Enjoy the Music.com

Letters To Us

 

12/02

Colin,

I enjoyed your review of the Omega TS2 speaker and, having heard it first hand, agree with your evaluation.

Sometime when you have a chance, try the TS1R. Most of the weaknesses you describe in your review are improved to a remarkable degree in the TS1R. It still demands a subwoofer to get down to the lower registers and is sensitive to room placement. The listening experience is simply a bit more satisfying.

Having tried a variety of amplification, I prefer a good tube amp to most any solid state I tried. The little Aleph by Pass was, however, exceptional as well.

Tillman


Tillman,

Thank you for your kind comments. I appreciate the time and trouble it takes to write to us, so it is especially nice to get feedback from our readers – both good and bad. 

I might just try the Omega TS1R after all. Some manufacturers are just so helpful, offering more and more equipment. Louis Chochos at Omega is one of those. He has a new design he would like me to listen to, but I am not in any rush. I would rather hear a wide variety of loudspeaker designs at various price points, than consider a narrow selection from a few manufacturers. 

I have Coincident’s cherry Triumph Signatures UHS and Classic Audio’s Cinema Ensembles to review, along with a pair of pi horn loudspeakers in the queue. All of these loudspeakers will be auditioned with my low powered tube and solid state amplifiers, along with a surprisingly well made and very low cost integrated SE tube amplifier from nOrh, (the company that makes round marble loudspeakers in Thailand).

I know what you mean about the differences between tube and solid state amplifiers, particularly the Aleph. The Pass X250, which I reviewed here, made me realize just how good solid state amplifiers can be in some the of the areas that tube amp do so well. Our own, very experienced, Dick Olsher gave a glowing review of the Volksamp Aleph 30 SE amplifier. I would like to hear that amplifier someday. Yours in listening,

Colin

 

12/02

Colin,

Omega Ts1 References Have you heard the Omega ts1 references? I read your review on the ts1’s and based the review I decided to order the omega ts1r’s. I thought the R’s will give it 100 on the value scale? I have an Audiomat Arpege an el34 based amp, what is your opinion on this combination? I have not received the speakers yet though. I just wanted to know your opinion. 

Thanks, Andre

 

Andre, 

By the time
Enjoy the Music.com™ readers see this, you will have received the Omega TS1s Reference loudspeakers and played them with your amplifier. The TS1 References are Louis Chochos' step up from the models which I reviewed quite favorably in October 2002. The Arpège is a well-regarded $1,900 integrated amplifier with EL34 power tubes, 12AX7 driver tubes, 30-watts/channel, nearly 60 pounds, and a family reputation for very good sound at very reasonable prices.

So by now, you will have hooked your new Omegas up to your enticing French amplifier. You will have admired your choice of exterior color, noted that the Omega premium exterior looks better in real life than on Omega’s web site, plugged them in, noted the crowding a single driver does with multiple instruments, appreciated their high-sensitivity, even mid-range, smooth tonal balance, dynamic snap and surprisingly sharp treble definition. 

After an extended listening period, during which neither the amplifier, nor the loudspeakers have worn out your ears, you have either decided that this type of audio nirvana is exactly what you are looking for, or chosen another route. By now, you will either agree with me that the Omegas, like most competent bookshelf loudspeakers, even large ones, need some active solid state subwoofer support, or you are considering full-range floor-standing models, which certainly do better in the bass department. If Omega sound is
not to your liking, may I suggest the Newtronics Skate Mk. II leanin' transmission lines, Meadowlark's Swift sharp-looking buttkicker for under $1k/pair, and the excellent Axiom Audio Millennia M80Ti line driver arrays. Either way, please let me know what you think, in the context of my reviews. Thanks for writing. Yours, in listening,

Colin

 

12/02

Wayne,

I have been interested in Meadowlark speakers for about two years and your reviews of the Swift and Blue Heron were very helpful. Unfortunately, the nearest Meadowlark dealer is four hours away from me. I talked with the dealer today, and he described the Swift as a very pleasing but not a very resolving speaker, particularly compared to ProAc. I do not want to drive four hours to audition the Meadowlark line if I know ahead of time that I won't be interested. I did not take your review to suggest that these are soft and rounded speakers without detail. Do you expect the Osprey to lack detail or would you describe Meadowlark speakers as having a soft, unresolving character compared to competing products? I currently have T! alon Peregrines which I find wearing to listen to after a period of time (using BAT Vk5i and Vk60), and I am looking for an alternative. My search is for a musical but accurate speaker that I can listen to comfortably for several hours at a time. Also, the Meadowlark website provides a step-response graph for the Heron, but is there technical information such as impulse, frequency, and spectral decay measures available for the various models that you are aware of? 

Regards,
Stephen R. Close


Stephen,

I cannot comment on Meadowlark vs. ProAc, as I have never compared them directly. I must confess that I didn't know ProAc made a loudspeaker in the $1,000/pair range. I think you got the gist of my opinion about the Swift in the review. But to make the point as plainly as possible, I do not find it at all lacking in detail resolution considering its price -- and I would certainly not call it soft.

