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Swan Hivi X3 Review (Active Monitors)

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 84 54.2%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 64 41.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther

    Votes: 7 4.5%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    155

amirm

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This is a review, detail review and listening tests of the Swan Hivi X3 active monitor. It was kindly sent to me by a member and costs US $249 for a pair.
Swan Hivi X3 Powered Computer Speaker Desktop Monitor  Review.jpg

As you see, this looks like a baby Genelec speaker down to the "Iso stand" and cast metal case. The former doesn't have a guide though so you can tell from the picture, you can wind up with it tilted left or right. I like the power switch on the side and volume control. Back panel also provides some tweaking of the response but it is limited to just 1 dB:

Swan Hivi X3 Powered Computer Speaker Desktop Monitor back panel Review.jpg


The port doesn't have clearance to go straight in so it almost immediate twists to the right and down into the enclosure. Overall the build is very solid making you easily confuse it with a top monitor brand.

Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than an anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

Likewise listening tests comply with the latest research into proper evaluation of speakers calling for mono, instead of stereo listening:.

Reference axis is approximately the center of the tweeter.

Swan Hivi X3 Measurements
Let's start with our usual dashboard:
Swan Hivi X3 Powered Computer Speaker Desktop Monitor Frequency Response Measurements.png


Well, this is kind of disappointing. We have a lot of disturbance in the usual port region of 800 to 1.5 kHz. Then we have three distinct resonances lifting lower treble region with the latter being quite broad. This will make the speaker sound bright. A look at the near-field measurement of the radiating surfaces shows some of the problems:

Swan Hivi X3 Powered Computer Speaker Desktop Monitor near-field Frequency Response Measurements.png


I don't think I have seen a port/enclosure with so many resonances. Maybe the inside is empty. On top of that we have a woofer resonance and lack of baffle step compensation. Not pretty.

General directivity is good which then causes off-axis to be as bad as on-axis:

Swan Hivi X3 Powered Computer Speaker Desktop Monitor Early Window  Frequency Response Measure...png


Making our predicted-in-room response rough and tilted up:
Swan Hivi X3 Powered Computer Speaker Desktop Monitor Predicted in-room Frequency Response Mea...png


Despite the built-in waveguide for the tweeter, response proportionally gets narrower with frequency (beaming):
Swan Hivi X3 Powered Computer Speaker Desktop Monitor Horizontal Beamwidth Measurements.png


Swan Hivi X3 Powered Computer Speaker Desktop Monitor Horizontal Directivty Measurements.png


Vertical axis though is above average due to use of small drivers with close acoustic centers:
Swan Hivi X3 Powered Computer Speaker Desktop Monitor Vertical Directivty Measurements.png


I had high hopes that distortion would be kept in check but I could here severe distortion during measurement sweep:
Swan Hivi X3 Powered Computer Speaker Desktop Monitor THD percent Distortion Measurements.png



Swan Hivi X3 Powered Computer Speaker Desktop Monitor THD Distortion Measurements.png


There is some kind of limiter in there though allowing me to even sweep at 96 dBSPL which is nice.

Waterfall display shows resonances with strong ringing in time domain:
Swan Hivi X3 Powered Computer Speaker Desktop Monitor CSD Waterfall Measurements.png


Swan Hivi X3 Listening Tests and Equalization
This is a tough speaker to love. Out of the box it is bright and you have to keep messing with the volume to keep distortion at bay. I tried filtering it but overall, I am not sure I made much progress other than making it less bright:
Swan Hivi X3 Powered Computer Speaker Desktop Monitor parametric EQ Equalization.png


I like EQ attempts to be quick and simple by eye and this definitely not one of those cases. The highs can still be piercing even though I tried to bring resonances down. A fancier EQ may help more but it was beyond the scope and patience I had.

Mind though, there were moments of good sound at low volume but there far more annoying ones to my ear.

Conclusions
A speaker this small presents may challenges to the designer. I think it requires superb engineering to master all of that and that simply is not there. Is it good enough for a "3 inch woofer and 0.8 inch tweeter?" I don't know. What I do know that its capability is below what I consider good enough. So I would step up to next larger size and get a much better monitor.

I can't recommend the Swan Hivi X3 even though I see a reasonable attempt to create something unique and above junk plastic computer speakers.

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As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome. Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

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peniku8

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That's 1:1 the Genelec look, with the ISOpods, the grilles and the rounded aluminium cabinet. Is that even legal..?
 

BillH

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Looking at their website it appears they have multiple lines of speakers.
It would be interesting to see one of their higher end products tested

Thanks for the review
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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That's 1:1 the Genelec look, with the ISOpods, the grilles and the rounded aluminium cabinet. Is that even legal..?
Too small of a fish for Genelec to bother going after them. The product is also very hard to find so I think it is on its way out. If not already....
 

