|Originally posted by Stephen Hopkins
The drivers look alot like those made by hi-vi research and used in the swan's diva line from www .theaudioinsider .com . The fact that the speakers are made in china lends me to beleive this is a strong possibility. The tweeter looks exactly the same as the one used in the entire Diva line other than silver ring instead of gold. The woofer looks like the one used as a midrange driver in the 6.1 towers other than having a silver phase cap as opposed to black. If so, assuming fairly competent crossover design, these should be great sounding speakers at a great price.
Can anyone confirm or deny these are hi-vi research drivers?
Thanks for pointing out the Swan line of speakers. I just took a look at the their product line and I'm almost certain that the Swan Speakers are being built on the same production line as the AER Acoustic Speakers. Swan doesn't mention the Chinese manufacture, but AER lists theirs as the Yueyun Audio Appliance Company: www .china-aors. com
If you take a look at the standard product lines (they do a lot of OEM work for other companies), the speakers look very similar to those offered by AER Acoustic and Swan as far as drivers and design. Now with that said, I believe the finish quality is most likely identical. When it comes to drivers, the tweeter looks identical to the tweeter on the Diva 2.1, 4.1, 5.1, and 6.1 and the woofer looks identical to the midrange on the 6.1 towers (their $1300 speaker).
In comparing the drivers, I looked at high frequency response graphs for the tweeters (hard to compare bass/mid drivers lower frequencies due to crossover effects). The response curves are not the same. The AER tweeters show a 5db dip in the response curve between 7.5k to 8kHz which is not seen on the Swan response curves. This might be attributed to the crossover design (Swan uses a 'CAD-optimized and hand-voiced crossover network using heavy gauge, air-core inductors and premium film capacitors' vs AER's fairly cheap crossover with electrolytic caps), or perhaps a different driver inside the tweeter capsule (Swan refers to a 'German' silk dome tweeter), or the response curve differences could simply be due to different speaker testing methods. My guess is that the tweeters are identical owing to the AER Acoustics excellent sonic performance.
In regards to the 6.1 towers' 165mm midrange with Kevlar/paper fiber hybrid cone and phase plug, it certainly does look identical to the woofers found in the AER with the exception of the phase-plug color. This could point to a possible difference in magnet and basket structure (which could result in a completely different sound). More importantly for the AER design, if the drivers are identical and it was initially designed to be a midrange, that would explain why I hear problems with it in the mid-bass section (it was never intended to do bass even though it does it quite well).
To put the problem with the mid-bass performance of the AER Pisces speakers into perspective, the problem isn't noticeable with all types of music. The easiest way to identify the problem is with lower frequency male vocals - they sound 'thick'. When directly compared to my Vandersteen 3's (which cost 15x more), there are obvious missing elements in the sound that are masked by this effect. Simply put, mid-bass sounds muddy. But unless you have thousands of dollars in a high-end audio system to reference it against, you might actually think it is supposed to sound that way.
Returning to Swan's product line, their similar product, Diva 2.1s, feature a different woofer, retail for $600 and sell for $450. Assuming the 2.1s have the same type of soundstage, build quality, and have fixed the mid-bass problem of the AER Acoustics model, I would think that $450 would be a great deal.
With that said, I've never heard speakers under $200 that I've liked (or could even tolerate for that matter). The fact that I actually like the AER Acoustic speakers with some types of music is amazing to me. I honestly don't think there are any other speakers that can compare to these in this in the under $200 price range.