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[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

HiVi is a manufacturer of audiophile-grade speakers and today we are going to review their Swans D1080MKII stereo (i.e., 2.0) amplified speaker set for PCs, iPods or portable CD player, targeted to users that want a high-fidelity speaker system. Each speaker from Swans D1080MKII measures 7 13/64” x 10 5/8” x 8 7/64” (183 mm × 270 mm × 206 mm), uses a vented box design and features a 5” woofer and a 1” (25 mm) dome tweeter.

HiVi Swans D1080MKII Speakers Figure 1: Swans D1080MKII speaker set.

HiVi Swans D1080MKII Speakers Figure 2: Swans D1080MKII speaker set.

HiVi Swans D1080MKII Speakers Figure 3: Swans D1080MKII speaker.

[nextpage title=”Introduction (Cont’d)”]

The amplifier is installed inside one of the speakers (called “master”), being the speaker where you need to install the power cord and the cable coming from your PC or audio device (iPod, portable CD player, etc).  This speaker uses two RCA jacks and the product comes with the appropriate cable with one 3.5 mm plug at one end and two RCA plugs at the other hand. On this speaker you will also find the on/off switch, the volume knob and two tone knobs (bass and treble).

HiVi Swans D1080MKII Speakers Figure 4: Rear view from the “master” speaker.

HiVi Swans D1080MKII Speakers Figure 5: Volume, treble and bass knobs.

One interesting thing about this speaker set is that it uses two cables for connecting the “slave” speaker to the amplifier on the “master” speaker, one for making the woofer connection and another for making the tweeter connection. This is one aspect that differentiates high-end speakers from mainstream ones. A more in-depth explanation is necessary here.

On mainstream speakers only one cable is used to make this connection because there is just one amplifier covering the whole frequency spectrum for each channel. If the speaker has more than one loudspeaker – for example, one woofer and one tweeter – then each speaker must do the frequency separation (i.e., filtering bass sounds and sending them the woofer and filtering treble sounds and sending them to the tweeter) by itself, usually using passive components (coils and capacitors).

On Swans D1080MKII there are separated amplifiers for the woofers and tweeters, meaning that each speaker gets the sound already separated. This is the best configuration possible.

HiVi Swans D1080MKII Speakers Figure 6: Rear view from the “slave” speaker, see how it uses separated cables for the woofer and for the tweeter.

[nextpage title=”Inside Swans D1080MKII”]

We disassembled the “master” speaker to take a look (see Figure 7). It uses a linear power supply and the amplifier uses two TDA8947 integrated circuits, one for each channel. Each integrated circuit has four independent amplifiers inside, allowing HiVi to use the configuration explained in the previous page, i.e., separated amplifiers for low (woofer) and high (tweeter) frequency sounds – each low/high frequency output uses two of the four amplifiers present on each integrated circuit.

HiVi Swans D1080MKII Speakers Figure 7: Inside Swans D1080MKII.

We also observed that the electrolytic capacitors used on this product are probably from China or Taiwan and on a product from this class we wanted to see Japanese caps being used.

[nextpage title=”Installation and Usage”]

The installation is pretty easy. You just need to connect one end of the power cord to the “master” speaker and the other end to any AC outlet, connect the 3.5 mm plug from the audio cable to the “front out” jack (green jack) on your computer or the appropriate “audio out” jack on your iPod or portable CD player, connect the two RCA plugs from the audio cable to the “master” speaker, connect the woofer cable from the “master”  speaker to the “slave” speaker, and connect the tweeter cable from the “master” speaker” to the “slave” speaker. For these two connections you need to carefully observe polarity, connecting the wire with a red strip to the red connector on the speakers.

HiVi Swans D1080MKII Speakers Figure 8: Cables that come with the product.

We, however, found two inexcusable flaws for a speaker set from this price range. First, the two RCA plugs available on the cable use colors that are different from the color used on the “master” speaker. The cable uses one red and one yellow plug, while the “master” speaker has one red and one white jack. Second, the two cables for connecting the speakers don’t come with their outer jacket removed on their ends, meaning that you will have to do this by yourself.

Audio quality from Swans D1080MKII is outstanding, if you are looking for high-fidelity speakers and not wanting to play games or start a nightclub with them. Sound was very clear when played on the reviewed speakers; sound from our mainstream speakers that we used as a reference seemed muffled compared to Swans D1080MKII. When playing some MP3 files we could clearly hear noise and cracks from the original sound source (we had some files that were converted from vinyl records), sounds that weren’t apparent when playing the same files on a mainstream speaker set.

The woofer used on this system is in fact a mid-range, so the frequency response on bass sounds wasn’t the greatest around.

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

HiVi Swans D1080MKII main specifications are:

Speakers

  • Stereo speaker system
  • Woofer: 5” mid-range
  • Tweeter: 1” (25 mm) dome
  • Design: Vented box
  • Maximum power: 80 W (measurement unit not specified)
  • Freque
    ncy response: 59 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Dimensions: 7 13/64” x 10 5/8” x 8 7/64” (183 mm × 270 mm × 206 mm)
  • Weight: 12.5 Lbs/5.7 Kg (“master” speaker) and 9.7 Lbs/4.4 Kg (“slave” speaker)

Amplifier

  • Maximum power: 30 W per channel (measurement unit not specified)
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: 75 dB

System

* Researched at The Audio Insider on the day we published this review.

 

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

Strong Points

  • Excellent audio quality
  • Perfect design using separated amplifiers for woofers and tweeters
  • Good for people looking for studio-quality monitors for their systems

Weak Points

  • Bad low-frequency (bass) reproduction: not for gaming or dance music
  • Hard-to-find (from the list of authorized dealers only one had this product to sell)
  • Expensive for the average user
  • The colors on the audio cable don’t match those used on the speaker jacks
  • Cables for connecting the speakers don’t come with their outer jacket removed on their ends