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Chris A

Double Stack ESS AMT-1 with Wings--Possible Kit for Heritage

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7 hours ago, Thaddeus Smith said:

sonically, is this sufficient? As I read though related threads, it seems like the xilica units are the minimum equipment you cool kids will play with these days.

The responses you have gotten so far are pretty much on track, IMHO.  Just like anything else--like more expensive compression drivers, amplifiers, preamps, etc.--the more money you place on these items, the more sound quality "extras" that you will likely enjoy. 

 

Each DSP crossover has its pros and cons, even the Xilica XP series that many now use.  The Xilicas have the greatest transparency and lowest noise floor (in fact it's inaudible) and one of the easiest user interfaces, the Yamaha has similar transparency but a little higher noise floor and a much less friendly user interface, the miniDSP has a similar noise floor to the Yamaha but much easier user interface, etc.  Just remember, I wouldn't recommend a DSP crossover that I haven't used (or presently use), and the miniDSP 2x4 HD is one that I presently use on my surround channels. 

 

The good news is that, if dissatisfied, it takes only minutes to swap out to a better performing crossover once you have one in hand--unlike passive crossovers which are customized for loudspeaker and room placement, etc. and must be physically redesigned or reconfigured for any changes, and often these are crude or poorly controlled or understood changes.  DSP crossovers can be set up with presets which compensate for very small changes like personal taste or even EQ to compensate for the recordings themselves.  Any changes in loudspeaker placement in room or other changes in room acoustics, or even as much as driver or even loudspeaker swap-outs, are easily handled.

 

Chris

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Thanks Chris. Was trying to follow along with some of my "homework" threads from Rudy, combined with the near universal recommendation of xilica for Jubilees these days and wanted to make sure that although very affordable it wasn't going to be a massively audible compromise.

 

I'll be looking forward to your teaching session in April for sure.

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9 hours ago, Rudy81 said:

As soon as I get mine up and running I hope you can stop by for a listen. Who knows, you may not feel it is that big a deal.  Let your ears decide.

 

Fair enough. Unlike some (many?) around here I'm not chasing a particular sound or auditory memory recreation in my setup. I can enjoy a great many systems for what they are and this seems like it'll be a fun project to pursue. I've been wanting to get into a 2-way active setup for a little while now and this seems like the right combination of cost, technical learning, and component validation by intelligent ears.

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21 minutes ago, Thaddeus Smith said:

Thanks Chris. Was trying to follow along with some of my "homework" threads from Rudy, combined with the near universal recommendation of xilica for Jubilees these days and wanted to make sure that although very affordable it wasn't going to be a massively audible compromise.

 

I'll be looking forward to your teaching session in April for sure.

I purchased a mini dsp hd unit based on Chris recommending it to me as a good starting point versus the Behringer unit I had that I didn't use because the interface was not to my liking at all.  The mini is very straight forward and the interface is as well and has served my purposes well to this point when doing basic crossover points/types and basic eq.  I have no regrets on the purchase and can always spend more down the road. 

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The question of "what DSP unit should I buy" is too open ended. 

Price is a consideration, willingness to buy used or new is a consideration and the source is a consideration and DIY skills. 

 

I am old fashioned and grew up in the days when one would always avoid an extra D-to-A or A-to-D conversion. Things are much better (and more forgiving) now days, but my old habits are hard to break. So I would recommend avoiding the extra conversion and getting a unit that will take a digital input (and not restrict you to a analog input only). If the unit has a greater bit depth than 16 bit, that is a plus also. (Xilica XD series, EV DC one, Yamaha, or the lowly Behringer all have digital inputs). Again, I understand that with a properly set up A-D conversion, most of my fears are unfounded. However old habits die hard and I am not interested in debating the issue.

 

If money is in short supply (and you have some DIY skills) I would at least consider the Behringer 2496 DCX (not the "lite" version). They have a street price of less than $300 new. They have a good number of available filters, and  a digital input so you can avoid the extra conversion and the marginal analog input  circuitry on the Behringer. As far as the output goes (DAC, reconstruction filters, and analog output circuitry), they are also marginal (again remember the low price). This is where the DIY skills can come in handy. The analog out can be stripped away and replaced with a simple passive RC filter and transformer-coupled output. Suitable transformers range from $15 per channel (Edcor - decent quality) to $40 per channel (CineMag - surprisingly good). Of course you can always pay more (with diminishing returns). Since you have by-passed both the analog input and output stages, there is very little noise. This is just an alternative. There are plenty of threads about modding the Behringer over at DIYaudio. Although it may not be the unit that you ultimately keep, it will give you a taste of the several advantages that a DSP crossover can bring to the table and for little money.

