Kestrels : bought an old pair

Hi all

I have just bought a pair of Kestrels here in the U.K. and have been listening to them for a couple of weeks. Three weeks ago I had never heard of Meadowlark of the Kestrels. Saw them on EBay , did some research and hey presto they are mine.

I use them as a second pair (partly because they aren’t in keeping with the sitting room decor, but the advantage is that I have them set up in my working from home room. They are fed by another vintages “icon”- a Marantz PM 75 with a silver crown TDA 1541 DAC. This is an under the radar unit in terms of its perceived audio quality and therefore I was able to scalp that at a bargain price. I feed it digitally.

So I have a true vintage hifi system at not a huge outlay. But it sure sounds great. The Marantz has a imperious power about it, combined with a sublime bass, and if you listen via it’s DAC input, there is a euphoric , liquid quality that you hear. The TDA1541 chip really is musical.

The kestrels have brought a wider soundstage, and lovely midrange that just “sings” to you. Strings, organ playing like a Rick Wakeman solo, shimmering guitars, vocals all sound magnificent. And there is certainly enough bass reflective that you are listening to floorstanders.

I realise that Pat who had the brilliance to design and build these is on the forum, so first a huge thanks. These speaker are just great speakers & aren’t leaving me now, until I or they die !!

I am currently listening to Marius Duda’s somewhat unusual Lockdown Spaces and on track two there are a series of home produced sounds like clocks chiming , him talking, whistling & breathing and it is just so realistic like he is in room and the sounds are just so natural. Amazing stuff. It just shows how good your speakers are.

But I have a few questions for Pat. One is what is the maximum power to put through them , not that I intend to , I will treat them with the respect that these old gals deserve , ie what was the original Max watts that they were designed to take.

Secondly, I understand that the tweeters are irreplaceable - how you know that they are damaged : does the silk rip or is it because they sound bad. Does playing music loud increase the risk of damage ?

Third - my speakers have a ring of foam around the tweeter - I read somewhere - that this improves the sound , maybe by reducing sibilance. They don’t make the speakers look pretty , but I guess I am best to leave them alone.

Lastly , these are obviously old - are there obvious things for me to tighten up or check for deterioration?

thanks again for these great speakers and it does show that you don’t need to spend thousands on new equipment to have a very special system.
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
Welcome to the Haven.
'Yes, there is something about meadowlark that makes you want to keep them forever. Even if, ahem, I sold my Kestrels, it was only because I replaced them with Shearwater Hot Rods. And yes, those speakers I'll keep for the rest of my days. They are currently in the downstairs system, because I bought a pair of the new Meadowlark Kites. See the pattern forming? :)

I know @Pat McGinty has been pretty well buried of late, but I'm sure he will drop by soon enough.

Enjoy the music. Those are some lovely speakers.

BTW, are they the original Kestrel, or the Hot Rod?
 
You will love these speakers highfell. Like Erik, I moved from the Kestrel HR to the Shearwater HR. Still have the shearwaters, still love them. I don’t remember the Kestrels having the foam tweeter ring. Regardless, the foam deteriorated on my shearwater tweeters so I replaced them with felt rings. And yes both tweeters and woofers are still available in case of future failures. One of my woofers failed a year ago and I replaced it myself. I would just tighten the woofer screws if needed. Welcome to the Meadowlark family and welcome to the Haven!
 

Audionut

Next Round Is On Me
Welcome to the Haven. Please do share some pics of kestrels and your primary system too!
 
You will love these speakers highfell. Like Erik, I moved from the Kestrel HR to the Shearwater HR. Still have the shearwaters, still love them. I don’t remember the Kestrels having the foam tweeter ring. Regardless, the foam deteriorated on my shearwater tweeters so I replaced them with felt rings. And yes both tweeters and woofers are still available in case of future failures. One of my woofers failed a year ago and I replaced it myself. I would just tighten the woofer screws if needed. Welcome to the Meadowlark family and welcome to the Haven!
Hiya

Thanks for the advice. I should have been clearer, the Kestrels have a felt ring glued on around each tweeter - a home made addition, I would assume. They are pretty ugly, but given the fact that the tweeters are irreplaceable, I am not inclined to try to remove them purely for aesthetics. And maybe they do have some audio benefits.
 
OK. So here our a couple of pictures of the Marantz PM75 Amp/Dac and the left hand Kestrel Speaker. You can see the felt ring added around the unit.

I feed the Marantz via a Coaxial digital signal from an Ibasso Dx200 DAP.

What great sound. It really is very analogue. Just listening to Beatles Love. Great stuff.

The TDA1451 DAC may not have the resolution of modern DAC chips or personalised FPGA chips but it creates such a musical output that that doesn’t matter at all. I had had heard there was a buzz around this famous DAC chip and with good reason. It really sounds so good. Does having a silver crown version make a difference. Who knows . Anyone else have experience of them

Maybe I might get the Marantz upgraded with new capacitors etc. , once Covid goes away, in order to improve it and take it to the next level but that will be a nice to have rather than a must have.

And the Marantz/ Kestrel combination is lovely, it really shines particularly around acoustic guitars, strings , keyboards and shimmering guitar sounds - really fast rock maybe less so, not bad , but not stand out. But the sound stage & depth of sound is to die for.

For a second system it ain’t bad , you could argue it’s better than my main system, not sure about that but certainly in value terms it is. Vintage hifi is fun and value for money.

Next maybe a vintage Electrostatic speaker, but not for a little while.
 

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