Custom built ESS AMT Heil based speaker thread

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by decooney, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. decooney

    decooney Active Member

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    240
    In response to a few inquiries last year on a few scattered Heil threads...

    Hello AK AMT Heil Friends. Last year a few AK members asked me to post my project in a new thread when I started getting closer to done. Well, I'm finally getting back to it over the winter in 2014. Not done yet, but I fired 'em for the first time this weekend after fussing with crossovers for too long. Called on a few favors from a few friends for some extra x-over help, and I'm back on track again towards finishing up this long awaited side project. There have been some really cool threads listed here on AK over the past decade using the Great Heils. I had to part with my first ESS speakers to go to college. Now 30 years later I got to hear hear them again in my own design, and I must say I waited for too long. Should have done this years ago. WOW. Now if I could only get myself to take them back apart to stain and finish them. Not gonna happen any time soon now that that I can actually listen to them once again. Crossovers done, Heils re-diaphramed, just a few more tweaks, some porting and staining is next. Heils are still alive, or at least with some of us diehards still out here. :)

    REQUEST:
    Would love to see others post replies here with their customs, hybrids, bolt-ons, or any wild experiments.

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    Last edited: Feb 23, 2014
  2. NoTransistors

    NoTransistors AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    At least you have some imagination and it shows in the attractive design.
    Me, I just plopped my Heil Drivers on top of each Pioneer CS-99A box, and hooked them up with 3.3 mfd and a 15 Ohm resistor.
    Now that I have liberated the [Quality Japan-Made] Linaeum drivers from the confines of their [crappy] RatShack systems [the woofers self-destructed], I want to try them in place of the Heils.

    EDIT: Did you whittle those things out of a single piece of wood?
     
  3. decooney

    decooney Active Member

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    240
    Close, actually. There are various 1" thick solid walnut pieces. Conceptually, I wanted it to sound like an instrument, and the whole thing was a dream and a big friggin' time gamble based on an idea I had a long time ago on other D'Oppo type speakers I've built before. I'm shocked, the result with this actually exceeded my expectations. This whole thing could have gone sideways. Luckily it did not. Would love to see what others are doing and I'm still looking back again through older AK threads. So many people have tried different things and it's fun to see what others come up with too. The mock-up examples are the best!
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    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
  4. westend

    westend Audiopile

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    10,187
    Location:
    Shorewood MN
    What did you use for woofers?
    I use the Heils to add some sizzle in my Altec based speakers:

    [​IMG]
     
  5. sebrof

    sebrof Super Member

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    2,111
    Location:
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    Wow, those look really nice



    I posted these in a couple of other threads, but here they are again. I made these January 2013. Altec 416 woofer/mid in a ~ 10 cu ft box and a Heil sitting on top. The Altecs are crossed out 1st order at 1,000 Hz and the Heils crossed in 3rd order at 1,200 Hz.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. decooney

    decooney Active Member

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    240
    WOW, and my wife thought my speakers were big. Keep the photos coming you guys, this is great seeing all these different ideas and approaches with Heils. :boink:
     
  7. captouch

    captouch AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Is the 3.3mgd and 15ohms a 'standard' addition if you want to use the Heils with other speakers, or does this need to be arrived at experimentally? And how about using a variable pot in place of the 15ohms - would that allow level control?
     
  8. NoTransistors

    NoTransistors AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I chose 3.3 mfd because three 1.1 mfd [in parallel] sounded just right with the existing HH Scott transistor amp. The value of the fixed resistor is simply what sounded best with a variable resistor. My Fisher tube amp, which needs new power supply capacitors sounds different, and requires 2.2 mfd and no resistor.
    Factors determining values include every single part of your Hi-Fi, the softness/hardness of the listening room, your own ears,etc......
     
  9. Xtinc

    Xtinc Well-Known Member

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    decooney - your speakers look excellent! I've never listened to a Heil AMT before and I'm very curious. Would it be possible to provide more detail of the woofer drivers, crossover configuration?

    I'm also digging the AMT add-on configurations and appreciate Akers for showing off their designs.

    I recently acquired a pair, although a different model than what's being shown here and was hoping someone has some info, specs, etc. I'm looking to use these either as an add-on or build a two-way system.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  10. cheap sk8

    cheap sk8 Active Member

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    Location:
    San Diego
    I believe the woofers he is using are Peerless nomex cone HDS drivers.. I could be wrong, maybe the OP will chime in and correct me..

    Very nice work on those speakers, they look amazing and likely sound as good as they look.. I am a big fan of the Heil sound and plan a DIY setup with them in the near future..
     
  11. NoTransistors

    NoTransistors AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    One more thought. My Pioneer speakers, as do most others, sound best positioned with a bit of toe-in. These big Heil drivers sound best with a different toe-in.
    So, it seems a good idea to leave some wiggle-room, rather than bolting them to the boxes.
     
