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Meadowlark Audio Swallow
4 Reviews
rating  4 of 5
MSRP 
Description: <ul> <li>Bandwidth: 50Hz - 22KHz</li> <li>Sensitivity: 89dB</li> <li>Nominal Z: 8 ohms</li> </ul>


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Reviews 1 - 4 (4 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by sunmonkey a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: February 3, 2008

Bottom Line:   
I had to take some time listening to these before I wrote a review: they were that different from anything I had heard prior.

Now, after about nine months listening to these in a variety of different listening locations (great room, bedroom, office) and with a large variety of music, I think I am prepared to write a review.

First, styling. I have the black oak version, and have to admit they are sexy as hell. Great lines, great proportions. The baffling around the drivers is a beautiful touch and, from what I know of acoustic 'physics', must help in diminishing refraction of soundwaves. The cabinets are heavy, solid wood, and exude quality. The binding posts are heavy duty copper and grip spades like a vise. The Sparrows came with these stretchy 'socks' that fit into grooves around the front baffle, if you want to go with a "no driver" look. I chose to remove the socks, cause I love the design of the front so much. The neat thing about the Sparrows is the even when the socks are removed, there is nothing left on the speaker to indicate that the grills are missing: no holes, no magnets, no clips. Very smart design.

Second, sound. The highs are wonderful. Crystalline, fast, and lots of snap. The cymbals on The Complete Blue Note Elvin Jones (Mosaic) are magical and airy, as well as the snares. Sharp and tight, extremely 'real'. Female voice, acoustic guitar, chamber music... all are given delightful credit on the Sparrows. I have no quibbles about the high and upper mid-range reproduction on the Sparrows.

From that previous sentence, one might infer that I have quibbles about the lower-mid and bass. I do not, but since the first reviewer on here had such a strong negative opinion, I feel it is worth some while looking at the mid and bass in more depth.

The Sparrows are bookshelf speakers (I've never known precisely what that means, I suppose that means they are 'small' speakers.) with that, they are comprised of a tweeter, and a midrange driver (looks to be 5.5") and a transmission line vented from the front. While I have heard reviewers 'surprised' at the depth of bass on bookshelf speakers, I have never read a reviewer that felt the bass was powerful or perfectly spot on: its inherent in the size and construction of a bookshelf speaker that you will have to make some concessions in sound reproduction.

Sure, the Sparrows lack the bottom end oomph necessary to convey the intentions of a large orchestra, or bass heavy rock, electronica or dance music. But honestly, neither would I expect them too. They are a small speaker, and have an emphasis on delicacy of sound, of the quality and clarity of the sonic ranges they CAN reasonably reproduce without attempting to fake or force a lower bottom frequency. Nothing more, nothing less. They were designed to be precisely what they are: high end bookshelf speakers, meant for serious music-conscious people (that's a statement worth a few more paragraphs, but I will refrain. :) )

Just a few more comments: the soundstage on the Sparrows is giant, seamless, and extends well beyond the left and right of the speakers. The speakers are fairly easy to drive: I have a Krell 300i and a Krell 300CD hooked to the Sparrows and I never get above one dot on the integrated in my small-medium listening room (I am assuming that is about 15 watts, or one-tenth of the Krell's total power.) I am guessing this is due to the simplicity of the crossover's and the quality of the drivers? I detect none of the 'harmful' overlapping of the driver frequencies the first review mentions, but I will admit I have not the technical background to detect such things.

I am extremely tempted to remove the factory rubber footies on the Sparrows and try some heavier brass feet, perhaps even a pair of MapleShade's heavy maple speaker platforms. I have heard these do wonders for other speakers, and I have not doubt that the mid and bass would get extra oomph from such a treatment. My guess is that improvement in those areas might even be significant.

If you see the Meadowlark Sparrows on the used market and have need for speakers in a bedroom or office system, and you enjoy listening to classical, jazz, acoustical and vocal music, I would not think another second about picking them up. Mine have earned a cherished place in my musical life. So much so, that I am looking into locating and buying a pair of the larger Meadowlark offerings for placement in my main system (Ospreys, Nightingales, or Blue Heron IIs).

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2003

Price Paid:    $400.00

Purchased At:   Audiogon



Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Belgarchi a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: July 3, 2006

Bottom Line:   
Look: gorgeous, but 'far-west' style
Practical aspect: easy to use, good terminals, small, front port
Sound: TERRIBLE ! (1/5). No bass. No details in the bass and medium. Scratchy treble. Medium and upper medium proeminent.
How is it possible with $1000 / pair speakers ?
Well, it looks like Meadowlark made the best enclosure on the planet, and was left with a few dollars for the rest (drivers nad crossover).
The drivers are cheap Logic (made for Vifa). The mid-bass has a small diameter moving coil and a plastic frame. The Fs of the tweeter is high.
As for the crossover, it has 3 components. I like minimalism, but this is not enough. The resulting slopes must be approx. 3 db/octave due to absence of correction of impedance. The high medium is way to strong, the tweeter is not adequately protected by one cap and one resistor, all kind of constructive and destructive interferences are happening due to large overlap of the drivers.....
Why do I give them '3' instead of '0' ?
The enclosure. Incredible. It is a transmission line. It is as rigid as a rock. The MDF is covered by SOLID WOOD, not veneer. The front baffle is slooped.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2004

Price Paid:    $600.00

Purchased At:   Audiogon



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by richardff a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: May 9, 2006

Bottom Line:   
Excellent little speakers - great clarity, soundstaging, detail . Have a delicacy and lightness of touch rarely found at the price. Great finish and build. Sound refined and sweet, Sonus Faber rather than B&W type sound. Bass is articulate but not overblown. Great with all types of music apart from dance 'music'. A mellow, accurate, revealing speaker.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2005

Price Paid:    $595.00

Purchased At:   mail order



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by BEETLEMAN a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: March 10, 2006

Bottom Line:   
This is a definate change of sound to what im used to. took me awhile to really appreciate the sound from these speakers. being somewhat laid back compared to all the other brands i have owned. the bass is suprisingly strong for such a small unit and the treble is spot on and absolutely clear, seamless.
other brands that i have owned have their strenghts but for an overall package i have to say that the meadowlarks are head and shoulders above all the others.
very impressed with the imaging, and ability to handle all different types of music from hard rock to choral arrangements with great ease.
will be auditoning some kestrels in the near future, but will always have these around, they were such a good deal i cant see myself ever selling them...

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $600.00

Purchased At:   6SONSAUDIO/WINNIPEG




Reviews 1 - 4 (4 Reviews Total)

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