This review page is supported in part by the sponsors whose ad banners are displayed below

Reviewer: Glen Wagenknecht
Financial Interests: click here
Sources: Luxman Brid CD Player modified by Audio Upgrades to be a now tube-less, zero oversampling machine with integral volume control
Audio Space CDP 8A CD Player
Preamplifier: Audio Space Reference 2S
Amplifier:Bel Canto 200.4
Speakers: Apogee Duetta Signature, Paradigm Servo 15 subwoofer
Cables: Signal Cable Silver Reference interconnects and speaker cables, Audio Art SE cable loom
Resonance Control: Solid Tech, EquaRack Footers, Weizhi Precision Gold Glory footers, Boston Audio TuneBlock2 footers, Superspikes, and Black Diamond
Powerline conditioning: Noise Destroyer power filtration
Room size: 12' x 17'
Review Component Retail: $399/pr

Redesigning a classic: The Swans M200 Mk III marks the evolution of a product first introduced almost a decade ago. It was originally reviewed and well received by our editor in 2001. Designed as a high-end self-powered desktop monitor, it remains one of those increasingly rare products which doesn’t carry a surround or satellite/subwoofer designation and is intended solely for 2-channel reproduction. Sadly, the audio industry in general has chosen to ignore the concept of quality two-channel multimedia speakers. Luckily for the audiophile, Frank Hale and Swans have chosen to embrace it with a vengeance!

The history of Swan’s chief  designer Frank Hale and HiVi is remarkable. Mr. Hale comes from a background in graphic design but has continued to diversify to encompass a variety of interests from carpentry to leather-bound sunglasses. One of those many enterprises was the creation of a successful loudspeaker company called Swans. It drew the attention of the massive Chinese audio firm HiVi which purchased Swans. Former president Frank Hale stayed on as chief designer. Under the direction o HiVi founder and president Hong Bo Yao, their growing worldwide presence has led to a large and ambitious product line for Swans loudspeakers that covers the full spectrum from inexpensive to state of the art.

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 speakers arrived double boxed in a Styrofoam shell with a shipping weight of 38 lbs. This is no lightweight little computer speaker. Rather, it's a real heavyweight monitor. The company has also gone to great cosmetic lengths to emphasize that you purchased not merely a good-sounding multimedia speaker but a prestige product. Each speaker came separately bagged in a white cloth sack sealed with a drawstring and sporting the Swans emblem. Upon removal from the sack, I was immediately impressed by the aesthetic quality and sheer attention to detail reminiscent of product far higher up the food chain and certainly unprecedented at this price. The designer has chosen a complex cabinet graced by soft curves. The front and top are both sloped and finished in matte black PVC. The side panels are solid Cherry hardwood. Each speaker is supported by four thick 1 1/8 inch diameter feet rubber feet finished in gold decorative trim. There is an inscribed commemorative plaque on the back of one speaker, marking this a signature model.

The M200 Mk III is magnetically shielded and uses a 5¼ inch (135 mm) long-throw polyclone woofer and 25mm German fabric dome tweeter. There are gold-finished controls mounted on the front of one speaker to adjust volume, bass and treble (+/- 3dB). The rear of this speaker is taken up by a heat sink, a pair of gold-plated RCA inputs, a gold-plated female locking multi pin connector and an on/off rocker switch. The second speaker has another female multi pin connector and a gold-finished commemorative plaque. The locking connector required a delicate touch because the metal was soft enough to potentially cross thread. The RCA inputs had sufficient spacing to accommodate most plugs but became cramped with my thicker Audio Art Xhadow connectors.

Included were a comprehensive manual, a detachable power cord, a 2-meter gold-plated multi pin umbilical, a 1-meter RCA-to-mini patch cable, a 1-meter dual RCA- to-RCA patch cable and a pair of white gloves to keep the finish pristine. The grill is relatively transparent and removable.