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  1. #1
    nightflier
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    Meadowlark Swift Speakers

    I have been auditioning a pair of Meadowlark Swift floorstanding speakers and while they are very easy to drive and have tremendous bass for their size, I am not hearing what I look for most - my soundstage is gone. There is very little depth and placement of artists/instruments on the stage. They also seem to be a bit dark and lack detail. I only have a pair of bookshelves (Axiom M22Ti) to compare them to right now, but even these do a much better job.

    I am using higher end components & IC's, the speakers are about 7' appart, 1.5 feet from the back wall (sorry small room), on spikes with floor protectors, I am using generic/radioshack speaker cables, and there are no special room treatments although I do have a rug on the floor, curtains on both side walls, and a large painting on the wall behind me. That said, none of these factors seem to be a problem for the Axioms.

    So, is this typical for these speakers?

  2. #2
    Just passing thru topspeed's Avatar
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    Where did you find the Swifts? Meadowlark went out of business over a year ago, so I'm surprised you found some to demo.

    Your impressions are interesting however, as I've always wanted to audition the Kestrels and, believe it or not, almost pulled the trigger on the last pair of Blue Heron's from the BK sale. I probably could have got them for around $4K and figured if I didn't like 'em, I'd just audiogon 'em. Based on your comments, I'm glad I never bought them.
    "If you can leave black marks on a straight from the time you exit a corner till the time you brake for the next turn, then you have enough horsepower." Mark Donohue

  3. #3
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    The M22ti is an exceptional performer

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    I have been auditioning a pair of Meadowlark Swift floorstanding speakers and while they are very easy to drive and have tremendous bass for their size, I am not hearing what I look for most - my soundstage is gone. There is very little depth and placement of artists/instruments on the stage. They also seem to be a bit dark and lack detail. I only have a pair of bookshelves (Axiom M22Ti) to compare them to right now, but even these do a much better job.

    I am using higher end components & IC's, the speakers are about 7' appart, 1.5 feet from the back wall (sorry small room), on spikes with floor protectors, I am using generic/radioshack speaker cables, and there are no special room treatments although I do have a rug on the floor, curtains on both side walls, and a large painting on the wall behind me. That said, none of these factors seem to be a problem for the Axioms.

    So, is this typical for these speakers?
    If a bit on the "hot" side (only mildly). Your well damped room with rugs & curtains would be IDEALfor them. This type of room configuration may NOT be ideal for the Meadowlarks.

    I also would check the Medowlarks for phase, the may be wired incorrectly. It's as simple as switching the leads on one of the speakers.
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  4. #4
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    I am (was) a Meadowlark fan. I heard the Swifts at a local store and didn't like them. The Kestrels, however were amazing speakers for the price. I really liked the original ones.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    I have been auditioning a pair of Meadowlark Swift floorstanding speakers and while they are very easy to drive and have tremendous bass for their size, I am not hearing what I look for most - my soundstage is gone. There is very little depth and placement of artists/instruments on the stage. They also seem to be a bit dark and lack detail. I only have a pair of bookshelves (Axiom M22Ti) to compare them to right now, but even these do a much better job.

    I am using higher end components & IC's, the speakers are about 7' appart, 1.5 feet from the back wall (sorry small room), on spikes with floor protectors, I am using generic/radioshack speaker cables, and there are no special room treatments although I do have a rug on the floor, curtains on both side walls, and a large painting on the wall behind me. That said, none of these factors seem to be a problem for the Axioms.

    So, is this typical for these speakers?
    I have heard neither speaker but some good measurements are available on line.

    Here are some good NRC measurements for the Axiom M22 Ti SE. They are quite good, especially for an inexpensive speaker, though they look to be balanced a little on the bright side for my taste, but a bit of treble cut would fix that.

    http://www.soundstagemagazine.com/me...%5Fm22ti%5Fse/

    Here's a set of measurements for the Meadowlark Swift, unfortunately using using a different methodology, so they are not directly comparable:

    http://stereophile.com/floorloudspea...rk/index4.html

    Those frequency response and dispersion measurements are not as bad as they may "look" but they are mediocre.
    "Opposition brings concord. Out of discord comes the fairest harmony."
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  6. #6
    nightflier
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    Swifts

    Topspeed,

    The swifts are not new; they are on loan from a friend who was the original owner. He wants $600 for them, although that will depend on what I'm willing to trade with that.

    Geof,

    I checked the phase. I also have a phase button on my pre's remote that I've togled on & off.

