Thiel or Meadowlark?

Could you share opinions on the Thiel 1.5 vs Meadowlark Swifts? I'd like to spend around $1000 for a small floorstander, small room 12'x12'x10', ARC tubes, Theta digital, VPI analog. Acoustic jazz, soft pop, older vinyl. Had Thiel 2 2's, haven't heard the Swifts. Must be placed close to rear wall, be revealing but musically involving. Been doing this 30 yrs. so all audiophile expectations apply. I know I'm asking alot but it's all I have to work with. Thanks, John.

I almost had a situtation like yours where I currently own a pair of Thiel 22's and moved into a smaller listening room (17x15x7). I decided to keep the 22's and so far am happy that I did. However, your scenerio was quite similar to mine. What I was leaning towards was going with the Thiel .5's and Sound Anchor Stands with a good musical sounding Sub like a REL. I feel that both the 1.5's and .5's are really too short when sitting on the floor for optimal listening. Many feel that they must be elevated off the ground a few inches so that the tweeter and midrange is at the correct level with your ears. With a good sub, you won't miss the low end of the 22's and should really get a much better end result. Most would never be happy stepping down or settling for something less than what we once had especially in this crazy hobby. Just my two cents.
Completely different in sound ..Thiels are more analytical,drier,and difficult to drive...Larks are smoother,more forgiving,and easier to mate with tubes or SS...both are phase correct...I find the Thiels metallic tweets bright...Larks only use fabric domes...very non-fatiguing....Thiels are very lean in is the new Lark "Swift"...if you can swing it...go with Kestrals...or a bigger albeit pricier Thiel...they both excel...but in completely opposite ways...good thread..
Can't argue with Islandflyfisher's assessment. Spot on. There is another Meadowlark thread today, a couple up the line. I shared some of my earlier feelings about Kestral and Swift. Swift's front port allows them to go close to the wall with little damage to the sound. I have yet to find a small floorstander that beats them out -- dollar for dollar, sound for sound. I have found a couple monitors that give them a run for the money, but they cost from $1700 - 3000. I think you should bring home some Swifts and listen for yourself. Also be prepared to play with wires.
If your going to go Meadowlark...go Kestrals...they have a much fuller presentation than the Swifts...the Swifts are a bit lean for my tastes...might work in a very small room...but overall I like the added low end of the Kestrals...they are a bit more in price...but the extra $400 or so is well spent...the Swifts also require stands...another "hidden" cost...good luck..

ive auditioned the kestrals and the herons, theyre very detailed but the bass on both models is patheteic - boomy,unbearable. On the other hand ive auditioned a few thiels. they offered very tight bass but were overly bright to the point wher they could be annoying. im in the the same boat as you, i cant find a speaker that offers detail and tight bass.the only speaker ive heard that blew me away were Wilsons save your money theyre probably worth it
Captpenny, let's turn this in a different direction, but also let me point out that ML Swift are floor standers. They come with feet that you attach to the bottom, so they do not require stands. Swallow is the same speaker but is a monitor needing stands. All the bird names starting with "S" can be confusing. A number of manufacturers are offering small and/or narrow floorstanders with stabalizing legs.

I also agree that Kestral can be boomy. The older/first versions were more this way than the newer ones (new being defined as post 1999). Possibly a little dark sounding, but overall a great speaker from day 1! Hopwever, this can be corrected by updating the cross-over. Heron (as many other speakers) can sound boomy if not correctly matched to an amp.

Question??? Phasecorrect -- where did you hear Swifts and what amp and cables were being used? I don't know if I would call the bass lean as much as not subwoofer bass present. Let's remember they use a fast 5" woofer. IMO they would offer decent bass, especially with Captpenny's analog set up.

We could start a new thread on what should bass really sound like. But, let's not go there now. Captpenny is seeking some input and help.

Anyway -- new direction. Captpenny -- Is a small floor stander essential? As mentioned, there are a few monitors out there (used of course for 1K) that could offer more than either Swift or 1.5s. But from a sound point of view, few will be more musical than Swift.
Make sure if you go with the Kestrel's go with the Hotrod version. Personally, the Vandersteen 2Ce Signature for the same money as the Hotrods, is a better overall sounding speaker. I have used both in the past and that was my conclusion. Of course, I didn't get "Boomy" bass out of the Kestrel. Sounded pretty good abeit a bit lean. Got to set them up right too. I mean a little 6.5" woofer can't do but so much.
So, to sum up, I personally wouldn't go with anything less than the Kestrel in the Meadowlark line. With the caveat mentioned above with the Vandersteen's, it is a good sounding little speaker.
Seems I've been listening to Meadowlarks next to Thiels for a couple of years, on and off. Seriously A/B'd some Thiel 2.3s and some ML Hotrod Shearwaters for quite a while -- bought the Thiels (and wrote a bit about what and why on a thread called "Thiel 2.3 VS Meadowlark Shearwater HR" if you feel like searching and reading about it).

