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Hammer Dynamics SE12
5 Reviews
rating  4.8 of 5
MSRP  1600.00
Description: Frequency response- 45Hz - 21kHz. Sensitivity- 97dB 1W/1m Power requirements- 1 Watt RMS Maximum power - 70 Watts peak


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Reviews 1 - 5 (5 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Rahul Kale a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: December 25, 2000

Bottom Line:   
The best value high end speaker that one could ever use. Currently these replace another much loved (by me) speaker - mainly due that these are more efficient and I am hooked.

The coherenceof a single driver, the scale and ease of a 12 incher and the speed and rhythm of high efficiency. This is an absolutely amazing speaker that I woudl suggest everyone in the market for a speaker at this price level and beyond look at.

I use it with minimal damping (except the felt at back and bubble wrap on the sides) with few styrofoam peanuts for damping and an MDF cabinet. I will be getting a chipboard cabinet done as well to check how it sounds (am told that this should be a killer) and experiment with damping a little - I prefer it with the minimal damping feeling that it makes a vibier sound.

I use it with: Nott analog Hyperspace/SME4/VdH Grasshopper 4GLA/ANS2/Fi Yph//CJ DV2b cd player//SJS Model 1 pre-amp//Border Patrol 300BSE// and all Kimber mains; Yammamura and DNM cabling and interconnects.

Very happy till the bug for some huge horns strikes me.

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $1250.00



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Greg Roberts a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 8, 2000

