

As far as the wiring, I am clueless. Right now I am talking to someone that has a Velodyne subwoofer connected to his Swans.

Thanks for any replies, fleft
March 14, 2006 2:03:47 AM

See if you like the sound.

Like I said before, you need to keep in mind a crossover is not a brick wall filter. A 50hz cutoff just means the curve starts slopping downwards, the sub is still being fed everything up to 22.05KHz.

As for frequency ranges, you need to look at a +/-3db number. The Swans are listed at 55hz-18KHz with no +/- db number. That means it might be around -10db at 55hz. If you were crossing over both the speakers and the subwoofer I would recommend a 100hz crossover for the Swans, but considering you are playing the Swans full range, I would say 80 would probably be a better idea. Either way, fool around with it to see which you prefer.

Wiring is very simple. You need two cables: the first is a stereo miniplug splitter so you can feed one to the Swans, and the other to the subwoofer. Second, the subwoofer accepts RCA inputs, not stereo mini, so you need a stereo-mini to RCA converter or cable. That's all you need. Not very difficult at all.
March 14, 2006 2:57:54 AM

Ok, so I have mostly everything squared away now, including how the subwoofer will be connected to the mains in a low level fashion (stereo mini/RCA). However, seeing how these will be PC speakers, where does the sound card come in? Again, thanks for all your help through all of this. I have been searching on google and reading similar posts on other message boards, but still am unsure what goes to the sound card, not to mention what sound cards are right for me seeing as I have a laptop.

fleft
March 14, 2006 8:29:48 AM

The sound card is the source of your music--mp3,wave, games, etc.

Since you are only running a 2.1 setup, the basic 2-channel onboard should work just fine for you.

Miniplug outputs to your Swans and subwoofer, after being split. One splitter is connected to another stereo mini cable which goes to the Swans. The other splitter end is connected to an RCA to stereo mini cable, with the RCA end connected to the subwoofer.

It's a little more of a hassle to connect than just regular passive speakers and an amp, to be honest : P
March 14, 2006 3:02:11 PM

Ok, so from the lineout on my computer, the stereo minipluig needs to be split into two. From there, one of the two needs to be split again, and go to each swan speaker. The other stereo miniplug needs to have an RCA adapter, where two RCA wires go into the subwoofer.

Great, thanks ALOT.

But now, Im just wondering, wouldn't I fare off a bit better with a better audio card? Only USB/PCMCIA solutions would be for me. Is it worth spending 50 dollars on the Creative Live! solution, or even 80 dollars on the Creative PCMCIA SB2 card? I just dont see using an onboard sound card after spending 300+ dollars on speakers.

Also, probabaly a silly question, but I can't seem to find an answer. What do the binding posts on the Swans have to do with anything?
March 14, 2006 10:22:51 PM



Should look like this:

Miniplug out (Sound Card) -> Miniplug Splitter (into 2 female miniplug sockets)-> 2 (Two) Stereo mini to RCA Cables

One goes to the Swans, other goes to the Subwoofer. So that's 3 cables you need to buy. Miniplug splitter, and 2 stereo mini to RCA cables.

The binding posts are a decorative way to make them look like regular passive speakers. It's actually meant to connect the left speaker to the source (right speaker) with the 12-guage wire it comes with.

As for a sound card, it depends, do you feel you need them? Do you hear a lot of line-out noise? If not, then it might just be a cosmetic difference. I personally have a very difficult time telling sound cards apart, and there's not any double blind tests I know of. Of course, the limits to our hearing usually hits us before there are limits to our ability to measure differences (or the willingness to part with our paychecks). Since people rarely return what they buy from either buyer's remorse or just short-term memory of what they've replaced, and rarely have the patience for DB tests...I would suggest you find if you enjoy your soundcard concurrently. If not, replace it.

Cheers.
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