Another ESS AMT-1a pyramid rebuild thread

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by 13stoploss, Nov 23, 2015.

  1. essNeff

    essNeff AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Way to go! Nice spray job.
    You have some Thirsty lookin' Walnut veneer!
    At least a few coats of Tung or Danish oil for them.
    Those oils do smell bad though, maybe let them dry outside!
     
  2. 13stoploss

    13stoploss Active Member

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    Nah, as soon as I finish the top spray, I'll be re-veneering the bottom cabinet. :)
     
  3. Porkloin

    Porkloin Oscar Heil Groupie Subscriber

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    I'm jealous. Back when I wanted to build a pair of pyramids from scratch, I found a guy up on the border (Canada) with a pole building full of exotic hardwoods and veneers. I purchased a couple of sheets of what he called "Cuban Mahogany" and was looking forward to hand rubbing in between coats for inordinate amounts of time. Then the project gods handed me something easier with a transition driver. Bastards.
    Unfortunately, I have to take on a smaller speaker for the next project as I only have enough to do that or the bottom of an AMT-1.

    BillyBobGeneration4.gif
     
  4. 13stoploss

    13stoploss Active Member

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    Welp, grad school summer session is winding down, Little League playoffs are this weekend (which means almost over), and the weather's getting nice. It's about time I finished these speakers.

    Needs: veneer, bolts, Euro-style connectors, rubber AMT base, fix grilles


    I'd recently bought brand new ESS 12" rubber-surround drivers, brand new ESS 12" rubber-surround passive radiators, brand new ESS AMTs. And, as this thread shows, I've already built brand new AMT-1a crossovers to break in. So, minus cabinets and grilles, this is an all new speaker system that currently sells for roughly $4000-5000.

    I thought I was good to go with my new parts, but some minor details got in the way. Brand new AMTs don't come with bolts. So I went to my local hardware store, and then two different big box stores, but I couldn't find a 7" or 8" length. I searched online. It looked like a 7" or 8" would suffice, and 5/8" fit between the two magnets in the AMT. So, since they were cheap, I bought both.

    WHOOPS.

    5/8" fit through the magnets in the AMT but didn't screw into the cabinet. Too thick. OK, so 1/4"?

    In case you were wondering, a 7" x 1/4" hex bolt w/20 thread count is the proper size. I bought four stainless steel from boltdepot.com for $16.

    Test fit tonight was a success, except... the brand new AMTs also didn't come with that nifty Euro-style, double-row connector. And when looking at the AMTs, it appears the pink and purple wire gauge coming out of the AMT is thinner (if that's possible, they were thin before!) than the pair I sold on my AMT Monitors. Weird. I wonder if I can change that out to a ticker gauge wire to match the crossover wire I have coming out of the cabinet?

    Anyway, after swearing I wouldn't buy from them again, I went back to Allied Electronics and bought new WECO 4-post, 2-row, Euro-style terminal strip. Those should arrive next week. The cheapest shipping was 3x more than double the number of parts I needed.

    I've also already cut veneer. I've also never applied veneer, but here's the cut:

    [​IMG]

    I will tackle veneer in July, if not sooner. Wish me luck!

    -jason
     
  5. essNeff

    essNeff AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Home Depot has 1/4 " threaded rod that you could cut to size. You an use 1/4" Acorn nuts for the tops and regular nuts for the bottoms with the appropriate washers.
    Keep us updated on your progress and GOOD LUCK!
     
  6. Porkloin

    Porkloin Oscar Heil Groupie Subscriber

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    My initial thought was, just run down to Home Depot and pick up some 5/8 T-nuts, but once you do that, it would be a little difficult to go back to 1/4" in the future.
     
  7. 13stoploss

    13stoploss Active Member

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    Received the Euro connectors today while I was teleworking at home. So, of course, I had to stop what I was doing and hook them up, fire them up, and give a listen. This conveniently coincided with the selling of my ESS PS-4 towers that I needed to unhook, the ones with the 10" driver, 10" front-facing passive, and the smaller, non-bi-radiating AMT.

    Sad to report that I'm not wowed by the AMT-1a rebuild. Brand new drivers, brand new passives, brand new AMTs, fully rebuilt crossovers. Guess it needs a few dozen hours to warm up? After having heard the PS-4s for the past few months--exclusively!--the missing mid-range is concerning. It has plenty of low frequency, and it sounded good, it just didn't blow me away like I expected and remembered.

    Source was a good audio vinyl, powered by 300w of Emotiva XPA-2.

    Finishing up veneering my old man's ESS PS-8 speakers (my dummy practice test, first time veneering), then will veneer these before recording video. Hopefully by then they wake up some.
     
