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I am thinking about upgrading my Meadowlark Kestrel Hot Rods that I am running with a Unison Unico Int. Amp. I really like the Kestrels and they have served me well but I am not always getting the last bit of dynamics in my 13 x 24 foot finished basement where my system is placed. I am not even sure if I would be better off upgrading the amplifier. I am also considering a sub to help the Kestrels. The speakers do so many things well but I am curious what a newer speaker might do. Thanks for any suggestions you have.
None of the suggested speakers can even come close to the quality of your current speakers. I doubt anyone suggesting Tekton speakers, have a clue how good Meadowlarks are! hint: they are in the same category as mid-line Dynaudio (Countour) and Totem, the only difference is they are TL 9the drivers and tweeter are of the highest quality scan-speak), compared favorably to some twice its price...Think about investing in better amp, since they really don't depend on 'power" alone you can use either low or high powered tube or solid state.
Tekton is a good suggestion, read the reviews of the Pendragon or new Double Impact. A bit over the top but the reviewer did replace his reference Lawrence Cello's with the Double Impact, so he backed up his words.
JBL make current great models but most over your budget in the Synthesis series. The LS is in the budget but not sure if still offered. Although JBL have a decently high efficiency, it's been my experience you still need an amp with some current to make them sing, may not be the best for tube integrated. I'm referring to the Synthesis, no real experience with the vintage models. I drive my 4367's with a 300x2 Levinson.
Klipsch was having deals on the Heritage series. They would provide nice dynamics and easy enough to drive, the large drivers and horns should fill your space fine. I really had some fun using Klipsch back when I had some Conrad Johnson gear. Not the last word in detail, stock, but still a fun listen.
I haven't heard Unison but they are supposed to be good sounding. Depending on type of output tubes used the sound you are getting may just be on the polite side. If this is the case you made need to try swapping tubes or entertain an amp change down the road.
Any audio buds in your area willing to get together to swap some components in and out of the system to see what gets you closer to what you are looking for?
Another thought too, look at the Spacial Audio, under $3k and getting good reviews, you can also try them in home as with Tekton. I believe the Spacial getting the attention is the Turbo.
I was considering all those choices. Really intrigued by the Spatial Audio speakers. I am also seriously considering Salk SongTowers.
I have rolled the tubes in my int. amp from Mullard to Genalex and that really made a difference so I think I am set there.
Thanks for the suggestions!
I recently experienced a Equi-Core 300 power conditioner in my system, which has Emerald Physics KCIIs. Simply plugging my Parasound P5 and Oppo 105 into a power bar > int the EC was magical, bringing out a musical presence that is hard to believe unless you hear it.
I would do that first
I'd suggest to you upgrade your amp.
If you're looking for greater dynamics and a "bigger" presentation, check the various offerings from Tekton. All offer an in home audition policy I believe.
I own a pair of Eric Alexander's speakers.
Great dynamics and a large presentation? They've got it in spades!
When I initially got them in my room they surprised the heck out of me. Way more speaker than one might expect, especially for the money.
I'd gladly buy them again, and for me that's saying something!
If you've treated the 13x24 room's acoustics, the rest of what I have to say is irrelevant. But it's been my experience--in a semi-dedicated 14x30 room, a "lived in" 14x30 living/dining room, and an 11x13 bedroom that's beginning to look like Stonehenge--that perceived dynamic contrast is influenced not insignificantly by treating room modes and reflections. FWIW.
I believe that dynamic contrast is a huge factor in differentiating speakers and that it's a failing to some degree of most speakers. I know what I'm looking for but I don't know what that means to you. Have you heard any speakers that did what you want. Name them?
I have been "out of the market" so to speak for some time and there are limited retailers where I live making it hard to audition anything. There are some places within 60 miles so I will have to make a trip or two.
would add aparent dynamic range and improve imaging and soundstaging. rythmik is a great value. john elison on vinyl asylum has them.
Before you replace your speakers, try relocating them, using golden ratios, starting with the distance from the acoustic center of the woofer to the floor.
I don't think I've heard everything, but
I've heard more than a few!
I don't think you need to change the amp
at this stage, that would come later
as you near perfection someday.
That 13 X 24 room begs for a speaker that
can handle the room-- in my opinion.
Realize here that my tastes involve getting
the room to mimic the recorded venue-- you
can go anywhere in that room, do anything you
want in any part of it, and no matter what,
the music is REALLY GOOD.. If your
tastes are different-- if you like headphones
or something akin-- such as near-field listening
at low volumes, then smaller speakers might be
enough for you.
But I sense that you are leaving clues here....
