I have heard them against Kestrel, not the hot rod. I offer the following. The Swift is more accurate and faster than the Kestrel. Midrange is sweeter and the high-end maybe more open (I am allowing for my room here). It does not have the softening and rounding out in the bass that the Kestrel has. Kestrel may have a bit more room fill but this is at the expense of accuracy, openess and tonal balance. Overall, the Swift will out perform it. With the Mac amp, Swift will just sing.
Respone #2: There was a thread in 8-26 about Meadowlark. Good feedback on the hot rods. Sound like it will be up to your ears, room and space. Swifts are front ported so you have more placement options. Good luck.
Both speakers are approx 36 inches tall and reasonable size for bedroom installation. But the comparison might be more interesting if you were to consider Gershman "Cameleons" instead of the Kestrels. The "Cameleon" are 48 inches high but only have a 10"X10" footprint. They are also about the same money "new" as the Kestrels, approx $1800. Though, the Swifts may be very hard to beat for the money especially in a small to medium size room. All in all, the Gershman may be a better speaker but for your needs are they worth the extra money. Good Luck!! SJ
Auditioned the Kestrals, bought the Swifts. Incredible range, dynamics and soundstage. Using with a Bryston B-60 integrated and Rotel RCD-961 CD player. Kimber Hero interconnects and 4TC speaker wire. Excellent bang for the buck!!! Highly recommended.
I would have to disagree...Go Kestrals...they have much more bass than the Swifts...and overall offer a fuller midrange presentation...the swifts to me sound hollow,thin,and lean...more like monitors with stands than a floorstander...the Hotrod is also $600 or so more new...so it should be better...I like Meadowlark...but the Swifts are way overated in my opinion...if you want even a cheaper option...used vandersteen 1cs for around $500...virtually identical phase correct sound...
I agree in part with Phasecorrect. I spent about 3 hours with the Swifts and Kestrel Hotrods with a variety of music, both excellent and not so good recordings. I do have to say both speakers are fairly forgiving (unlike the Thiel 1.5s, which were sufficiently revealing to render most of my collection unlistenable). The Swifts are excellent above 80hz - I was very taken in by the presentation of female vocals, acoustic instruments and wind instruments by the Swifts, which I found to be rich and involving, though male vocals and rock were excellent as well. However, despite the stated frequency extension down to 35hz, I found the Swifts to be completely empty in the mid-to-low bass (admittedly, the pair I listened to were about 4 feet from the rear wall but I found this placement necessary to bring out the soundstage and dynamics the Swifts have frequently been complemented on). The Kestrels, though not extending as far down as larger speakers, do offer a far more complete musical picture, at the expense of some detail and richness in the midrange. I cannot say whether this is an actual difference in the sonic signatures of the Kestrel v Swift, or simply a byproduct of the Kestrel's wider dynamic range, which conceivably could have shifted the acoustic focus towards the middle band. Perhaps the Swift's limited range contributed to Phasecorrect's impression of hollowness? I do find the Swifts an excellent speaker if they suit your music collection. I dropped them from my list, substituted the Kestrels, and the search continues.
Cary 303/200 CD (and Arcam CD72T, briefly)
Musical Fidelity A3.2 Integrated
Funny, I find myself in the exact same position trying to decide between these two Meadowlarks. listen@energytrip: your comment about the Swift needing to "fit the music collection" intrigued me. Could you elaborate a little? I listen to a lot of jazz ('45-'65 mostly, which often lacks something in recording finesse), as well as classical. If I interpret your post right, this would give the edge to the Swift?
As a Swift owner, I would like to add that this speaker can do all types of music, especially jazz. It is not hollow and with correct placement the mid to low bass fills the room, is very satisfying and one of the speakers strong points. Don't listen to people who haven't spent time with this speaker in their own environment. Also it has to have close to 100 hrs break in and then it really starts to open up, sounding better and better with each listening session. What it does for its size and cost is incredible.
Contrary to current designer trends...I am not a big fan of very small drivers...often 5" or smaller...in a floorstanding configuration(such as the Swifts)...the same could be said for monitors...you cant overcome physics...they simply dont move enough air to generate lower frequencies...and regardless of design...be it bass reflex,t-lines,etc...you can only squeeze so much out of a small driver...the trade-offs are improved imaging,soundstaging,etc...due to a smaller or slimmer enclosure...and that is true...maybe Im being a little to critical of a 1k speaker...but 1k to me will always be alot of money...and I hate to pick on Meadowlark...they are a very good company making excellent products...and back to the original poster's question...I would still side with used Kestrals...or as mentioned...used Vandersteen 1cs which incorporate an 8" driver in a boxless design
Absolutly true Phasecorrect, you can only expect so much from a 5" driver but then again, no speaker is perfect and the law of diminishing returns comes into play. It's just where you make the cut off point for your personal needs.
Indeed the Kestral is fine and so is the Vandy. I wish I had them all! Good thread.
A few posts ago I was in the process of deciding and, having decided, here's my input. I ended up getting the Kestrel Hot Rods over the Swifts and I am quite happy with them so far. To me they just sound more "complete." Certainly enough bass for me from that little driver, though I am in a small room. The upper end detail is beautiful, cymbals ring and linger but don't draw attention to themselves. Mids do blend together some, but I kind of like that frankly. I should mention as a matter of taste that I prefer overall musicality to detail. Though jazz has my heart, I listen to just about everything under the sun and these speakers seem to handle the range well.
I listened to both at a local store and I used to own the Kestrels.
Kestrel, no comparison. The fact is the Swifts may advertise frequency response lower than the Kestrels but the Kestrels have more bottom end. The Swifts just did have the low end or presence the Kestrels had.
This was comparing non-HR Kestrels.
Also, the Swift has a nicer finish but I like the Kestrel profile better.