  8. Porkloin

    Porkloin Oscar Heil Groupie Subscriber

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    Not sounding good after absorbing so much of your elbow grease. That's got to be the worst form of insult to injury.
    I wonder if there would be a market out there for a midrange version of the ESS AMT Elite. Maybe get one of those Borlander Graebner tranducers in an enclosure with 5 of it's 6 sides with open grills, a bandpass crossover and an L-pad.
    Wishful thinking on my part. There's no market for anything over 45 cents amongst the vintage aficionados.
     
  9. 13stoploss

    13stoploss Active Member

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    I'm not sure I follow what you're getting at. Is the AMT Elite that small woofer-less center channel looking thing?

    I was just talking to Ricky at ESS last night (Tuesday; today is Wednesday). I know that he has some projects he's working on that haven't been released, so if whatever you're proposing has a business sense, it could be pitched...

    Back to my own. They sound fine. I was just expecting to be blown away after listening to the PS-4 for a few months. Instead of being blown away, it feels like something is missing (mids) rather than awesome OMG TEH AMT HEILS being added. I honestly think bi-amping would bring me what I'm looking for. Just need a bi-ample crossover (based on the AMT Monitor?) and another amp...
     
  10. Porkloin

    Porkloin Oscar Heil Groupie Subscriber

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    Any crossover is "bi-ampable" if you care to get clever with some dykes and a soldering iron. Those monitors you had were just pre-dyked-soldered for you. It wouldn't be rocket science to build a safer system than attaching amplfiers directly to naked tweeters either.
    It doesn't sound like you want to remain static either, as if I remember correctly, you were relatively happy with the monitors before you sold them. Could this be a lesser chapter in the story of your audio life?
     
  11. 13stoploss

    13stoploss Active Member

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    I don't actually know what I'm doing. When I made new 1a crossovers on new boards, with new terminals and strips and wires, I literally copied what I had. If I can modify what I have/what I've made to accommodate a bi-amp, then I'm absolutely interested. I just need someone to show me what to do.

    Yes, I was very happy with my AMT Monitors. Especially bi-amped with a tube amp powering the AMT. The choice to sell the Monitors and keep the pyramids is strictly aesthetic--I love mid-century modern architecture and furniture, and live in a house that could be confused for MCM. It certainly has some of the features. The pyramids, too.

    Lesser chapter in the story of my audio life? I am hopeful to concur, will get back to you in a few days...
     
  12. djnagle

    djnagle Lunatic Member

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    Very nice work and well worth it. I really liked my AMT 1.
     
  13. 13stoploss

    13stoploss Active Member

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    Uhm, so hey. No joke. I just bought a pair of ESS Transar. :banana:
     
  14. Porkloin

    Porkloin Oscar Heil Groupie Subscriber

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    Holy crap! Where's the photos?
     
  15. 13stoploss

    13stoploss Active Member

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    I hope to pick them up the weekend after this one. They are Transar 5. Missing AMTs. I am very, very, very happy with the price. Condition looks very good, minus a large hole in one grille's fabric, but won't know more until I see them. There will be many photos and video, in due time, though I'll start a new thread for that...

    In the meantime, I'm almost done veneering a pair of ESS PS-8. These are my very first attempt at veneering. It looks and seems easy, but I've made some mistakes. When done, I'm going to veneer my AMT-1a's, the subject of this thread. Minus grilles, this speaker will be complete once done with veneering.
     
  16. 13stoploss

    13stoploss Active Member

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    Got the urge to finish this project. One cabinet is veneered and trimmed, but not finished. The second cabinet's corners are almost sharp. I should have the veneer done this weekend. Here's a few new pics of the progress:


    In the meantime, a friend of mine gave me his old HH Scott LK-150 tube amp. I'll soon be restoring that and using it for bi-amp duties in this AMT-1a, and also for the Transar. :music:
     
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  17. 13stoploss

    13stoploss Active Member

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    It did not come with 5-way binding posts. I added those when I redid the crossover. It originally used the same push-in type.
     
  18. Porkloin

    Porkloin Oscar Heil Groupie Subscriber

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    If you find a successful way to blend the color of that filler, post your methodology. That may one of those art forms that take a lot of practice to develop, like matching paint in automotive.
     
  19. essNeff

    essNeff AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Mix up a "Toner" to match the Walnut color. Use an Airbrush or small paint brush to
    apply it over the patch. You could even simulate the wood grain with the small brush.
    I use alcohol based stains as they are concentrated and are compatible with Lacquer and water-based coatings.
    My 1B's had the same damage as your's. I watched the UPS Doofus drop the box off the tailgate of the truck right in front of me.
    Good Luck!
     
  20. Porkloin

    Porkloin Oscar Heil Groupie Subscriber

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    I tried using a dye a tint or two darker than the original dye, but was never entirely happy with the end result. On the good side, the small dings I filled disappeared under the 1/4 inch of poly coat I've put on. I think maybe next time, I'll try mixing some of that muscle man water putty with a combination of water and dye.
    By the way, I hope you're not making the alcohol dye from the dregs at the bottom of the still. It'll make your Heils go blind.
     

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