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Swan Hivi X3 Review (Active Monitors)

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 84 53.8%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 65 41.7%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther

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

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Jun 16, 2020
It should have been called Genelegg

Clearly they have not followed the design details of the Genelec. Genelec speakers are actually quite squared, with rounded edges and curves surfaces. This is just an egg..

This gives you much less room for a proper waveguide, which shows in the measurements.


The electronics actually look pretty decent. Looks like gainclone in there.

These things are just distort to much at any decent level to be anything other than a casual listening device.

For the money though, just get a second hand Genelec 8010 or 8020. Distortion wise the 8010 is quite a bit better even:


Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Jan 15, 2020
Thanks to the small size and known "Finnish" design it shows quite a nice directivity, so with a bit of free PC EQ a decent good looking small low budget desktop solution with only direct competitor the also 3" IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitor, we shouldn't forget that a Genelec 8010 costs more than double.


Major Contributor
Dec 31, 2019
ignoring the direct copyish styling with waveguide, material etc. it really just tells how much knowledge Genelec have done to it's basic design. able to keep the 8010-8050 all analogue line performing so good, while someone copies most of it's design can't remotely do it as decent


Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Aug 14, 2019
Sweden, Västerås
For IP theft I don’t think the exterior shape is the main thing .

The square box is used by many ? And not considered ip theft .

If you want a well rounded enclosure with integrated wave guide cast in two halves in aluminium. You will have a really hard time not ending up with something looking like Genelec :) just as nailing together sheets of MDF at 90 degrees will look like a box.

But then they take more steps to make it even more Genelec like such as the mesh before the midbass driver and elastic foot and other small clues that looks distinctly Genelec.

But the performance seems riddled with easily avoided problems? They spent more time mimicking Genelec than developing the speakers, hence very poor


Addicted to Fun and Learning
Nov 6, 2020
The Netherlands


Jan 16, 2022
It reminds me of the speaker called "zenelec" made by canston.
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Mar 4, 2019
I think the manufacturer have managed to uglify these speakers enough so that no one would confuse these with Genelec


Senior Member
Nov 6, 2016
Royal Leamington Spa, UK
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.

I paid just a tad more for a pair of JBL 305P actives, which measure well and sound really good. (Not ideal for a desktop though - a bit large and too much hiss on idle.)

Rather than these Swans, I'd pay more and get a pair of 'real' Genelec 8010 actives, which are suberb (especially with a sub).



Senior Member
May 28, 2020
French, living in China
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.
View attachment 215758
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:

View attachment 215759

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:
View attachment 215760

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:

View attachment 215761

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:

View attachment 215763

Making our predicted-in-room response rough and tilted up:
View attachment 215764

Despite the built-in waveguide for the tweeter, response proportionally gets narrower with frequency (beaming):
View attachment 215765

View attachment 215766

Vertical axis though is above average due to use of small drivers with close acoustic centers:
View attachment 215767

I had high hopes that distortion would be kept in check but I could here severe distortion during measurement sweep:
View attachment 215768

View attachment 215769

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:
View attachment 215770

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:
View attachment 215771

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.

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.

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/


Here is my take on the EQ.

Please report your findings, positive or negative!

The following EQs are “anechoic” EQs to get the speaker right before room integration. If you able to implement these EQs you must add EQ at LF for room integration, that is usually not optional… see hints there: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...helf-speaker-review.11144/page-26#post-800725

The raw data with corrected ER and PIR:

Score no EQ: 3.4
With Sub: 6.4

Spinorama with no EQ:
  • Port
  • too big bump in the upper mid
  • Decent, just a few tweaks could make it a nice speaker (with a sub)
Swan HIVI X3 No EQ Spinorama.png

Better stay at tweeter height

Horizontally, better toe-in the speakers by 10/20deg and have the axis crossing in front of the listening location, might help dosing the upper range.
Swan HIVI X3 2D surface Directivity Contour Only Data.png

Swan HIVI X3 LW better data.png

EQ design:

I have generated one EQ. The APO config file is attached.
  • The EQs are designed in the context of regular stereo use i.e. domestic environment, no warranty is provided for a near field use in a studio environment although the LW might be better suited for this purpose.

Score EQ LW: 4.6
with sub: 7.6

Score EQ Score: 5.5
with sub: 8.5

Swan HIVI X3 APO EQ Score 96000Hz

Preamp: -2.5 dB

Filter 1: ON PK Fc 218.09,    2.47,    2.30
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 1281.48,    1.60,    1.40
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 2030.31,    -1.43,    2.58
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 3944.93,    -3.31,    2.22
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 6913.64,    -1.67,    1.80
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 18222.95,    1.40,    1.63

Swan HIVI X3 EQ Design.png

Spinorama EQ Amirm
Swan HIVI X3 Amirm EQ Spinorama.png

Spinorama EQ Score
Swan HIVI X3 Score EQ Spinorama.png

Swan HIVI X3 Zoom.png

Regression - Tonal
Swan HIVI X3 Regression.png

Radar no EQ vs EQ score
Nice improvements
Swan HIVI X3 Radar.png

The rest of the plots is attached.