    Buzz,

    I'm not ready to give up on the swifts yet. They have tremendous bass for such a small speaker with just 6" mid/woofers. I agree that the Kestrels are amazing speakers. I heard them before, but for 4K I can think of a lot of other speakers I'd want to buy first. The swifts sounded pretty good at my friend's house, although I didn't spend a lot of time listening to them there. I figured that they would sound very different with my setup & room, which indeed they did.

    So what I'm trying to figure out is why they have so little depth in the soundstage. I'm working with some decent equipment here:

    - Plinius CD-LAD
    - Audio Refinement CD Complete
    - PS Audio HCA-2
    - basic Audioquest interconnects (XLR from pre to amp)
    - Radioshack speaker cable
    - Music Hall MMF-7 TT with several phono pre's

    Maybe the swifts need a system that is more analytical and less warm? I'm used to the sound of the CA Azur CD player, so the Cd Complete may be the problem, too. I'm also wondering about the cables. I know that the AQ and RS cables are not really what I would want to use with this setup, but I've never felt that cables make a big difference (I may be wrong on this), and I don't have many cables laying around right now to swap out. I did try out a couple of other amp - Adcom, Spectron, Harman - but the results were pretty much the same.

    Any thoughts?

  7. #7
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    A few years ago I auditioned the Swallow which was basically the bookshelf version of the Swift. My impressions of it were similar to yours of the Swift speakers (except for the bass of course). I felt they were laid back a little too much. They sounded good but weren't very involving to me. I don't think there is anything wrong with your equipment or room, I think you simply like a different, more lively sound than the Swifts have to offer.
    Gary

  8. #8
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    nightflier - definitely don't give up on the Swifts! I heard them in a less than optimal setting, so I'm sure they're capable of much more. The 'Larks that I really dug were the very original Kestrels, which were about the same price of the Swifts, before they changed the line-up. They're definitely a laid back speaker, but to me, most speakers available today are unnaturally in-your-face.

  9. #9
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    Axiom TI 22 placement

    I have the same Axiom's hooked up to a Pathos Classic One integrated amp and I was wondering where is the best placement you have found for them. I have been toying with different speaker locations for about 2 weeks and have found they need to me no more than about 10 feet in from the listener - about 7 feet apart. Further away and the sound really drops off. What have you found?

  10. #10
    nightflier
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    Axiom M22Ti

    SSTC,

    The Axioms are rear-ported and I have found that these large ports actually make a substantial difference in the sound. It is therefore important to seperate them from the rear wall. I also toe them in a tad (so that they face about 2 feet to each side of me). The ideal placement is where I am sitting as far from each speaker as they are from each other, with the tweeters at ear level on short stands. Mine are DIY stands made from plaster and have rubber feet. They will sound better when spiked so I use six tripple cone brass spikes from Mapleshade between the speakers and the stands.

    Mapleshade disagrees with Axiom on the height I should be using; they recommend that I place the speakers lower (on their own multi-$ wood blocks) and angle them upwards. I decided that Axiom knew better and so mine are higher. I've tried the lower setup using other wood blocks and the sound was not to my liking (more muddy), so I'm sticking with the higher setup.

    The Swifts are on spikes with floor protectors and that places the tweeters a bit higher, but If I put some cushions on the couch, the result is the same. I guess I have to settle for the fact that these are warm speakers and that with the rest of my equipment also being warm, this is a bit too much. I like the warm sound, but this is a bit much. I think the Swifts would be a much better match for a bright system.

    And that still does not explain why I've lost my soundstage.http://forums.audioreview.com/images.../confused5.gif

  11. #11
    nightflier
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    Well I did some more testing this weekend and found out that there is a bit of a difference in sound with different speaker cables, albeit not enough to change the character of the speakers. Up on deck I had Mapleshade Double Helix, Kimber 4PR & 4TC, AQ Type4, RadioShack generic 14ga, and Analysis Plus Oval9. Mapleshade was unterminated (per their recommendation) and the 4PR was reterminated with high-falutin bananas. The Oval9 was my favorite & ironically also the most expensive, but I could not tell exactly why. The 4PR was also pretty good. But I digress.

    I think I'm going to sell the Meadowlarks. That's not to say that I didn't like them - they have incredible bass, are built better than any speaker under $1K, and are extremely neutral with an amazing midrange. I need to emphasize that bass, truly amazing! But the rest of my system is rather warm and I need my soundstage back. So I'm searching for a speaker with the following qualities:

    - small footprint
    - tower speaker (not a bookshelf)
    - around $1K used
    - detailed & great soundstaging

    I know that's a tall order but I'm looking for a system I can use to audition different components & cables. And for that I really need something that is a little less Meadowlarkish.

