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Old 13th April 2007, 06:07 PM   #1
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Default Shipping Great Heils

Just thought I'd throw in a note about 2 great Heils I just received by UPS...

One is fine, but on the other one, it looked like there was something a bit funny going on with the diaphragm.
It was obviously not right and when I hooked it up to test it, it barely put out any sound at all so I knew the diaphragm was bad.

As we now all know, there is NO replacement for those diaphragms, so y'all be careful when you buy them off of EBAY or whatever because if the diaphragm is bad, you've got nothin' but a paperweight.

Anyway, to finish the story... Knowing that this Heil was junk anyway, I thought I'd slip out the diaphragm and take a closer look at it but wondered why it wouldn't come out.

To keep a short story short: Either in shipping OR maybe it was already like this, I pulled the unit apart and found that it had been dropped so hard that one of the grids had slid HARD toward the center, effectively jamming the teeth up against the teeth of the grid opposite it which mashed the diaphragm.
Of course the diaphragm wouldn't come out because it was basically clamped inside the Heil.

So those of us who still like these things need to be very careful when buying them. All may not be well.

Sidenote: With the patent long run out, I can't figure out why SOMEONE doesn't clone the great heils and get them back on the market. Now that I've looked at the guts of one, it does not look like a very expensive unit to manufacture if done in any kind of quantity. I mean Jeez, if I could buy new ones for $300 apiece, I'd take half a dozen right now.
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Old 13th April 2007, 06:57 PM   #2
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" ... if I could buy new ones for $300 apiece, I'd take half a dozen right now. ..."

This might be something that could be done = re-MFG of the driver. Got pictures of the problem ??
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Old 15th April 2007, 04:10 PM   #3
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Silverfox,

Probably the reason that no one is making Heil tweeters now is that they are actually not that good.

I remember seeing the diaphragms some decades ago, and iirc they were made from a polyethylene diapragm with a foil trace. Perhaps it was not polyethylene, since it's really hard to bond to that, but I seem to recall it looking like that... but you have one!

The diaphragm is simply a folded flat piece with the diapragm as a "zig-zag" pattern, iirc.

So you might consider trying to build up a pair of diaphragms urself - Heil had to make them... and 30+ years ago at that.

How about a jpeg of the diaphragm?

I presume you can loosen the screws that hold the lams together and manage to slide the diaphragm out?

_-_-bear
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Old 15th April 2007, 04:20 PM   #4
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Bear: http://bearlabs.com/SHOWCASE/SHOWCASE.html = great thumbnail pics, when can we see the larger images?

SilverFox's thread: If one were to "re manufacture" the Heil drivers, the goal might be to make 'em better. As a substitute there are of course a whole range of drivers and parts that might be fitted to the Heil cabinets ... the cabinets being the real value here:
http://www.enjoythemusic.com/Magazin.../0701/heil.htm ... is this them ??
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Old 17th April 2007, 04:37 PM   #5
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Actually not that good? Would you elaborate? I use and enjoy a pair, and many love them. Their measurements are quite nice too, and they'll go much lower than most other tweeter types?

Quote:
Originally posted by bear
Silverfox,

Probably the reason that no one is making Heil tweeters now is that they are actually not that good.

I remember seeing the diaphragms some decades ago, and iirc they were made from a polyethylene diapragm with a foil trace. Perhaps it was not polyethylene, since it's really hard to bond to that, but I seem to recall it looking like that... but you have one!

The diaphragm is simply a folded flat piece with the diapragm as a "zig-zag" pattern, iirc.

So you might consider trying to build up a pair of diaphragms urself - Heil had to make them... and 30+ years ago at that.

How about a jpeg of the diaphragm?

I presume you can loosen the screws that hold the lams together and manage to slide the diaphragm out?

_-_-bear
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Old 17th April 2007, 05:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by bear
Probably the reason that no one is making Heil tweeters now is that they are actually not that good... _-_-bear
If by "Great" Heils, you mean the original ESS tweeters, then I'm afraid I would have to agree with Bear. I used to sell those speaker systems at a hi-fi store during my college years. We always thought that they imposed a consistent character on the sound, a slight hollowness (probably in conjunction with a cross-over to a mediocre woofer), and a bit of steely edge, with a "plastic-y" character, even taking the woofer out of the picture. They could sound impressively lively on top at first listen, but at the end of the day, I always thought that there were some dome tweeters and especially ESLs that sounded more natural. They werenít bad, but I thought they were over-hyped. Thatís just my opinion, of course, but Iím not alone. And that was in the seventies. Today, there are many better tweeters. That's not to say that the concept is fundamentally flawed; it is not. I understand that MAGICO has a version of the Heil tweeter that is highly regarded (although it is notably smaller and has less of a V-shaped cavity creating less of a horn effect).