Bottom Line:   
Hi there. I am posting this review to The Full Range Driver Forum, and AudioReview.com. I now have the Bottlehead Paraglow 2A3 amps and the Hammer Dynamic Super 12 speaker systems. I have in the past used a "huge" 15w push/pull triode amp, run into the Aria5/Raven1 speakers I bought from Zalytron. Also, I ran these triode amps into the Super 12 speakers. Other amps in the past have been Perreaux 3150, Krell KSA100MKll, B&K ST202, and Hafler. The Paraglows are stock except for the shielded solid core silver wire, a snubber, and some chassis dampening. I am use to a fairly dynamic, bright intense sound, so I was please when I heard the relaxed laid back presentation of the Paraglow/S12's. I mention both of these together, because the sound is influenced alot by each other. The Paraglows are relaxed, with very fast sound, and great midrange. The treble is very extended and airy. The overall quality of the sound is neutral, with good dynamics for a 2.4w amp.
I knew I would need efficent speakers with a flat impedance and phase response if I wanted to Rock, so after ordering the Paraglows, I began the search for a great speaker system. Boy was I surprised at the difference between conventional speakers and the high efficency, single driver speakers. They seemed like a whole other world, and I realized I needed to forget my conventional speaker design ideas, and pay alot more attention to designs based on how they sound with small amps. I eventually narrowed the field to three speakers, which I felt, would allow me to Rock hard and heavy, and still have that magic midrange for vocals and stringed instraments. The three speakers were the Fostex 208FE in a Jehrico Horn, the Bottlehead Straight 8's, and the Super 12 speaker system. All three sound fine, but after listening to a bright intense system, I was leaning more towards a panel speaker type sound like the Quad's, only with far more dynamics and mojo. Sorry, but I had to keep my mojo cookin', and my monkey bone juiced! ;^)
I ordered the Super 12's, and was glad the shipping cost was so low. I got another break when I realized that with the 1/2 sheet of MDF I already had, plus one more sheet and a few items from the local hardware store, was all I needed to start building the cabinets. I began by having some of the pieces precut, then took them home and got to work. I was surprised by the detailed instructions in the manual written by James Melhuish, of The Full Range Driver Forum. I usually just throw my boxes together. This manual provided step by step instructions for the small details like drilling a hole in the mounting strips. I used three different bits for each hole! There was alot more work involved than what I had thought, but I learned alot, and the boxes are very well made. I could not have been sucessful without John Wyckoff's excellent support and guidance. He was always there, to tell me what I needed, even when it was something I didn't want to hear or disagreed with. After a few days, I learned to heed his advice. Warning! Do not attempt to second guess this design. It is a highly tuned system, and you will have all sorts of problems if you find the unconventional design too much to bear, and start fiddleing around with dampening, tuning, or port location. Best to play it safe! You can always adjust the sound at a later date.
After finishing the cabinets, and installing the drivers, I hooked them up and started the long breakin period. This was the worse part about the project. The raw sound was over 107db, and gave us all a headache. The speakers need at least 50 hours on them before the sound relaxes and smooths out. Even then, you are only at the beginning of the breakin period of 250 hours. But soon I heard the sound stablize and the tweeters were starting to mellow out. But even then, I heard a rough edge to the treble. I tried to think of a cause, but could find none. I even opened up the Paraglows and looked around inside. I found a possible cause in a very critical location. The directly coupled link between the plate of the driver tube, and the grid of the 2A3 tube had a nasty bright sounding silver coated copper wire, which I had used when I ran out of wire. I removed it and replace it with a mellow Cardas hookup wire, and like magic all the brightness, and 95% of the harshness was gone from the treble! I could not believe one wire could make this much difference. I think the other 5% harshness will be gone after a little more break in. So now the sound was as John and others had told me it would be. If I had not found this problem, I would have a different story to tell, so think twice before you believe some fool who claims these speakers sound colored or the soundstage is not wide and deep ect, because they may have made a small mistake in their system, or between their ears.
And how do the Super 12's sound? I am still in the break in period, and my Paraglows are very new, but I can't wait any longer. They make beatiful music! The sound is very nice, with real power, bass and dynamics! The soundstage is wide and deep, and well focused in the middle. Vocalist are sometimes in the room with you.
The treble is starting to taking on a bit more of a mellow tone. It is at a perfect level, as it blends just right with the midrange. Not an easy thing to do. It is detailed and will I think be smoother the more I run them in. The midrange is just about right. Not laid back, and not too forward, just vivid sometimes. I think the 1/2" felt pad behind the driver controls this aspect. I am reminded of a panel speaker, in that the details don't hit you over the head with their presence, yet they have very high resolution from top to bottom. Everything is woven into a nice tapestry of sound.
