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Author Topic: 3 hours with Bob Heil  (Read 8463 times)

Bob Leonard

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3 hours with Bob Heil
« on: August 24, 2008, 02:09:47 am »

Friday night was a treat for me as I was actually able to take some time for myself and spend an amazing three hours with Bob Heil and his wife Sarah. Now I'm sure that most of you are aware that Bob and I have worked together on some of his products and that I am a huge fan of his microphones.

Be that as it is microphones are just a tiny piece of the Bob Heil story and I considered myself more than fortunate to have been invited to spend the evening with these folks. Bob Heil is a living piece of pro sound history and to many touring artists of both yesterday and today a legend. It was he who first invented or introduced many of the devices and concepts used in pro sound today for which we can all be thankful.

I won't get into a detailed tale of the nights conversation, it would just take to much time and space, but there were some promises made and I keep my promises. So in a nutshell;

The PR-22 will remain as is for the time being. The possibility of a super cardioid version was discussed. I passed Andy's comments on to Bob and perhaps in the future, but not just yet.

I have in my possession a pair of drum mics, kick and snare which I worked with for just a little bit today and the sound was just stunning. If anyone near me would like to audition the mics please PM me with a request and I'll try to get them to you. One feature to note is that the entire element is flex mounted so the if it's hit accidentally it will bend. Not to mention that the housings for these mics are built like the proverbial brick shit house. I don't see how they can be broken even if abused.

I had a great look at the guitar cabinet mic. The element is the same as the PR-30/35, but mounted sideways, and tuned for it's purpose, typical of guitar cabinet mics, but with a very unique suspension system to eliminate vibration, etc..

I also had a look at a number of mics from the soon to be Heil custom shop. They were all custom painted and the look was incredible. Silver, grey, yellow, my favorite fire engine red, and even a camouflaged PR-22 headed to Ted Nugent.

I can also say that wireless versions are close to reality, but nothing more than that.

I had a look at some great pictures of the USA manufacturing plant. I was surprised at how much work is done here in the United States. Yss, many of the components are manufactured off shore. No, they are not manufactured at the same plant as Shure, Sennheizer and Audix. Yes, final assembly and testing of every mic is done in the USA. Yes, all prototypes are developed in the USA.

Trivia I was aware off that you may find interesting. Bob and Joe Walsh are best friends. Bob and Joe are both ham radio operators (so am I). There are more Heil mics used for ham radio than any other microphone world wide. It was Joe Walsh who talked Bob Heil into getting back into pro sound by converting one of the ham radio mics for Joe to use on stage. Bob Heil has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The original "Talk Box" made for Joe Walsh was for the song "Rocky Mountain way". The talk box concept dates back to 1939. After the recording of "Rocky Mountian way" Joe wanted to use the "Talk Box" outside of the studio. He placed the speaker and everything else into a paper bag, fed the tube into the top, and used it like that for almost 2 months on stage. It was Bob Heil who provided sound for the "Who's" quadrophenea tour. There's no shortage of people that Bob Heil hasn't worked with, or inventions he's created. If you're interested in history google his name some time.  

For those of you living in the northeast, Daddy's Music has taken on the Heil line. The line will be introduced at the main store in Boston by Bob Heil, in October. I extend an invitation to any and all who wish to attend. The store is located on Mass. Ave directly across from Berkley.  

Well I don't usually post pictures of myself because they make baby's cry and dogs howl, but here's one worth showing. I'm the guy with the full head of hair and the thin waistline.


index.php/fa/17586/0/
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Rob Ottaviano

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Re: 3 hours with Bob Heil
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2008, 10:44:06 am »

Bob Leonard wrote on Sun, 24 August 2008 07:09

Friday night was a treat for me as I was actually able to take some time for myself and spend an amazing three hours with Bob Heil and his wife Sarah. Now I'm sure that most of you are aware that Bob and I have worked together on some of his products and that I am a huge fan of his microphones.

Be that as it is microphones are just a tiny piece of the Bob Heil story and I considered myself more than fortunate to have been invited to spend the evening with these folks. Bob Heil is a living piece of pro sound history and to many touring artists of both yesterday and today a legend. It was he who first invented or introduced many of the devices and concepts used in pro sound today for which we can all be thankful.

