I haven't compared these but my "prediction" is that unless SVS does not implement the drivers correctly (which is highly unlikely), it should sound favorably to the speakers you listed.
I switched from buying commercial speakers to diy speakers b/c high end are too expensive. My first diy speaker costs me $300 and I feel it was significantly better than the Axiom M60 which I had enjoyed a lot for years.
When you diy, you know what's most important to a speaker's performance. The first one is always the drivers. Sometimes a brilliant design can achieve great things with average drivers but imagine great design with great driver combinations. Think of someone is trying to be a NBA basketball player. If this person is five feet tall (Driver quality), he "might not" have a chance no matter how good the coach (design, crossover) is.
As people have mentioned before, in the sub $2000 speaker price range, you would normally see $30-50 level drivers. The Seas tweeter in Sierra is a great one at $40-50 price range. The tweeter in Swan is even cheaper. However, they are all good speakers.
But Scan Speak 6600? I was surprised on how SVS could put a $200 tweeter in a less than $1000 package. If every OEM will do the same thing, I can find very less reason to do diy except for fun. The 6600 has incredibly low distortion levels (both linear and non-linear, check here: http://www.zaphaudio.com/tweetermishmash/
You can also find tweeters used in Sierra and Swan) This is the tweeter I'd like to use someday in my diys.
The reason I haven't used SS 6600, which is relevant in this evaluation, is that in a 2-way design, the midwoofer is more important than the tweeter. So if I have a fixed budget, I'd allocate more money to the midwoofer. For me to use 6600, I'd have to get a $200 midwoofer (i.e., Scan Speak Revelator) or a midwoofer has the same low linear and non-linear distortion levels as the Revelator first.
To summarize, if the SVS has the Scan Speak Revelator woofer in it with a cheapter tweeter, say Vifa X25T ($40 used in Onix Reference 1), and with the same price they are asking, I'll buy that in a heart beat and probably won't diy any speakers for a very long time.
For their current offering, a top-of-the-line tweeter and a $60 woofer (a great one btw), I am very interested. I did not buy it simply b/c I know where my sound preference is. But for you, if you're not diying, I'd buy the Tower or bookshelves without any hesitation.
Originally Posted by pbc
Has anyone had a chance to directly compare the SVS MBS bookshelves to say Ascend Sierra 1's, Swan D2's, Totem Model 1s, Dali Mentors, RBH MC6Cs, or other comparably well reviewed bookshelves?
Also, I can't tell from the pics on the site, but are the glossy black ones not in fact all gloss black? It looks like only the edges are gloss black, but could be the pictures.
Wish SVS would put up some true hidef pics (similar to how AV123 does their lineup which looks gorgeous!).