ESS AMT3 Rock Monitors - Where are they now?
I'm interested in any experiences here that folks have had with ESS speakers, particularly the ones mentioned in the title. Why? Curiosity and lack of funds to buy other speakers of that class to compare. Also, info on these is very sparse and I figure if anyone would know it'd be someone here!
A little background here: I was given a pair of these when I was in high school many moons ago by close family friends. The wife was tired of them and they didn't want to toss them - so they gave them to me. They were in somewhat rough shape and at the time the woofers/midrange were destroyed and we replaced them with some bargain basement claptrap. And so they remained, as I dragged them to my dorm in college and everywhere I lived since then.
Recently I decided it was time for some TLC. I finally ordered the proper 10" woofers from ESS, along with new diaphragms for the tweeters. Also new mids - the Eminence Alpha-6A - which I have read are the best aftermarket replacements. All-in-all, that was about $800 of parts. Plus the router I had to buy to make the woofers fit. Ouch. That said, the new woofers made a HUGE difference ("wait, is my sub on? No it's not...") and the new diaphragms evened out the response between the two speakers. The mids and L-pad are yet to be installed.
I do feel silly installing them myself because I finally called ESS and they told me they could refurbish the pair, including new veneers, new grills, refurbishment/replacement of the crossovers, sealing the cabinet, installation of the new woofers and mids (which they would route the openings for with a template), and testing. Essentially bringing them back to factory condition. All for <$500. So I probably should have done that, and still might. But that brings me to my question: are they worth it?
Don't get me wrong, I love them and they have a special place in my heart just from sticking with me so long. I'll probably never get rid of them and they're currently serving as the front left/right channels in my HT setup. That said, I'll most likely end up $1500 deep on these, including two ~8 hour roadtrips to ESS. I wonder if it's money well spent from a purely objective POV. For instance, I could get a pretty decent pair of floorstanders for the cost of this project. Are they worth it purely in SQ terms? Do they get trounced by a $1k pair of Klipsch RP-8000Fs (current candidate for fronts once these go into another room)? The AMT-style tweeters are certainly not dead as I see them in Emotiva speakers and quite a few other designs, so there must be something to them. And I'm perfectly happy keeping them as fronts despite going full Klipsch RP elsewhere.
I've heard tell that a pair of these in good nick can go for $2k-$3k, and I wonder if that's purely for nostalgia/"vintage" reasons or if there's more to it.
If anyone has ever owned these, listened to them, or otherwise has any stories about them I would love for you to share. I want to know more about these speakers and their place in the audiophile world, being that their heyday was long before social media existed.
Thank you to anyone that can chime in with experience, advice, or idle thoughts! A few pics of my shoddy refurb just because.