Meadowlark Audio Legacy Driver Specs

Wow, just stumbled on to this thread and am blown away. Bought my first pair of Kestrel Hot Rods back in the late 90s and that speaker was wonderful. Throughout the years I owned 5 pairs of Kestrels, 2 pairs of Shearwaters, and a pair of the Kestrel IIs.

I plan to come back and read this thread more thoroughly and absorb Pat's thoughts.

Want to say thanks to Pat for sharing his story.
 
This is a great thread with lots of great info. Thanks so much to Pat for, your great speakers first, but also for the info you've provided here. I have a pragmatic question. I just realized today that I have a blown tweeter in one of my Meadowlark Kestral Hot Rods. If the original is not available, is there something that would be an acceptable replacement for both tweeters? Thanks so much!

Sam
 

Pat McGinty

Senior Member
Sorry to hear that, Sam. The Peerless 811815 hasn't been made in years.

Unfortunately the first problem is that the diameter spec for the faceplate is 100mm instead of the industry standard 104mm. So there are only a few tweeters that could fit without tearing into the cosmetics of the baffle.

I'm aware of two possibilities.

https://www.madisoundspeakerstore.com/sb-acoustics-soft-dome-tweeters/sb-acoustics-sb26stac-c000-4-1-textile-dome-tweeter/

https://www.madisoundspeakerstore.com/seas-soft-dome-tweeters/seas-prestige-h1280-06-22tff-tweeter/

It looks as though the face plate thicknesses are similar to the Peerless. I can't tell about the thru hole specs but, if need be, enlarging the thru hole can be done without making a mess of the cosmetics.

I work with SB woofers regularly but have not heard their tweeters. I use another SEAS tweeter model regularly and love it but have not heard the H1280. It might be good to compare them.

The 'fly in the ointment' is that, electrically, they are each very different from the Peerless so the crossover won't work and for several reasons. Also, the tweeter has to 'shake hands' with the woofer so both circuits are likely to come into play.

I've been resisting being drawn into this problem because first order crossover work is so darn time consuming. But I've begun to think it may be worth a shot. This keeps coming up and a standard solution would be nice. Trouble is, I have no Meadowlark legacy product on hand of any kind to work with. So what we need is a guinea pig.
 
Pat thanks so much for all the info... Good to hear from you, we met a few times in NYC at some retail demo's... I own 2 pairs of Kestrels, a Petrel, and Hot Rod Shearwaters... Still Love everything after ~17 years of ownership. The Mid Woofer in one my Shearwaters just gave up, so thrilled to find your info posted and just ordered a new pair of 18W8545-01's from Madisound. The foam surrounds are a mess though, been trying to work something out on that for some time...

What are your current projects? Love to hear about what you are currently working on...
 

Pat McGinty

Senior Member
Glad to hear you're enjoying your Shearwaters, and am happy to help.

The foam "donuts" were made of a 1/4' thick open cell foam commonly used in industrial air filters. Our fabricator is gone along with the cutting dies. You can get similar foam sheets in small quantities on Amazon. Cutting the stuff nicely with scissors is gonna be tricky, though. Maybe Exacto knife.

We're busy with a new set of technologies that let us do things with speaker design that we could once only dream of. There are big changes coming in audio and I'm both pleased and surprise that we're out ahead of it. Really fun.

http://meadowlarksings.com/index.htm

There's a ton of detail on our site about how we're doing things in "Designer's Bench". We just posted Issue #7.

Here's our custom site.

http://patmcginty.com/
 

Audio Refugee

Senior Member
Glad to hear you're enjoying your Shearwaters, and am happy to help.

The foam "donuts" were made of a 1/4' thick open cell foam commonly used in industrial air filters. Our fabricator is gone along with the cutting dies. You can get similar foam sheets in small quantities on Amazon. Cutting the stuff nicely with scissors is gonna be tricky, though. Maybe Exacto knife.

We're busy with a new set of technologies that let us do things with speaker design that we could once only dream of. There are big changes coming in audio and I'm both pleased and surprise that we're out ahead of it. Really fun.

http://meadowlarksings.com/index.htm

There's a ton of detail on our site about how we're doing things in "Designer's Bench". We just posted Issue #7.

Here's our custom site.

http://patmcginty.com/
Pat, thanks for pointing us towards your Designer’s Bench. Reading those helped me better understand your new DSP/Amp design goals, the flexibility that the new tech offers you as a designer, and the step up in acoustic realism it offers consumers like me.

