Home | Audio Reviews |Audiophile Shows | Partner Mags News

August 2012
Enjoy the Music.com
ESS Heil Factory Tour
We get an exciting inside look at Heil's driver designs!
Article By Jeff Poth

 

  My most loyal readers will know that I have a place in my heart and my living room for the Heil Air Motion Transformer, specifically the big dog AMT1. This is a special type of transducer, similar in some respects to a planar speaker (Magnepan, others) but with a twist- or a fold. Instead of moving in and out, they compress or expand folds. This allows dramatically more surface area to apply pressure to a given amount of air and thus provides significantly more output than a conventional speaker with a given amount of diaphragm motion. In other words, the folding and compression scheme gives you a driver that can act much bigger than it is.

I've worked with the Heil AMT1 for some years now, and currently use them with a dipole waveguide arrangement. Upon hitting the T.H.E. Show Newport Beach in 2011, and again T.H.E. Show Newport Beach 2012, I spoke with Rico "Ricky" Caudillo who runs ESS. Having purchased the business and inherited all the classic designs, rights, and goodies associated with Heil. There were interesting developments in their designs as I saw at the Newport show.

I found myself in his neck of the woods as part of my day job, and gave him a call. Ricky graciously accommodated my last minute request to take a peek around for Enjoy the Music.com, and so I drove over to their location in South El Monte, CA. We popped into their main "casual listening" space and there were several models, along with a selection of gear to use with them for casual evaluation and prototype listening. There is a more formal measurement and testing space in an acoustically treated room.

After gawking at some of the oodles of speakers and drivers everywhere

We took a look at the diaphragm assembly. The voice coil etching process is done via machine, with ESS's special sauce method of voice coil winding, then folded and assembled via hand. 

Along with the variety of goodies being currently worked on, there were classic versions and prototypes tucked away in every corner. 

Not surprising, and the tinkering mentality lives on there today with lots of prototyping. Heil has a wonderful legacy of invention from the big man Dr. Oskar Heil to Nelson Pass who worked at ESS in the 70s as a speaker designer.

Here are two versions of prototype Heil air motion transformer woofers. Similar devices are made by Danish Sound Technology (DST), who manufactures Vifa, Peerless, and Scan-Speak drivers. You can see that one is made with conventional midrange drivers.

Along with the classic prototypes there was a variety of neat old-school testing gear, schematics, and other various goodies.

Lest you think they are a museum only, I can assure you that they do indeed build finished speakers here. Anyone who's spent any time around hi-fi has seen these Heil classics- updated now with improved drivers and crossovers.

ESS Heil is working with spiderless driver designs for a number of drivers, some small neo midranges, 10 woofers, and I believe a 6x9 mid-woofer design.

Another old-school design with a personality!

Much of the ESS Heil business is in repair of the classic loudspeakers, and so they spend a goodly amount of time re-coning and restoring vintage Heil speakers. You may remember my article Repairing Damaged Speakers/Drivers.

The time I spent there was interesting, full of good work and interesting history. Am hoping to have a chance to play with the smaller models as seen at T.H.E. Show Newport 2012 show and possibly do a horn similar to the one I did for the bigger ones. Always more to build!

 

 

Company Information
ESS Speakers USA
9855 Joe Vargas Way.
South El Monte, CA 91733 

Voice: (626) 443-8324 
Fax (626) 443-8454
E-mail: Ricky@essspeakersusa.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

Quick Links


Audiophile Review Magazine
High-End Audio Equipment Reviews

 

Equipment Review Archives
Turntables, Cartridges, Etc
Digital Source
Do It Yourself (DIY)
Preamplifiers
Amplifiers
Cables, Wires, Etc
Loudspeakers/ Monitors
Headphones, IEMs, Tweaks, Etc

 

Superior Audio Archives
Ultra High-End Audio Reviews

 

Videos
Enjoy the Music.TV

 

Columns
Editorials By Tom Lyle
Viewpoint By Roger Skoff
Viewpoint By Steven R. Rochlin
Various Think Pieces
Manufacturer Articles


Show Reports
New York Audio Show 2019 Report
Capital Audiofest 2019 Show Report
Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) 2019
High End Munich 2019 Show Report
AXPONA 2019 Show Report
Zagreb AV Show Report 2019
CanJam Singapore 2019 Show Report
Salon Audio Montreal Audio Fest 2019
Bristol Hi-Fi Show Report 2019
Florida Audio Expo 2019 Show Report
Warsaw Audio Show Report 2018
New York Audio Show 2018 Report
Capital Audiofest 2018 Report
Copenhagen HighEnd 2018 Show Report
Australian Hi-Fi & AV Show Report 2018
Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) 2018
CanJam 2018 Denver RMAF Report
KL International AV 2018 Show Report
High End Munich 2018 Show Report
AXPONA 2018 Show Report
Click here for previous shows.

 

Other
Audiophile Contests
Cool Free Stuff For You
Tweaks For Your System
Vinyl Logos For LP Lovers
Lust Pages Visual Beauty

 

Resources & Information
Music Definitions
Hi-Fi Definitions

 


Daily Industry News

High-End Audio News & Information

 

Partner Magazines
Australian Hi-Fi Magazine
hi-fi+ Magazine
HIFICRITIC
HiFi Media
Hi-Fi World
NOVO (CANADA HiFi)
STEREO Magazine
Sound Practices
VALVE Magazine

 

For The Press & Industry
About Us
Press Releases
Official Site Graphics

 

Contests & Our Mailing List

Our free newsletter for monthly updates & enter our contests!

 

Social Media & Video
     

 

 

 

    

Home   |   Industry News   |   Equipment Reviews   |   Press Releases   |   About Us   |   Contact Us

 

All contents copyright  1995 - 2019  Enjoy the Music.com
May not be copied or reproduced without permission.  All rights reserved.