ESS AMT 1B Floorstanding Speakers

4.49/5 (101 Reviews)


Product Description

Floor Standing, front and rear firing speaker system


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Reviews 1 - 5 (101 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by 1mooseknuckle a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: April 5, 2016

Bottom Line:   
I recently met a guy on Craigslist that I bought a vintage Pioneer Reel to Reel from that mentioned that he had an old pair of ESS AMT 1b's that needed to be repaired and he might be willing to part with them in the future. He saved my number and low and behold he called about six weeks later. He said he was moving and needed to clear some space and wondered if I was still interested in the speakers, I said of course and how much did he want for them? He responded $150.00 for the pair. I was at his house before I set down the phone. Fast forward 3 weeks and a little elbow grease and some newly re-foamed speakers and radiators and presto! Like new speakers for less than $400. I placed them in my theater room that is walled with soundproofing for acoustic balance, plugged in the speakers, lit the amp, and put in a classic Van Morison CD and the magic happened. I do not profess to be an audiophile or be capable of explaining every little nuance, but I can tell you this... Listening to these speakers makes me want to rush home to listen to all my music again. And in many cases it's like hearing it for the first time. I guess having two subs supporting the low end may have an impact, but the base produced by these speakers is definitely distinguishable from the subs so together they make beautiful highs and lows with a clarity I've never before experienced.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Eduardo Pascuale a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: December 22, 2015

Bottom Line:   
I have used the ESS AMT 1b, ESS Rock Monitor, and ESS AMT Monitors since 1979. AMT tweeters are the HF driver to use in any serious loudspeaker and monitor designs. Many reviews here are very old. To update, have a Google at AMT/Heil tweeters to see how many manufacturers have seen the light. The revelation starts with how one has entered into the HiFi realm. If you were raised on a diet of dome, ribbon, planar, and compression horns your brain may not grasp the AMT's immediately. To see what you have been missing just refrain from listening for a 30 day stint, I would barely make it, and then begin to listen to a AMT equipped speaker equivalent to price range of your existing speakers to level the playing field. Listen to all your favorites that you know every nuance to for 30 straight days of dedicated listening. Most (without substantial hearing loss) will rediscover their music collection within the first two weeks. At the end of the 30 day all AMT listening, hook your non-AMT speakers back up and go through your music collection again. It will be readily apparent that so much is now missing when listening to your non-AMT equipped speakers. AMT's have immediate/instantaneous response, with a what is put in comes out. Keeping this in mind there are faults with the matching of woofers in ESS' original designs. SPL is one, as ESS did not mate a quality LF unit to the AMT with near the sensitivity or the transient response to match the AMT. Keep in mind that you only gain 1db loudness when amplifier wattage doubles, so when all say there is a definite difference when there is a 3db gap between drivers, they mean it. To match a woofer to the AMT look for a 8 to 10 inch driver with a Le of .35 or lower, and voila.....AMT heavens gates open up. Some here that curse the AMT with utterances of detail/accuracy, there is no more detail and accuracy than immediacy with the Heil AMT tweeters. I too once sought detail and accuracy. When I put together my Yamaha CX 1000 pre amp, MX 1000 amp, and NS 1000 speakers there were right ther in spades. Yet it only took a couple of days to realize this is not what I wanted. I ended up hating my music collection. It exposed all the flaws of recordings. Showed me that only the big names in music could be assigned/afford a sound engineer that could provide a truly good recording in the studio. Every audio enthusiast needs to introduce our younger generation to real HiFi instead of the LoFi, NoFi, and ChiFi that is out there today such as earbuds, Beats "Pill" etc. streaming horribly compressed music that in no way conveys emotion, meaning, or thrill of MUSIC. CES show planners should allow ALL children and youths in for free. These are the future of HiFi, consumers, researchers, and possibly even performers. Otherwise HiFi will die with the generations that know and truly appreciate real High Fidelity music playback. For now it is amazing to see so many manufacturers making and using AMT tweeters in their designs. I love the AMT tweeter speakers for all leisure/semi-critical listening, but still prefer Horn designs when I crank things up to concert levels. My 10 watt Air Tight Amp with the cornerhorns is still magical. All in all still buy with your ears, not your eyes. Everyone has different taste in music and preferences in sound of playback, so don't be swayed.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Roger a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: December 19, 2015

Bottom Line:   
I read every one of the reviews here, because on getting these speakers into the workshop for repair of the cone surrounds and passive radiators for the owner a friend, I was stunned by the detail of the Heils, and the firm controlled bass down to very low frequencies. I went looking for info on what exactly I had found. After listening some more and reading all those reviews to see if I should believe my ears I ended up buying them from the owner for $600 Ca. They are the 1B model which has crossover control via two pots one for midrange presence and the other for Brilliance. I found online ESS have posted the circuit diagrams for these crossovers and all the early AMT speakers using the Heils. Notably the new reformed ESS company is also building these speakers again almost 40 years later at a price of $4400 a pair with what appears to be essentially the same arrangement as the past. Go figure ! Replacement parts are also available to repair Heils and perished speaker cones and surrounds.

The vast majority of reviews here tell the story,these are wonderful speakers and if found used, worth restoring and then treasuring and listening to perhaps for the rest of your life as many of the owners here already are. .

For all the fussing audiophile people do with audio gear, turntables, amps, wires and CD players etc nothing can make as much difference to the end sound as a pair of really good speakers like these, properly placed in a good room. The fact you can still find these for a few hundred bucks should wake everyone up to the fact that an audiophile level steal is still possible.

The criticism of some good ears in the reviews here is that in really crowded music content there is a loss of detail in the lower mids due to the use of the Heil down at such a low crossover ( 800 Hz). Some claim there is a large frequency " hole " between the two drivers. but others contradict this. Numerous very serious audiophiles review and rate the Heil transformer as one of the very best tweeters EVER.

For myself Im just sitting back and enjoying all my music anew.

Thanks to this site for the encouragement !



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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by kirb marriott a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: August 28, 2015

Bottom Line:   
Had a pair about a month, then found DQ 10 it was over. good speaker for its time.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Shawn a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: June 24, 2015

Bottom Line:   
I own a pair of the original AMT 1's. Not the A, B, C, or D models with the 12" and passive radiator. Mine have 10" drivers in ported cabinets. Aside from that, the differences between mine and the A's and B's are minor.
These are some of the most honest speakers you're ever going to hear. The air-motion transformer on any AMT 1 is extremely clear and uncolored all the way down to 800 Hz. The complaint you often hear about the AMT 1 line is that the woofer can keep up with the air-motion transformer, which is true, especially for the models with 12" woofers. This is hardly a glaring flaw, however, and shouldn't be overstated as such. There is no such thing as a functionally massless woofer and that's what it would take to match the AMT. Bass is solid, balanced, and crisp overall. The models sporting the 12" gain lower bass extension at the cost of speed and accuracy whereas the 10" ported model drops off sharply below 45 Hz.
These are speakers I'd put up against the best names and find comparable, if not better. Numerous companies are making knock-offs of the air-motion transformer, such as Martin-Logan and hearing them makes the reasons obvious. If you're looking for a very honest speaker that lacks failings which relegate it to a select few genres of music, which is truly capable of reproducing a three dimensional sound stage, this speaker may be what you're looking for. I consider them vastly superior to B&W's middle weight offerings. In fact, I'd go so far as to say there are extremely few speakers at any price that use conventional drivers that can compare. That's a bold statement, but I think it's honest and I'd invite you to test that statement.
ESS is back at it, by the way, with a new and broadened product line.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995




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