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HEATHKIT SS-1

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by maxhifi, Nov 7, 2018.

  1. Keldog

    Keldog AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    151
    Location:
    Auburn, Illinois
    I had a pair with the dark walnut finish. Nice looking cabinets with the picture frame on the front. My wife liked them because they were sparkly. I remember they had a pretty good sound at a reasonable volume. Kind of regret selling them off. At the right price, they are worth it IMO.
     

     

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  2. maxhifi

    maxhifi AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,967
    Location:
    Edmonton Alberta Canada
    The price in question is nominal, less than a family dinner at McDonald's. Not crazy eBay pricing. The look of the cabinets and the presence of the horn tweeter with compression driver is what is attracting me. That and the fact they're from the 1950s, I just think it's cool to find a set of stereo speakers which are so old, and also not very large.
     
  3. Keldog

    Keldog AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    151
    Location:
    Auburn, Illinois
    They are pretty light because they are plywood, not MDF. They were a DIY kit. Good ported design. The Jensen's perform well. I sold my pair for $75 locally. You won't be disappointed in the price. Just post some pics when you get them home. I'd like to see them.
     
  4. maxhifi

    maxhifi AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,967
    Location:
    Edmonton Alberta Canada
    Will do!
     
  5. setup1

    setup1 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    176
    Location:
    north of philly
    It’s been a while since I listened to Heath SS1s but FWIW here’s what I posted about them many years ago.

    JE
     
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  6. mhardy6647

    mhardy6647 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Sounds about right to me, sir.
     
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  7. maxhifi

    maxhifi AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,967
    Location:
    Edmonton Alberta Canada
    Got 'em, $30CDN for the pair. Now the sober truth, one woofer has an open and rubbing voice coil. Cabinets are nice though, save for one loose badge, and a water stain on one grill cloth. Clean as a whistle inside and out. Date codes on the tweeters point to 1959
     

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  8. maxhifi

    maxhifi AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,967
    Location:
    Edmonton Alberta Canada
    Second speaker has a bad woofer too, there is excess vibration coming from a loose voice coil. The tweeters do seem fine, but I'm going to remove them. And check with a frequency sweep. Now the question becomes, what to do?
     
  9. maxhifi

    maxhifi AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,967
    Location:
    Edmonton Alberta Canada
    After listening to the one with the loose woofer voice coil, it's evident that these speakers have a lot of potential. It isn't stuck or burned out, it's just loose, like the adhesive holding the coil to the former was baked to failure in one session of overheating. So for the purposes of testing, I can ignore the slight rattling and appreciate the excellent bass these guys have for their size, and also, the very relaxed but crisp treble of the horn tweeter. The horn is definitely making the sort of sound I was hoping for when I saw these for sale.

    Now the crossroads is - new woofers? send existing to a reconer? attempt DIY recone? Substitute new "Jensen" P8R guitar speaker? abandon ship? (hey it was only $30). I'm thinking "none of the above". If I can find a solvent which will soften the glue Jensen used to attach the cone to the frame, and the spider to the frame, and the cone to the voice coil, maybe I can get away with changing only the coil? I do see voice coils for sale on eBay, and at www.speakerbits.com, surely I can't be the only one wanting to accomplish this type of repair? Recone seems to me like it will ruin the properties of the speaker. I'm also going to see if there's any guitar focused speaker repair shops who can do this - perhaps someone with Jensens in a 1958 Fender amp wants to keep his original cones and change just a coil?

    One thing which would be nice to know, is what's the real difference between the P8R and the P8RL - I suspect it's a lower resonant frequency, which means these speakers will likely sound terrible with a P8R guitar amp style cone which is what I fear a reconer would use. The ones on the Heathkit speakers seem to be thicker with rough pulp on the back of the cones.. more like real woofers than the generic 8" full range cones of the fifties.
     
  10. maxhifi

    maxhifi AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,967
    Location:
    Edmonton Alberta Canada
    BarterTown to the rescue... scored some replacement woofers almost immediately after putting up an ad. Total investment now significantly higher, but gotta pay to play with this old stuff - I'm not patient enough to wait for another pair to come up locally, and I'm fairly relieved I won't need to mess with fixing the old ones.
     