I won't get into a detailed tale of the nights conversation, it would just take to much time and space, but there were some promises made and I keep my promises. So in a nutshell;

The PR-22 will remain as is for the time being. The possibility of a super cardioid version was discussed. I passed Andy's comments on to Bob and perhaps in the future, but not just yet.

I have in my possession a pair of drum mics, kick and snare which I worked with for just a little bit today and the sound was just stunning. If anyone near me would like to audition the mics please PM me with a request and I'll try to get them to you. One feature to note is that the entire element is flex mounted so the if it's hit accidentally it will bend. Not to mention that the housings for these mics are built like the proverbial brick shit house. I don't see how they can be broken even if abused.

I had a great look at the guitar cabinet mic. The element is the same as the PR-30/35, but mounted sideways, and tuned for it's purpose, typical of guitar cabinet mics, but with a very unique suspension system to eliminate vibration, etc..

I also had a look at a number of mics from the soon to be Heil custom shop. They were all custom painted and the look was incredible. Silver, grey, yellow, my favorite fire engine red, and even a camouflaged PR-22 headed to Ted Nugent.

I can also say that wireless versions are close to reality, but nothing more than that.

I had a look at some great pictures of the USA manufacturing plant. I was surprised at how much work is done here in the United States. Yss, many of the components are manufactured off shore. No, they are not manufactured at the same plant as Shure, Sennheizer and Audix. Yes, final assembly and testing of every mic is done in the USA. Yes, all prototypes are developed in the USA.

Trivia I was aware off that you may find interesting. Bob and Joe Walsh are best friends. Bob and Joe are both ham radio operators (so am I). There are more Heil mics used for ham radio than any other microphone world wide. It was Joe Walsh who talked Bob Heil into getting back into pro sound by converting one of the ham radio mics for Joe to use on stage. Bob Heil has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The original "Talk Box" made for Joe Walsh was for the song "Rocky Mountain way". The talk box concept dates back to 1939. After the recording of "Rocky Mountian way" Joe wanted to use the "Talk Box" outside of the studio. He placed the speaker and everything else into a paper bag, fed the tube into the top, and used it like that for almost 2 months on stage. It was Bob Heil who provided sound for the "Who's" quadrophenea tour. There's no shortage of people that Bob Heil hasn't worked with, or inventions he's created. If you're interested in history google his name some time.  

For those of you living in the northeast, Daddy's Music has taken on the Heil line. The line will be introduced at the main store in Boston by Bob Heil, in October. I extend an invitation to any and all who wish to attend. The store is located on Mass. Ave directly across from Berkley.  

Well I don't usually post pictures of myself because they make baby's cry and dogs howl, but here's one worth showing. I'm the guy with the full head of hair and the thin waistline.


index.php/fa/17586/0/



I have that shirt Very Happy  Very Happy  Very Happy

Peace
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Gene Hardage

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Re: 3 hours with Bob Heil
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2008, 11:09:40 am »

Can we get a pic of the geetar mic?
A pic or link to any of the new mics?

I've seen a few pics of the boards and equipment used by him for those early rock shows and it's amazing.  The biggest challenge must have been getting vocals, and drums to match the insane guitar volumes.  I've also had the honor of talking to a few old timers - mostly musicians but a few old techs - and it's always fun and educational.   Keep us posted on everything.
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Adam Whetham

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Re: 3 hours with Bob Heil
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2008, 04:10:08 pm »

Gene Hardage wrote on Sun, 24 August 2008 10:09

Can we get a pic of the geetar mic?
A pic or link to any of the new mics?

I've seen a few pics of the boards and equipment used by him for those early rock shows and it's amazing.  The biggest challenge must have been getting vocals, and drums to match the insane guitar volumes.  I've also had the honor of talking to a few old timers - mostly musicians but a few old techs - and it's always fun and educational.   Keep us posted on everything.


I would be interested also. I love that I'm a dealer for Heil also. So many people are amazed that they haven't heard of this guy. I'm amazed they haven't either.