On second thought, I’ll just impose part of it on you, as, over the years, it has pretty much come to reflect how I feel about Thiel v. Meadowlark across the boards:

That’s a tough call. Both are, in my opinion, great speakers. In the end, they ended up being the two I was trying to choose between. I got the Thiels, so I guess the best I can do is try to explain why. The Meadowlarks really do love tubes. They sounded the best when I was auditioning them on Conrad Johnson, VAC and Cary equipment. However, when I actually got the chance to A/B them with the Thiels, it was on a full Levinson setup with Nordost wires (which likely clocked in at around $40-50k retail, the works). The B&W Nautilus 804 was also in the shootoff, but we’ll leave them out for now because I preferred the Meadowlarks for some things, the Thiels for more things (as it turns out) and found the B&W’s to be solidly in the middle, doing everything well but, to my ears, being outperformed by either one or the other. The Meadowlarks, as a transmission line two-way, excel at voice (that much-vaunted driver they have in there really is all that). Female vocals literally gave me chills in a way that the Thiels just couldn’t match. Forward, immediate and very intimate. If you listened to just folkey acoustic stuff with a primary focus on voice and minimal instrumentation, these speakers would be hard to beat. However, when it came to more complex and dynamic material (or anything with a full orchestra) the Meadowlarks seemed to be trying too hard. You began to realize that the fantastic bass/midbass driver, no matter how fantastic, really was all alone down there and that there was only so much that all of the fancy transmission line tubing could do to prop it up. Now, don’t get me wrong, they sound great. It was really only by comparison that they seemed at all lacking, but, by comparison, the Thiels just seemed a whole lot fuller, flat and natural from top to bottom, and, for lack of a better word, just right. I won’t pretend that it is anything more than a personal preference, but they just seemed to get it all right. The Meadowlarks rendition of voice was simply chilling, maybe unnaturally so but very appealingly, while most of the rest of things seemed just vaguely strained, very subtlety, naggingly just beyond my ability to even understand why or how. I guess it is the fact that there was not really anything remarkable about the Thiels that make them so remarkable. It just seemed smooth and full, they call it “coherent,” which seems as good a word as any. Also, I guess the Meadowlarks were just a tad to forward for me, while the Thiels were much more laid back. I got some…

(Beginning of this year, I spent a while listening to a pair of HR Kestrels next to the (then) new Thiel 1.6. Unfortunately, the Thiels were about 2 days out of the box and were simply not ready for real listening yet, but recognizing the handicap, the Kestrels were much nicer sounding for $1k less. The Kestrel HR, I’d have to say, is quite a lot of speaker for the price.)

Finally, (you thought I’d forgotten) I had a listen to the Swifts precisely two days ago. They immediately reminded me of the Shearwaters with the immediate and palpable midrange. However, while the Shearwaters took careful listening and direct comparison for me to discern (or imagine) any fault with the rest of their dynamic range, the Swifts seemed to announce themselves as a one trick pooch right out of the gate. A very acceptable soundstage, a nice midrange, but the rest of the range seemed awfully stripped down and lean, without any real warmth or tonal richness or fullness or presence to speak of. They were impressive in the way that a little yippy dog can make a whole hell of a ruckus, chase off or discourage much larger beasts, and leave you impressed with their vigor and tenacity but, at the end of the day, five pounds worth of pooch is still only five pounds worth of pooch. Sure, the Swifts strut it well, make the most of what they’ve got, and may even run with the big(er) dogs for some applications – but, to my ears, they sounded like a very insistent little dog trying very hard but in a little over its head. Could they hang there, probably. Would I prefer a little more meat and weight and flesh on a speaker, absolutely. All in all, struck me as a dinky little two-way monitor perched up on some transmission line stilts with a dash of attitude and delusions of grandeur. There’s certainly a place for such a beast, but me, I’m sticking with the Thiels for the time being.
Both Thiels and Meadowlarks are very good speakers...which one is "better" really comes down to subjective taste...ultimately you have to decide what you want out of a speaker...precision imaging,dynamics,bass,transparency,detail, can be both exciting and extremely frustrating...for example...if you listen to primarly vocals and material that doesnt require alot of bass(acoustics,string quartets,etc)...Spendors and older Spicas are tough to beat...they really excel at 3-D imaging in this regard...however....they are a bit rolled off in the highs... offer very little bass...and lack dynamics...Vandersteens are very good in this regard as well(although they are rolled off as well)...but offer full range bass(40hz)...albeit a bit slow but very clean and musical...and are easier to drive than SPicas and SPendors....the Vandy 1c competes very well with the new Meadowlark Swift...and the original Kestral as well...and unlike the Swift...the Vandy 1c doesnt require a sub...they sound alot deeper than their specs suggest...

Thiels at your price point are a completely different bread...they offer greater detail...but are very "unforgiving" on recordings and source material...they also suffer from lack of dynamics...and the bass that is there is very tight but lean(they will require a sub)...the Meadowlark Kestrals and Vandersteen 1c are better "all arounders" in my opinion...
Thanks guys for all the feedback since I'm not able to hear all the good stuff where I live. I'm just creating a starting point and going from there. IMO Thiel is avery fine speaker but it does everything 'exactly', every time, so it distracts and disconnects me from the message. Maybe I'm getting old but I'd like more 'musicality' as I've spent so many years analyizing, chasing the elusive 'audio nirvana'. I feel if you reach too far, you forget why you started this pursuit in the first place. The music.
Best to you and yours, John