ESS Transar rebuild thread

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by 13stoploss, Jul 5, 2016.

  1. 13stoploss

    13stoploss Active Member

    Messages:
    137
    Location:
    OC to DC
    I haven't even finished my ESS AMT-1a pyramid rebuild, but I just bought those ESS Transar that were listed on eBay two weeks ago. After hearing Ricky's pair at T.H.E. Show in 2013, they became my vintage holy grail. When I found this listing, I couldn't pass them up.



    Last weekend (July 4th), wife and I loaded up the trusty Outback and drove 400 miles to Ohio. Initially, wife wasn't very happy. We didn't have the money. I had too many speakers. THEY'RE IN OHIO. But when we got there, and when she saw the thin, open-baffle "cabinets," she changed her tune. Yeah, they're fckln huge, but they're kinda good looking, too.

    OK, so I had to list some camera lenses for sale to make up for the credit card purchase. But after paying off the purchase (soon), what else does this "project" need, and how much will it cost?

    GOOD:
    • Cabinets are pretty danged good; veneer isn't showpiece, but very solid
    • Stands seem pretty good, but one leans back more than the other (I'm a perfectionist)
    • Came with all four wood-framed grilles (three with cloth)
    • Came with RCA cable wire that leads from mid-frequency AMT to high-frequency AMT
    • One mid-frequency AMT is perfect vertical movement, one is very good, needs slight adjustment

    NEEDS WORK:
    • Did not come with Heil AMT (I have brand new AMTs for my ESS AMT-1a pyramid rebuild)
    • Did not come with Heil AMT brackets
    • The mid-frequency AMT (center, vertical array) is missing some mounting screws
    • The mid-frequency AMT (center, vertical array) is missing two silver, vertical metal mounting strips
    • Did not come with two 5-pin XLR connectors
    • Did not come with Transar/atd crossover
    • Did not come with Transar/atd amplifier(s)
    • Did not come with separate Transar "subwoofer"

    WHAT DO THESE NEED RIGHT NOW TO PLAY MUSIC?
    • Some kind of bi-amp'able crossover
    • Brackets for the AMT Heil
    • Connectors from mid-frequency AMT to crossover
    • *I* need a second amplifier

    PLAN 1

    PLAN 2
    • Hope that Ricky can find AMT brackets in NOS
    • Change Transar 5-pin male XLR to 3-pin male XLR
    • Buy two female XLR-to-RCA cables
    • Use my ESS Eclipse 2241-AM Active Electronic Crossover (1, 2) because Transar uses same 800hz fixed crossover for Heil AMT
    • Buy second amplifier, to power the Heil AMT (preferably something tubey)
    • Buy any subwoofer that can crossover as high as 150hz (the center, vertical MID-freq AMT plays 150hz-800hz)

    PLAN 3
    • Hope that Ricky can find AMT brackets in NOS
    • Change Transar 5-pin male XLR to 3-pin male XLR
    • Buy four XLR cables
    • Buy active crossover like this (all balanced, XLR inputs and outputs
    • Buy second amplifier, to power the Heil AMT (preferably something tubey)
    • Buy any subwoofer that can crossover as high as 150hz (the center, vertical MID-freq AMT plays 150hz-800hz)

    I'm leaning Plan 2 to get these running, with ultimately a Plan 3 in the works.

    Gear:
    • Emotiva XSP-1 gen2 pre-amp
    • Emotiva XPA-2 gen2 amp (300x2 @8, 500x2 @4)
    • Technics SL-1200 mkII TT w/original Stanton cartridge

    This more than likely will not be a quick rebuild. My kids go to private school. My wife doesn't work.

    So it goes.


     

     

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  2. 13stoploss

    13stoploss Active Member

    Messages:
    137
    Location:
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    PLAN 4
    • Hope that Ricky can find AMT brackets in NOS
    • Change Transar 5-pin male XLR to 3-pin male XLR
    • SOMEONE BUILD ME A CUSTOM, PASSIVE, EXTERNAL CROSSOVER WITH XLR CONNECTIONS
    • Subwoofer that goes as high as 150hz
     
  3. Leben

    Leben AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Very cool and unique speakers! I'll be watching this thread.
     
  4. revox-b77

    revox-b77 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Can't you buy 5 pin XLR cable? I have a ton here, sold as DMX 5 pin cable. For stage lighting.
     