PS. I saw the Heil display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Was incredibly dissapointed that you can't take pictures in that place.. I can go to the Met in New York and take pictures of 2000 year old egyptian artifacts but not something that's from the 1970's... Sad. Still a cool display anyway!
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Lee Brenkman

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Re: side trip, again, sorry!
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2008, 06:05:16 pm »

Adam Whetham wrote on Sun, 24 August 2008 13:10

.

PS. I saw the Heil display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Was incredibly dissapointed that you can't take pictures in that place.. I can go to the Met in New York and take pictures of 2000 year old egyptian artifacts but not something that's from the 1970's... Sad. Still a cool display anyway!



Those 2000 year old Egyptians aren't around,and they don't have r lawyers and estates jealously guarding their "intellectual property".

Many persons and companies with exhibits at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame DO.

I'm not saying either policy is right, wrong, defensible or not. I just think the rock stars and their "people" are keeping a better line on the bottom line than the craftsmen who put their work into the Valley of the Kings.
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Bob Leonard

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Re: 3 hours with Bob Heil
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2008, 12:27:46 am »

Gene Hardage wrote on Sun, 24 August 2008 11:09

Can we get a pic of the geetar mic?
A pic or link to any of the new mics?

I've seen a few pics of the boards and equipment used by him for those early rock shows and it's amazing.  The biggest challenge must have been getting vocals, and drums to match the insane guitar volumes.  I've also had the honor of talking to a few old timers - mostly musicians but a few old techs - and it's always fun and educational.   Keep us posted on everything.


Gene,
I'm holding the guitar mic. Not a great picture so I'll see if I can get some more to post. Bob is holding, left to right, the camo mic, PR-35 interchangable element, snare drum mic, bass drum mic (now at my house).
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John Azzara

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Re: 3 hours with Bob Heil
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2008, 12:09:26 pm »

I have no respect for Mr. Heil. Sorry Evil or Very Mad
His products were, and are a joke for HamRadio.

I was glad to see Him move His infertile efforts to ProAudio.
 Laughing
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Bob Leonard

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Re: 3 hours with Bob Heil
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2008, 12:40:13 pm »

John Azzara wrote on Mon, 25 August 2008 12:09

I have no respect for Mr. Heil. Sorry Evil or Very Mad
His products were, and are a joke for HamRadio.

I was glad to see Him move His infertile efforts to ProAudio.
 Laughing


John,
He hasn't moved the line to pro audio. The Heil line is still the largest selling ham radio mic line in the world. Sorry to see you have no experience with either the pro audio or ham radio lines.

73's
N1BRH
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Adam Robinson

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Re: 3 hours with Bob Heil
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2008, 08:59:01 pm »

John Azzara wrote on Mon, 25 August 2008 11:09

I have no respect for Mr. Heil. Sorry Evil or Very Mad
His products were, and are a joke for HamRadio.

I was glad to see Him move His infertile efforts to ProAudio.
 Laughing


And that's why some of the largest names are touring with Heil mics?  

I may not have drank the Heil kool-aid as Bob has, but I will definitely recognize Bob's talent and the quality of his products.  I, too, have had the pleasure of meeting him at one of our shows, seeing what he's working on, and discussing the technology and giving him my opinions.  

Please try his products out before you slam them.  
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Mike Christy

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Re: 3 hours with Bob Heil
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2008, 01:34:27 pm »

If the new git mic is anything like the PR-30 I'll be all over it.

For reference, I regularly use the Pr-30 on Alto sax, it is wonderful. I also had a problematic male vocalist, he would overdrive 58s, 835s, etc, not in the high register, but with a weird low/mid power tone that was always in his voice. He would overdrive the capsule, pre pad/preamp. The PR-20 fixed the issue, it sounds wonderful on his voice.

Just my experience.

Mike
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Bob Leonard

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Re: 3 hours with Bob Heil
« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2008, 10:54:53 pm »

Mike Christy wrote on Tue, 26 August 2008 13:34

If the new git mic is anything like the PR-30 I'll be all over it.

