Swan S3W Speakers mini review

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by gwerhart0800, Oct 13, 2009.

  1. gwerhart0800 macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2008
    Loveland, CO
    I have been on a two year quest to end the annoying GSM interference that comes from owning an iPhone that is docked to a computer that is attached to a set of desktop speakers. I have read every article including the following proposed solutions:

    1. Putting Aluminum foil on the back of the iPhone.
    2. Putting chokes on the cables to/from the speakers, computer.
    3. Parking the iPhone and dock far away from the speakers.

    #1 is just wacky ... seems to me that if it cuts the interference, it would also cut the signal to the tower. #2 did not work for me. #3 worked ... but it was a pain to have the iPhone parked 3 feet off my desk via a USB extension cable. The real solution is to shield the amplifier. (Something like the screen that is in the door of the microwave that blocks the specific radio frequency.)

    After reading tons of reviews on various speakers, I took a chance and ordered a pair of Swan S3W's from Parts Express. (Google them if you want their web site.) The golden nugget is that the amplifier is in an aluminum housing that shields it from the GSM interference. (This is sort of the inverse of #1 above.)

    I received the speakers promptly and opened the box to see the standard set of white gloves (Swan ships their speakers with gloves as some sort of signature), the instructions (in translated Chinglish), the amp, the speakers and a power adapter. Set up is simple, plug in the speakers to the amp, plug the amp into the computer, plug the power wart into the power strip and the amp. The Amp is a big knob that has a base that glows with the light of a blue LED. The volume is smooth to operate and has a click to turn off at the low end. The only real issue is that the speakers are tethered together to a single 4 segment plug. The distance between the speakers is limited by this cable. You would have to do some cut/splice to change that. The speakers are single cone units in housings that are shaped like a ball. These are fairly heavy units. (Especially when compared to the cheesy Harmon/Kardon units they are replacing. ) The amp includes a second input that they intend for a mobile music player. I will probably connect my second computer to it so that both play out via these speakers.

    Now, the important part ... how do they sound. Well, for a 2.0 desktop speaker system they are not too bad. There is no detectable hum or background noise. There is no real low end. For that, you will need to splice in a sub-woofer into the connection via a Y-cable. The mid-range and high-end are covered okay. If you crank up the volume to the max, you will hear distortion. I have definitely heard better speakers (costing a lot more $$$), but these were only $59.86 + $8 shipping. For me, being able to arrange my desktop with the iphone in convenient reach and not hearing the dread GSM noise is worth it.

    I give them 4 out of 5 stars ... if you are an audiofile, you will probably not be satisfied. For everyone else, these are a great solution to the GSM noise problem.
  2. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    The Swan M10's also avoid GSM buzzing. Glad you like your speakers, now to find a use for the white gloves...
  3. gwerhart0800 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2008
    Loveland, CO
    I do have a use for the gloves. I have some "live steam" locomotives in "G" scale. They get very hot and typically you use cotton gloves like these to handle them when they are steamed up. These might be a bit light for that, but I will try them. (Risking blisters!)

    Good to know that the other Swan amplifiers are properly shielded.
  4. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    Wow, some positive reviews on the M10's. I might just have to get me a set to try out.

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