    There's a fellow in the Bay Area who's selling a pair of Totem Arro's in Birch. Would these be a good fit for me? Any other suggestions?

  12. #12
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    Nightflier what are you looking for in terms of sound quality? Detailed with great soundstaging could describe a lot of speakers. Are you looking for something that sounds different from the Axioms or something similar in sound but a floorstander in size? Are you shooting for a particular appearance? A couple speakers it might be worth auditioning would be Vandersteen 1C and PSB Image T55. The 1C seems to match your criteria and should be a bit like the Swift with the detail and soundstage. I haven't heard the T55 yet but the preceding model was very good and this one is supposed to be solid as well. Whether they're for you or not I don't know but they would be worth checking out.
    Gary

  13. #13
    nightflier
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    Matt/Gary,

    Thanks for the response. To answer your questions:

    "Are you looking for something that sounds different from the Axioms or something similar in sound but a floorstander in size? Are you shooting for a particular appearance?"
    - I actually like the Axioms, but I would like something that looks a little less vinyl. I auditioned the MT60 & 80 in my home and while they are nice on sound, they are too-plastic-looking and a bit larger than what I'm looking for. I would really like something sleek, with a realistic wood-look, that's easy to move around for auditioning equipment but can blend in with the room when guests are over.

    "The Vandersteen 1C"
    - Truely impressive sound. I'm actually planning on replacing my TV/SACD room (currently all Axiom) with Vandersteen speakers, but I'll be using bookshelves and wall-mounted models (because of cats, kids, and space). While I like Vandersteen's sound, I really hate their looks, particularly the 70's era wide front & narrow sides as well as the all-over cloth (cats kept rubbing up against them when I was auditioning).

    "PSB Image T55"
    - 8x15" footprint & 50lbs isn't really what I'm looking for and the finish/front baffle are a little kitsch, for my tastes. I heard the T65 at a show once. Very nice sounding speaker.

    I don't want to make it sound like I'm only after the looks because sound is very important. I'm looking for a speaker that is transparent/uncollored (none of that high-pitched zing I always hear with less expensive speakers). The Swifts were very good in that respect, but they lacked the soundstage seperation across the front and the depth of the soundstage in front of me. I've always owned big speakers (Polk, MBQ, Dynaudio, Paradigm, Axiom) but I just don't have the room anymore.

    Some of the speakers that come to mind are the Totem Arro and Audio Physic Yara, but I have never heard these. I like AP's design philosophy, but I don't want to buy another speaker that I'll have to sell again. There was a pair of Opera SuperPavarotti's on eBay that looked really nice, but the online reviews were less than positive on the imaging and soundstaging.

  14. #14
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    I would suggest Ohm MicroWalsh Talls. They cover what you're looking for - very easy to place/move around, small with real veneer, wide open sound - big soundstage front and back, no hi-end harshness (I think of them transparent/uncolored). I wouldn't call them sexy, that's for sure, but in a room they blend easier than anything else I've tried. One other benefit is they are kid/pet proof. No cloth, and the drivers are inaccessible.

  15. #15
    nightflier
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    Buzz,

    Very intriguing design. I had not considered Ohm at all. I will add them to the audition list.

  16. #16
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    Nightflier, I was going to offer to let you audition my speakers (I am in Riverside) but you are looking for something a "bit" smaller than my Cornwalls or possibly even the Fort'es. The offer is still open but you indicated you were looking for "tower" style speakers. The Klipsches have dynamics to burn and a sound stage that won't quit so that part of your request fits.

    Just a thought. Good luck in your quest.

  17. #17
    If you can't run-walk. Bernd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    Matt/Gary,

    Thanks for the response. To answer your questions:

    "Are you looking for something that sounds different from the Axioms or something similar in sound but a floorstander in size? Are you shooting for a particular appearance?"
    - I actually like the Axioms, but I would like something that looks a little less vinyl. I auditioned the MT60 & 80 in my home and while they are nice on sound, they are too-plastic-looking and a bit larger than what I'm looking for. I would really like something sleek, with a realistic wood-look, that's easy to move around for auditioning equipment but can blend in with the room when guests are over.

    "The Vandersteen 1C"
    - Truely impressive sound. I'm actually planning on replacing my TV/SACD room (currently all Axiom) with Vandersteen speakers, but I'll be using bookshelves and wall-mounted models (because of cats, kids, and space). While I like Vandersteen's sound, I really hate their looks, particularly the 70's era wide front & narrow sides as well as the all-over cloth (cats kept rubbing up against them when I was auditioning).

