Update: the Soundtastic Swan is no longer available on Amazon. To provide you with the best information, I will leave this review in place. For the best alternative, read more on the ZVOX VB20.
The first thing I always notice about a hearing amplifier is the name. In that regard, the Soundtastic Swan already makes a great first impression. Soundtastic is a good start, and Swans are beautiful, elegant creatures that elicit very peaceful images.
So far, so good. But there’s very little you can actually tell from a good name. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. In the case of hearing amplifiers, the proof is in the day-to-day functioning of a device. No name or marketing language can make up for a poorly functioning hearing amplifier.
In this review of the Soundtastic Swan, we’ll go beyond first impressions. We’ll take a look at the key features, the actual performance and the drawbacks of this hearing amplifier. After giving you a complete picture, I will list some alternatives for this device before giving you a final buying recommendation.
If you’re only interested in a summary, you can find a visual 30-second review at the bottom of this post . This is the quickest way to make a snapshot decision about the Soundtastic Swan.
Links in this article pointing to another website might be affiliate links. If you purchase something on those websites, I could receive a small commission. This doesn’t affect your price nor my review.
Key features of the Soundtastic Swan
Not only the name of the Soundtastic Swan makes a great first impression. The listed features are also enough to take notice. The 10-channel noise reduction ensures a layered sound that focuses on the things that are important to you. This level of noise reduction neatly fits the price category for this particular device.
A final key feature is that the Soundtastic is designed and made in the USA. Most hearing amplifiers are manufactured in China and are also designed there. While this keeps costs down and helps more people afford a hearing amplifier, there is something to be said about an all-American device.
Who is this for?
The Soundtastic Swan is one of the devices that shows the strength of hearing amplifiers. While the technology lacks behind the capabilities of a true hearing aid, the gap is closing. With the Swan, you get great technology for an affordable price. If you’re looking for an all-round hearing amplifier, you can’t really go wrong with the Soundtastic.
Does it work?
The first thing you’ll notice when you buy the Soundtastic Swan is the neat packaging it arrives in. I’m aware that this isn’t a reflection on how well the device works, but a lot of first-time buyers have a mental hurdle to overcome. The neat packaging and sleek carrying case help overcome this mental hurdle and add to the overall experience of the Swan.
The volume wheel is an interesting feature. Most hearing amplifiers work with pre-set volume ranges (if any) and allow for limited customization. Although the wheel offers more customization, it’s also harder to operate with one hand.
Another way in which the Swan is more user-friendly than some other models is the program feedback tones. If you select one of the memorized listening programs, you’ll always know which one you have selected. While this may sound like a no-brainer, it’s notoriously absent on some hearing amplifiers.
Finally, the Swan comes with a 30-day money back guarantee and a one year manufacturer’s warranty. On top of the American manufacturing, these are all bonus points.
The Soundtastic Swan uses a 312 battery that will generally last for 7-10 days.
What’s not to like?
Before you rush to buy the Soundtastic Swan, let’s have a look at some of the downsides. And to be fair, these aren’t glaring. You could argue that the price reflects that the hearing amplifier is clearly made in USA. It’s not the biggest steal you’ll find, but a good price point nevertheless. Another minor drawback is that the manual for the Soundtastic Swan isn’t readily available and that some information is missing. When going after this information, I had to repeatedly contact support by email and phone. Hopefully they were too busy supporting actual customers, but a radio silence from customer support is not a good sign and goes into the ‘con’ column.
Should you buy the Soundtastic Swan?
The Soundtastic Swan is a great hearing amplifier for the money. It’s US-made, offers a great set of features for a good price and has advanced sound technologies. The biggest problem with buying the Soundtastic Swan is that availability and price can fluctuate.
Alternatives for the Soundtastic Swan
The most obvious alternative for the Soundtastic Swan is the ZVOX VB-20. Like the Swan, the ZVOX is made in America, has advanced noise-canceling features, and can boast a great overall score card. It comes with a few extra bells and whistles such as Bluetooth functionality and dual microphones. It’s generally also a bit more expensive (see the current price here).
The two best Otofonix models (the Elite and the Encore) also rival the performances of the Soundtastic Swan. They will usually be a bit more expensive, but the extras that the Encore offers could well be worth the money. For another upgrade, you could consider the Swan’s bigger brother, the Soundtastic Aria.
If you like the sounds of the Soundtastic, but you’re also looking for a great deal, you could explore the rest of the price category. The Swan is just under $200, but by looking a little further, you might find a compromise that better fits your budget.
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