Of the many ideas on how to build a loudspeaker transducer, Oskar Heil’s (1908–1994) Air Motion Transformer is unique in its way of making the air move. In the course of the history of loudspeakers, many different transducer designs have been introduced. All of them feature piston-like diaphragms that move the air in a 1:1 ratio so that the diaphragm velocity equals the air velocity. Whether we talk about electrostatic and magneto-static speakers, ribbons, voice coil based dome and cone speakers or even a Blatthaller design – they all follow this particular design approach.
It was not until the early 1960s that German-American physicist Oskar Heil came up with a new idea and proposed a folded elastic diaphragm, where single folds open and close in an alternating pattern and thus „breathe“ air in and out, with the special charm that the air driven through the folds is accelerated to a ratio four times as fast as the diaphragm itself. In the early 1990s, Klaus Heinz was so intrigued by Heil’s idea that he used it to build a compact, reliable, and superior sounding tweeter.
Heinz later went on to found ADAM Audio in Berlin, a company that manufactures loudspeakers based on Heil’s invention. The X-ART tweeter designed by Heinz during his time at ADAM was widely praised and gradually revolutionized the speaker landscape, as similar designs emerged on both the HiFi and the studio monitor market. In 2020 HEDD has introduced another evolutionary step in the development of the AMT: The HEDDphone® is not just the first full-range AMT headphone, it also incorporates VVT® technology. This means that the HEDDphone® is based on a new diaphragm geometry that expands the AMT principle to a linear full range (10Hz–40kHz) headphone transducer. It replaces the fixed geometric structure of conventional AMT drivers as the folds vary both in width and depth.