  5. 13stoploss

    13stoploss Active Member

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    137
    Location:
    OC to DC
    Yes, that's a goal, but not the first one. In time. :beatnik:

    I'd still need to be RCA at the other end since I don't have the proprietary crossover and amp. And if I'm going to do that, I'd rather go with the more common 3-pin.
     
  6. 13stoploss

    13stoploss Active Member

    Messages:
    137
    Location:
    OC to DC
    I am friendly with ESS' CEO. We've talked many times since I bought these. I've just purchased the 3-pin XLR connectors and XLR-to-RCA cables. This time next weekend I *may* be able to produce sound. We'll see.

    Changing out a connector (about $5 including s/h) and buying $20 worth of cables isn't much work. I already have an ESS active electronic crossover which is fixed at the right frequency. Hence the need for XLR-to-RCA. Which means I'll be bi-amping. So, my Emotiva XPA-2 for the mids and a DIY 50w amp for the highs (for now). As Porkloin and I have been discussing, he reminded me that my Emotiva XSP-1 has dual subwoofer controls from 50-150hz (basically a built-in crossover), so I can tri-ampe: I'd need a powered sub to produce LF up to 149hz; the center stack mids produce 150-799hz; the fabled Heil AMT is crossed at 800hz, so 800-20,000.

    Famous last words: I believe this speaker is worth resurrection.
     
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  7. x3workshop

    x3workshop AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Always thought the Transar was an interesting design, but I've never heard one. I'll be watching this thread with great interest. Good luck!
     
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  8. EchoWars

    EchoWars Hiding in Honduras

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  9. Porkloin

    Porkloin Oscar Heil Groupie Subscriber

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    I've been struggling to say that since being initiated into the cult of Heil, but you've made me look like a stammering fool.
     
  10. essNeff

    essNeff Active Member

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    288
    Location:
    Neverland
    Great thread on the Transar 5!
    Where's good ole El Seven when you need him!
    I recall a pretty bad recession in 1979- early 80's. The terrible Economy and some more than questionable Management decisions probably hastened the demise of ESS
    Engineer's never win against short-sighted Management.
    It appears they released a far from finished product in the Transar 5.
     
  11. totem

    totem AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    If its a labor of love so be it, regardless of the outcome it's an interesting project that fills a need of the OP.
     
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  12. 13stoploss

    13stoploss Active Member

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    Read this many times before purchasing. Great resource. Purchased anyway.

    Why do we like what we like? Oh well.

    I get the sentiment, but I don't think it's quite that bad, and I disagree with you on "mediocre." I've heard Ricky's set in LA. I think they're dreamy. I grew up in the faith of Heil AMT, and I've had many pairs of ESS AMT, PS, and HD series speakers. I'm the team's homer, and this is--however misguided or low compared to other esteemed speakers--my holy grail. Why do we like what we like?

    Anyway, new details on next phase of the rebuild coming... you could say it's simpler than before.

    ^ This guy is the guy who walks into the parking lot and says, "Look, guys, this is a rad Camaro, and this is an awesome Mustang. They both sound amazing. Great work. You both must be very happy."
     
  13. 13stoploss

    13stoploss Active Member

    Messages:
    137
    Location:
    OC to DC
    Okay folks, need to simplify.

    1. No passive or active crossovers
    2. No second amp
    3. Yes on buying active subwoofer

    What? Why?

    My pre-amp is an Emotiva XSP-1 gen2, which allows "Full analog bass management with independent, individually configurable, Linkwitz-Riley 12 dB/octave high-pass and low-pass filters for the mains and subs."

    This will allow me to use one amplifier for the Transar (150hz - 20,000 khz). The subwoofer will plug into my XSP-1 and play all freq's below 150hz.

    The mid-freq, vertical transar AMT and the Heil AMT are connected via a male RCA cable. The other end of the RCA cable are two small leads, the familiar blue and pink wires that plug into the back of the AMT (the one we all know and love). So, I cannot individually power just the high freqs and just the mid freqs with an active crossover like I wanted (my ESS Eclipse which is fixed at 800hz, or something like a DBX). Nor is there a regular, passive crossover. I can only amplify the unit together, which comprises the frequency range from 150hz-20,000khz. Add in an active subwoofer, controlled by XSP-1 pre-amp, and I have full range.

    Now, what about all the 5-pin wire hoopla?

    Connectors and wires came yesterday. I spent $27 including S/H.