    "PSB Image T55"
    - 8x15" footprint & 50lbs isn't really what I'm looking for and the finish/front baffle are a little kitsch, for my tastes. I heard the T65 at a show once. Very nice sounding speaker.

    I don't want to make it sound like I'm only after the looks because sound is very important. I'm looking for a speaker that is transparent/uncollored (none of that high-pitched zing I always hear with less expensive speakers). The Swifts were very good in that respect, but they lacked the soundstage seperation across the front and the depth of the soundstage in front of me. I've always owned big speakers (Polk, MBQ, Dynaudio, Paradigm, Axiom) but I just don't have the room anymore.

    Some of the speakers that come to mind are the Totem Arro and Audio Physic Yara, but I have never heard these. I like AP's design philosophy, but I don't want to buy another speaker that I'll have to sell again. There was a pair of Opera SuperPavarotti's on eBay that looked really nice, but the online reviews were less than positive on the imaging and soundstaging.
    Hi,

    If you're lucky enough to find any your end try the "ART - Stiletto." To these ears it's the best slimline floorstander I have listened to below 1000.- .

    Have fun

    Bernd
    "Let The Earth Bear Witness."

  18. #18
    nightflier
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    Cal,

    I remember your offer. Sorry, but I've been rather busy this time of year. I've always liked the technology behind the old Klipsch's but the size is a big problem. I remember when our local GG was having their going-out-of-business sale, they had a Klipschorn & La Scalla set that they were trying to sell with no takers. Of course, this is not what your typical SoCal techno-glam winie would want in their home, but they were around $2K for the set and I'm sure they would have negotiated. On the more manageable side, I have a pair of RB5-II's collecting dust in my garage (I pull them out when I'm auditioning tube gear), but even these weigh in at 25 lbs ea. And frankly I really don't like the direction that the newer speakers have taken (too much plastic, smaller drivers, and cost-cutting all around). They certainly aren't what they used to be.

    Bernd,

    Those do look impressive. And that's the first Scottish speaker manufacturer I've come across. I know they have a burgeoning hi-tech industry, but I didn't know they had speakers. The horn combination should be very detailed. Their website is down right now, but I'll add it to my list.

    Also, someone mentioned that the Plinius CD-LAD could be a bit on the warm side. I know this isn't a popular preamp, but does anyone know if that's true (I don't have any comparable preamps that I can do an a/b test with right now).

  19. #19
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    Khorns and La Scallas for $2K, shall I cut my wrists now?? If I had only known!! Oh well it is over now. Yes my speakers are BIG but I kind of like them that way anyway. For a lot of people, that is a problem. Whatever you like, no problem here.

    The new Ref speakers from Klipsch look even thinner and smaller (though the box is indeed bigger) but yes the grills are still plastic. The specs on the new units are very nice though I have not heard them yet.

    Good luck in your quest, for me, looking is half the fun, I hope it is for you too!

  20. #20
    If you can't run-walk. Bernd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    Cal,

    I remember your offer. Sorry, but I've been rather busy this time of year. I've always liked the technology behind the old Klipsch's but the size is a big problem. I remember when our local GG was having their going-out-of-business sale, they had a Klipschorn & La Scalla set that they were trying to sell with no takers. Of course, this is not what your typical SoCal techno-glam winie would want in their home, but they were around $2K for the set and I'm sure they would have negotiated. On the more manageable side, I have a pair of RB5-II's collecting dust in my garage (I pull them out when I'm auditioning tube gear), but even these weigh in at 25 lbs ea. And frankly I really don't like the direction that the newer speakers have taken (too much plastic, smaller drivers, and cost-cutting all around). They certainly aren't what they used to be.

    Bernd,

    Those do look impressive. And that's the first Scottish speaker manufacturer I've come across. I know they have a burgeoning hi-tech industry, but I didn't know they had speakers. The horn combination should be very detailed. Their website is down right now, but I'll add it to my list.

    Also, someone mentioned that the Plinius CD-LAD could be a bit on the warm side. I know this isn't a popular preamp, but does anyone know if that's true (I don't have any comparable preamps that I can do an a/b test with right now).
    Hi Nightlier,

    Great that you took a look. They are brilliant. I used to own them and they only went as my new room was a little bit too big for them. I now use ART's top of the tree model and it's awesome. The two brothers who own ART take great care in their research and quality control. It will never be a mass market product, but it will reward you with musical bliss if you put the effort in to seek them out.You hardly ever find them second hand, that should tell you something about them.
    Have fun

    Peace

    Bernd
    "Let The Earth Bear Witness."

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