Pat McGinty's Favorite Meadowlark

Discussion in 'Meadowlark Audio Forum' started by Prime Minister, Aug 31, 2018.

  1. Prime Minister

    Prime Minister Site Owner Staff Member

    @Pat McGinty
    Taking into account that your favorite speaker is likely the one you are working on now, removing that from the equation, I was wondering which speaker of the passive Meadowlark era was your favorite? Which one sounded the best to you, and which one meant the most? And that were just a little special?
  2. Ha! Thanks for asking! Best: Blue Heron II hands down.

    Kestrel has sentimental memories, it meant most because it changed everything for us. The early days were just crazy and fun.

    If I had to chose one for my home (which I don't because I don't use stereo at home): Shearwater with a Music Reference RM-200.
    Prime Minister and Audio Refugee like this.
  3. Prime Minister

    Prime Minister Site Owner Staff Member

    Well, I'm halfway to what you'd want, so I must say you have excellent taste! :)

    I had to look up the RM-200. Not cheap, but not insanely expensive.

    I've run the Shearwaters with a couple of different amps, and as well as they do on a low power amp (16-18 watts tube class A), they do seem to come alive with a more powerful, high current amp. Lots of fun at 100 wpc of quality amplification. I'm guessing they'd really like a Sugden A21 se or something on the low end. 24 watts of class A. They do move lightning fast when driven by a quick amp too.

    Nice job on the Shearwater, sir! It truly is a classic.

    Btw, everyone I've ever mentioned the Shearwaters to, who has experienced them, has oooed and ahhhed over them. They really do make an incredible impression on people.
  4. Thanks for the kind words. I talk to so many guys who just won't part with their Shearwaters. They certainly do 3D soundstaging like nobody's business.

    They taught me a lesson about the audio press. When we introduced them one of the major mags requested a pair. Stupid me, I just sent them a pair. Long story short - the reviewer came to the conclusion that they have no bass! Knowing the Shearwater as you do, can you believe that? At the time, and maybe still, a bad review can really hurt sales. So I spent a ton of effort with the Editor to just convince him to remove one sentence: "Alas, the poor Shearwaters make so little bass as to be useless."

    What a fallacy. No, let me respell that: phallusy.

    So, two lessons learned - the magazines don't dump on the big boys, they save it up for little guys who don't matter. And, whatever you do, don't send review sample to a guy whom you don't personally know to be fair.

    After that experience it was clear sailing, everyone who wrote 'em up pretty much loved 'em.
    MikeyFresh likes this.
  5. Prime Minister

    Prime Minister Site Owner Staff Member

    I was just reading the Listener and Stereophile reviews of them. Can't really get much better. And they are as good as they say.

    How can you not get good bass out of them? 16 watts of tube power and they were fine. 100 watts of solid state and they will thump along impressively. And it isn't fake bass as some guys like to come up with you make their speakers sound better then they actually are. This tuneful, melodic detailed bass that the Shearwaters love to crank out.

    I'm sure the bass on the test system you referenced would have improved a lot, with a more powerful Meadowlark advertising budget. :)

    It had been a bit of an epiphany switching from my usual class A tubes, to quality SS at much higher power. While tubes showed off the lovely midrange, adding a bit of kick to the Shearwaters showed what else they were capable of. And not just more bass, but delightful, musical detail. I think you'd have to go a long way on the front end to max out what the Shearwater can give.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
  6. Yeah, that review was my fault. I left the door-to-a-problem open just a crack and Lord Murphy Master of the Universe was alerted from the other side of the galaxy. As always, he came to smite. I have no illusions about any of my work and am not disposed to bragging - but I think it's safe to say that Shearwater's bass performance is easily in the top tier for 7" two ways.

    Reviews are entertainment not information; so many writers are so tied to their peculiar dogmas and personal tastes that it ain't worth spit. In the inverse, I've read too many raves about slack stuff.

    Your switch to SS and the resulting superior grip in the bass shows you the value of electrical breaking. You can feel the effect with your hands - turn off or disconnect the amp and see how easy it is to move the cone. Try it again with the amp on. Your SS amp has a directly coupled output stage with very low output impedance giving it firm control over the position of the coil. That results in better signal tracking hence better resolution of detail and better ability to generate the force needed to pound out the low freqs.

    Most all tube amps couple to the load thru a transformer which naturally has a higher output impedance because of the long, thin copper windings, hence much less braking effect. Unfortunately the low impedance transformers require much more copper so cost plenty. I'd say many tube amps are built to a budget with modest transformers. But even the best are still pretty squishy.

    So, yeah maybe you give up that rosy glow in the midrange but you gain that 'rosin on the bow' on cello and bass violin. And if you really want to reproduce drum kit there's no other way.
    Audio Refugee likes this.
  7. Intreresting. So, I’m sensing I’ll need a second amp... hmmm.
  8. Maybe you can have only one spouse at a time but you can have as many amps as you damn please. Anyway, you need a backup ;-)
  9. Prime Minister

    Prime Minister Site Owner Staff Member

    I guess two amps are the answer. There really are so few amps that will do both things well. And finding a good amp/speaker match can always be a huge pain in the ass.

    I guess the best answer is to buy a speaker with the amp built in already. You know it works perfectly then.

    Out of curiosity, how does your new stuff do with low level listening? I've never heard a high powered amp that did the low level stuff well. How do yours hold up, with the volume just cracked open for the low level, late night stuff?

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