I still have not received ttohe Ospreys for review, although they are promised soon. I would expect their detail resolution to be notably better than the Swift, given that they are a 3-way design costing 3 times more. But that, of course, must remain conjecture until I have a chance to evaluate them properly.

If you want more graphic evidence on various Meadowlark models, I suggest you contact Pat McGintywith at pat@meadowlarkaudio.com. But since time coherence is McGinty's No. 1 design priority, I think you'll find that the entire line performs similarly in that respect.

Good luck in your search.

Wayne Donnelly

 

12/02

Dear Colin,

I have recently read one of your reviews. I also like the Axiom M3ti speakers. I have had mine for almost three years, and never get tired of listening to them. My other equipment includes a Radio Shack receiver (60w/channel) and a Radio Shack CD player. My speakers are set on IKEA stands ($10/pair).

I think this system sounds very good. Do you think I would get a better sound with a tube amp? I have never heard or used one before. I read your review of the ASL wave 8 amps. They look interesting, but I wouldn't want to spend money on something unless it improves the sound. I listen mainly to 16th Century choral music. Thanks for considering my question.

Sincerely,
Peter Zepfler


Peter,

Absolutely. I recently had the opportunity to spend an evening again with Axiom’s charming little M3Tis, driven by the punchy little ASL Wave 8s. We supped on marinated steaks and sipped Courvoisier cognac. We listened to 60’s female folk rock albums. Comparing my previous auditions, this evening and your equipment list, I venture to say that you are not getting the most that you can out of your loudspeakers. Properly driven from a proper placement position, the M3Tis are quite capable little performers for the money. Although the 16th century recording techniques were quite rudimentary (I think the monks had to spin the parchments with a quill as the needle!), the choral works are unparalleled masterpieces of vocalization and tone. So too are competent tube components. Compared to some awfully expensive electronic components, tubes are masters of vocalizations and tone. While they are quite rudimentary devices themselves, you can listen to them for a century and they never wear out your ears. 

If your receiver has pre-amplifier outs, you can use that as a pre-amplifier for something like the $99 Wave 8s. This is certainly a step in the right direction. Better yet, is the nOrh SE9 integrated amplifier (review due December). The nOrh is a good-looking integrated unit, imported from Thailand. At only $499 for an assembled, shipped to your door, and hefty (38-pound) unit, this would give you a tube front-end and a EL34 tube amplifier for a bargain basement price. It doesn’t have a lot of power for loudspeakers of typical sensitivity (9-watts), but I don’t think you will miss that with choral work. I would look at other integrated tube models from ASL and Jolida. 

After that, I would also get something like a Music Hall turntable, with something like a Grado cartridge, to play the dozens of great choral recordings you can find on old black 12" vinyl discs for twenty-five and fifty cents. You can put together a sweet little system for 16th century choral work. With properly placed loudspeakers, integrated tube amplifier, solidly mounted turntable, musical cartridge and dozens of low-cost, high fidelity recordings, then you can really sit back, sip the Courvoisier and Enjoy the Music!

Colin

 

12/02

Colin,

I read and enjoyed your review of the Axiom M80ti speakers. I am ready to buy a pair of new speakers, as my 30 some year old Electrovoice ev-16 ? speakers have bit the dust. The two speakers that interest me are the Axiom (whish I have never heard), and the Klipsch model Klf-10 which sell now for as low as $600. The Klipsch I have listened to and like fairly well. The main drawback would be they are a little imposing both in their sound and physical presence. They knock me out in the showroom but I am not sure about my living room. At the $600 dollar price point I have not heard any thing that compares. What I like about the axioms (besides the specs and rave reviews) is that by being jus 3 inches narrower, they will fit in my living room without moving the furniture. Two things make me hesitant -the Axioms are $400 more and I have not heard them. I am perplexed. I have a medium large living/dining room. A harmon/kardon AVr 40 receiver at 60ish watts/ch. I listen to classical, jazz and the occasional rock. Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

thanks,

Bob Mc


Bob,

Okay, thanks for sending me a tough one. Tough, because while I am a fan of Klipsch’s big old horns and do like their conventional loudspeaker line, I have not seriously auditioned any of their current loudspeakers with my own system in my living room…yet. Something of theirs is supposed to be on the way. What, we have not yet decided. 

It is tough for anybody to recommend anything else if you have heard them, you like them, they knock you out, you can try them at home and the price is lower. Not much is going to beat that. Three inches is not a lot to sacrifice for a sound that you like. Just look at my poor suffering spouse, one room of our house is crammed with loudspeakers like the skyscrapers downtown. Besides, not every body likes the clear, crisp sound of horns. 

