Meadowlark Audio Vireo Floorstanding Speakers

Meadowlark Audio Vireo Floorstanding Speakers 


fully shielded, transmission line, bookshelf speaker


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[Aug 01, 2000]
Samuel Figueroa
Casual Listener


Satisfyingly realistic reproduction of acoustical instruments, including size of sound source, good bass for size


Imaging not as focused as on other speakers; not as sensitive as other Meadowlark speakers

I am looking for a pair of versatile, magnetically-shielded speakers that work well in a small space and are easy to drive. Unfortunately, I don't have space for floorstanding speakers, and at the moment, I can only justify putting them near the computer, since I would otherwise rarely have time to listen to them. However, I would like to have the option of setting them up in a more ideal listening environment in the future, or incorporate them in a home theater setup, and still be satisfied with their sound. I mainly listen to classical music - I have a Steinway grand at home, so how a piano sounds is important to me.

Of all the speakers listed above, these have the most satisfying sound - they sound big, e.g., when reproducing orchestral music or choirs. Even a grand piano sounds like the large instrument that it is. I didn't listen very much to small ensembles, but a solo singer didn't seem confined to as small a space as on some other speakers, but then, when I've gone to concerts, the sound of a solo singer doesn't seem to come from a small point in space, either.

For half the price, the Li'l Rascal had a more focused image, but the sound had a bit of a hollow character to it. At about the same price, the Concertino sounded like I was seated way out in the bleachers in that the soundstage seemed to be limited to the space between the speakers. At over twice the price, the Nautilus 805 had great imaging - they disappeared thoroughly. I can't afford them, though.

In short, the first thing by far that comes to mind in describing the sound of the Vireos (and other Meadowlark speakers) is that they sound natural. The Dynaudio Countour didn't quite have this natural sound, and the JMLab speakers I've heard (both floorstanding and bookshelf), though they have good bass extension, have a persistent character of sounding "electronic." I liked the Silverline and Soliloquy's, but I couldn't see setting up the Silverline in a serious dedicated listening room (they are too small), and the sound of the Vireos is more satisfying to me than the Soliloquy's. The Vireos seem to have everything I'm looking for, and even though larger speakers can have greater bass extension, unlike other speakers, the bass on the Vireos has a naturalness to it, though lower in volume.

One caveat I've run into in listening to speakers is that it matters very much how they are set up. For example, I heard the Meadowlark Shearwater at Sound By Singer in NYC, and it didn't impress me very much. The salesman switched from a VTL amp, I believe, to a solid state amp. The sound changed completely, much more to my liking. Several months later, I heard the Vireos at this same dealer, and they sounded promising, but not impressive. I later found out Sound By Singer does not break in speakers before demoing them, and the Vireos were very new. I heard the Vireos at another dealer (Audible Arts in San Jose, CA), and he took great care to break them in and set them up properly. They sounded much better. When I heard the B&W Nautilus 805 at Sound Exchange in NYC, the channels (left-right) were reversed. A lot of times, it's very hard to know what you're listening to.

Similar Products Used:

B&W Nautilus 805, Silverline Audio SR-17, Soliloquy 5.0, Sonus Faber Concerto and Concertino, Dynaudio Contour 1.1(?), Alon Li'l Rascal

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