Cars-N-Cans

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I despise any manufacturer who copies others, especially when the victim is a company with integrity (Genelec)
Think it’s bad with speakers and headphones… Chinese companies did this all the time with performance car parts. I even got a fake Edelbrock aluminum intake that they made by making molds of the real thing and I could even see the masking tape in the aluminum where they taped over the mfr‘s logo. Definitely not good since it will con people into buying it thinking it will be on par with a Genelec.
 

Billy Budapest

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Looking at their website it appears they have multiple lines of speakers.
It would be interesting to see one of their higher end products tested

Thanks for the review
Swans/HiVi’s principal designer, Frank Hale, is an audio engineer of some acclaim.
 

Helicopter

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This makes a $700 pair of 8010As look like even more of a bargain.

They are infringing on trademarks (the look) but it's not good enough to be worth worrying about.
 

kongwee

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Think it’s bad with speakers and headphones… Chinese companies did this all the time with performance car parts. I even got a fake Edelbrock aluminum intake that they made by making molds of the real thing and I could even see the masking tape in the aluminum where they taped over the mfr‘s logo. Definitely not good since it will con people into buying it thinking it will be on par with a Genelec.
Audio will be different. I have seem many replica of classic amp. You will see all 1% tolerance or lower imported branded electronic component that the original designer would not give. It cost lesser too.
 

Cars-N-Cans

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Audio will be different. I have seem many replica of classic amp. You will see all 1% tolerance or lower imported branded electronic component that the original designer would not give. It cost lesser too.
The Chinese use a lot of counterfeit electronic components, though. I would not feel as much reservations over things like amps and DACs from the more reputable mfrs like Topping, but some of that stuff can be really sketchy.
 

restorer-john

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Think it’s bad with speakers and headphones… Chinese companies did this all the time with performance car parts

They even copied an entire Range Rover!

The Landwind X7.

1656639659373.png
 

AndreaT

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Great review of a flawed speaker. It pains to see how China, after great & original DAC creations at 1/10th of the price of comparable US/UK products, seems unable to replicate the deed with speakers. Back to the drawing board for a more favorable quality/price ratio.
 

wwenze

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Ooooooo now that's something I have been waiting a long time for.

I know usually this isn't done, but is it possible to have the distortion vs frequency at a lower SPL if a speaker is performing horribly at 86dB? It's not often we see things at -20dB distortion and it would be important to know if this is being severely SPL-limited or if it happens at any output level. The latter is probably an even worse design.

The only other speaker I remember that is -20dB is GR Research LGK and that one did not change much with SPL either (albeit 86dB vs 90dB is not a big change), which suspects that it could be happening at all SPLs. Would be an interesting information to know and also to make decision based on.

Why this might be relevant... I had a pair of Swans M200MKII in my room and I could hear harmonics coming out from the woofer during 1kHz (can't remember) pure tone testing, but only when the woofer is on-axis. Both speakers, so unlikely a defect. And I use my ears at way less than 86dB SPL. No measurements unfortunately as this happened before I got a UMIK.

Does the spinorama raw data include distortion vs angle?
 
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Too small of a fish for Genelec to bother going after them. The product is also very hard to find so I think it is on its way out. If not already....
Hivi/Swan is a pretty big brand in China, they make a lot of raw drivers as well. Them being China based would make it difficult for Genelec to go after them though.
 

Lopsided

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Tweeter distortion seems low, and directivity smooth. Wonder if it’s the same OEM unit used in 8010A.
 

kongwee

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The Chinese use a lot of counterfeit electronic components, though. I would not feel as much reservations over things like amps and DACs from the more reputable mfrs like Topping, but some of that stuff can be really sketchy.
Well, you need to know some brand of the electronic brands. Panasonic, Nichicon, Vishery, TI, Blur Blown.....etc These are $0.01-$15 per piece. No way it is profitable to replicated them, unlike watches.
 

Cars-N-Cans

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Well, you need to know some brand of the electronic brands. Panasonic, Nichicon, Vishery, TI, Blur Blown.....etc These are $0.01-$15 per piece. No way it is profitable to replicated them, unlike watches.
They still pop up commonly in electronics, esp. electrolytics, but the ICs as well. Those are the most commonly counterfeited parts from what I have seen, and anything on e-bay will certainly be suspect. Another place they get parts is e-waste pulls. If it’s a matter of some heat shrink tubing over a no-name cap or simply sanding and laser engraving an IC again I don’t think there is a lot of cost involved, and the temptation to cheat will be stronger with components that are older or more rare. I’m not saying the replica amps you refer to use fake components, but if it’s at a real low price point despite being decked out with all the best “brands” I do become suspect. Anyhow, here it seems to be more just ripping off the look of a big brand to move product.
 
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