60-watts is more than enough to drive super sensitive horn loudspeakers (95-dB/w/m or more). Just be aware that horns are in a whole different ballgame than regular cone loudspeakers. The quality of the front-end components becomes more crucial than the sheer quantity of the watts. So the money which you save on Klipsch’s square black boxes, you may end up spending on improved components. Of course, if you enjoy the music, you may end up buying better stuff anyway. After you have lived with them for a while, let me know how you think they sound.

Yours in listening, 

Colin

 

12/02

Wayne,

I enjoyed and appreciate your reviews in Enjoy the Music.com™ of both the Blue Herron and Swift. But, you failed to answer the million dollar question that I'm trying to get an answer to: how does the Swift compare to Kestrel?! And, bygosh, you're somebody who could answer that question since you own Kestrels. Are the Swifts slated to replace the Kestrels in the Meadowlark line?

You mentioned that you're going to be reviewing the Ospreys soon. Again, the obvious questions we want to know the answer to are how they compare to the Shearwaters and if the Ospreys will be replacing this venerable 2-way.

I've had Kestrels in my system for about three years (non-HotRod). Within the next year I hope to step up, perhaps to Shearwaters or Ospreys. Maybe I should hold out for a pair of Herron-i's (but, they're probably out of my price-range). I also want to listen to Thiels and Vandersteens.

I'm not asking you for personalized guidance but rather encouraging you to discuss and compare the Shearwaters with Ospreys in your next review since that is something that most of your readers who are interested in these products will have an interest in knowing. While the Kestrels offered great value, I've always thought that the Shearwaters were a little pricey compared to the competition at their price-point/performance (e.g. I suspect that Vandy 3s will offer a lot more than hearwaters at a similar price). 

Keep up the good work.

Best,

Brian Rossmann
Bozeman, MT.


Dear Brian:

I'm sorry that my Swift review didn't answer your burning question. Fact is, I have not heard the standard Kestrel for about four years. And although I have owned the Hot Rod Kestrels, I no longer have them, and they were not around when the Swifts were. I try very hard to resist the impulse to be oracular, but if you want my speculations, here goes.

Memory tells me that the Hot Rods, at a 70% price premium, can deliver notably better performance than the Swift, especially in bass authority and treble refinement. But remember, this opinion is based on memory, not direct comparison. Next, I SUSPECT that the Swift comes very near the performance of the standard Kestrel, and that with the 40% price premium for the Kestrel, the Swift is likely to erode Kestrel sales. Again, speculation with no empirical evidence to support it. As to whether the Swift might replace the Kestrel, I just don't know. Pat McGinty does not share his business strategies with me, nor would I want him to.

As for the Osprey/Shearwater question, I do recall that Mr. McGinty remarked in passing that while the Osprey would doubtless replace the Shearwater for many potential buyers -- including yourself, I would guess, given your thoughts about the value of the Shearwater vs. other brands -- that the Shearwater would continue to be built for those listeners who admire its special qualities.

When the Osprey review happens, I will try to borrow a pair of Shearwaters for some comparisons. I don't, however, expect Meadowlark to send them to me. In these sucky economic times, I think it's unreasonable to ask a manufacturer to tie up salable inventory and incur additional shipping costs for such a purpose. But if a local Meadowlark dealer is willing to lend me a pair for a few days, I'll try my best to characterize the differences between the two models.

And once more, I don't know what Meadowlark will do in terms of future product line decisions. One might reasonably conjecture that the line will evolve toward the new techniques represented by the Swift, but that's conjecture, not knowledge.

Thank you for your kind words, and I assure you I will try to make my reviews as informative as possible without resorting to unsubstantiated speculation.

Best wishes,

Wayne Donnelly

 

12/02

Hi Wayne,

I've just finished reading your review on the Swift's. Do you have any plans to review the Osprey? I'm very curious to know if Mr. McGinty's Bass-ic system really works. I'm also interested to hear how these 3-ways will compare to the Shearwaters. Finally, is there any difference in quality between the Scanspeak drivers, as used in the Osprey's, and the Vifa drivers which are used as the 5" midrange in the speaker?

Thanks for all the interesting reading.

Regards,

Larry Phillips



Hi Larry --

Yes, as I stated in the review that you just finished reading, I will be reviewing the Osprey in due course. Full production on that model has been delayed by the huge demand for the Swift. I am also curious about how the BASS-IC technique will perform in a larger loudspeaker, but as far as I'm concerned, the principle has already been validated by the Swift. If the doubt I detect in your note has to do with the numerical score of 75 that I assigned to the sub-bass of the Swift, I suggest you read my correspondence with another reader on the subject of numerical ratings. It's in the Letters section, dated 11/02.

It's impossible for me to give you a meaningful answer about the relative quality of the drivers you mention, as I have no test laboratory. Both brands are highly respected, and make transducers of MANY types and performance levels at a wide range of prices. Given the results I have heard from the Meadowlark line, I'm perfectly content to trust Pat McGinty and his team to provide the best drivers possible for the price point of any of their loudspeakers.

Regards,

Wayne Donnelly 

 

 

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