 

I used to use such a set up for a number of years. I also spent a fair amount of time with the EV dx38 (not enough filters and a bit noisy for me), ultimately I ended up with the Yamaha when I saw a used one with a good price. BTW, I have not had a problem of the unit's noise floor. Perhaps it is in the analog input section (which I avoid anyway) or a signal that does not have sufficient gain. 

 

Many choices ... good luck,

-Tom

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I have to disagree with some things things you mention:

  • I would not really recommend a Behringer DCX2496 for anything except maybe bench testing components--certainly not for anything resembling hi-fi reproduction--because it has documented analog circuitry issues that will become clear after you listen to one for any length of time. (There are other DSP crossovers that are also in that category.) 
     
  • Your comment about digital conversions is also not really an issue in my experience because no one I know has yet been able pick it out in an actual A-B test with good DSP crossovers today (level matched).  This specifically excludes the Behringer, lowest-cost dbx DriveRack, and the miniDSP 2x4--[without the "HD"] models.

I do encourage everyone to familiarize themselves with current DSP crossovers, most predominantly the miniDSP 2x4 HD ($204 in a box)--and the Xilica XP or XD series processors ($800-$2000 price range new) if money isn't so tight. 

 

All discussions above have implicitly included cost as a major decision variable, and the minimization of cost is always been a large factor in any real discussion of audio on this forum.  But I don't believe that extreme minimization of costs for used/older DSP crossovers is a good approach. If you've got the requisite $630 for the four AMT-1s, then you can probably find another $204 for a miniDSP HD or better DSP crossover in new condition to realize the real potential of these excellent low cost AMT drivers, it would seem.

 

Most of what was stated just above seems to be directed toward issues that are really in the past, and not so much issues today.  Not that these aren't good topics to discuss, but perhaps this isn't the most appropriate thread to discuss them. 

 

I do want to discuss the ESS AMT-1 and it's suitability for Klipsch Heritage loudspeakers in kit format as applicable to existing Heritage Klipsch models--if possible.

 

Chris

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Good perspective Tom, thanks. Initially I'll still be utilizing my AVR in the device chain, so I'm limited to the analog pre-outs if I want to push signal to an external DSP. I am, however, reducing the number of channels I'll be using down to just 2.1 or 2.2 stereo which should help keep my device requirements to a minimum. I'll probably go with the miniDSP in order to get off the ground and cut my teeth on this stuff, upgrading equipment as I find it's needed after listening and growing my base of experience.

 

Sorry for derailing the the thread with DSP's.. I'm interested in pursuing the "kit" as Chris has put it together in the initial post and just wanted to be sure it wasn't an obvious weak point in the chain.

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I own 3 pairs of original AMT's, one pair is on top of AMT 1A refurbished speakers, which really sound great.

 

The other two pairs, I will stack (so how wide are those Wings, anyhow???).

 

I have owned ALL of the DSP's mentioned here, except the EV unit. I still have 2 Yamahas, and 1 Behringer to play with. This is the unit that got me going in this direction about 12 years ago. The Minis and Xilica have been sold or traded.

 

I agree with everything ChrisA says about the units, except about the noise floors in the real world (I'd have to measure to know with exact numbers, but I don't care to), which are all very low when your ATTENUATE the POWER AMP inputs to compensate for the 100-112 DB of Electro-Acoustic Conversion efficiency of Horns, which tend to reveal noise at lower driver voltages from analog line sources. Unless you do what Tom says to avoid unnecessary conversions, you need to use the largest "front end" analog voltage swing possible to keep the signal high above whatever noise floors can be revealed by the very high sensitivity of horns. My Yamaha pre pro can put out 8 volts through the XLR's and my very sensitive system is dead quiet. Even when hooked up to the AMTs, which reveal noise very well also.

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I'm sorry (not sorry) but after having traveled the upgrade path from minidsp, to behringer, to finally xilica I dont know how anyone talking about making a speaker and audio quality being a factor could recommend the minidsp or behringer as an option at all.  The noise floor on those are just too high for high sensitivity speakers

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Which miniDSP models?

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Sorry, I had the non HD so that may have been the issue with the minidsp 

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4 hours ago, Kalifornian said:

I'm sorry (not sorry) but after having traveled the upgrade path from minidsp, to behringer, to finally xilica I dont know how anyone talking about making a speaker and audio quality being a factor could recommend the minidsp or behringer as an option at all.  The noise floor on those are just too high for high sensitivity speakers

 

..... And this is exactly why I gave specific instructions on how to avoid the analog input and output sections of the Behringer. 