    Here's what it looks like now (these are two Transars, the front of one, and the back of another, showing one side of each):
    Here is the 3-pin XLR connector (this connector is upside down, two pins up top, third down bottom) that I will solder in place of the 5-pin:
    Here is the XLR connector to the XLR-side of the new cable:
    Here are the XLR-to-RCA cables + XLR connectors:
    One potential change? Now that I don't need to plug into a crossover, I don't need the RCA-end of the cables. I may as well just buy a new set of XLR-to-XLR cables since my XSP-1 will accept them.

    OK, what am I missing?
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016
  14. Porkloin

    Porkloin Oscar Heil Groupie Subscriber

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    If the Transar and the Heil are paralleled together, what protects the Heil from the sub-750Hz material going to the Transar? They either have to be separated and fed the appropriate material via an active crossover OR there needs to be a minimal passive crossover, like a capacitor in series with the Heil.
    Also, if you're converting a 5-pin canon plug to a 3-pin canon plug, what's to become of the extra two wires? What were those extra two wires? I understand the demotion of a balanced XLR connection to an unbalanced RCA plug - the system can survive quite well without that extra "balancing" cable, but what do all five wires in this setup go to?
     
  15. Goggle1824

    Goggle1824 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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  16. 13stoploss

    13stoploss Active Member

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    137
    Location:
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    I'm on a bad assumption perhaps. My research prior to purchasing the connectors and cables was that the 5-pin XLR cable doesn't actually have five wires. Tried to pull the connector off last night, but it's pretty taut and I don't want to snap the solder joints behind the connector. Looks like I'm gonna have to disassemble the Transar mounts to gain access to the metal cover over the connector on top of the magnet structure. Took one of the three screws out of the metal cover, but can't get to the other two...

     

     

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  17. Leben

    Leben AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I agree with Porkloin that you should have some sort of crossover to protect the Heil. I like using active crossovers even though they add some expense and complexity.

    I'm enjoying your project and can relate to pursuing something that others may not consider. Kudos to you.
     
  18. Porkloin

    Porkloin Oscar Heil Groupie Subscriber

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    I'm still a bit lost on the 5-pin connector. The only way that makes sense is that at least two of the five pins are soldered to wires that go to the positive and negative terminals of the transar, if it's wired up like a conventional speaker. Two more pins would have to be soldered to wires that go to the Heil's pink and bluie terminals, so the should be separate.

    This would make perfect sense with the amp below. The amp would actively sort the highs and mids and distribute it to the pins in the xlr connector accordingly. You would simply plug the XLR female cables into the amp and run them to their respective (Left/Right) speakers

    TransarAmp.JPG

    Unfortunately, the story gets more convoluted as the amp above is not the one that was separated from Stoppy's Transars at auction, which leads me to wonder if the two components were ever hooked together at all. Was the amp below purchased at another time and actually does not go with Stoploss' Transar speakers, as discovered by the seller in Ohio, who gave up on the project? Otherwise, why separate the components at all? Would a complete set not be worth more than the sum of the components sold separately?

    TransarComposite.gif

    The most important question of all: Does Ricardo have the answers to these questions and will he be willing to divulge the information?

    Stay tuned.
     
  19. essNeff

    essNeff Active Member

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    Location:
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    Could the bottom amp be for the Transar ll?
     
  20. 13stoploss

    13stoploss Active Member

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    Location:
    OC to DC
    Possibly. I believe the top pic is not an amp but an external crossover.

    This isn't the page I found two weeks ago, but it says the same thing re: 5-pin conversion to 3-pin. Of course, that concerns lighting. I'm no electrician. But then, wouldn't this also work?

    I'll take some more photos tonight of the entire mid-freq Transar AMT, show how it's wired.

    I spent 45 minutes bullshltting in the garage with the guy in Ohio. He responded to a Craigslist ad in New York. Old lady's husband died. He was an audiophile, had many notable and recognizable speakers in the ad, none named. Old lady asked $12,000, accepted $10,000. Dude drove a van to New York, bought it all sight unseen. Included in the lot were a JBL Paragon, some Maggies, these Transar, and dozens of tube amps, tube pre-amps, receivers, TTs, etc. Ohio dude considered dismantling the Transar, keeping the vertical mid-freq AMT, but decided against it. He probably tried to hook them up, but he didn't have and wasn't committed to buying new HF Heil AMTs. Well, I have a brand new pair of AMTs that have less than 5 hours on them, so that didn't bother me.

    I guess I just need to call Ricky again, see if he found any cables, crossovers, etc. I WILL be visiting the shop later this month when I fly Home to SoCal for a few days before returning home to Maryland.

    As for value, these just don't come up all that often, so I think it's nearly impossible to gauge value or even an asking price...
     

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