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Completed Heresy II Refurbishing Project


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Here are some pictures and commentary on my now finished mini-resto project of a pair of 1989 Heresy II speakers I bought 20 years ago from a guy up in Maine.  Actually, he advertised them here on the Forum, so maybe he'll see this. I bought them from him in 2001 and they've been on long term loan to my mom since 2004. Time flies when you get older. I have wanted to reclaim them and restore them for a long time now, and with my wife's blessing and participation, we finally did it!  (And we didn't leave my mom in the lurch either - we found a set of other vintage speakers that she's now enjoying.)

 

First, I'd like to thank the Forum members here who gave me input over the past few weeks in response to some initial posts.  This place is rich in knowledge and it was fun to weight the various competing viewpoints too!  I'm sure some will roll their eyes at certain things I did or didn't do.

 

What I did not do:

 

1.  I decided not to avail myself of the HII to HIII conversion package offered by Klipsch.  I agree with its proponents that it's a sweet deal, but I wanted to keep the budget even lower and preserve these speakers as (essentially) stock Heresy IIs.

2.  I decided not to get replacement woofers or to try to visually restore the looks of the existing woofers.  They sound great as is, and I'm going to declare their aged and dusty look at "patina," a favorite among hipsters this days anyway!  😉

3.  I managed to avoid any need to solder, cuz I'm really bad at it.

 

What I did do:

 

1. Sent the crossover networks to Crites for the rebuilding service (old factory capacitors replaced with Sonicaps).  Hence no need to solder.
2. Installed the Crites titanium diaphragms.  BUT, I have kept the original phenolic ones so I can always put them back in.  Hence the essentially original claim.  😀
3. Replaced all gaskets with a gasket tape from Parts Express that some of you kind people recommended.
4. Inverted the woofers (i.e., turned them upside down).
5. Lightly sanded the cabinets (220, then 400 sandpaper, and then 0000 steel wool). I wanted to preserve the existing golden oak stain by a previous owner while removing any remaining top coat or resin.
6. Applied four coats of Danish Oil (overkill - see below).
7. Spray painted the risers black (I was inspired by the Heresy IV look).
8. Cleaned the motor boards and backs with a water/white vinegar mix, using a damp rag and Q-tips, and then a vacuum.
9. Cleaned the speaker covers with Brissell spot remover, also as recommended by you fine people here. Great hack!

 

What I might still do, but not in the near future:

 

1. Apply a couple coats of satin or semi-gloss oil-based polyurethane over the Danish Oil (and maybe the painted risers). D.O. has resins in it, so there's already a hard coat with a bit of a sheen.
 

What I learned, or confirmed, in the process:

 

1. Crites Loudspeakers is a godsend. Reasonable prices, nice people, and blindingly fast service.
2. The re-capped crossovers was the big improvement. After that I was hesitant to even try the titanium diaphragms. But . . . 
3. I actually enjoy the titanium diaphragms! I generally dislike metal domed tweeters and worried that these might be ear bleeders, but they aren't. Compared to the original phenolic diaphragms, they do emphasize the lower treble somewhat, and the sound is somewhat more forward, but all in an engaging, sweet manner to my ears. That said . . . 
4. Electronics matter! These guys sound a whole lot better in my system then they did at my mom's condo with an old NAD 740C receiver and even older Techniques CD changer (and those are perfectly fine components). 
5. Subwoofers are a must for these speakers in my system.  I don't have good corner or even close wall placement options in my condo, so acoustic bass reinforcement isn't possible. In my system, with two REL T7s, these refreshed Heresys are absolutely stunning where currently placed. With the subwoofers off, they're still kind of fun, but lack any deep bass or sense of scale. No surprise there, really.
6. They're not going to replace the Devore Super Nines, which are a better speaker.  But that's OK - They will certainly get some repeated and prolonged playing times.
7. Even very basic wood refinishing is kind of tricky and very project-specific. In my case, I was working with a (nicely) pre-stained birch veneer over particle board, and I did not want to use stripper and then fuss with applying finish to birch wood.  I came to realize that two coats of Danish Oil is all that's called for. The veneer stops absorbing it afterwards, so you're just adding more resin basically. The third and fourth coats took forever to dry and required repeated rub downs and long waits before they would dry.
8. The project was actually a lot of fun. I enjoyed finding simple ways to achieve certain goals, such as cleaning the motor boards instead of painting them and cleaning the filthy covers rather than replacing them. I'm full of smiles!

 

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A beautiful resto job...

I have a pair of black HIIs from about '85. I say about as the labels were removed, and no logos were on the grills. I had opened one of the cabinets and found a small, dated inspection sticker on the inside.

 

That's all ok with me, the were a gift from my older son who got them while he was away at school in Florida. (I guess I actually paid for them)

 

I think I'll replace the caps this summer. I 'might' strip the black lacquer and see what veneer is underneath. At the worst, I can redo to black...

 

I love the HIIs, and find them to be very balanced.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)
On 6/27/2021 at 8:58 AM, Marvel said:

A beautiful resto job...

I have a pair of black HIIs from about '85. I say about as the labels were removed, and no logos were on the grills. I had opened one of the cabinets and found a small, dated inspection sticker on the inside.

 

That's all ok with me, the were a gift from my older son who got them while he was away at school in Florida. (I guess I actually paid for them)

 

I think I'll replace the caps this summer. I 'might' strip the black lacquer and see what veneer is underneath. At the worst, I can redo to black...

 

I love the HIIs, and find them to be very balanced.

 

Thanks.  I loved finding those inspection labels inside!  Such a cool little time capsule.

 

I think the initial couple of years the Heresy IIs had round speaker wire input / crossover network assemblies and then in 1987 or 88 they became rectangular, so that's another way to determine age.

 

Good luck in your project!

Edited by Bulkogi
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