  • Swan HIVI X3 3D surface Vertical Directivity Data.png
    Swan HIVI X3 3D surface Vertical Directivity Data.png
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  • Swan HIVI X3 3D surface Horizontal Directivity Data.png
    Swan HIVI X3 3D surface Horizontal Directivity Data.png
    459.6 KB · Views: 14
  • Swan HIVI X3 Normalized Directivity data.png
    Swan HIVI X3 Normalized Directivity data.png
    274 KB · Views: 16
  • Swan HIVI X3 Raw Directivity data.png
    Swan HIVI X3 Raw Directivity data.png
    409 KB · Views: 14
  • Swan HIVI X3 Reflexion data.png
    Swan HIVI X3 Reflexion data.png
    126 KB · Views: 15
  • Swan HIVI X3 LW data.png
    Swan HIVI X3 LW data.png
    122.6 KB · Views: 14
  • Swan HIVI X3 2D surface Directivity Contour Data.png
    Swan HIVI X3 2D surface Directivity Contour Data.png
    269.5 KB · Views: 13
  • Swan HIVI X3 APO EQ Score 96000Hz.txt
    343 bytes · Views: 17


Nov 7, 2018
Hamilton, NZ
Hivi are a great manufacturer. And I like them. Some of their drivers and tweeters have been the best or best value of their time.
Many DIYers have used their products and they have measured and sounded well. Some examples are some of the best measuring of their time. Some, not as good.
These X series started around 2010 to 2011. Thats over a decade. What the hell do you guys expect?
Some of the genelecs are some of the best in the world. It's quite clear these X series are a cute little monitor, but they're a desktop fad, in comparison to Genelec professional monitors. However, not all genelecs have measured perfectly, but some have measured extremely well.
Lets not judge a company, nor all Chinese speakers manufacturers, by one inexpensive little example please. I am interested in science. And science needs to be impartial and unbiased. You need context and you need understanding. Stick your veiled-generalisations to the side, and start your critical thinking.
They've designed speakers that won CES awards in the US in the mid-2000s, and they created an anechoic chamber somewhere in the mid-2000s. We wish them to do better, and they may already have done.
We will likely see more of their products being measured if people sent them in for independent testing. Let's hope their newer products do a better job. They're released with measurements and plots, so it would be interesting to see whether they match up.
I'm glad to see this speaker measured.
I don't think this speaker looks like the genelec at all. It's egg shaped and was marketed that way. The stand, well that could be suspicious as they were released probably in similar times. Genelec has had a decade to do something if they wanted but I seriously don't think it's worth it for the stand.
I don't think hivi and genelec are really in the same marketplace. I like Genelec as well. Wish I could afford.


Major Contributor
Jan 27, 2020
Suffolk Coastal, UK
I wonder what blocking the ports up (foam or similar) does to the upper midrange performance? No way can a tiny box do any bass so why try to make it when it patently can't? What's left may be tunable with a simple bottom to top 'tone tilt' as Quad preamps had?

Arc Acoustics

Mar 17, 2021
Despite the built-in waveguide for the tweeter, response proportionally gets narrower with frequency (beaming):
View attachment 215765

View attachment 215766

Vertical axis though is above average due to use of small drivers with close acoustic centers:
View attachment 215767
"No directivity control", seriously??

A tiny 3-inch (conventionally radiating) woofer and the small form factor inevitably result in low directivity even at 3 kHz, and we generally want decent beam width at the upper end, so the only way to get smooth transition is tilted directivity between the crossover and 20kHz.
The designer clearly intended to "control" and achieved it.

Actually, the cleanness of the horizontal directivity is pretty close or even better than 8010, with same-ish decent dispersion at 20kHz.
Of course, they would sound awful, the On-axis response is disastrous, distortion is unbearable, and port leakage is nasty, but the last two are the drawback of the cheap price and small form factor, and I insist there are "some" respectable engineering (or copy of respectable engineering).
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Billy Budapest

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Oct 11, 2019
My *guess* is that this speaker is not one of Frank Hale’s creations.

Swans/HiVi is a strange beast—a merger of a huge Chinese speaker driver manufacturer (HiVi) and a small American speaker manufacturer (Swans).


Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Aug 15, 2020
Southampton, England
Score EQ Score: 5.5
with sub: 8.5

Why is everyone complaining about these little cute distortion generators? :)

With EQ you should get a speaker that people will prefer as much as Revel Concerta2 M16 or Performa M22, add a sub and it will fly around the Genelec 8361B in circles :facepalm:
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