I haven’t invested in any HD music or subscribed to any HD music streaming services yet (I assume Tidal would be the only HD streaming service available?). Using your current implementation, how would I, or could I incorporate my current phono and preamp; AND my current CD transport and DAC into, for instance... a set of your current Kestrels and still be able to stream HD music if I chose to subscribe to Tidal? I also understand that vinyl and CDs defeat your goal of moving away from those media and up to HD, but I still have a decent amount invested and still enjoy my collection that’s made up of vinyl and CDs. I think I recal reading that the current Kestrel has one analog and one digital input, so it seems to me that I’d have to switch interconnects between sources?
 
Pat, Question on the Shearwater tweeters... Do they wear out... I mean, they are 18 years old now, should they be replaced? I just replaced the woofers, and i swear they sound better out of the box and not even broken in...
 

Pat McGinty

Senior Member
Pat, Question on the Shearwater tweeters... Do they wear out... I mean, they are 18 years old now, should they be replaced? I just replaced the woofers, and i swear they sound better out of the box and not even broken in...
Tweeters are good until they fail. The tiny braided wires that deliver signal to the voice coil flex with motion and finally give up and break. Until then you're fine.
Scan Speak recently revised that woofer so that may be what you're experiencing.
 

Pat McGinty

Senior Member
Pat, thanks for pointing us towards your Designer’s Bench. Reading those helped me better understand your new DSP/Amp design goals, the flexibility that the new tech offers you as a designer, and the step up in acoustic realism it offers consumers like me.

I haven’t invested in any HD music or subscribed to any HD music streaming services yet (I assume Tidal would be the only HD streaming service available?). Using your current implementation, how would I, or could I incorporate my current phono and preamp; AND my current CD transport and DAC into, for instance... a set of your current Kestrels and still be able to stream HD music if I chose to subscribe to Tidal? I also understand that vinyl and CDs defeat your goal of moving away from those media and up to HD, but I still have a decent amount invested and still enjoy my collection that’s made up of vinyl and CDs. I think I recal reading that the current Kestrel has one analog and one digital input, so it seems to me that I’d have to switch interconnects between sources?
We can build the systems in two different formats. Each pair is made to order so it's not a problem

1) Local amps and local processors. Local meaning onboard the speaker. The processors accept SPDIF or AES/EBU at up to 24bit/96KHz. There is one digital and one analog input so you can deliver analog from your preamp to each speaker in the same way you now bring it to your power amp. Each speaker can be toggled between its digital and analog input via a network connection - which is also how you adjust the PEQ and select from any of the four presets. You can set each of the four presets as you wish so one could be set for analog input plus have an unique PEQ that favors your vinyl rig. The downside is: to toggle between inputs you need your PC, laptop or phone. I find this very convenient but other guys, not so much. This arrangement is a no-brainer if you're going straight digital because, aside from your source, it eliminates the mess. Good for the WAF.

2) Local amps and central processor. The central processor looks like a slim preamp, accepts multiple inputs both analog and digital and has IR control for volume, input selection and preset selection. As with the local processors, each preset can have its own PEQ, input selection and input sensitivity setting. It's a learning IR - I use my phone instead of a dedicated remote. If you don't want to see the the processor you can hide it somewhere and use an IR extender.

Note that, since these systems do the work digitally, the first thing that happens to an analog input is it's digitized. So there's a double conversion when using a conventional CD player - a good reason to take the time to rip your entire library and go digital all of the way. It took me weeks to rip my library - but now the hundreds of pounds of CDs are happily in the attic. I've made copies for the lab laptop, a portable hard drive and the home server and am not looking back.

We're using an streamer that seamlessly integrates our local library with Tidal. You can even build playlists that draw from both sources. It really does put the entire world of music on your iPad. Point, click, delightful. Not expensive at all. Great for discovery and keeping up to date. FWIW: we've noticed that some of Tidal's Grateful Dead classic recordings are far-and-away superior to the same music in our local library. So they seem to be paying attention.

I know this is sacrilege - but we're starting to see both phonographs and phono pre's that do both the analog to digital conversion and the RIAA equalization in their own processors. This brings the surprise advantage that the processor can also be used to equalize the cartridge nonlinearities, maybe reducing the need for expensive cartridges. We've already enjoyed that advance for lab microphones; we no longer spend big $ on mics, now an eighty dollar mic with a factory EQ file is plenty good. Here, digi-tweeking an old Grado cartridge worked wonders. I think, soon enough, digital wireless turntables will come our along. The integration issues that you see now will go away.