Let me make this next point very clear. Please read my lips: There is hardly any coloration to this speaker, especially in the lower midrange. At least no more than any other top quality speaker. It has a very fine reproduction of male and female voice. There is no thickness to the sound at all. There is a pleasant fullness to the sound, which my Aria5/Raven1's did not have. The fullness and warmth sounds very natural, like it belongs there. By adding a large warm woofer to the Aria5's with an active crossover, I may be able to make them sound more like the S12's.
Cellos and violins sound so good, it is hard to believe. Joni Mitchel sounds like Joni Mitchel. Diana Krall sounds like Diana Krall. Cat Stevens voice is rich and warm. Gordon Lightfoot's voice has alot of sound in the lower midrange, and is used as a test by many. There is no "chestiness" to his voice, and the tone has a golden glow. Of course there is alot of music that does not sound good on any system.
I do hear very slight colorations in the box, and as John has said, I am sure the very cheap asphalt/rubber dampening sheets from Parts Express will cure this. You will need about 35 of these squares, for five or six sides of the box. A brace may be of help too, when used with the dampening sheets. But try only the dampening sheets first. Actually, it sounds just fine stock with only the bubble wrap, and felt, but hey, I've got to find something wrong, to lend credibility to this review. Right? Also, the speakers are not very sweet. When I put on a recording that is of poor quality the speakers do not go out of their way to make it sound better, as I have heard the Maggies do. But when I put on something great, they sound great. On the other hand, the sweetness of my triode amps is produced very well. But, I do feel that these speakers are not perfect, but they are the best efficent speakers I have heard, or know about. I do not know where to buy better efficent speakers for under a few grand, but perhapse a nice highend speaker, with a fairly flat 8 ohm response would be fine, if you do not need loud dynamic music(see update below). But most of these sound a bit weak and thin, compared to the Super 12's, and have problems all their own, with monster crossover networks distorting the midrange. Also, the Bottlehead Straight Eight's seem like a good design, but I have never heard them. But, no speaker is perfect. They all are full of compromises. If you want a perfect speaker, go to bed and dream about one. That's as close as your gonna get to one.
Ok, but what about the bass? I think the bass is the best I have heard from any speaker at any price. It makes a lot of highend speakers sound bad. It runs rings around my Focal 5 1/4" drivers in my Aria5's. Most tube amps help the fast, damped bass alot, and using a smaller sized speaker wire reduces the dampening effect. That done, the bass takes on a highly defined, full quality, with lots of body. It is fairly strong, and it kicks hard, with a sense of weight in my small room. In a larger room it may have less fullness, and the treble may be reduced as well. But bass is not very important right? Well, just wait until you hear this bass! There is so much information there to be enjoyed. The pace and rhythm are propelled along nicely by this wonderful driver. If only we tube lovers had more speakers like this, it would be a much better world. Not a perfect world, but much, much, better.
Update! As I go to press, so to speak with this review, I am running a new test. The state of the art Aria5/Raven1's are on the left channel. These have dual Focal woofers and the $200 a piece Raven 1 tweeters. They have many mods such as the Kimber teflon hook up wire, 1 3/4" front baffle, with
1 1/2" sides, internal braceing, which is not need at all, and a huge Bi-wired crossover board which hangs off the back by rubber bands. All caps have film and foil bypass caps. The sound is superb.
Now, on the right channel are the Super 12 speakers which are not fully broken in(120 hours)and are stock. They use cheap 18ga magnet wire, and do not have any right at all to sound as good as they do.
So as not to take up anymore space here I'll be very brief. Both speakers have their advantages, and sound great with the 2.4w Paraglows. The Super 12s have almost as good of treble as the Raven ribbon tweeters. They have more bass and a fuller warmer sound which is just right. The Aria5's have a tiny bit flatter response, and a hair less midrange. Both have good dynamics and loudness, but the Supper 12's are the winner here, and will go far louder. The Arias distort when turn up past 90db ave peaks.
I feel like I could do without the Aria5/R1's if someone put a gun to my head, and force me to get rid of them. But as for the Hammers, I think I would have to make a play for the gun! This makes the Super 12's the clear winner. Hammer Dynamics is located in New Mexico. Unlike Dick Olsher, I have not worked with John Wyckoff, I do not know him from Adam, he has not given me anything, and I have no reason to promote his speakers, except for the very high quality sound, and the excellect support he provides. And also to help others with their enjoyment of music. Best Wishes, Greg Roberts
Hammer Dynamics Website- www.hammerdynamics.com
PS, A friend just emailed me this info:
I just returned from New Mexico, and visited with John Wyckoff while I was there. He is indeed smart, and a very interesting sort, who lives with his wife in the middle of nowhere. His speakers were well broke in and optimized. I loved the detailed sound, no harshness at all there. We listened to them with a homemade linestage, and a Jolida power amp, nothing high end or esoteric, and they sounded great.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $575.00

