Review: Meadowlark Audio kestrel 2 Speaker

Category: Speakers

My musical tastes run the board but mainly jazz and classical stuff with the occasional latin world beat for pure fun. Replacing a 1 yr. old set of NHT 3 way towers was a hard decision as the low end and crispness of these speakers is superb for the price. Nonetheless the high end bug had bitten me and inner detail and tonality were now more important. With 2 common walls in my new townhome high volume listening was now limited tremondously so clarity at lower levels was critical. Having read so many superb reviews on Meadowlark audio I settled on the pair at the upper end of my budget and purchased the new kestrel 2 models. Finding an hardly used pair in light ash with a maple stringer down the front on audiogon was my opportunity. The new design is pure elegance and the finish is superb. I won't go into specs. here but after one mos. all I can say is these speakers are worth twice the price! The clarity and soundstage is awesome. The low end on these is pure magic given the size of the woofer. No muddiness in bass whatsoever at even above average litening levels. Mids are clear and highs are fantastic with no brightness as far as I can hear. These are NOT forward sounding speakers though so don't expect a head banging rock and roll experience. They will deliver a punch but it will not be overly aggressive. Note I said OVERLY aggressive. These 'time alligned transmission line loaded' speakers are truly amazing values for the $$$. So many reviews out there are available and almost all of them say the same thing...These babies are a definite MUST listen before considering anything below $3,000.00. Given my limited ability to crank the volume I can't imagine replacing these for a long time evn if money were no object. These are not overly critical speakersbut they will reveal poor recordings as such. However they are extremely musical and disappear quickly given the proper source material.
I have been considering selling my Dynaudio Contour 1.3MkII and getting the Kestrel 2 speakers. I have a musical fidelity 3.2 integrated and a sony front end. I do not have a local dealer, so I am hesitant to buy without hearing. I wonder what I would be gaining/losing in the trade off. I'm looking for a little more low end and a warmer midrange. The Dyn's are very critical of everything. I wonder if this is the speaker for me. I hear they are not that great at loud volumes...

Thanks for the review. I originally heard the Kestrel 1's(?) at one of the CES shows years ago, and after listening to a large amount of $5000+ speakers, these were the only ones at the show that I felt I could listen to more than 15 minutes. Very relaxed and non-fatiguing.
interesting you thought the bass was a little lacking... i think so much has to do with listening room acoustics because sometimes i want to tame the bass a little but i think it is a matter of resonance in my room. my desire to maintain the 'purist' approach though keeps my hands off of the NAD bypass buton. never got a chance to hear the totems but they must be a damn fine speaker. how much did you pay if you don't mind?
I just purchased a pair of new Kestrel 2's a couple of months ago for $1000.00 along with Rega's new Apollo CD player. My electronics are a bit shaky; well, the amp. I have an Acurus A200 and Acurus RL-11 pre. I am more than satisfied with the RL-11, but for some reason, there doesn't seem to be any synergy with the Kestrels and the A200. Any thoughts? My dealer has offered to sell me his demo VTL ST-85 & TL-2.2 in a package for $2000.00.
I love my Nucore electromagnetics, Cathedral Sound LR42 transmission line loudspeakers. The Kestrel 2 is a transmission line enclosure design and also a very good sounding, very beautiful and I do agree, great for condo or apartment dwellers.
Replaced 170WPC NAD int amp with modified jolida int. tube amp (60 WPC) first foray into tubes, but i cannot imagine going back to ss amp with the kestrals sounding the way they do now. having listened to both types of power extensively i would encourage you to connect some tubes to them before you consider buying ss gear. you will lose some deep bass punch but the mids and highs are marvelously natural open and uncolored.
Kestrel 2's seem to be born for tubes. I've run mine with a Jolida 302b with very good results and now am using a higher powered Jolida 801a (70wpc) with great results. Right now I'm playing around with a Rega Apollo as the source and it is fitting in just fine, although for music that asks for deeper, more defined bass, I've been reverting my old CAL Alpha DAC and using the Apollo as a transport.
I have never heard Meadowlark and I wish I had (will). It is too bad they overextended themselves.

I have kestrel 2, driven by Primaluna Prologue 2 + Koala Tube CD Player, the sound very beautiful can be compared to gears that have double the price.
I have used k2 with a shanling stp 80 with parts connexion level 2 mod and think it was a great match for tone, midrange and soundstage...the only thing i did was add a sub for foundation and it mates nicely with the k2s.....i now have them hooked up to a mf a5 and wow...power can be a wonderful thing
I am very torn between these and a pair of new Quad 22L. I am afraid that these will lack the lower end a bit. I have a 22 x 11 room to fill and the speakers will be away from walls. I don't want overweight bass, but I like sound as full as is possible. Any help?
I, too, have a pair of Kestrel 2s that I feel I'm very fortunate to have. Not only for their sound, which has been glorious in the two years I've owned them, but also for finding them a few months before the company went under, and most of all for getting them at a great price.

I found a dealer in Chicago who carried them, and I went there, curious to hear the K2s, but mainly to hear, and maybe buy, the Swifts. I fell in love with the K2s immediately (they were being driven by a pair of Rogue monoblocks, I seem to recall). When it became clear that as much as I wanted the K2s, I wasn't prepared to buy speakers that expensive, at least not that very day, the dealer said he'd sell me the floor models for a discount, as he had just taken on the Meadowlark line and wanted to get things rolling with a sale.

He went off with his cell phone in one hand and his calculator in the other, while I stood there and waited. I've been in this hobby for almost 30 years, and was expecting him to offer maybe $100 to $150 off, which I thought was realistic for him, given margins on small-company high-end goods, but still more than I was prepared to spend that day. He finally came back and said he could knock $400 off (and no, they weren't damaged in any way). And this was $400 off their $1600 price, not their final price of about $2K. Now I had a problem...I couldn't say no. For one thing, my brother was with me, and he said if I didn't buy them, he would (and he already had a pair of *very* nice Sonus Fabers).

What could I do? I *had* to buy them. I've been living very happily with them ever since, driving them with a 20-year-old B&K ST-140, though I just picked up a used PrimaLuna P2 here on Agon and I'm almost unbelievably excited to try them with it (my listening room is torn apart in the last stages of basement finishing). I've heard a lot of talk about the K2s having a special affinity for tubes. Can't wait!