You could be a candidate for a REAL SPEAKER.
Again, this is only my personal observation/opinion.
So, correct me if I'm wrong. If I'm right, then
it's time to step-up on the speakers-- a bunch!
Go to Lansingheritage.org. You're looking for JBL.
Click on "catalogs". You want the 1974 Home Catalog.
That's the one! WHAT a year! There are two that I
would consider: The JBL Paragon-- still by light
years, the world's best home speaker, ever. It requires
plenty of careful refurbishing and needs updated
heavy silver internal wiring, and perhaps some driver
re-building, and screw tightening inside crossovers, etc.,
but once properly restored, this awesome piece of
CORRECT stereo presentation has no equal, period.
In that room, it's a perfect fit. You build a
nice, small stage for it-- that sets the unit at
the proper listening elevation. This stage must be
really solid and non-resonant. I used 2 stacked
sheets of Marine-Grade 1 1/8 inch plywood-glued
and screwed together on top of 2 X 12 doug-fir
stringers set at 12 inches apart.
These went straight-out from behind the unit--
these stringers were placed solidly against the
back wall, and were solidly cut into the floor
to about 6 inches in front of the Paragon. A 2 X 12
horizontal piece across the front was used to close
the front. Dadoed, Glued and screwed into the ends
of the stringers.
Distance to back wall (of the Paragon) was about
5 3/4 to 6 1/2 inches.
This is slightly adjusted to get room compliance...
The other one? JBL Sovereign3. This masterpiece
uses the same drivers and crossovers (there are 2
crossover networks per channel) as the Paragon does
in a simple Living-Room Lowboy that really performs.
Interestingly, the panel that mounts the drivers
is slanted. This engages the room very, very well!
A good used Sovereign3 should be findable at a
reasonable price, but finding a good Paragon is difficult.
Sure, there is other stuff out there-- some of it
pretty good. But NOT in the same league as these two.
NOT even remotely close!
Think about it. This might be your chance to really
step-up sonically. Either unit will do everything that's
in music to absolute perfection if you rebuild/restore it,
re-wire it, and partner it with the best gear you can
The Sovereign3 will absolutely amaze you. It, or the
Paragon can make your listening room into the recorded
venue. Very, very few other speakers can do that! There
are perhaps 4 or 5 systems in the entire world that are
that good. Some of the best headphones sound great, but
what if you're active like myself and want the ROOM to be
I suggest finding the equipment that can do it. You
WILL NEVER look back, or regret it. Instead, you'll
smile every time you hear music.
It's quite a comment on our time in History-- it's
pretty crazy! People worship after old amps (ALL of
which are sure-fire duds compared to newer stuff), but
they will accept the newer speakers, which WILL NOT
bring all of the recorded venue INTO YOUR ROOM..
I think this is due to cost-cutting and to people
living in smaller spaces, primarily, as well as
"wife acceptance factor". Translation: "I don't
want anything in "my" living room that I didn't put
That's a sad, sad way to listen to music!
Thanks for the very intriguing suggestion. Not sure my wife would allow a stage but still an interesting choice to consider. I am looking for that you are there music experience. The Kestrels get me most of the way there with their amazing imagining. Thanks again!
I think you would be better served with a speaker upgrade first. Years ago I brought in a pair of Shearwater HR speakers. They wouldn't come close to filling up my room, which at the time was very similar in size to yours. I only kept them a couple of weeks. I'm surprised that Kestrels even work in your room at all unless you really don't play them very loudly.
You didn't mention your budget, which is very important for any recommendations.
Don't worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, it will avoid you.
- Winston Churchill
They actually seem to do pretty well at moderate volume in the room but maybe I do not know what I am missing. Sorry about the omission of price range, should have remembered that critical bit of information. 3K is probably my upper limit but under 2K would be the sweet spot for my budget. Thanks!
So far you have had a few suggestions to keep the speakers. That is not my take. I don't think the Meadowlark speakers were that great in their day, and time has certainly marched on.
If you want dynamics I have a suggestion for you that will keep plenty of money in your pocket. A used pair of Klipsch Cornwalls or Fortes then upgrade the crossovers. When used with tubes, these are great speakers that make the music come alive. You can do this for far less than 2K.
Don't worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, it will avoid you.
- Winston Churchill
In that price range, you might score a used JBL
Sovereign pair. Friends, neighbors, EBAY, Audiogon, etc.
DeVore Fidelity comes to mind as does Sonist.
Klipsch has a new Hi-Eff. unit that's right in
your price range. Show goers were very impressed.
Check on Klipsch's website-- they should have
some reviews from the shows. Again, people liked it.
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