Purchased At:   Hammer Dynamics



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by joseph santor a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: September 8, 2000

Bottom Line:   
owning a high end shop has afforded me an opportunity to listen to a wide range of speakers. Let me say that these speakers sound like live music. Forget the audiophile buzzwords like imaging,soundstaging,etc. These things sound like real music in front of you.They are coherant like electrostatics,but with microdynamics that will have you reaching for the repeat button. The midrange resolution is truly stunning. At $575.00 John is giving them away. The support from the designer is also without peer.If you don't mind building your own speaker, you'd have to be crazy not to try these!

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $575.00

Purchased At:   direct



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Tim a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: August 28, 2000

Bottom Line:   
I've fallen in love with the musicality of full range drivers lately. The first time that I saw the design philosophy behind John Wycoff's Super 12 Driver I thought, "This could be something special".... I believe that was right .. In spades...This system has an uncanny ability to make a wide range of music sound wonderful.
The Super 12 is a 97 dB efficient full-range, near point-source, Driver that operates between 40 and 10000 HZ... In this system it has been augmented by a super tweeter that handles the harmonics 10k+... What is very unusual about this driver and system is the Dynamic Range capability (ie: diff. between softest and loudest simultaneous sounds possible at any given frequency).... A 12" Driver has 3 Times the Dynamic range of an 8 ... 9 Times that of a 4" Why is that important? .... Many instruments require full Dynamic Range in the area from 50-200 Hz. or so to sound real... The piano, drum Kits, Electric Guitar & Bass, Organ and on & on. All of my beloved satalite&sub systems and small full-range drivers fall apart when the demands are great.... A good sub doesn't help ... Hard to integrate and only active below 80 or so.... Result is, to my ears, at best , a "dynamic hole" above the subs output.... So I've always, As many do, been too quick to say, "oh, bad Recording", ....often that's Wrong! ....just Bad system! Most who try to solve this use larger drivers at the expense of speed. NOT so with the super 12. It's fast, very fast... So the Short of it is this, .... I believe that John Wycoff has pulled it off.... Made that 12" behave well enough to transmit some amazing music to the listener... These speakers allow the subtle interplay between these instruments to become a full part of the musicscape...
Many formerly "banned" recordings are now among my favorites because the Super 12 DOES Piano, Electric Guitars etc. Wonderfully..... Fact is, These are the backbone of much music today. BACK is Stevie Ray, Clapton, Electric Blues in general... Pop ... Melencamp, Elton, The Beatles Etc.... NEVER sounded so good..... My acoustic Stuff sounds great too. Diana Krall and Mary Black etc... Miles... Kind of Blue Wow!... Sweet sounds.
My room is 16x13x9, no treatment yet, Amp is a modified Decware Zen, Front end is just a little Newcastle 980T until the format wars are over ...(slightly tweeked) and using Auric Illuminator... Lots of damping and John's custom Cables and interconnects. I've heard at length many fine small two ways with excellent subs, proac, coincident, audio concepts, also good planars Martin Logans and Pans and many others....
What do I hear? ....Well, The Speakers just disappear to be replaced by a Soundstage that starts near my back wall on most recordings.... And goes back ... Wayyy back. And wide... Excellent focus and Detail....space around each instrument and voice. Good Tonality...Bass is fast, Focused, and deep in my room....mids are silky smooth... Highs just seem "right"... There is a harmonic "correctness" to many instruments.. But most importantly... A wonderful sense that I am hearing the music that the guy on the soundboard was hearing....
To give a couple of examples: On Beatles Anathology 3 .... "Mother Nature's son" is astoundingly live and 3 dimensional.... Patty Larkin's "Angels Running", The Whole disk, is amazing.... Never "Falls Apart".... Every single cut on Eric Clapton Unplugged is as live as could be with tons of detail and hall acoustics evident. Basically I have rediscovered my entire record collection....
Two things worth mentioning.... It takes FOREVER to break these in. (I have 1.8 watts) Wires are VERY critical with this driver.... They sound big and TUBBY with large wire and cable...
They like 20 Ga. ALLOT....
What John Wycoff has pulled off is pretty amazing...... An inexpensive system that is amazingly musical with any music ... And it can be driven with 1 watt. Bravo...





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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Reed Rehorst a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: August 11, 2000

Bottom Line:   
Looking for some higher-efficiency full-range stuff to help me get into the lower-powered SE amps, I took a chance on the Super-12 speakers (97dB, 8 ohms, Hammer Dynamics, www.hammerdynamics.com).
The sound was really good right off. Deep (really deep in my room), high, smooth, loud if you want, with little strain. After breaking in, the sound smoothed out even more. All kinds of good tone, details, imaging, depth, dynamics, etc. I get good sound with the Decware Zen amp (about 1 or 2 watts), but switching to my Zen amp (Nelson Pass's 10 watt design), the extension increases on both ends and the sound is noticeably smoother.
My only criticisms are that the midrange dispersion is rather limited (it has to be with a 12-inch 2-way), but it doesn't affect my regular listening area. It's also not as holographic as the Martin Logan Aerius, but its still really good, and is certainly more dynamic and full-range.
I'm enjoying them. Considering that they didn't cost me an arm and a leg, I'm REALLY enjoying them. They aren't quite Avantgarde Duos, but they're a lot better than any speakers anywhere near this price that I know of, and are considerably easier to drive and more dynamic.

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   HammerDynamics, through internet




Reviews 1 - 5 (5 Reviews Total)

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