I took delivery of my Swing speakers in November 2009, having visited Bert's home twice for a demonstration. At the time I was using Audio Note E/Lexus Signature loudspeakers and prior to that I had owned Avantgarde Duo speakers for several years. There were many things I liked about the Duos, and a few things I didn't. My primary concern was a tendency for them to sound rather hard on occasions, particularly with things like soprano voice. The Audio Note loudspeakers handled voice much better, but I did find that I was missing some of the excitement and immediacy of horns. I was trying to find something that gave me the best of the Audio Note speakers and the best of the Duos, without the limitations of either.
Initially, I was thinking of purchasing the latest version of the Avantgarde Duo speakers (the Omega), which is supposedly quite a big step forward from the standard Duo. However, the Omegas were not available for demonstration in the UK, so I arranged for a demonstration of Avantgarde Trios, but I was disappointed with what I heard.
I was considering traveling to Avantgarde in Germany to listen to Trios there and also the Duo Omega speakers, but after my second visit to Bert's place I felt sufficiently comfortable with the Swings to make a decision to buy them. Obviously, my decision was mainly based on what I was hearing, but Bert himself was certainly an influencing factor, as he came across to me as being a friendly, helpful and knowledgeable guy.
Having heard and been impressed by the Swings at Bert's place, I was expecting to be bowled over when I fired them up at home. OK, they were pretty good, but I didn't feel I was hearing what I knew they were capable of.
Bert came to visit me not long before Christmas and we spent some time playing around to achieve the best sound from the Swings. Bert had brought a Real Time Analyzer with him, and I was amazed to find that there was an area about a meter deep, stretching from one side of the room to another,
where much of the bass below 100 hertz virtually disappeared. Of course, it was within this meter deep area that I had my listening seat!
Up to that point I had been attempting to follow all the usual guidelines about setting up speakers, such as positioning them equidistant from the side walls and from the wall behind, with my listening chair at a central point, forming a triangle with the speakers. I then decided, with some useful help from a friend, to throw away the speaker positioning text book!
I positioned the speakers along the long wall of the room (the room is approximately 7.0 m x 6.0 m), towards one end of the room, and with one speaker near a corner. Aside from anything else, this made the living room much more 'usable', and pleasingly the sound from the speakers was considerably improved.
Approximately 4 months after taking delivery of the speakers I felt that I was truly hearing what they are capable of. It took a while, partly because of the limitations within the room, but I am fairly sure (and I know Bert doesn't agree with me!) that the drivers took quite a long time to settle in. In part, this may be because I rarely listen very loud, which may make the breaking in period rather longer.
Many good things have been written about the sound from the Swings, and I can only repeat that for me they are certainly the best speaker I have ever heard. They can be subtle, they can be sweet, they can be rip roaring. Always entertaining, never offensive (unless the recorded material is!), but
seemingly able to capture every nuance of whatever is playing and reproduce it enjoyably. That's the good news about the speakers, and my initial positive impression of Bert has also improved as time has gone by. He has come up with a couple of tweaks to help me perhaps improve the performance
of the Swings, and he is always helpful and responsive when communicating by e-mail. When one buys a product, it is of course the performance of that product that is of primary importance, but supportive backup is really very important as well.
For those who might be interested, my system consists of Audio Note CD player, DAC, preamp and power amps, and a Magnum Dynalab tuner.