Meadowlark Shearwater Hot Rod

Discussion in 'Meadowlark Audio Forum' started by Prime Minister, Feb 16, 2018.

  1. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    Welcome to The Haven @JimM56 :)

    Glad you found your way here. :)

    When you have a moment, stop on by the Introduction Room and tell us a little about yourself and your systems. :)

    I'd love to hear more about your Shearwaters.:)
  2. Audionut

    Audionut Next Round Is On Me

    There’s a set that came up locally but they wanted something like $3K for them! Is that reasonable?
  3. Prime Minister

    Prime Minister Site Owner Staff Member

    It's certainly more then reasonable for how they sound. It is likely well above market for them though.

    Private seller or a local audio emporium?
  4. Prime Minister

    Prime Minister Site Owner Staff Member

    Hi Jim.
    Thanks for joining the Haven and thanks for a fantastic first post.

    I'd love to hear more about the changes you made. What are you hearing now compared to what you heard before?

    They are a simply fantastic pair of speakers, aren't they?

    I'd love to hear Pat's thoughts on your changes too. We do have the advantage of not having any financial limitations to our mods. We could easily drop $1000 in upgraded parts into the crossover if we wanted to, which he couldn't because the market just wouldn't go for it. We do, however, lack his skills and ears in determining if those changes are worthwhile.

    Did you see my posts on upgrading to a better Seas tweeter? Much food for thought there!
  5. I have the same opinion, 3k of shearwater will outperform most of the competition but I do feel the price should be less. I think they were around that price point new. You should find out if they are hotrods (says on the back of the cabinet). I’ll also mention that you’d have to make sure that you that the woofers in particular have no issues, as finding one of those to replace might be challenging.
  6. Prime Minister

    Prime Minister Site Owner Staff Member

    Not THAT hard to find:

  7. Audionut

    Audionut Next Round Is On Me

    Private seller, just looked them up again. They are actually the “Heron” model and amount is 4K (thought maybe the guy might be on something of a similar name). He said he paid 8k when new. :chin
    I am however curious to hear what they sound like. They remind me of thiels a bit in appearance. Oh, they are hot rods too @Moots.
  8. Herons were around that price new but still a little rich as far as price goes at least from my POV. They are great speakers but you need a decent sized room for them to live in as PM alluded to in an earlier post. Easy to drive and place. I’d go and listen to them so you can hear what the fuss is really about.
    Audionut likes this.
  9. Prime Minister

    Prime Minister Site Owner Staff Member

    Those in the know have told me the Heron is the sweet spot in the lineup, and what a lineup it is.

    If you didn't look at resale and stuff like that, they are worth every dime of it. You could pay multiples of that price and not have anywhere near as musical a speaker.
  10. Prime Minister

    Prime Minister Site Owner Staff Member

    I wish I could take the credit for that. Pat shared that info.
  11. Prime Minister

    Prime Minister Site Owner Staff Member

    @Pat McGinty
    A couple of quick Shearwater related questions, if I may.
    Atkinson at Stereophile said the efficiency of the Shearwaters was 84.5 db, vs the official number of 88 db. They sure don't feel like 84 db speakers. What's the true dope on this?

    I heard from a seemingly knowledgeable source that later production Shearwaters used Cardas cabling inside. Any truth to this?

    Any recommendations on speaker cables to use with them?

    Finally, what was the thinking behind the Hit Rods series anyway? Fixing stuff you couldn't afford to include in the first place? New experience and knowledge that allowed you to improve the performance?

    Enquiring minds...
  12. That measurement was quite in error. Scan Speak has always set the standard in our industry for publishing dead-accurate specs for their products - so much so that guys use their tweeter output curves as a reference from which to calibrate the sensitivity settings on their analyzers. Here are Scan Speak's curves for the Shearwater woofer:

    You can see that in order to get down to 84.5dB something like 4 or 5dB would have needed to go missing. Since the entire low pass filter consists of a single 14 ga. 1.25mH inductor that simply ain't possible. Even so, that inductor would have gotten awfully hot trying to dissipate more than half of the power coming in at the terminals.

    Let's just say that the guy taking those measurements should have heard a loud "alarm bell" going off in his head.

    As I recall, in that same issue the same guy "discovered" that one of Jim Thiel's new babies had about 3 or 4dB MORE sensitivity than Jim had claimed. Well - Jim, may that sweet man rest in peace, was a brilliant engineer; it was simply not possible that he had built a speaker that could actually do twice as much with a volt as he thought it could. Not even remotely possible.

    So.....let's just say that the guy taking those measurements should have heard a loud "alarm bell" going off in his head.

    I'll say it again: reviews are for entertainment not for information. I also recall that the edited version of that review had barely a trace of the enthusiasm contained in the original draft. Hmmmm. Let's just say that, to this day, Shearwaters are at the heart of that writer's system.

    Early HOTROD Shearwaters were hooked up with Cardas litz. Later ones bore Tara RSC.

    The HOTROD series came about because our retailers were demanding it. And because our customers kept asking for special builds using their pet parts - some were good, others not so much, and a few were just awful. So we decided to standardize. Of course it killed sales of the basic units - which was just fine with us. At the beginning I thought we needed to hit lower price points, but that proved not to be the case, guys were willing to pay a little more for the step up in quality. It did create an unwieldy situation for a while, our later efforts were all built to the HR standard.

    Speaker cable? I'm not a good source for the current dope on cable. I used to just get heavy Cardas and call it a day.
  13. Prime Minister

    Prime Minister Site Owner Staff Member

    The obvious question is, why the change from Cardas to Tara?

    Did you ever deal with any of the older, mass market magazines also, or were they pretty well dead by the time you came along? Just wondering if the venerable Audio, or Hirsch-Houck Laboratories did any better.

    I can't say I am particularly familiar with Chip Stern. But he must have exquisite taste if he is still listening to Shearwaters! That must have been a heck of a shock to you, seeing the original, enthusiastic review, and comparing it to the still very positive review that was published.
  14. After a while nothing surprised me about the review process. It's made me skeptical of the value of any sorts of reviews; better to judge for yourself, first hand.

    Early on I happened into one uppity European brand's room at CES and observed three of the most prominent reviewers of the time OOOOHHHing and AAAAHHHing over a system that was just lying there like a dead dog. I mean: this rig had almost no get-up-and-go. Smooth and detailed in spades but otherwise completely comatose. It struck me hard that these guys didn't give one whit about life and energy and dynamics even at sky-high prices. So, obviously, their recommendations had peculiar value to their readers and I'd have to approach with caution accounting for their biases. Suffice it to say I felt for any guy who plunked down big cash on their say so.

    Honest to God - a good retailer is ten times a better source of advice because their asses hang on results. I mean - the best retailers are very discriminating and actually know what "value" means both up and down the price scale. But, for some reason, guys seem to trust the press more.

    Audio and Stereo Review were around when we started but by the time we had the dough for buying ads they were on their way out. We bought our first ads from Art Dudley at Listener which produced the best results we ever got from the ad dollar.

    Tara, as a hook up wire, was easily in the same class as Cardas but without the termination bother. Putting their logo on the speaker rears paid for the wire so it was a pleasant arrangement.

    Mr. Stern is a mensch and a thoughtful guy (maybe that's redundant), dedicated and clear eyed. We've kept in touch over the years. He does some work for PF.
    TubeHiFiNut likes this.

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