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This review first appeared in the April 2012 issue of hi-end hifi magazine of Germany. You can also read this review of the Swans M6F in its original German version. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with the publishers. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of fairaudio or Swans - Ed.

Reviewer: Jochen Reinecke
Sources: iPod Video 80GB with Pure i-20 dock, Marantz SA 7001 CD/SACD, Yamaha CD-S 1000,
Pro-Ject Xpression III with Ortofon OM 30 Super
Amplification: Funk LAP-2 preamp, Dynavox TPR-2 preamp,Trends Audio TA-10.2 SE, Yarland FV-34C III, Myryad MXA 2150 power amp
Loudspeakers: Neat Momentum 4i, Nubert nuBox 101 with AW 441 subwoofer, DIY F120A-based widebander TL
Cables: AVI Deep Blue interconnects, Kimber 4 VS LS speaker cable
Review component retail: €4.590/pr

Swan Lake. The patron saint of hifi bliss enjoys leashing joy to suffering. That which sounds real good often causes massive grief on the budget. And, those who mean to listen in great style routinely also must schlep in grand style. With that opener you won’t be surprised that Swans’ M6 speaker arrived palletised via bloody freight train – er, truck. Properly intimidated, our household’s protective lady of the gate relinquished her holy four-edged key to throw open the French door’s never-used second half. A Euro palette for private citizens? Good grief, nothing like it had ever showed up for us. Colleague Jörg kindly assisted with grunt to get the twin 35kg boxes inside. The good news? Two managed just fine.

Once unpeeled from their packaging, all that sweat was quickly forgotten. The complete combo of design, fit and tactile finish suggested a true representative of the exclusive club including the cosmetics and sheer quality of wood. The M6—M6F for front speakers in fact since they’re part of a surround set—are real lookers what with their luxo Cherry wood top and vertically grooved cheeks, immaculate curves, paneling, edging and massive yet shapely enclosures. The front baffle in matte black lacquer boasts 3 centimeters of MDF mass and lightly flowed edges. Given such high handcrafter’s quality I was a bit surprised that the eight grill receivers weren't smaller or better yet magnetically concealed. That woulda iced this cake. Oh well.

Rearward there’s biwire terminals on a quite massive metal plate. Bananas, spades and bare wire are all accounted for. The MDF plinth can be fitted with the included spike set. The driver complement, top to bottom, consists of Swans’ very own RT 1.3W Neodymium-powered planar magnetic for controlled horizontal dispersion to broaden the sweet spot. Crossover frequency is a high 5.000Hz. This hands over to the broad-dispersion pug nose of 50mm dome mid tweeter. Its flat-wire voice coil and "feather-light" diaphragm reduce harmonic distortion to a bare minimum says Swans to make for a "nearly ideally linear frequency response" between 800 and 8000Hz. To finish up two mid/woofers with Kevlar cones occupy their own sub chamber to produce bass as well as assist the dome into the lower mids. The upper 6.5-incher operates all the way to 800Hz whilst the lower one calls it quits at 650Hz. Both extend to 34Hz with a claimed –3dB point which is augmented by a frontal port of quite stout dimensions.

Fortunately the M6 arrived with playing time under its belt already to call one day of adjust after a cold January delivery sufficient. I’ll tip my hand early by saying that the M6 is the sort which doesn’t make a reviewer’s life tougher by lacking special traits. I like it when speakers arrive with their own sonic profile. The Swans clearly was that happy type.

Let’s kick off with what’s most obvious to both eye and ear. The M6 is no specialist for whisper sessions. The entire concept and format depend on a minimum supply of input voltage before one leaves first gear and gets going. At low volumes—below room level—other speakers clearly offer a more complete experience on tonality in the extremes and dynamic reflexes both micro and macro. Should your room be 16m² or smaller and your situation imply that you can’t or shouldn’t prime the pump, go after a different speaker. For mid-size to large living rooms and above background levels the M6 meanwhile crosses off very specific virtues. I spent two long months taking the M6 through its paces. What I grew particularly fond of was the mid/treble band. That I’d call hands-down superb. What the M6 excels at without holding anything back is resolution and nuance in these registers paired with the ability to never go blurry or etchy. Often extraordinary resolution particularly in the treble buys into crispness or a somewhat spiked overall tonal balance. The M6’s unusual combination of planar and dome in the mid/treble region parlays into the finest of details yet I’d generally characterize this speakers as still more gentle than hyper present in the upper octaves. Though that admittedly reads like an apparent contradiction, it’s still a fact.