  12. decooney

    decooney Active Member

    Messages:
    240
    Yes, they are a slightly modified version of the Peerless HDS Nomex woofer mentioned above. Many other woofers will work just as well. I wanted to cross the heils a bit higher at 1,600hz so I went with these and for aesthetic reasons. The dual passive crossovers per speaker was a multi-person collaborative time and shared financial effort, so I'm not quite at liberty to fully explain at this time. After having gone through this, I believe a simplified crossover without all the fancy caps would have work well too. Time permitting over my next break, I plan to possibly compare back and forth with active electronics crossovers and see what sort of improvements can be yielded. I purposely did not want to put adjustable pots on these with the intent to keep the sound as clean as possible. Got more detail than I ever recall before on my old ESS.

    As for toe-in,
    I agree, as NoTransitors said, these things are typically fairly sensitive to toe-in or out. With the rear cabinet flare on my latest setup here I don't find the need to have to sit in the sweet spot any more like I use to with my old factory ESS AMT monitors just to hear the Heil. But, I use to listen to them with grills on before too, and this does alter the sound of course. I still plan to play with some side pieces and create a horn effect too just to see how it sounds, but these put out more than enough from the heil now. If anything I might need to tone them down just a tad. If I made removable grill cloth fronts for these, I could mute them a little that way too if needed.

    The other aspect to these Heils is we all hear a bit differently so there is clearly some "preference" involved from one person to the next on how they should sound or where they should be crossed over, etc.

    I like what Sebrof did with his. Wow, huge cabinets, that's really cool. Would love to hear how that sounds.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2014
  13. decooney

    decooney Active Member

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    240
    Xtinc,
    Thanks. Maybe you could start with a used factory crossover and play with different woofers and boxes for starters. Maybe try a nice 10" woofer like the original ESS PS-6D Performance Series or CE Concept Series had. I like to make a cheap mock-up box and throw a passive radiator on the back to get ideas before committing to a full cabinet, or if you want to keep the box size down. You'll notice the Heils produce the most interesting sounds with string instruments and voices. I recall a few guys have had great luck with some of the Eminence woofers too in a 2-way. Personally, if I had to do it over again I'd just try some of the newer Dayton woofers to keep the cost down and they perform well too for the price.

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    Last edited: Feb 23, 2014
  14. NoTransistors

    NoTransistors AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I just tried my Linaeums [they are from Japan but do not have the silk ribbons], and they suck eggs if compared to these monster pleated ribbon things.
     
  15. Mister Pig

    Mister Pig Pigamus Maximus Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,256
    Location:
    Olympia Washington
    Would love to hear these speakers, I have a small pair of Hawthorne Trios with Woodsage baffles. These are his biggies....with Heil loaded in a short flared horn assembly. Beautiful speakers in terms of wood working....

    [​IMG]

    Regards
    Mister Pig
     
  16. decooney

    decooney Active Member

    Messages:
    240
    Check out this video. This guy used a Heil on top of a horn corner loaded unit with a small woofer driver. Interesting D.I.Y comparison to the large Westminster Tannoy speakers. The D.I.Y speakers with the heils fill the room with a much different sound. Less midrange, but less fatigue too.


    Video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yY1WK0rl-Hw

    Bad screen shot off the video, they look like this:
     

    Attached Files:

  17. decooney

    decooney Active Member

    Messages:
    240
    Someone figured out a way to resolve what was missing with the ESS AMT 1B,1C,1D speakers. Very creative add-on module.

    Found this on the dcdgold website. Interesting mod add-on component:

    http://www.dcgold.com/home-audio/ess-amt-mod



    I wonder how it sounds?
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014
  18. decooney

    decooney Active Member

    Messages:
    240
    Found this photo on the Stereomojo site, from the same company as noted above. Creative and interesting stuff.

    Caption: "DC Gold Audio model Fifth Row floorstanders at $24,000 with six 10” woofers and a ESS Heil Air Motion Transformer on top."

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014
  19. decooney

    decooney Active Member

    Messages:
    240
    removed. photo too big
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014
  20. decooney

    decooney Active Member

    Messages:
    240
    Mister Pig,
    Looks like that Hawthorne Audio Raineer speaker uses a different AMT, it's not an ESS AMT Heil. Very cool though. Sort of looks like a Mundorf or RAAL type AMT. HA calls it the Silver Iris or something, not sure exactly?... Found this photo on their HA site. Appears they have put a lot of effort into this baffle speaker project and their custom AMT is reportedly able to cross over as low as 500hz. Rear photo looks like it's slotted for the AMT. Would love to hear these, especially if they are truly able to cross the AMT down to 500hz. Wonder how long the AMT diaphrams would last this low hz.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2014

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