By the way, I'm not trying to move away from vinyl and CD as sources, they're good. But HD brings new challenges and the opportunity for big improvements. That doesn't exclude, it includes. A system that can reproduce HD works great for LP and CD.
 
Hey, Pat!

I know this is a long shot since your last reply was over a year ago but... I recently acquired a pair of original Kestrels after lusting over them since high school but never having the chance to own a pair until now. They were in pretty decent shape but the veneer was peeling in a lot of places and cracked and broken and the previous owner wrapped black duct tape around the bottoms as a fix. I used my novice woodworking skills to give them a fresh look with a raw Ziricote veneer, and a black satin hot rod paint for the baffle. I just noticed a tear in one of the woofer surrounds and one surround came right off so I am going to order new woofers from Madisound. My question is.. since I'm assuming Keldamp is unobtanium.. is there something you recommend for the driver gaskets? I have some auto sound deadening panels I was experimenting with but the material is a little thick and I'm wondering if there is something better to use. Also, I know you don't have any schematics or diagrams or anything left but do you have any idea of the crossover component values? I've found some drawn schematics online from searching but nothing solid so far. I am in love with these magical birds and would love to hear them sing for a long time so, anything would help.

Thanks in advance!
 

Pat McGinty

Senior Member
Hi JWheezy -

That sounds like a quite an effort! Yeah, the minimum order quantity to have a run of Keldamp made is too large for our current needs, but I'm trying to get there. Essentially Durethane, it's mechanically ideal: does not take a 'set', so pressure on the mounting screws remains at spec. Plus it reliably compresses to 0.05" so one can accurately plan rebate depths. Plus, yes, very dead stuff. If you wadded up a ball of it and threw it hard to the floor, no bounce; nearly all of the kinetic energy to heat, just what you want.

PE sells a workable gasket:

Best I can recall, having made zillions of 'em, the LP consisted of a 0.67mH 14ga Solen, and the HP is a 6ohmer, 5.6 mF in series with the load and a resonance trap set parallel to the load of 36mF, 1.0mH, 5ohms (in series) - which mirrored out the high Q res of that non-ferrofluid tweeter, plus an add'l shunt at 1.0mH - which drives attenuation at very low freq's, essentially a 'rattle trap' to keep from beating the tweeter up on heavy bass program.

0.67mH is not a standard value, but the nice fellows at Madisound will unwind to spec. That spec is what voices the woofer; too big will sound dark and too small will peak the upper mids in an unflattering way.

Careful with your tweeters, 'cause there ain't no more. And, so far, no one has volunteered to send me his Kestrels to work out a patch. At issue, naturally, would be devising a new filter for a new model tweeter.

Good luck and Happy Days!

Kestrel.jpg
 
Thanks for the reply, Pat! It's great to see you back in business. If I had the means, believe me I'd buy the new Kestrels, or better yet the upcoming Ibis. I wish I could learn all of this speaker designing magic and experiment with different drivers and such. Too bad I don't have the original Kestrel boxes.. I could ship them to NY, or take a five hour ride from CT to hand deliver them. I ordered the new woofers today, so I should be trying those out some time next week. My tweeters appear to be in pretty good shape, I sure hope they last awhile. I'll have to get the crossover parts together next. Thanks again!

James
 
In an effort to assist those seeking replacement drivers, I've just started a Google spreadsheet into which we will pour our best information. I intend to add the remaining models and probably the crossover circuits as time and memory allow.

Some drivers continue to be available. Unfortunately others do not. The Kestrel tweeter is perhaps the worst problem. To the best of my understanding - a few years ago, the great driver makers Peerless and Vifa were acquired by Tymphany which discontinued the Vifa brand, moved a few Vifa drivers into the Peerless line and dropped much of the Peerless line. On the bright side, we sourced many of our drivers from Scan Speak that continue in production.

Here's the link:
Meadowlark Audio Legacy Driver Specs

The sources cited happily vend single units to retail customers.

One tidbit of advice: if you're having difficulty extracting a bad woofer that seems stuck to its gasket - don't mess up your baffle - just cut the cone out and grab hold of the chassis. It's more fun that way.

Happy Days!
Pat McGinty
Hi Been a fan for awhile. Girlfriend bought a pair of your floorstanders--forgot which ones--at Sound by Singer 10 years ago+. Had great sound and beautiful woodwork. Now I just bought a pair of Kestrel Hotrods which has a severely damaged wood veneer on one speaker. Love the sound. Easily on a par with my Triangle Celius 202s. But can't live with the look, so selling on Audiogon. Would happily spend 2x on a veneer repair if you know where that could be done. Glad you are still making speakers.
 
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