Swans M200 Mark III
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The new Swans M200 Mk III is positioned near the top of their multimedia line and marks the third revision of this classic. The Mk III is designed as a special edition model, borrowing lessons from the top T200B and promising a serious increase in technological enhancements and sound quality. The well respected Mk II version remains current. While cosmetically similar, there have been radical changes to the new iteration. Each M200 Mk III is bi-amplified with a total of 60 watts per side, almost doubling power over the Mk II. As a result, a good portion of the rear panel of the main speaker is taken up by a massive heat sink, which runs warm to the touch. The crossover has been changed from passive to active, the mid/woofer replaced and retuned for deeper performance.
To accommodate bi-amping, the output connectors and cable have changed from binding posts to gold-plated locking multi pin connectors utilizing a 2-meter umbilical. Cosmetics are upgraded from veneered side panels to solid milled hardwood with radiused edge details and center striping between individual laminations. All in all, the new Swans M200 Mk III is a serious attempt to push a veteran performer to new heights.
The Swans M200MkIII won an International Consumer Electroncis Show Design and Engineering Showcase Honors Award for 2009.
“Resolution was good and the Swans pulled up considerable ambient information especially in the midrange. The M200 Mk III managed to sound detailed and refined even with lower resolution sources like MP3 and my inexpensive CD player and showed either to good advantage. The speakers revealed sufficient information to unravel complex material, doing surprisingly well with high-resolution downloads but being never ruthlessly revealing.
“The Swans proved to have a distinct character, a tube-like tonal balance. The overall presentation favored the upper bass through midrange, affording excellent density to instruments. The designer of the M200 Mk III has concentrated on maintaining a relatively linear overall decent in response through the upper bass to mid bass. It actually descends fairly low, then rolls off steeply. The result is a sense of weight and volume without penalty in the midrange. Male vocals came off refreshingly free from overt problems and exhibited only very minor coloration in the lower midrange through upper bass where the speaker took on a slightly meaty character. Acoustic guitar and piano were rich and warm. To its lowermost limits, the Swans had excellent definition with good solidity.
“ he high frequencies and midrange on the Swans M200 Mk III were refined and exhibited great warmth with a decidedly tubular signature, one that was immediately seductive. The designer has aimed at a relative smoothness of response instead of the extra sparkle from a tipped-up top. This approach pays off with instruments that sounded far more lifelike than facsimile.
“The Swans had a very nearfield perspective with a slightly forward soundstage. That exhibited considerable projection, pushing images into the room and away from the speaker plane but with some loss of absolute depth. This was accompanied by quite dimensional images which belied the size of the speaker, being big and bold if a little diffuse. Width was extremely good and extended well beyond the speakers in an almost cinemascope presentation. This produced the illusion of a much larger speaker especially when seated in the nearfield.
“In absolute terms, the Swans M200 Mk III is not intended to replace a high-end system but rather, act as an ancillary setup to further enjoy music with. While billed as a multimedia monitor, it seems best suited as a desktop computer speaker. In that context it was a rousing success. Frequency response and imaging make it a boon for lovers of acoustic music, especially those partial to a tube flavor.
“The Swans design is calculated to take advantage of the nearfield listening position and boundary reinforcement which computer listening demands. Then the Swans operates at full potential. The angled baffle worked in its favor and the Mk III’s propensity for image width created a more credible illusion for the closer seating position. The bass retained tremendous articulation and gained a little more power.
“The Swans M200 Mk III are a class act. They live up to expectations imposed by history and push pedigree yet further upscale. As a computer monitor, they offer a phenomenal level of sound quality and have a visual aesthetic of decadent luxury. Their warm enveloping tube-like presentation should appeal to those seeking that kind of sonic signature. They never overanalyze. They consistently remain pleasantly revealing. The Swans M200 Mk III entices us to seek out and explore new music. That very ability to encourage listening is probably its greatest strength.
“Regardless of virtue, no product will be all things to all men. While the speakers performed in exemplary fashion as computer monitors, they were more suited for musical satisfaction than gaming pyrotechnics. Acoustic music lovers will delight. Those demanding peak levels and gut-thumping bass should look elsewhere. These speakers are designed to stir the soul, not rattle the teeth. This is a musically satisfying design for the audiophile seeking a better lifestyle component. Shamelessly attractive and overbuilt given their modest price, it's an easy and enthusiastic recommendation” – 6Moons.com
“I just got my Swan M200MkIII. In short? They KICK ASS! Plug them in, connect them together, and with the supplied cable hook up your iPhone/iPod, and YOWSA! These suckers are clean, and LOUD! I moved them into the living room next to my MacPro where all my music has been ripped Apple Lossless. I can quickly move the mini-plug back and forth between the M200MkIIIs and an Arcam 300 feeding my tremendous Swan 6.2s. And? Yeah. Swan and Jon know what they are doing. I have two favorite songs I jump right to when auditioning. Song one, is the Talking Head's "Slippery People". Song two is Brubeck's "Blue Rondo A La Turk". First up the M200MkIIIs. I've listened to my Arcam/Swan6.2 combo for a long time now. Press play and... I was at home immediately. If I had been led into the room blindfolded, I wouldn't have been able to tell the difference at first blush. To me that's impressive!
“So I switched to the Arcam combo. Now, to be fair, the Arcam/6.2 combo wins. But, it IS a contest, a good one at that. Comparing the M200MkIII, the Arcam/6.2 wins in every category, crystal clear, nuanced highs, smooth deep and satisfying bass, and a "you are there" immersive soundstage. But the thing is -- the M200MkIIIs are only a half step, maybe only a big toe, behind in every case. Given that they are in a much smaller enclosure, with its own amp (that is not a $1500 Arcam) they are outstanding.
“The M200MkIIIs are clean and even with no coloration, just like the 6.2. They simply trounce a pair of Energy C-100s I have upstairs (which I consider a pretty good speaker for the money BTW).
“When played at reasonable volumes in rooms like a good sized living room, or an office, the M200MkIII play astoundingly nice. For an active set of speakers you can just hook up the iPod or computer to, I can't recommend them enough. If I was going to college, this and an iPod/laptop is what I'd want to bring to blow everyone else on the floor away. Look no further. I can't wait for this years work X-mas party. I'm going to cause some major raucous!” - AVS Forum review
Ported walnut veneer cabinet
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