If I had a pair today, I would certainly take pains to restore them for historical value, if not for secondary use. But if youíre looking for a truly superb DIY tweeter, I would suggest looking at making ESLs as described in several threads here.

BTW: Many Heil AMTs were damaged in shipment. While some had slipped plates like SilverFox describes, others looked OK mechanically but just didn't sound right. There were rumors running around the industry in the 70's that the damage occurred while on-board cargo aircraft due to jet exhaust or ozone damage to the plastic diaphragm. These explanations sounded pretty implausible to me. There was also a lot of visible unit-to-unit variation in the evenness of the pleating. Does anyone else remember those problems/rumors?
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Old 17th April 2007, 11:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by FastEddy
Bear: http://bearlabs.com/SHOWCASE/SHOWCASE.html = great thumbnail pics, when can we see the larger images?

SilverFox's thread: If one were to "re manufacture" the Heil drivers, the goal might be to make 'em better. As a substitute there are of course a whole range of drivers and parts that might be fitted to the Heil cabinets ... the cabinets being the real value here:
http://www.enjoythemusic.com/Magazin.../0701/heil.htm ... is this them ??
Those are the Kithara's, the successor to the original ESS AMT line of speakers that use the great Heils. The Kithara's are in fact made by a company that, I think, has some of Oskar Heil's family members still involved. In that way, I think you could say that the Kithara is the "true" heir to the original AMT speakers.

As far as the great Heils "not being that good", I'll argue that to hell and back.
I still have my original ESS AMT-1's that I bought brand new in '75. They are still my main living room speakers because I have yet to find ANYTHING that excites me as much as those things do, at any price.
Understand that the way we all like or dislike the speakers we use is subjective. If that were not the case, then there would only be "one" perfect speaker that we would all agree on.

To me, the key to the entire listening experience is, of course, the great Heil itself. I have never heard anything else that sounded so light and airy and makes the (highs and mids) of the music sound like it's coming from inside my head instead of from a speaker.
I am an absolute total Heil addict, and am working on some other ideas that I can only hope will sound as good to me as my original AMT-1's.
I just picked up a set of Elites, and the plan for them is to be mounted on top of a cabinet that itself will be a copy of the lower TL portion of the ESS Tower.
Then as an extension of that project, I'm going to make EXACT duplicates of the Elite cabinets and crossovers (only better because I'll use solid wood), mount another pair of great Heils I have in them, and use them for a similar project as the first.
I find that the Greats are fantastic sounding when I use the "1000hz" switch crossover setting as opposed to the "5000hz" setting.

Here's a challenge: Someone tell me which tweeter is AS GOOD or BETTER sounding in a speaker system as a great Heil and handles the same power and can run mids down to at least 1000hz (preferably 800hz like the great Heil can)... and I'll buy it!
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Old 17th April 2007, 11:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
I am an absolute total Heil addict.
That would explain it!

Quote:
Here's a challenge: Someone tell me which tweeter is AS GOOD or BETTER sounding in a speaker system as a great Heil and handles the same power and can run mids down to at least 1000hz (preferably 800hz like the great Heil can)... and I'll buy it!
Or "make it"? See the many ESL and ribbon designs discussed in this category.
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Old 18th April 2007, 11:44 AM   #9
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Here's some pics of my squashed Heil diaphragm. As you can see, that sucker didn't want to come out of there...
Those are my Elites it's leaning up against.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg heil diaphragm.jpg (53.2 KB, 202 views)
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Old 18th April 2007, 11:47 AM   #10
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And a closeup...

I've got to say that I don't have a clue how a person would make one of their own of these.
Making the "part" could be done, but I'm skeptical that it would sound like it's supposed to.

Even ESS did it different ways over the years where some people say the variants sound different from one another.
How could a DIY'er sit down and whip one out with no background of how the originals were made?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg heil diaphragm b.jpg (65.9 KB, 183 views)
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