For reference, I regularly use the Pr-30 on Alto sax, it is wonderful. I also had a problematic male vocalist, he would overdrive 58s, 835s, etc, not in the high register, but with a weird low/mid power tone that was always in his voice. He would overdrive the capsule, pre pad/preamp. The PR-20 fixed the issue, it sounds wonderful on his voice.

Just my experience.

Mike


Mike,
The guitar mic uses the PR-35 element, and they should be available soon.

Glad to hear the Heils have worked for you, and the alto must sound just incredible through a PR-30. Smile
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Joe Shambro

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Re: 3 hours with Bob Heil
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2008, 06:27:22 pm »

John Azzara wrote on Mon, 25 August 2008 11:09

I have no respect for Mr. Heil. Sorry Evil or Very Mad
His products were, and are a joke for HamRadio.

I was glad to see Him move His infertile efforts to ProAudio.
 Laughing


I would recommend highly that you go immediately to the best audiologist that you and/or your insurance can afford and have your ears checked for problems.

Heil products are solidly built and sound fantastic.  They may not be your favorite brand, but they work very well and many people find them to be top quality.  Not to mention, like the products or not, any of us sound engineers should have the utmost respect for what Mr. Heil contributed to the science of live audio in the last few decades.

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Jeff Babcock

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Re: 3 hours with Bob Heil
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2008, 09:44:44 am »

John Azzara wrote on Mon, 25 August 2008 12:09

I have no respect for Mr. Heil. Sorry Evil or Very Mad
His products were, and are a joke for HamRadio.

I was glad to see Him move His infertile efforts to ProAudio.
 Laughing



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Glenn Keane

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Re: 3 hours with Bob Heil
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2008, 09:42:45 pm »

Bob,  I personally have not dealt with Bob but a very good friend of mine has recently.  I believe he was looking to upgrade his PR-20 (with the PR-22 capsule) and my friend actually got a chance to speak directly with Bob (via phone) at fairly great length about the expectations with the upgrade etc.  Needless to say, he received his mic upgrade back with a note from Bob himself outlining what he did.  Talk about customer service!!  

Also Bob, I'm a relative newb to this board (from a posting standpoint, but not from a viewing standpoint) and always find your insights very helpful.  Specifically regarding your upgrade of your Bag End subs.  I too own a pair of S-18B's and upgraded the drivers to Eminence Omega Pro-18A's and they kick.  
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Bob Leonard

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Re: 3 hours with Bob Heil
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2008, 04:40:53 pm »

Glenn Keane wrote on Mon, 29 December 2008 21:42

Bob,  I personally have not dealt with Bob but a very good friend of mine has recently.  I believe he was looking to upgrade his PR-20 (with the PR-22 capsule) and my friend actually got a chance to speak directly with Bob (via phone) at fairly great length about the expectations with the upgrade etc.  Needless to say, he received his mic upgrade back with a note from Bob himself outlining what he did.  Talk about customer service!!  

Also Bob, I'm a relative newb to this board (from a posting standpoint, but not from a viewing standpoint) and always find your insights very helpful.  Specifically regarding your upgrade of your Bag End subs.  I too own a pair of S-18B's and upgraded the drivers to Eminence Omega Pro-18A's and they kick.  


Gene,
I'm glad the upgrade went well for you. It's not often you can take a piece of very old gear and bring it back to life with a simple upgrade.

Bob Heil is by far one of the nicest people I have met in my 58 years on this earth. He's honest and sincere, has great stories to tell, and has made huge contributions to pro sound. To date I have replaced almost all of my mics with Heils of every type and have not regreted doing so one bit.
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Karl Bader

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Re: 3 hours with Bob Heil
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2009, 10:50:38 am »

I too am a huge fan of the Heil mic. At least the PR-22. It was my first review for Pro Audio Review. I wrote him and Heil Sound an e-mail about an interest in the PR-22. I expected maybe an e-mail in a couple of days or some sort of reply like that. Bob Heil himself called me 2 hours later! I think that says something about his business ethics. When do you see that anymore in this industry?

I was truly impressed with the mic itself and Bob's attitude.

If anyone is interested you can find the article here: http://www.proaudioreview.com/article/16734

Thanks,

Karl

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