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  11. maxhifi

    maxhifi AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,967
    Location:
    Edmonton Alberta Canada
    It was your website which turned me on to this speaker as a viable option in the first place. I had always seen them in old magazines, but never thought of them as an actual option before reading your info. Also, some time ago I built a copy of your open baffle design. They worked great with Goodmans Axiom drivers. Again, thank you, I think you've done a great service to the vintage audio community over the years.
     
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  12. setup1

    setup1 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
    north of philly
    My pleasure! I hope it all works out with your P8RLs.

    Happy listening!

    JE
     
  13. maxhifi

    maxhifi AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,967
    Location:
    Edmonton Alberta Canada
    One more question, if you don't mine - maybe you know this - I looked closer, and my speakers came with the P8RS, not the P8RL. The date codes on the woofers match the tweeters, and all the wiring looks original. The speakers I am buying, one is a P8RL, the other is a P8RS. They look identical, one has a date code of the 11th week of 1956, the other one is the 44th week of 1956. I am going to get them anyway, because they're my best shot at having working speakers, and also, they really do appear identical. I wonder if any Jensen experts know what the difference is. It must be something very superficial. I asked the seller to measure DC resistance, and they both measure identically. I haven't got any catalogs that old.
     
  14. setup1

    setup1 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    176
    Location:
    north of philly
    I’m not really a Jensen expert. Honestly, I also couldn’t tell the difference sonically and physically between the 8RL and 8RS. I only recommended “pairing them” for the sake of uniformity.
     
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  15. mhardy6647

    mhardy6647 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
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    My experience is that the Heathkits used P8RS. As I said earlier, I ended up putting P8RX in the pair that used to be here, because that was what I could get.
    I reckon that the RL will be fine, as JE says. Close enough for government work, as they say ;)

    Be sure to put a fresh, decent quality XO capacitor in those Heathkits, too, while you're at it -- and I reckon that the control (is it an L-pad or a pot? I don't know! :( ) is worthy of cleaning or replacement, too.
     
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  16. maxhifi

    maxhifi AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,967
    Location:
    Edmonton Alberta Canada
    "That's what I could get" is driving my decision too. I can put P8RS and P8RL as saved ebay search strings, and if one comes up and I feel like over-paying, I will jump on it to make my set match. They really do look identical, maybe when I get them I'll do some basic measurements and see how close they are.

    The level control is in fact an L pad, but kind of a weird one, because the two sections of the pad don't have the same resistance. Some kind of trickery going on. For the capacitors I was thinking of putting two 1uF 630V metal film caps in parallel, because I have a bunch of them "in stock" for repairing tube amps. I could use a 2.2, but the original is 2uF, so two 1uF would be closer to the original value. I could buy some of those Russian paper in oil capacitors for this application too, I'm not really sure what's best. For now I just want to make it work.

    On my speakers, one crossover is passing signal and the other isn't. Also, the pots/l-pads seem to be sealed, so I will have to open them up to clean them. Both tweeters checked good with a frequency sweep. One binding post is missing its top, but I can probably steal an identical one from an old Heathkit VTVM for the time being.

    What are your speakers up to these days? still using them?
     

     

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  17. maxhifi

    maxhifi AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,967
    Location:
    Edmonton Alberta Canada
    Here's the two speakers I'm buying - I challenge anyone to find any differences between them :)
     

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  18. mhardy6647

    mhardy6647 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    52,720
    One of the local vacuum tube hifi gurus was looking for a pair of Duettes. I told him I could get him darned close, if he didn't mind doing some cosmetic refreshing -- and I sold them (?!) to him for the amount I had invested in the P8RX drivers: fifty smackers. :)

    It was much better than having them just sitting in the basement, where they were for quite a while. :(

    I have the Heathkit manual for 'em someplace, if you don't have the original info on them. I just have to remember where it might be. Pretty sure I didn't pass it along with the speakers to their next owner. :p
     
  19. maxhifi

    maxhifi AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,967
    Location:
    Edmonton Alberta Canada
    That would be awesome! I've got no documentation aside from a photo of a schematic I found on here. I'd like to know how the cabinet comes apart for one thing.
     

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