If you are recommending a DSP box that costs 4 to 5 times more, then one would expect the noise floor to be lower. No surprise there. Perhaps my recommendation was a way for folks to get a taste of the advantages of DSP. 

 

I am sorry that I have led this thread to go off topic.

 

Good luck,

-Tom

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10 minutes ago, Kalifornian said:

Sorry, I had the non HD so that may have been the issue with the minidsp 

I agree.

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Wow, this is awesome. You guys are pushing the envelope with the AMTs. Thanks as always for you graphs/measurements Chris! 

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51 minutes ago, jwgorman said:

Wow, this is awesome. You guys are pushing the envelope with the AMTs. Thanks as always for you graphs/measurements Chris! 

Well, in this case it was 99% Rudy's time and money.  You should be thanking him.  All I did was post some plots from his measurements and write some words around them. 

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13 hours ago, Thaddeus Smith said:

 

Yamaha SP2060? Probably outside of my budget to get started on this project, but I'll keep you in mind as things progress.

They are built like a tank and list for $1,800 currently. You can insult me with an offer whenever you like. LOL. But seriously, I'd be lucky to get half of that used, which is still less than the cost of a Xilica. Unlike other claims made here, I can't tell the difference between it and other high quality units of the same ilk. XLR connections rule!!

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1 hour ago, Chris A said:

Well, in this case it was 99% Rudy's time and money.  You should be thanking him.  All I did was post some plots from his measurements and write some words around them. 

 

My efforts would have been in vain had it not been for Chris's tutoring and his deep knowledge of the subject. I certainly have learned a lot from all of you and Chris in particular as of late. The value of this forum is the cooperation and camaraderie everyone seems to enjoy. I am hopeful this "kit" will help those who seek just a little more than what stock units can provide.  

 

The waveguides turned out really nice and are in the shop offgassing those nasty lacquer fumes.  Ten days from now, due to work schedule, I plan on getting back into this hot and heavy.  If you guys are interested in my results and experience with my project I will continue posting pics and where I end up with the Xilica settings.  My dual Kappalite 3105LF bass bin is pretty capable from 20hz-1.2khz, so I may end up crossing a bit higher than you would with a stock Khorn bass bin. But, we can get an idea of how it can work.  I plan on extensive listening sessions and hope to get @Thaddeus Smith and anyone else that want to stop by to have an objective listen. Another set of objective ears will help in providing several, more valid opinions on the project.

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3 hours ago, Kalifornian said:

Sorry, I had the non HD so that may have been the issue with the minidsp 

Yes. Big difference between the two besides double the price. Good reason.

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I bought four of the Great Heils from ESS when they had their sale for $140 each. I played around with them on top of my Altec A700 828 cabinets equipped with Altec GPA 416-8C drivers. I tried the Heils stacked, both straight up and one laying on it's side. Then putting them side by side, but one straight up and laid the other on it's side. With them side by side and one laid down on it's side, I tried the laid down one on the outside then on the inside. And then I tried both on their sides, side by side. Finally I have settled with them on their sides, side by side with the outside ones straight forward and the inside ones about 30 degrees angled in. It gave the blend I wanted without the directional properties horizontally. Because on their sides they have good vertical dispersion but not good horizontal dispersion. My room is small and I just didn't like them straight up like they were designed. I also tried tweeters but took them back out as they weren't needed as far as i am concerned. Look up the ESS AMT6 to see how ESS designed the AMT6. Maybe if I could get them more at ear lever I would like them stacked straight up.

 

I used REW and set the miniDSP parametric EQ. I still had to tweak the miniDSP to lower the Altec horn and Heils as both were too loud or hot. Added delay to the Heils and it is sounding good. I crossed over the Altec's at 1150hz 6db and the Heil's at 2000hz at 6db which gave a -4 db at 1514hz. I tried all kinds of crossover combinations from 500hz to 2000hz 48db, 24 db, 18db, 12db and have settled on the 6 db.

 

My next thing to do is roll out the Altec's and roll in four Peavey FH-1's, two per side with Eminence drivers and see how that sounds with the Heils.

 

I did put my horns back on top of the Altec's and took the Heil's out but that didn't last long before I went back to the Heils.

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On 1/2/2020 at 4:21 PM, Chris A said:

including a perception of lightness of sound

 

That's how I would have described the pair I had a (really) long time ago.  Very light & airy.

 

(small 2-way speakers ended up in the floor of my car when the LaScalas came home.....then were stolen)

 

 

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