Review: Meadowlark Audio Shearwater hotrod Speaker

Category: Speakers

Every piece of equipment I review had been used in my own system under the conditions of my listening room.

Meadowlark Shearwater Hot Rods are 2-way floor standing transmission line speakers with slopped baffles. They deploy 1st order crossover and time-coherent design. All drivers and crossover’s elements are those of highest quality. They are 89 DB sensitive, and 12 SET watts will drive them good enough. 8 SET watts did not work for me though.

Very detailed, airy and transparent with good solid state (Monarchy Audio SM-70 Pro mono blocks, bi-amping). They could be on the dry side with some analytical SS-amps though.
Tubes are what Shearwaters really made for. They are easy to drive, and they combine spectrally reach natural tones with great rhythm and amazingly low, tight, and well-controlled bass response. Frequency response is linear and coherent through the entire range. In my system, Shearwaters Hot Rods are at home with either jazz, rock, classical, ambient or ethnic music.

2-way lover’s two way. Could lay a solid foundation for a decent high-end system if paired with the followed tube amps: Cary 572SE mono blocks, Rogue 88, VTL-85, Mesa Boogie Tigris, Musical Research RM-200. Rather expensive when new, but you will get what you pay for.

Associated gear
Amplifiers: Cary 572SE Signature mono blocks, Rogue 88 power amp, Mesa Tigris power amp, ASL STM8 mono blocks, Monarchy Audio SM-70 balanced mono blocks, Golden Tube SM-50I mkII integrated, Dynaco-35 integrated, NAD integrated. Various Cardas, Granite Audio, and Audioquest speaker cables.

Similar products
Soliloquy 5.0s, Sound Dynamics 300i,
Sonus Faber Concertino, B&W DM603.
I had recently purchased a pair of the basic shearwaters and not the hot rod version. I love these speakers. They hold up at any level and any music choices. The harder you push them, the better they sound. This is my first pair of two way speakers and I am not sure if this is a two way traight.
I have had 2 1/2 way and 3 ways that almost always fold under the pressures of loud hard rock. The bass is plenty and not at all what I have read on some reviews. In fact I think it is very accurate bass.
The grill socks do suck and that should be looked at by Meadowlark.
I have used Paradigms, Magnepan, Thiel and Proac speakers.
The Shearwaters blow them all away with no question.
Have purchased a set of Shearwater Hot Rods, am building a
system from scratch. I am partial to tubes or hybrids, but would like
an integrated amplifier for convenience, space, and simplicity.
My thoughts thus far: Audio Research, BAT VK300x, T+A? Room
is approx 21 x 15, with a large side alcove 10 x 9, cathedral ceiling to 12 feet. Music runs the gamut from small scale chamber
and vocal to jazz, rock, and opera. Are there possibly other amplifier choices to consider which won't break the bank? Internal
phono stage a plus, but not strictly necessary.
Thank you for any thoughts you might have.
Hi, Litdude -

I'm using a Cayin TA-30 integrated amp (KT90 type III power tubes biased to 450 mv, Tesla ECC803S inputs and Amperex 7316 PQ drivers) in a 16' x 30' room to good effect with my Shearwater Hotrods. Most satisfying.
Just an up-date. I sold mine. I just ended up wanting something else. No complaints at all about these speakers. For that kind of money used, they are one of the most accurate buys out there.
I, like IRC3479, am also using the Cayin-TA30 to drive Meadowlarks, but I have the Kestral Hot Rods. The Shearwater hotrods will probably by my next set of speakers.
The Cayin drives Meadowlarks very well. May do some tube rolling to see what changes will occur, and to have a spare set of tubes for re-tubing some day.

thanks for the input on the Cayin TA30. I am trying to find some local souce so that I might hear one. In the meantime I have discovered that one of the folks at BAT uses the Shearwater Hot Rods with their VK300x. This, too, might be interesting, as I love the amp. So many possibilities...
Was able to swing some Blue Heron 2's . They are sweet. Great sound at low/mid to mid volume. Shake the room at higher volumes. Hearing things I never heard on my CD's before.
Planning on bi-amping. Emailed Meadowlard and Busy Bee for suggestions. Want to go solid state on the bass to see what happens.
The original Cayin EL 34 tubes developed a problem the week before the new speakers were purchased. No 3 and 4, not sure which, started crackling, so I was getting right channel noise. First it was only at turn on or off, but within days was totally unuseable, full time noise.
Put a matched set of 4 Mullard EL34 New Stock in, (Tube Depot $90 overnighted)and it never sounded better. I checked the bias when the new tubes went in. The bias on 1 and 2 was at 350, the correct value,but 3 and 4 were at 500. Cranked em back to 350.Not sure if that is why 3 or 4 went, but I notice that the cage has indications that it was exceptionally hot over no 3 or 4.
Guess I should have checked the bias on the Cayin when it came to me used a couple of months ago.